During her golf tournaments, Thai National Golfer Araya Singhsuwan stayed at many and various hotels. To say that she was not impressed is an understatement. What really threw her off was the lack of consistency from hotel staff. Once, she met an amazing hotel worker delivering a 5-star service at a 3-star hotel. However, at that very same hotel, other workers were mere 2-star level. The inconsistency in service standards was present in both hostels and high-end hotels. This gap between the current hospitality industry and excellent service standards gave rise to 59 Club Asia, where Araya is now Director of Operations.
59 Club Asia is not your ordinary service audit company. Its ultimate goal is not only improving staff performance, but helping hotels and other hospitality service providers raise revenue. One might have a difficult time drawing the connection between auditing and boosting revenue, but the concrete explanation of this relationship would come down to heightening guest satisfaction. External auditing provides an in-depth measure of hotel service performance. Once the problems are diagnosed, staff are retrained. Finally, hotels are able to go beyond guests’ expectations, hence receive more repeat business, word-of-mouth advertising, and even higher sales from upselling.
But if things were this easy, why aren’t hotels getting it right? One explanation would be that many hotels are opting for in-house surveys over external audits. Since staff know that they are being audited, their assessments tend to be higher than their actual performance would merit. Another example of what typical auditing misses is the utilization of the audit results to actually benefit the hotel. Without retraining the staff, hotel auditing is pretty much pointless. Because after all, the ultimate goal is to improve staff performance to drive in more revenue.
59 Club Asia is aware of all of these problems with auditing; therefore, its service is tailored to address the issue right at the core. The nature of the company being an external audit service provider eliminates the element of in-house bias. Araya and her team go into hotels without staff noticing, assessing how each staff member is actually performing. They assess elements such as hotel cleanliness, scent, the time it takes for water to be served at the reception, and staff attitudes, tone of voice, friendliness, upselling attempts, and engagement. This thorough auditing is used to create a metric of how the hotel is performing.
In addition to diagnosing the problems, 59 Club Asia also provides training in matters such as how to compartmentalize personal issues from service work, or how to upsell without guests feeling forced to spend extra bucks.
Although many do not see upselling as an essential component of hospitality service skills, Araya believes that if done right, guests will definitely spend more at your facilities. Every time a staff member interacts with a hotel guest presents an opportunity for upselling. Hence, when staff choose not to upsell, those opportunities are missed. The secret ingredient to being successful in upselling is a balance between excellent service and guest satisfaction.
When your external audits finally confirm that you’re consistently getting the service aspect right, those upselling attempts are even more likely to pay off. Among those hotels working with 59 Club Asia to achieve precisely that are the 60 properties which form part of a group agreement with Bangkok-based Absolute Hotel Services. The market response has been very positive to date, and active discussions are also in progress with a number of other independent properties and groups.