Hospitality Supervision and Training Skills

Hospitality Supervision and Training Skills

Hospitality Supervision and Training Skills

Case study: The Courthouse Hotel
(Source: CIPD Case Studies Club; Author: Stephen Taylor, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2006)
The Courthouse Hotel is a large, privately owned establishment located in the centre of a large city. Once the major hotel in the city, it has in recent years struggled to maintain profit margins in the face of competition from three new hotels operated by well-known national and international chains. The Courthouse maintains a three-star standard of service, competing primarily on the basis of cost. Its prices are therefore kept considerably lower than those charged in the newer hotels, while the range and quality of food and accommodation are also of a lower standard. The hotel has 150 bedrooms, a bar, a carvery style restaurant, and a function room which is used for private dinners and business meetings. There are no large-scale banqueting facilities, no porters and no room service.
While there are one or two part-time members of staff, 95% are employed on full-time permanent contracts. With the exception of a few senior managers, administrators and night workers, the staff work either early or late shifts (ie 6.30-3.30 or 3.00-11.00). Because the vast majority of the hotel’s guests are business people staying on week-nights, staff are required to work only one weekend in every four.
Three months ago a well-known businessman purchased the hotel with a number of interests in the city. He has decided to change the business strategy by moving the hotel up-market to a four star standard and offering a wider range of services. A major refurbishment is planned, together with the opening of a new banqueting suite, an à la carte restaurant, a leisure club, a full portering service and extensive lounge / room service operation. In staffing terms there is a need to improve the interpersonal skills of staff and to raise general standards of customer service by a substantial margin.
The rationale for these developments is the impending opening of a new convention center a short walk away from the hotel. From January next year it is expected that the volume of trade will increase by 60 per cent, provided the Courthouse can raise its standards to those expected of a wealthier and more international clientele. The problem, from a people management perspective, is the likely erratic nature of business patterns once the convention centre opens. Periods of several weeks will go by with relatively little occurring in the centre, punctuated by shorter periods of frenetic activity when major conferences, exhibitions, concerts and sporting events take place.
A more specific opportunity presents itself next summer, when as part of a bid to publicise the city’s new convention centre, the government has announced that it will be hosting a major intergovernmental conference in the city. For the duration of this event each hotel will house a particular delegation, with the Courthouse being allocated to the Germans. This means that the entire hotel will be taken over by the German Chancellor, other senior German politicians, advisers, civil servants and 75 accredited journalists for a week next summer. During that period there will be a heavy security operation in the hotel. It will also have to host several press conferences and a series of breakfast meetings at which the Chancellor will meet other world leaders. In addition, it will have to maintain a far higher standard of cuisine and service than it is accustomed to providing. If successful, a large amount of positive publicity can be guaranteed. If, on the other hand, the hotel conspicuously fails to provide the standard of service expected by a Government delegation, the ensuing negative publicity way will undermine the whole refurbishment strategy planned by the new owner.
Question 1
Choose a hotel department (for example: front of house, accommodation, kitchen, restaurant, etc).
a)    Identify the main issues that the supervisor would have to consider when planning for the German delegation’s visit.
b)    Discuss the main skills which the supervisor would need to demonstrate in order to make his/her department run smoothly during the visit.
c)    Analyse the motivation techniques which the supervisor could use to ensure the maximum performance of his/her team.
Question 2
The hotel’s management are concerned that the required standard of service will not be met.
•    Discuss the actions which the supervisor could take to address this situation.
•    Recommend a course of action for the supervisor which would enable him/her to successfully make the required changes.

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