Published on Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hyatt shows how to damage a brand

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

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  • Couldn't disagree more!

    Having worked in the tourism industry for over a decade, I couldn't agree less with Mr George. From Senior management to front desk staff, Hyatt relies on their friendly and personal touch which, having stayed at 34 Hyatt's around the world, I have never found fault in any one of them. In fact, the staff have always assured me of polite and professional service. Perhaps I am mirrored by the entire team at Hyatt, who have been charming, warm and exceptionally friendly, assuring me, whether I am on business or pleasure, I am looked after. I feel we all have enough of a battle on our hands in the current economic climate and I am surprised anyone would feel the need to throw such defametory allegations around. It wouldn't be comfortable if the shoe was on the other foot, I am sure!

    By Tania Kreindler, Tuesday, October 6, 2009

  • Hyatt /run by bookkeepers

    Hyatt notably is run by bookkeepers not hotel people in my opinion. Sure squeeze and squeeze but sooner or later Hyatt better get back to hotel basics. Customer Service, warmth, hospitality and not self run car wash client services. Cold hotels. Cold staff. Comes right from the top. Apartment buildings and no longer interested in anything other than making the mortgage while waiting out a Real Estate rise. Obviously I am not a Hyatt fan anywhere all be it I have stayed in them so I can justify my comments from personal experience.

    By Robert George, Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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