Is the Staff Up to Snuff?: How to conduct an on-property staff inspection

Originally published November 2006 inSuccessful Meetings

There's more to a site inspection than guest rooms and square footage. Quality of staff is crucial, so evaluate them too.

There are several ways to form a fair judgment of a property's staff:

Site Tour With Group Sales Executive. Watch how employees react to your tour guide. Do you see a united effort to show the resort at its best? Is the group sales manager respected, or is an undercurrent of indifference evident? Such behavior reveals the employees' solidarity and willingness to work together.

Solo Site Review. Walk around the property alone. See if the first-class treatment you've received so far was simply a reaction to the power and position of your escort. Observe whether courtesy and professional treatment are the rule for all guests, or just those known to be VIPs.

Sit in the lobby during a busy check-in or check-out time. Watch the reservationists' and bellmen's interaction with guests. Then head toward the restaurant during the peak of lunch service. Listen to each hostess' conversation while seating parties. Is everyone made to feel welcome, or is the staff too rushed to give personal attention?

Telephone Etiquette. During all pre-conference dealings, pay attention to what goes on when you call the resort—it's a good indication of the general mood of the staff. Are reservationists and operators friendly? Or are you put on hold with no explanation for extreme lengths of time? Are appropriate connections to various departments made in order to give you detailed information about group arrangements?

Staff Training And Motivation. Ask the sales staff about training programs and employee feedback at the resort. Is training required for all employees? Although this may not be an accurate measure of the staff's on-the-job behavior, training and basic etiquette programs are a step in the right direction.

S. Mark Marker is the vice president of sales at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, FL. He can be reached at (813) 907-4723.

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