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Lessons From the Field - Communications 101 by Dr. John Hogan

publication date: Jan 31, 2014
author/source: Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CMHS

Lessons From the FieldTM
Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

Communications 101 - How to effectively use the telephone

The title of this short article might sound a bit fundamental, but we have all learned the value of the basics. Little things do make a difference... actually, they can be the difference in achieving success or not

In hotels and many hospitality businesses, we were taught by almost everyone that the best way to make a positive impression in phone communication was a courteous, friendly voice answering the call promptly (within three rings). With the changes in technology the past ten years, a growing number of hotels have embraced the automatic answering device. When one listens to these machines, you realize you can push one number for sales, another for accounting, another for the restaurant, another for guest information and so on. Now from my professional and personal perspective, I recognize that these might have certain efficiencies built into them and they do work - at times. I know from my experiences in communicating with the phone company, the cable company, banks and many other "service" organizations that too many of these automatic responses are unclear and that one has to repeat the request several times. I know my level of frustration when I find myself wanting to raise my voice to the machine, which of course has no value to anyone.

Hospitality is based on high touch and personal interaction. I encourage anyone reading this to consider some of the following ideas relating to telephone communications in hotels and hospitality businesses:

  1. Whenever possible, have a trained, live person answering the phones. We all know of exceptional companies of all sizes that have one outstanding person who answers calls and they are a real pleasure to speak with. When was the last time you called your hotel or hospitality business? What was that experience like?

  2. Voice Mail - this can be a positive way to collect messages. A recommendation is to consider changing your personalized message twice a week. It keeps your message fresh, it causes you to reflect on what you are communicating and it does show attention to detail.

  3. Wake up calls - these used to be made by live people, and there were bottlenecks at peak hours. The options today include daily weather updates, a pleasant voice reminding guests of breakfast options and other personalized options. They also include the loud repeating BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ message. I know which I'd prefer. What happens at your hotel?

Hospitality Tip of the WeekTM

"It is the little things that can make a huge difference, and the phone is a central communicating center that is used by literally every guest every day. At your next meeting (and every week thereafter), include attention to the high touch, "little things" that should be the heart of your hospitality business."

  KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my  programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONSTM, Lessons from the FieldTM, Hotel Common SenseTM and Principles for Success

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ... And remember - we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consulting

If you need assistance in any  of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.


Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations



Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

United States - Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375

www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com

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