Your Hotel SHOULD Sweat the Little Things

...have you forgotten the attention to detail?

A recent overnight hotel stay proved to me that just because one aspect of a business runs well doesn’t mean that all the others do too.

sweat the little things

Hotel franchisees must follow strict adherence to marketing, branding, RevPar, etc. all with the intent of satisfying the “flag standards” and providing the guests with a focused message of quality and service.

Front desk agents wear company approved uniforms, the lobby is adorned in the designer’s choices of colors and the amenities are designed to attract the intended market segment.

All must be part of a cohesive message. 

But why isn’t this followed in the food and beverage part of the operation?

Today’s limited service or “express-style” properties intend to provide clean, reasonably-priced rooms.  They also provide a free hot breakfast buffet, free WiFi with complimentary daily newspapers and an expanded gym; all with the short-term traveler in mind looking for the next level up in quality.…and they do a great job.

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in one department: the lack of attention to detail with the “free breakfast”.

As mentioned, my recent stay showed that the oversight of the breakfast, in this case it wasn’t free and there was also a buffet dinner offered, lacked the same attention to detail as followed in all other departments.

This failing is not property specific.  I have noticed the same lack of attention to detail at other similar level properties, even those that excel in other areas.

The breakfast offered a reasonable selection of items, especially at the price point given.  This was well done.  But they also failed on many fronts:

  • One server, wearing black pants, had a large white cell phone sticking out of her rear pocket
  • Another server didn’t bother to even tuck in his buttoned-down white shirt and the rounded bottom draped below his crotch
  • Tables were not cleaned as well as they should be and still showed beverage residue from their last use

And the thing that, frankly, bothered me the most was the…

  • Half-empty salt and pepper shakers that were seemingly tossed anywhere on the tables (a pet peeve of mine).

I don’t expect fine dining from a limited service hotel restaurant, nor should anyone else.  I am realistic and fully understand the realities of payroll costs and how they relate to the bottom line.

But I highly doubt that the same branding experts that designed the lobby furniture and front desk counter would fail in their efforts to provide a similar level of service to their food offerings.

What impression is left in the minds of your customers when mixed messages are sent? Click To Tweet


If the restaurant looks like this, what do the rooms look like?

If the tables are dirty what will the bathrooms be like?

If management doesn’t care how the service staff look can I expect the same level of apathy if the in-room heat or air conditioning stops working?

The Front Desk proudly displays a plaque with the General Manager’s name emblazoned on it.  The in-room paperwork includes a letter from the GM too.  He/she takes pride in the services provided.  But what about the restaurant?  Where is the accountability?

Just because a property is not high-end doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be better.

Your customers expect high quality…even at discounted price. Click To Tweet

You should sweat the little things because it’s the little things that matter…but only if we are willing to see them.

➤Leave a comment below and add to the discussion, thanks.

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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4 thoughts on “Your Hotel SHOULD Sweat the Little Things

  1. I whole-heartedly agree. I especially insist that the employee make their eye contact with guests meaningful.
    I especially abhor the everyday visiting about the mundane of employees in and about the areas in guest’s view.
    I have a servant attitude of guest service and that does not include groaning about the night before or the lack of concern for guest’s needs.
    I have been accused of being overboard about these issues, but my guest scores are the kind you can be proud of and makes my bonuses even sweeter.

    • Hi Becky Sue,

      Let those who are not able or willing to be at their peak performance and servitude worry about how potentially overboard you may be. Your customers/guess will continue to reap the benefits of your actions, and so will you.

      Great attitude and comment, thanks for joining our team!

  2. Steve,

    Enjoyed your article very much from the standpoint of customer service and what is really the definition of a true customer centric hotel facility.

    However you seem, and I am going to try to use very delicate language, cut out from the reality of the Hotel business.

    The industry in the US especially, has been for years controlled by major brands and chains, such as Hilton, Holiday Inn Wyndham, Shearaton, Choice and Motel 6, Studio 8, etc, some corporate owned but mostly franchised.

    In the last 2-30 years Indian and Pakistani immigrants have moved in and acquired their way, to the point where they control the industry, lock, stock and barrel.

    They continually cut costs and find new ways if mis grading the quality and reputation of the property, remove features and service, extra mile benefits that were part of the guest package, by subscribing to unknown internet and cable providers, hiring cleaning maids that are poorly trained and paid not by the day, week or month, but by the room, no quality control that checks the room after the cleaning, shifting responsibility to the internet reservation search engines and sales aggregators when the customer is not satisfied with the stay, lying and misreperesenting the level of the room, and refusing to be held accountable for anything, most properties being owned by absentee owners that usually have many other unrelated businesses, or worse running it while living out of state and placing their Indian relatives to run the facility with a very sparse and deficient staff. The usuallyt hire $7 an hour front desk and maintenance staff, that is clueless, and doing a great job of blocking all feedback, from flowing upward and escalation to the actual decision makers.

    The worst part, is and this is based on 5-6 different Days Inn, Ramada, Wyndham and Best Western properties, where I have been living for the last 2 years, as an extended stay, month to month resident, even when you are able to reach a VP or senior manager at the corporate level, they seem to document the complaint, but there’s either no follow up, or just plain refusal to intervene and penalize the franchisee. pr to force them through tight inspections and mystery shopper programs to shape up.

    I even spent a week at the Hilton Garden Inn in Venice Italy, but that is also run by an independent franchise local European company totally separate from the Hilton group.

    Even the American Hotel Association is chaired and run now by an Indian immigrant, which I heard him speak on some occasions, is either totally out of touch or a good actor playing deaf, dumm and naive, ignoring the actual state of the industry.

    Some of the Hotels recently have also hired internet specialist that generate fake and fraudulent reviews to offset and counter balance bad feedback and reviews in website such as tripadvisor and others.

    Unless the government creates new legislation and a more methodical quality rating mechanism this industry will continue to deteriorate, by splitting most properties into either very low end or very high end facilities.

    • Hi Paul,

      I can’t and won’t disagree with much of what you correctly state is quickly becoming part of today’s hospitality industry. It is on the fast track towards mediocrity at best. Sure there are the standout brands or individual properties but one this is becoming the norm…profits come first and customer service second.

      The Mr. Hilton’s or Marriott’s of our industry are long gone and replaced by must of what you stated. Now, I won;t go so far as to point to any one race or country of origin personnel being a major reason for this.

      The major reason for the lack of service, attention to detail and direct supervision, in my opinion, is that our society has become a willing participant to the acceptance of poor service.

      We see it all around us. Sit down restaurants close down and replaced by QSR. Self serve checkout counters out number human-manned ones at most supermarkets. And we consumers have become part of the reason it continues because we frequent these establishments over the ones that do try to provide a service.

      Cheap labor, as our politicians prove, is more in vogue than a quality-trained mature person.

      I don’t think, or want, government to be the answer to this problem. We, the consumer, must and CAN solve it. But only if we try…

      Thanks so much,

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