‘Hospitality pays off’

12 April, 2016
  • 3 min read
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For many hospitality businesses, their employees constitute the company’s most valuable capital. These employees are the ambassadors of your business, and at the same time your most expensive asset. Therefore it is important for hospitality entrepreneurs to invest in selecting the right staff!

The employee as your ambassador
Almost 90 percent of hotel guests consults internet reviews before their stay to assess the quality of a hotel. Studies show that people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations by friends and family. This means that internet review scores are becoming increasingly important for the continuity of business models. The overall impression in a review is mainly determined by interactions guests have had with the employees. Are these employees friendly, helpful, attentive, warm and kind? These questions precede those about tangible aspects as room amenities and decoration, the level of facilities the hotel offers and cleanliness. The location of the hotel is only valued in third place. 

The employee as an expense
Staff turnover is an important and expensive problem in the hotel industry. Eevery year about a quarter of all staff leave their businesses, a phenomenon that costs our industry approximately 1,3 billion euros per year (source: UWV). High staff turnover causes high direct costs, such as those incurred for recruitment and selection, training and initial costs for starting employees. In addition to that, high turnover negatively affects service because of inexperienced employees or bad motivation, and that also has financial consequences. A first cause of high turnover is simply that unfit and unmotivated employees are hired and eventually fired. Another cause is the employment of high numbers of temporary staff, as students, who will eventually leave.

The right personality

More than 60 percent of hotel operators have indicated that ‘personality’ is the most important factor in staff selection. Truly hospitable behavior depends on three personality traits:

- Orderliness: precision in working methods and the willingness to learn these.
- Emotionale stability: being relaxed and able to control one’s emotions.
- Extraversion: well developed social skills and an inclination to react positively.

However, when selecting staff these same operators rely mainly on their intuition. And that leads, as research by Hotelschool The Hague has learned, not always to the best choice. My advice is to have candidates tested for the three aforementioned personality traits. Candidates with a high score on these three characteristics possess a ‘hospitable DNA’ and will probably become an important asset for the human capital of your hotel.

Download the full whitepaper (in Dutch): “Selecteren van front-line personeel: Het hoe en waarom van een gastvrij DNA
Are you interested in working with the staff selection tool? Contact our Research Centre to find out more: research@hotelschool.nl.

The original version of this article (in Dutch) was published on the Rabobank website, including interviews with the following hospitality entrepreneurs:
(1) Peter Faas, Hotel Noordzee
(2) Rik Husken, Hotel Kapellerput
(3) Nico Evers, Westcord Fashion Hotel

Author: Martijn Rol
Rabobank Sectormanager Horeca & Recreatie

About the author

Martijn Rol (Rabobank)

As Sector Manager Hospitality & Leisure at Rabobank, Martijn follows the developments in the hospitality sector closely, from hotels to restaurants and holiday parks to amusement parks.

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