Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 51

 9.5-MINUTE READING TIME

organization in North America for the
last dozen years.)
Of course, if prospective employees
fail to be deterred by Hostettler's warning and do end up working here, they can
pretty much write their own employment ticket afterward, once they have
Ocean House or one of its sibling properties on their résumé.
Consider, for example, this telling
detail of the Ocean House approach. Most
luxury guests, here and elsewhere, are
familiar with the single-serving Heinz
condiment bottles of mayo, Dijon, and
ketchup that have somehow become de
rigueur in high-end room service presentations. The difference here is that,
under Hostettler's tutelage, the cellophane wrap on each individual bottle
(which is nearly impossible for a guest
to see, let alone unwrap with their bare
hands) is preemptively removed by hotel
staff to avoid frustrating a guest later on
who is trying to enjoy their room service
meal. The problem is that guests unconsciously are frustrated by this detail, and
it detracts from their experience even
if they don't specifically register it as
a problem.
Another Ocean House exclusive? At
Ocean House, you'll never stumble over
a room service cart in the hallway, covered with sad reminders of someone's
(perhaps your) late night food choices
that don't look as good in the harsh
light of morning. This is a pet peeve of
Hostettler, and he's devised his own
technological solution to keep the corridors free of last night's room service
detritus. "I embedded microchips in the
room service carts, and a chip reader
in the door frames, so that when a
guest pushes the cart into the hallway,
it sends an alarm to the panels for the
floor valets," - not just a one-off alarm,
by the way, but one that keeps ringing
and blinking until the valet acknowledges the alarm and collects the cart.
Hostettler says this is an example of
one of his particular passions, "using
technology behind the scenes that the

guest never sees, to deliver a five-star
customer experience."
What exactly is a five-star customer
experience? We should consider the
defining standards of the people who
determine its existence or its absence:
Forbes, whose predecessor, the Mobil
Travel Guide, invented the Five Star rating system in 1958 and who continue
to enforce it via a very-tough 900-point
inspection system. All of which is mysterious and proprietary, as it should be, so
I will, with circumspection, stick to parts
of the Forbes criteria that have been publicly revealed and acknowledged.
To wit:
Don't say no to a guest without offering a
couple of reasonable alternatives.
This is in essence a version of the
well-known customer service maxim,
"The answer is yes - now what is the
question?" but applied to real-life service situations where sometimes you
can't deliver the yes that a guest was
hoping for, such as, "Yes, we're open
for breakfast," even when it's well past
noon. According to this Forbes standard,
saying no to seating guests for breakfast
is acceptable only if you offer a couple
of reasonable alternatives. In the case of
Ocean House, I expect that the alternatives include, "We have 24-hour room
service; I can take your order from you
right here, if you like, and serve you

either in your room or in our lovely seaside verandah area."
I ask Hostettler for a second alternative that Ocean House might propose in
this scenario. "First off, we wouldn't tell
them the dining area is closed unless
absolutely necessary. And if that is necessary, we would offer to serve them
by the fireplace in the living room area
that's just beyond the restaurant, or, as
you suggest, on the outdoor verandah,
if the weather is suitable."
Although the Forbes Five Star ratings
system gives more weight to service
than setting - 70/30, in fact, in favor of
service vs. facility - allow me to set the
scene at this point. Ocean House towers
spectacularly over what truly must be
the most perfect Atlantic seaside location in America, high above a beach that
was named by the New York Times as one
of the 10 best swimming spots in the
world. It's one of only a handful of oceanfront hotels still operating in and continuing to define the landscape of coastal
New England. Even though its location
and landmark appearance date back
150 years (to just after the Civil War), the
structure was re-created, beam by beam,
stone by stone, by a dedicated property
owner, Charles Royce, in collaboration
with the local historical authorities,
an approach that improved its floodworthiness and allowed technological,
TODAYSHOTELIER.COM | MARCH 2018 | 51


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - March 2018

Letter From the Chairman
Letter From the President & CEO
#AAHOACON18 Spotlight
Government Affairs & Advocacy
The C-Suite
Common Ground
Elevate Yourself to a Higher Role in the Industry
Next-Level Housekeeping via Technology
Mentoring Matters
Small Business
Finance
Marketing
Technology
Compliance & Legal
Leadership
Guest Experience
Aahoa Founding Members
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
Back of the House
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Intro
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover1
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover2
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 3
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 4
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 5
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 6
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 7
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 8
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 9
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Letter From the Chairman
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 11
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Letter From the President & CEO
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 13
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - #AAHOACON18 Spotlight
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 15
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 16
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 17
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Government Affairs & Advocacy
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 19
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - The C-Suite
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 21
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Common Ground
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 23
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Elevate Yourself to a Higher Role in the Industry
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 25
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 26
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 27
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Next-Level Housekeeping via Technology
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 29
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 30
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 31
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Mentoring Matters
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 33
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 34
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 35
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Small Business
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 37
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Finance
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 39
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Marketing
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 41
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Technology
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 43
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Compliance & Legal
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 45
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Leadership
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 47
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 48
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 49
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Guest Experience
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 51
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 52
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 53
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Aahoa Founding Members
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 55
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Classifieds
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 57
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 58
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 59
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 60
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 61
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 62
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 64
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Back of the House
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 66
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover3
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover4
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