Make a Great Impression on your Customers

 The Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible” features Anthony Melchiorri as a hotel “fixer” who travels to hotels that are struggling with low occupancy rates and are not profitable.  Some of the owners are facing closure in the near future.  With his 20 years of experience in the hotel industry and his tough-love approach, Anthony identifies the key problem areas and creates a plan for the owners and staff to follow to turn the hotel around.

Each hotel featured has its own unique set of problems but they all center around the same common themes: Cleanliness, Staffing, Marketing and Customer Reviews.  Furthermore, the owners and general managers typically were spending their time with the day to day operations rather than focusing on what they need to do to increase their occupancy rates and revenues.

 The problems that Anthony found in these hotels should be obvious as to why the hotels were struggling.  Here are some examples of negative items found:

  • Front desks not staffed because the front desk clerk is busy cleaning rooms
  • Guest rooms with dirty and stained linens, filthy toilets and moldy showers
  • Walls that are painted with ugly colors or haven’t been repainted in years
  • Staff members not trained properly on how to do their jobs
  • Staff members not in a uniform or identifiable as a hotel employees
  • Hotel websites not providing online reservation capabilities
  • Poor online hotel reviews
  • Owners and general managers busy cleaning gutters, fixing air conditioning units, checking guests in and cleaning rooms rather than spending their time working on short and long term business goals
  • Owners not allowing their general managers to make any decisions

Even if you don’t own a hotel, many of the problems that Anthony found in the hotels can also apply to your business.  Take a good look around and see how you can better impress your customers.  Don't know where to start?  How about with the bathroom.  Is it clean and modern or just plain gross?  Granted, the cleanliness of the bathroom has nothing to do with the quality of the products and services that you offer, but a dirty bathroom may turn away a potential customer.  

Same Bathroom, But Better Looking
Credit: Diana Poisson

A new sink, toilet and mirror coupled with a fresh coat of paint in this automotive repair shop's bathroom has impressed quite a few customers.

I understand that paying for a remodel or hiring additional staff may not seem possible for business owners that are in debt and struggling with making payroll.  However, it's also not realistic to expect revenues and profits to go up without first identifying and fixing problems.  Isn't one definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results?  

There isn't one magic bullet that will bring a business increased revenues and profits.  It's a combination of effective leadership, motivated and well trained employees, quality products and services and most importantly satisfied customers.  They are the ones that pay your bills and impressing them is crucial.

Hopefully if your business is struggling, you are able to create a viable plan to get your business up and running again.  Just remember, while concentrating on the larger goals such as creating a staff training program or revising your marketing plan, don't forget to keep that bathroom clean. 

Hotel Impossible currently airs on Monday nights on the Travel Channel.