THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The motivated team member as ambassador

Checked out of Thorpe Park at 6.00am this morning, so that I could drive down to Derbyshire and avoid the rush-hour traffic around Sheffield. Breakfast at the Dakota. My check out in Leeds is handled by the same girl that has worked there for years – always smiling, always cheerful, always helpful. It’s not usual to have a good check-out experience at that time of day – as it’s often handled by a tired night porter who doesn’t fully understand the system. I mention to her whilst waiting for my bill “do they ever let you go home?”. She replies that she has been on duty since 4.00pm yesterday and was supposed to work a 12-hour shift to cover for a night porter who is off sick. However, she noticed a high number of check-outs this morning and decided to work the extra hours to help her colleagues handle the post-breakfast rush. She mentioned that her shift would probably finish at 9.00am, leaving just enough time to get home, change, pack and drive down to Kettering for a training course at a sister hotel. I’ve observed before that Shire Hotels have got things right – and here is an individual evidencing that through her own initiative. To be fair, she looked pretty tired this morning – but even so, my check out experience had me pull on to the M1 with a smile on face. Contrast that with breakfast at the Dakota (super funky hotel) where the restuarant staff are Neanderthals. I’ve been sat here answering emails and ear-wigging the next table – three ladies who have checked out before breakfast and an open argument with an indolent young waitress who insists that they pay cash for breakfast. After explaining to her that they have included a breakfast charge with their check out at reception, the waitress is on a one-woman mission to prove them wrong. None of us can get any service as she is on the phone to reception trying to catch her guests stealing. One of the ladies at my side remarks, “I’m not even enjoying my breakfast any more because she keeps staring at me as if I’m a refugee.” Contrasting styles. If I had an office in Leeds I would headhunt the girl from Thorpe Park. If I had an office in Annersley, I would avoid this place as a location for business meetings. Every member of your team is an ambassador for your business. Breathe Business invests over £100,000 a year in conferencing. Thorpe Park have been a location of choice for 10 years. We will never run a conference at a Dakota hotel.

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