Hospitality training programs have come a long way over the years, and the industry is getting more adept at responding to changing trends and patterns among hotel guests with fresh approaches to training.
While there are some tried-and-true hospitality training tenets that have remained true over time, there are also some old habits that are no longer relevant that have been hard to put to rest. Whether you’re looking to overhaul, refresh or supplement your program, here are five clichés about hospitality training that you should avoid.
Training Schmaining: Who Needs Training?
At one time it was estimated that one-third of hospitality businesses didn’t have employee training programs. That means one-third of hospitality properties were missing the opportunity to welcome employees, instill a sense of property pride and standardize their processes.
A comprehensive in-house hospitality training program is a must-have for properties that realize exceptional guest experiences begin and end with exceptional service, and exceptional service begins and ends with well-selected and thoughtfully trained staff.
Training Will Solve Every Problem
When employee performance issues arise, the instinct for most managers is to call for more training. In some cases, an employee whose performance is falling short will benefit from additional or specialized training and attention. But training isn’t a cure-all that will address every perceived performance problem.
If members of the housekeeping staff are having trouble covering their assigned rooms, for instance, it could be that you’re short-staffed during key times, not that they need more training. A thoughtful assessment may reveal that leadership – not employees – need to make changes.
Training Is a One-time Event
Having a robust orientation and training program for new hires is a vital first step, but that isn’t where employees’ training should end. Presenting new learning opportunities to existing employees will keep them engaged and better prepared to help yourproperty grow.
If you don’t have a certified trainer onsite for the skills or areas that employees are interested in or if your training budget doesn’t allow for travel, e-learning is a great option. Employees can learn at their own pace, and some classes even offer certifications – and bragging rights – for students who pass proficiency exams.
Training is Task-Oriented
Training employees how to do the various parts of their jobs should be just part of your overall hospitality training program, not the entirety. Training is your chance to focus on the importance of excellent customer service and to showcase how your property’s customer service philosophy sets you apart. A strong hospitality training program will give every employee a deep sense of how they contribute to creating exceptional guest experiences, no matter what they do at your property.
You may also consider non-hospitality or non-customer service training as a way to keep employees engaged, such as language classes or leadership seminars.
Training doesn’t need to evolve
One large hotel chain once admitted that it hadn’t changed its hospitality training program in more than 20 years. Think of how much the industry changes in two decades! Guests change, their expectations shift and the nature of travel ebbs and flows with the economy.
As you’re making changes to your property to meet new demands or tweaking your guest satisfaction approach, don’t forget to change your hospitality training program, too. Everyone on staff should understand what changes are being made and why, and how they fit into the overall transformation.
Good hospitality training may be one of your most important investments with the potential for the greatest return: Well-trained staff will perform their jobs well, work to guarantee guest satisfaction at every turn and remain loyal to your property over time. Avoiding some common training clichés will help you avoid even more problems down the line.