Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 52

GUEST EXPERIENCE

soundproofing, and systems improvements and innovations rarely found in
other historic properties.
How does Hostettler himself define
five-star customer service? "Central
to my definition is a different experience for every guest." Not long ago, an
incoming couple, who had intended to
honeymoon in the Caribbean, learned
that their intended hotel there had
been destroyed in recent hurricanes,
so they headed to Rhode Island for a nontropical, but just as beachy, consolation
trip. In anticipation of their arrival, the
Ocean House staff gathered sand and
seashells from their own (chilly) beach,
dug two margaritas into the sand, and
placed the resulting plated tableau on
the nightstand with a note that read,
"We're bringing the Caribbean to you,"
further setting the scene with calypso
music on the guestroom sound system.
How does such a creative, personalized experience get developed and delivered? Hostettler credits it back to the
kind of people he has working here, and
the ethos they share as a team. "This
is the kind of effort that the people we
have working here take pride in, starting with the reservationist who took it
on herself to note the detail [of the cancelled Caribbean trip] and bring it to the
team's attention so we could act on it.
There's no way to make someone take
that extra effort. This goes back to good
hiring, and the environment, or culture,

52  | MARCH 2018 | TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

that develops when you have so many
committed people working together and
feeding off each other's energy."
A big part of what keeps such efforts
flowing is the fact that Hostettler works,
elbow to elbow, along with his team.
Although quick to praise his mentors,
such as Ali Kasikci at The Peninsula (one
of the best detail people in the business,
Kasikci taught Hostettler much of his
methodology, including how to productively deal with cellophane wrappers),
Hostettler has also had would-be mentors he rebelled against, one in particular
who told him that the way to deliver fivestar service was to avoid being hands-on
as a manager.
This fellow discouraged Hostettler
when he saw him pouring coffee for a
guest when Hostettler was just starting
out as a manager. His dubious theory?
A manager should never be seen pouring coffee at the table, because later, if
a guest has a problem and demands to
see a manager, they won't respect him
as much.
And I thought to myself, "That's the dumbest thing I ever heard." If I'm pouring coffee, first of all, the waiters will know that
they'd better step up their game because their
manager is running around pouring coffee in
their sections, which means they're probably
falling behind. And second of all, to me [as a
guest], there's nothing less comfortable than
sitting at the table with your wife, having a
conversation, when someone you've never

seen before walks up out of the blue and
says, "Are you enjoying your meal?" It's a
total disconnect. But if I'm going through my
dining room and pick up the bottle of wine
on their table, or the coffee pot, and refresh
their drinks, I can organically ask, "Are you
enjoying everything?" and instantly read the
table. If they say, "Yes, thank you," I know
they don't want to have a conversation. If
they start chatting with me, then I know that
they're in the mood for interaction, so that's
my opening foray into touching the table.
For Hostettler, this hands-on style of
management is essential, and not just in
the dining room. "There's no way you're
going to achieve five-star service sitting
back in your office," Hostettler says. "In
fact, if I were going to define leadership
in one sentence, it's this: 'Leadership is
managing from the front rather than
the back.'" On the floor is where you see
everything, about guests, about employees. Just as important, "I would never
ask anyone to do anything that I wasn't
willing to roll up my sleeves and do right
along with them. I believe one of the reasons our turnover is low and our staff
works so hard is that they absolutely
know that if they get slammed with a
big group arrival, Alice [Brennan, VP of
HR], Antonia [Korosec, General Manager],
and I will be on the driveway parking cars
with them side by side. You'll even find
me some Saturday nights, in the kitchen,
in banqueting, when we have a wedding
for 200 people, plating up the food with
the kitchen staff. Because I enjoy it, and
because sometimes I overhear the newest
employees saying, as I'm leaving, "I cannot
believe that the president of the company
just plated up dinner with us."
■
Micah Solomon is an author, consultant,
keynote speaker and trainer focusing on
customer service, the customer experience,
consumer trends, hospitality and company
culture. His latest book, The Heart of
Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant
Leaders Share Their Secrets, brings
together the customer service wisdom
of the greatest hotel and restaurant
leaders in the world. To learn more, visit
www.micahsolomon.com.


http://www.micahsolomon.com http://www.TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

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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