The entire travel industry might learn some lessons from three Boston Hyatt hotels that fired their entire maid staffs and outsourced their positions to a third-party vendor at a lower cost.
"Looking for a sure-fire way to do a little damage to your brand? Follow these two simple steps," wrote the Harvard Review.
1. Make the decision to fire a very important yet modestly paid sector of your work force. Fire the entire lot of them.
2. Outsource their positions to a third-party vendor who will bring in contractors to do their jobs at a lower cost. But -- and this is critical -- before you fire them, trick your workers into training the people who will replace them.
The hotel disputes this but the newspaper report said the maids were told they were training "vacation replacements." This vacation, however, was permanent.
The Boston Globe newspaper reported that at last count, more than 584 comments had been posted on the newspaper site about Hyatt"s actions. The article has been among the site"s most e-mailed pieces of content. There were demonstrations and pledges from participants that they would never again stay at Hyatt.
"For a hotel, housekeeping is not trivial," reports the Review.
Hyatt is a hospitality company, the report says. Hospitality companies rely on the currency of brand maintained by superior customer service -- to sustain and grow their businesses.
"Is this the way you'd want your management treating your fellow workers? Would this inspire you to go "above and beyond" for your customers? To do your job at its highest level?" the report asks.
The lesson here: think about the way your actions will be perceived by all your stakeholders before you take them. Will these actions affect the way your customers feel about you? Might they impact worker morale?
How will they look on the "most-emailed" list of your local paper?
By David Wilkening
Thursday, September 24, 2009