Hotel Owner Hotel Owner July 2017 digital - Page 42

MILESTONES | NEIL KIRBY can be done to improve their room and then try and take their suggestions on board. You have to be very customer-focused. I have to say that a change in guests over the past 50 years is that they have got bigger. A regular cost is replacing broken toilet seats because guests are too heavy. I’ve had wash basins wrenched off the wall when people have used them as leverage to get up from the toilet, and have even had to call the fire brigade to get guests out of the shower when they have become stuck. There is one advantage to the hotelier though. The larger guests tend to eat and drink a lot and so spend more money. I think some guests can be less you’re going to get the most out of them. important for proprietors and managers to respectful too. They sometimes leave rooms be seen by the customers and to talk to in a terrible mess, and often bring their own industry and frequently have apprentices as many as possible. It makes them feel drinks in to save money at the bar. Because at the hotel. I also go to local schools to special and they will come back. I frequently, of the culture we live in today, where speak to students to motivate them. I have for example, go and have a cup of tea with people always want something for nothing, often employed chefs and receptionists the chambermaids. It makes them feel guests can be more demanding. As a sea who have initially been to the hotel on work appreciated and they realise that they front hotel in Eastbourne, we frequently experience from college. Only recently I had are an essential cog in the machine. Just have guests who will book a lower cost some young people on work experience and because their work is behind the scenes room at the back of the hotel but demand the very next day one of the boys wrote doesn’t mean that they are any less an upgrade to a sea view room on arrival to me and asked me for a job! I liked his important. The difference between being an without paying extra. chutzpah, and maybe saw something of employee and a hotel owner is enormous, my younger self in him, so I gave him a job. I but because I started at the bottom rung of have had youngsters with Down’s Syndrome the ladder, I feel that I have more empathy from the community visiting us on work with the staff. I like to bring young people into the experience and I now employ a guy in his More and more hotel chains mean that thirties who is deaf. Nobody else would give a lot of modern hotels are a bit clinical and him a job, but I didn’t see why deafness not as comfortable as they used to be. Beds should have to be a barrier. Trainees are can often be too hard and too low. Invariably also given experience of other departments they lack the personal touch. I was taught too, not just the department that they’re design by Olga Polizzi (Sir Rocco Forte’s working in. It helps to know how the whole sister and mother of TV’s Hotel Inspector hotel works. It was how I learned and I like to Alex Polizzi) and when refurbishing a room pass that on to others. I always think of the guests’ requirements. Management has changed over the So, for example, I make sure that electric years as well. When I worked at Grosvenor sockets are at a reasonable height. No House, the Forte family mixed with the more scrabbling behind a bed or chest customers, and guests liked to see Lord of drawers to find one. Rooms now have Forte walk through the hotel. Today, many phone chargers for mobiles. Controls for hotel owners are anonymous and few the showers are designed so that guests walk the floor. I think that is a retrograde can adjust them before they get into the step. I walk 15,000 steps a day – I have shower, then there’s no chance of getting a pedometer – and love to chat to the scalded or an icy shock. When designing a customers rather than sit in the office. room, I consider what would I want if I were On a day-to-day basis I think it is very 42 www.hotelowner.co.uk a guest? I always ask customers if anything July 2017