EP #22 – Guest Service Training In a Social Media Era, with Doug Kennedy

Doug Kennedy of Kennedy Training Network joins the Hospitality Academy podcast to talk with Susan Pannozzo about current sales techniques and best practices for reaching your sales goals in 2016 and beyond.Today more than ever customer service training is crucial to the success of any hotel, motel or other hospitality establishment. In an era of viral videos and online rating reviews, every guest can be someone who will sing your praises to thousands or create your worst nightmare.

Here to help navigate these waters is Doug Kennedy, the founder of Kennedy Training Network. If you’re a regular listener of the show you will have heard Doug on episode 16. He’s our first repeat guest and I’m thrilled he’s here again.

On this episode of Hospitality Academy, Doug shares how the need for training has evolved over the years, whether or not in-house training is effective in his experience and if online training can take over the traditional model (and if it should).

Essential Learning Points From This Show:

  • Examples of poor hospitality service gone viral, and how to avoid being one of them!
  • What is the question to ask yourself to always be ready for an inspector?
  • What is one of the keys to building emotional intelligence?
  • Can online training replace traditional in-person training in hospitality?
  • How to make time every day for training, and why it’s so important.
  • And so much more!

When Doug joined us on episode 16, he shared actionable advice on how to set your sales efforts apart from everyone else. That show was the most downloaded episode of Hospitality Academy and I am sure today’s show will be equally powerful!

Today we are talking about why guest service training needs to be a primary focus. Doug says it is a selfie world out there and while guest service has always been critical to a hotel’s success, today it is even more so because of social media. Today every single guest is a few clicks away from being your best advocate, or your worst nightmare.

Guests are constantly taking pictures of their view, their food, themselves in your lobby. And they are also capturing photos of less flattering things like uncleaned room service trays left in the hallway too long or stray hairs in their sink.

Since that’s the case, training has to grow and evolve along with the culture and the guests’ needs. Hospitality training has to go beyond politeness and communication skills, empathy and understanding have also become key to great customer service. Emotional intelligence is extremely important.

Because the concepts of guest service training in hospitality are easy to grasp intellectually but harder to consistently execute, there is a strong need for in-person training.

Online learning is a good way to know the concepts but there is no replacement for personal feedback, role-playing and skill rehearsal. Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know until they see a video of themselves or they act out a particular scenario. Then they can see the areas they need to work on more and find ways to do so in their guest interactions.

Making the time for this training is critical, but it doesn’t always have to be big chunks of time set aside. You have to make the time but you can do so in small increments. When it’s slow you can have your people go online to learn about the local area so they can help your guests find the best sushi places or know where to park at the convention center or what beach is closest to your establishment.

It’s about knowing your product and knowing your guest so make sure your staff is regularly informed about who is staying with you, who is coming to you, who is leaving, etc. If a wedding party is arriving make sure everyone knows. If a convention is in town make sure your staff knows.

Also on this episode of Hospitality Academy, Doug shares how to model great guest service for your staff and what he does and who he serves with Kennedy Training. Listen in for his wise words on all of that and more on today’s show!

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Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:

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