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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Hotel chains had problems long before Corona!

For too long now fast profits and the SOP (Standard operating procedure) became more important than the guest. Of course with the high turnover it is easier to give step by step written instruction that are easy to check. But maybe it would be more beneficial to think about reducing the turnover than spending time to write detailed manuals?

“From Tokyo to São Paulo all omelets must match a laminated picture (they should be cigar-shaped). A manager in Dubai says he follows 2,300 rules, including the phrases used to greet guests. A 2010 Hilton manual stipulates that staff must answer phones after three rings, that guests’ pets may not weigh more than 75lbs (34kg) and that scuba-diving boats must provide free pieces of fruit. A 2004 SOP book for InterContinental allows staff to wait until the fourth ring, requires drinks to be refilled when two-thirds empty and specifies that rooms must offer at least four pornographic films.”

  1. A short history of hotels - Be my Guest, Economist print-edition icon Print edition | Christmas Specials, Dec 21st 2013)

Another sentences from our definition that raises questions:

“compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations.”

Routine operations should be exactly what the word says: Routine! How can you advance when the worker needs help to even carry out routine operations? Of course in big hotel and restaurant chains that is necessary as the staff is turning over too fast. The Managers are promoted too fast and need the fixed frame of SOP’s. The Corona Panic now is resulting in lay offs and reversing the promising steps of the last years.

“How many of you have abandoned the pursuit of finding sustainable approaches. I know some hotel groups have laid off departments that were focused on finding sustainable methods and approaches. Why ? Is it about the Short term survival of the business at the expense of further damaging the planet , when in the end customers will not be so forgiving when we return back to some kind of new normal and they start reflecting on how businesses navigated this Pandemic.”

Michael Butler , Food & Beverage Forum 22.08.2020)

The problem in the hotel and restaurant industry today is again that we lowered guest expectations, lowered the educational standards of staff and management and only concentrated on the fast profit.

“As you may remember back in 2014 most if not all large corporate hotel groups had finally realised that they had lost the battle for their own hotel guests and local residents living near the hotel to standalone restaurant and bars high street operators for lunch and dinner.

For those that cannot remember hotel guests would ask the hotels concierge where the best restaurant or bar was in town and in almost all cases it was not the hotels own restaurant or bar that were recommended”

Michael Butler , Food & Beverage Forum 22.08.2020)

Interesting times to come!

Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.,

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