The constant growth and development of the hotel market has made the supply to exceed the demand many a time and, consequently, hotels have to search for operational strategies that help them to stand out and, in this way, call the attention of potential clients and take a good position in the market sector to which they offer their products and related services.
Hotels face an unceasing innovation and transformation of their products and related services because of the ¨copy-paste¨ fashion that limits the average life of their mandate in the market and reproduces generic products and services throughout all destinations.
From my personal point of view, I believe not only in the need of a change, but also in its speed, and I do recognize those businesses that have foreseen the benefits of innovation to reach a level of services that match the needs of the clients.
However, I have to admit that there are two concepts in our industry that remain untouched and have become not only paradigms, but also a forbidden subject, about which nobody talks or little reference is made to them. Unfortunately, these topics are, in my experience as consultant, two of the main sources of stress that generate negative emotional valences in hotel workers, namely:
1 - Low salaries
2 - Long working hours
Let us analyze, from my perspective, each of them and how they influence on the hotel worker, the business and the client.
1 - The salary represents the key ¨What for¨ of any person who Works for a company for it allows him/her to satisfy his/her basic needs. Besides, it is the main driving forcé to generate actions and changes in the worker, just like Karl Marx said: ¨…before thinking and creating, man has to eat, drink and get dressed¨.
In many hotel businesses, the salaries paid to the workers are not functional to satisfy their basic needs as human beings, so they have then to work for an ¨extra¨, a search to hold out which sometimes becomes the daily ¨what for¨ and distorts the believes and behaviors on which hospitality is based.
Low salaries entail the prominence of tips in the life of workers and this, in turn, reinforce the ¨tipaholic¨ behavior, so dysfunctional to the hotel worker, the business and the client as I wrote in an article (https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article91464.html ).
When a worker is forced to search for an extra income during his/her working hours, this twists his/her behavior and focuses on a money goal that moves from optional to compulsory in the mind constructs. This attitude sacrifices the sense of the service; the client is harmed, and it affects the business image. Then I ask myself:
What prevents companies from reconsidering the salaries paid to their workers? and, How to use it as a motivating factor and an enhancer of the commitment and loyalty of those who will eventually determine the client satisfaction and the maintenance and growth of the business in the market?
2 - Much has been said about the need of giving a break to the human brain to ensure an optimal performance of its functions and tasks, which consume a huge amount of energy
Neurosciences have proved the harmful effects of stress, physically and psychologically, to the human brain, and its consequences in essential processes in hospitality care such as service providing, decision making and memory.
Many hotel businesses still believe that they need their workers to be at work for more than 10 hours, without paying attention to the fact that a brain in action for more than 8 hours becomes dysfunctional in terms of, say, concentration, planning, rational thinking and decision making. It then becomes a fertile soil for making mistakes, mechanicity and cognitive blindness, three incongruous elements in a differential competitive scenario.
Many a time, a dysfunctional planning of the work schedule, an insufficient number of workers, an inadequate design of operational tasks, or just the existence of highly controlling leadership styles, extend the workday to 12 or more hours.
I always use the same example for the business owners or managers who object a reduction or the working day: Imagine you need to have an operation and your doctor tells you that he/she has only taken a break of 4 or 5 hours before the operation. What would you do?
Try to imagine a butler, a receptionist, a cook, a porter, a manager who works 12 hours a day and is responsible for dealing with your orders, anticipating your needs and turn your stay in the hotel into an unforgettable experience and, at the same time, be in a good mood, friendly, smiling every time he/she interacts with you… A great challenge, isn´t it?
As I said, this is something I do want to talk about, so I leave the doors open for a debate…
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Experiential and Neuro Hospitality Consultancy