The Courthouse Hotel
The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive in the world. It is for this reason, therefore, that the management of a hotel must take caution to ensure that the establishment offers the best services to its customers in order to get revisits or maintain its reputation. Given the diverse number of reasons for people’s travelling and need for hotel services (including leisure, business and relaxation) it is imperative that the management of a hotel delivers service quality in meals, accommodation and other services. Further, hotels should maintain superior value as a means of building customer loyalty and retention as a way of driving shareholder value (Chan et al., 2003). Achieving superior status for a hotel demands that the management moves beyond the customary hotel services to additional criteria, which then improve star ratings of the establishment. Perhaps even more important for a hotel is the service quality especially during special occasions where the hotel has an influx of guests due to an event or the holiday period. In looking at the case study, this paper will identify issues for consideration by the supervisor in accommodation when planning for the visit by the German delegation the hotel hopes to host. Additionally, the case study will also look at the supervisor’s skill set in running the accommodation department during the German delegate’s visit, in addition to analysing some motivation techniques the supervisor can employ to ensure maximum performance of the team he/she is leading. With regard to the fear that the required service standard may not be met for the German delegation, the case study will explore possible options and actions by the supervisor, as well as recommend some of the possible course of action for successful implementation of the required changes.
Issues to Consider when Planning German Delegation’s Visit
According to the case study, the Courthouse Hotel has a strategic location in the center of the city with 150 bedrooms and other accompanying services (Taylor, 2006). For the German delegation, the Courthouse expects to host the German Chancellor, senior German politicians, advisers, civil servants and 75 accredited journalists for a week (Taylor, 2006). Security, therefore, will be one of the issues that the supervisor must consider. Potvin (1983) contends that with VIP personnel, such as the Chancellor and his/her entourage, security of the rooms is of paramount importance. For this reason, while the Chancellor may have the security sweep rooms and consider the appropriateness of the room, it is important to add external security. Added securities personnel will not only make the guests feel secure, but also ensure a peace of mind for the host.
Security for the rooms goes far beyond intrusion by outsiders to the presence of privacy within the rooms. The privacy of the rooms is especially a factor to consider for the chancellor, the politicians, advisers and the journalists. Radolovic (n.d.) posits that tourism business law requires the hotelkeeper to assume some obligation to the guests, with the privacy of the guest being of particular interest. Perhaps of importance and worth considering is that Germany’s law on a guest’s right to privacy is especially developed, thus the Germans will expect nothing less than such privacy accorded to them (Radolovic, n.d.). In according privacy, therefore, the supervisor will have to consider the privacy of the rooms, making sure that each room has adequate privacy.
The nature of delegation that Courthouse Hotel will be hosting is additionally a factor for the supervisor to consider, and therefore, offering unparalleled quality of service. Taylor (2006) informs, “The entire hotel will be taken over by the German Chancellor, other senior German politicians, advisers, civil servants and 75 accredited journalists.” The delegation is essentially one of high profile personnel, who therefore require the best of services in accommodation for the week that the Courthouse Hotel will host them. Service quality is therefore of utmost importance. Donnelly et al. (2006) argue that service quality significantly influences customer satisfaction and loyalty in comparison with product/service characteristics. Aside from customer satisfaction, Donnelly et al. (2006) also contend that services quality decreases costs, increases profitability, improves organizational performance as well as build an organization’s reputation through word-of-mouth advertisement. The boarding supervisor must consider these particularly important positive attributes of quality of service before the arrival of the German delegation. Quality of service herein, will determine the possibility of the guests’ repeat visit at the establishment, thus the necessity of ensuring that the Courthouse Hotel provides the best services they can offer in accommodation, press conference and meeting facilities for the German delegation.
Supervisor Skills during the Visit
Supervisors are among the most important labourers in a hotel. Within the hospitality industry, the supervisor is also the accommodation manager and is therefore responsible for the efficient running of the establishment. The supervisor has to ensure that the lodging facilities meet the needs of the guests, in addition to ensuring the standards of cleanliness and maintenance are up to par, controls the budgets and quickly rectify any problems that may arise. To accomplish these tasks, therefore, the supervisor requires specific skills, and in the case of Courthouse hotel, the skills are especially important for the supervisor during the German delegation’s visit.
Li and Wang (2010) contend that first among the skills required for the supervisor are practical operating skills. The authors argue that the skills are core competencies of supervisors given the necessity of some practical applications for the supervisors. The nature of the visit and guests from the German delegation means that the supervisor will need to not only handle some of the tasks him/herself, but should also be competent enough in the tasks to demonstrate their workings to the subordinates.
Kay and Moncarz (2004) and Li and Wang (2010) agree that foreign language capabilities (particularly German fluency) is an important skill for lodging managers. The fact that hospitality staffs come into contact with people from different countries necessitates skills in foreign language. For the German delegation staying at the Courthouse Hotel, the supervisor’s command of German will be essential to effective communication between the delegation and the hotel staff. Foreign language fluency transcends the supervisor alone to other staff within the hospitality industry. Li and Wang (2010) enthuse that with foreign language fluency, managers, supervisors and other hospitality staff can easily communicate with guests from different backgrounds. Such high levels of communication, particularly in the guest’s language, help in faster establishment of rapport, alleviates communication breakdown, as well as increase the chances of proper service given an understanding in the needs of the guests.
Communication, listening and organization skills are additionally among the most important skills for the supervisor. According to Li and Wang (2010), “supervisors play an important role between upper management and subordinate. This position must carry out instructions from superiors while also supervising subordinates. As a result, communication and coordination abilities are highly important” (p. 155). Communication skills in this case are important for giving and receiving instructions. For the supervisor, the listening skills are especially important given the high level German delegation that the Courthouse will be hosting. Moreover, to ensure that the establishment eventually gets “a large amount of positive publicity,” the supervisor’s organization skills will count for a large part of that success. The intricacies in the boarding requirements of the Chancellor will task the communication, listening and organization skills of the supervisor. Thus, to be able to satisfactorily provide the best boarding facilities to the high level German delegation, the supervisor will not only need to constantly communicate with the coordinator of the delegation, but also the subordinates to ensure that the guests get satisfactory services.
The pressure that will come with the German delegation visitation will additionally task the supervisor’s understanding of the needs of not only the guests, but the subordinates and the superior (owner) as well. Thus, while communication, organization and listening skills are all important in the coordination of the visit, it is also important that the supervisor understands the needs of the customers (Li & Wang, 2010). For this reason, the supervisor must ensure that the boarding specificities of the guests are satisfied. In the same breath, the new owner of the hotel hopes to elevate the status of the hotel, taking it up to four-star status from its initial three-star status (Taylor, 2010). An understanding of this need will therefore, press the supervisor to ensure a satisfactory stay by the German delegation as a step towards the elevated status of the hotel.
Additionally important as a skill for the supervisor is problem solving and working under pressure. Kay and Moncarz (2004) posit that supervisors are constantly under pressure and encounter different situations that require problem solving. With such a high-level delegation, however, there will be tenfold increase of pressure for the supervisor, as well as constant situations that will require immediate action.
Motivation Techniques for Maximum Performance
Hosting the German delegation with such a short time for preparation may prove a daunting task to the supervisor and the Courthouse staff. Moreover, such a high-level delegation staying at the hotel means that the employees must give their all for the satisfactory stay of the guests. The management must therefore ensure that the staffs are at its best and peak performance to prepare fully for the delegation. Iqbal et al. (2013) contends that while the Courthouse may be in need of the employees’ peak performance in the day before and during the delegation’s stay, such performance does not happen automatically. Iqbal et al. (2013) argue that it is important for the management to put motivational measures and techniques in place to help motivate employees into work.
Burton (2012) suggests that one of the techniques of motivating employees especially in the face of such daunting tasks is to incentivize them into performing the required tasks. Basing this on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, Burton (2012) contends that by incentivizing employees through monetary and other benefits, employees feel not only a satisfaction of their physiological, but also safety needs. Through such incentives therefore, employees are motivated to work towards achieving the set goals and objectives.
Sharing the vision with the employees is another technique the supervisor can use to motivate the employees. Burton (2012) argues that when employees have an understanding of the big picture and their contribution towards the achievement of the picture, they are motivated to work towards the achievement of the end goal. For the Courthouse employees, therefore, the supervisor should share the management’s vision towards achievement of an elevated status with the employees, in addition to the visitation by the German delegation. By sharing the vision, employees get a sense of belonging and ownership, and therefore feel motivated working towards the success of the visit and the elevated status of the establishment knowing that it means better remuneration for them.
It is, however, not enough to share the vision with the employees; a good motivation technique is to allow the employees to lead. Letting them in on the vision is the first step towards their motivation, allowing them to lead through discussion and action motivates them more knowing that they have value within the organization. Thus, aside from sharing the vision, the supervisor should allow his/her team to brainstorm on ideas for the visitation success, and while brainstorming, delegate leadership duties to team members, especially those that have originated the ideas. This motivation approach, however, requires that the supervisor be a transformational leader. . Northhouse (2016) enthuses that transformational leadership hinges upon creating a connection with the purpose of increasing the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower
With the coming of the German delegation, as well as the management’s intention to take the hotel up market, it is imperative that hard work has to come from all the stakeholders. Motivating the employees to maximize their performance will require a show of hard work and dedication from the supervisor. Becoming an example of good worth ethics will therefore go a long way in motivating employees into working (Northhouse, 2016).
Actions to Ensure Standards
The short time to prepare, the nature of the delegation visiting and the previous status of the hotel can instil concern in the management of the failure of the establishment to reach the required standards. However, as the supervisor it is possible to take actions that will ensure the standards are met. One of the actions is to ensure there is commitment to service excellence among the employees. According to Wang, Chich-Jen and Mei-Ling (2010), engaging employees and allocating individual responsibility towards ensuring achievement of excellence is one of the ways of ensuring that the establishment achieves the required service quality.
While it may be difficult, the supervisor should do research on the delegation. By knowing/getting close to the customer, the supervisor will develop a body of knowledge on the customer’s needs, and therefore, know specific areas for improvement. Noteworthy in this case is that while some people’s needs may be common, there are segmented needs, such knowledge will enable the supervisor cater for the specific needs of particular customers without necessarily seeming biased towards the specific customers. Tailoring the services will ensure that each customer feels special and satisfied with the services offered.
Further, being new to the field, it will not harm look at what competitors in the field are doing and learning from them. In his article “The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy,” Porter (2008) states competitive rivalry as one of the forces. In looking at competitive rivalry, Porter (2008) argues that it is important to compare competitors’ service quality with yours, and in so doing look to improve your service. The Courthouse hotel’s boarding supervisor can therefore study rivals, borrow a leaf from the rivals in a step towards ensuring the achievement of required service standards.
Recommended Course of Action
Learning from rivals with experience in the type of clientele about to visit the Courthouse is perhaps the most viable course of action. By learning from the rivals, the supervisor can quickly make the basic changes in room organization and formation, as well as provide the amenities required for the status the hotel is looking to achieve. According to Porter (2008), learning from rivals gives a better view of the industry especially for standardized operations such as hotels. By learning of the rivals’ offing, the supervisor can then formulate a competitive advantage to distinguish the Courthouse, as well as successfully make the required changes.
The Courthouse hotel’s management has made a big decision to move to the upmarket segment of the hospitality industry. The management, however, faces a daunting task in hosting the German delegation for a week. While the hotel has not fully acquired the four-star status, it is possible to work towards achieving the status and hosting the German delegation with the highest service standards. Motivating the workers toward achieving the required standards is possible through different techniques including incentives and sharing of the vision. Moreover, aside from ensuring that the employees are committed to providing quality service, the supervisor can do a research on the delegation as a way of preparing for customized services, as well as learn from rivals with experience in handling such high-profile clientele.
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