This week we’ve looked at how Dominic Longo leads training and franchise operations for 1,000+ hotels as vice president at Sonesta. (Here’s part one, two, and three if you missed them.)
Red Lion’s portfolio grew from 50 hotels to 1,100 in the span of just a few years.
“Replicating best practices and keeping the quality of service high as a company scales is challenging because everyone believes their way works. People are typically hesitant to change.”
Showing the impact of the change was important for driving adoption of best practices across the new portfolios of hotels that were being added – for both the property and corporate teams involved.
Dominic needed to continue to drive change and improvement from his corporate leadership role without losing touch, and he did that by focusing on continuing to provide value to the hotels.
“Most often general managers and hotel staff are heads down all day operating. Providing value from a corporate role means asking for their feedback – and also sharing insights.”
Dominic would share what guests are saying, as well as some ideas he had on how to address their feedback. He also identified best practices from hotels that were succeeding operationally in their portfolio and shared stories of what worked for them – along with the results they achieved.
“Sharing best practices from peers goes a long way.”
“You have to reach out and engage with hotel leaders and staff on a regular basis, making sure that they know the support they have available to them to make their jobs more efficient. Get their feedback on new technologies or systems that can help manage their job more efficiently. If you can, go out to visit properties as often as possible, conduct training, showcase the good that they’re doing, and help them with some of the property’s deficiencies in a way that shows you care.”
The process of listening to guests, and working alongside property teams yielded improvements across the business in several key performance indicators.
Employee turnover was cut in half. “Our employee turnover was really high before, but when we outlined expectations and implemented incentive programs, employees would get rewarded. We saw employee retention reach an all-time high because of this.”
Guest satisfaction improved. “We realized a net gain on our review scores immediately – in key areas such as cleanliness and service, and in overall satisfaction.”
Finally, the hotels experienced a revenue increase in correlation with the improved review scores.
For any hospitality provider looking to improve their operations, Dominic’s story provides a case study of how to achieve operational excellence through working alongside staff and with guest input.
“Our success was the direct result of constantly incorporating guest feedback into our processes – and creating new operating processes in partnership with our line staff and cross-functional committees.”
Read the full case study here, connect with Dominic here on LinkedIn, and learn more about Sonesta here.