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Text 3. KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS

The services of hospitality industry have characteristics typical for any service. Firstly, they are characterized by intangibility, they cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled before they are provided. The second major characteristic of hospitality services is inseparability, they are produced and consumed at the same time and cannot be separated from the situation of service. The third major characteristic of services is their variability, lack of consistency resulting from the fact that their quality may vary greatly, depending on who provides them and when, where, and how they are provided. And the fourth major characteristic of services is their perish ability, they cannot be stored for later sale or use; if not used now they are lost forever.

Bearing in mind these characteristics of services it is easy to understand the importance of organization image (the way the customers see a hospitality organization) which depends on effectiveness of management strategies meant to tangibles services (that is, to use physical evidence, such as trade marks, employee uniforms, physical surroundings as promotional means to reduce buyer's uncertainty about the quality of future services). In a wider sense, organization image is a result of service culture (a system of values and beliefs in an organization that reinforces the idea that quality service is the first priority of the business).

Among the ways to improve service culture is proactive marketing (marketing techniques meant to promote the idea that service quality depends heavily on the quality of interaction between the customers and the service people). The people who actually render the services are often referred to as customer-contact employees. In its turn, the quality of these interactions depends on the quality of interaction between the service people and their managers. The relations of this kind are often called internal marketing, which can be defined as effective training and motivating the service people to work as a team to provide customer satisfaction.

Of course, not everything about the organization image depends on the company itself. The intermediaries can do a lot to promote or destroy this image. In hospitality industry, the intermediaries are, for example, the tour wholesalers, the travel agents, the travel writers, etc. That is why the company should work with them, giving them a chance to experience their facilities in low-risk situations, for example, organizing the so-called Jam trips (from the word "familiarization", that is "making familiar"). During such trips, hotels provide rooms, food, beverage and entertainment to the intermediaries free of charge, in hope that this experience will encourage them to recommend the hotel. This tactic is often used with travel agents and the meeting planners specialists in coordinating every detail of meetings and conventions (professional or business meetings, which usually include some form of exposition or trade show). When the airlines offer free tickets (usually called complimentary) to tour wholesalers, it is also a kind of a fam trip, meant to increase the company's business.



 

 

LESSON 1: TANGIBILIZING THE INTANGIBLE

Reading:

Hospitality services are intangible which means not only the fact that they cannot be seen, tasted, heard, or smelled but also that it is impossible to experience these services before they are purchased. It causes uncertainty in the customers about the quality of services they are going to purchase. Before boarding an airplane, passengers have nothing but a ticket and the promise of safe delivery to their destination. To reduce this uncertainty, the customers look for physical evidence that may provide information and confidence about the service. A hotel's promotional material might include photographs of the hotel's public area, guest rooms, floor plans of a meeting hall (for meeting planners who might like to organize a meeting in this hotel), room capacities and furniture, the photographs of employees in the hotel's uniform, of the exterior of the hotel, etc. Everything about a hospitality company communicates something that helps to tangibles its services. Red and white awnings, the outside patio and white striped building wall displaying the signs of the restaurant chain TGI Friday's in large letters tell the potential guests that this restaurant offers informality and fun. A couple looking for an elegant, intimate atmosphere would be disappointed at Friday's.

Similarly, the exterior of the hotel Hampton Inn's suggests that it will provide clean, comfortable and safe lodging at moderate price. When guests arrive, they find no door clerks, concierge desk, or other features appropriate for an upscale hotel. Instead, they find an attentive desk clerk in an appropriate uniform and a small lobby with comfortable but moderate furnishing. In recent years, the so-called "greening" has become popular with the organizations of hospitality industry: the use of outside natural landscaping and the "fern bars" as a part of the interior.

Hospitality companies are very sensitive to protecting the visual image and overall appearance known as trade dress. The McDonald's has brought suit against competitors who dared to copy any form of golden arches. Experts say that to compete effectively in today's market, it is necessary to design an effective trade dress while taking care not to imitate too closely that of any competitor.

 

 

Exercises:

1. Find in the text the following topical words and phrases, make sure that you are able to explain in English what they mean, and add them to your working vocabulary:

a promotional material, a floor plan, specific, room capacity, awnings, lodging, a lobby, a door clerk, a concierge, a desk clerk, greening, a fern bar, a visual image, a trade dress.

2. Write out from the text the sentences or their parts which contain the words and phrases given below and translate them into Russian:

to purchase a service, physical evidence, to provide confidence, exterior, the outside patio, appropriate, natural landscaping, interior, to bring a suit against, to imitate closely.

 

3. Answer the following questions:

1. What can serve as a means to tangibles the experience you are promised to have?

2. What sort of information is usually given in typical promotional materials?

3. What idea does the exterior of the restaurants belonging to the chain TGI Friday's communicate?

4. What does the exterior of the hotels belonging to the chain Hampton Inn's suggest?

5. What term is used in hospitality industry to refer to the use of vegetation as a means to decorate the building?

6. What term is used to refer to the visual image and overall appearance of a hospitality company?

7. What serves as a trade dress of McDonald's and what part of it is so valuable for the company that they bring suit against competitors who imitate it?

 

LESSON 2: MANAGING CONSISTENCY OF PRODUCT

Reading:

The key factor in the success of a hospitality business is consistency. In practical terms it means that customers receive the expected product without unwanted surprises. In the hotel business, this means that a wake-up call requested for 7 am will occur as planned and that coffee ordered for a 3 pm meeting break will be ready and waiting. In the restaurant business, consistency means that your favorite dish will taste the same way it tasted 2 weeks ago, towels will be always available in the rest room, and the brand of vodka you tasted there last week will be in stock next month.

Consistency seems like a logical and simple task to accomplish, but in reality it is elusive. Many factors work against consistency, and most of them are inherent in the specific features of hospitality services, such as, for example, the simple fact that both the service provider and the customer must be present for the hospitality transaction to occur. The fact that the service is produced and consumed simultaneously and cannot be separated from the situation in which it is produced is usually referred to as the principle of inseparability. It makes an employee a part of the products of hospitality industry. The food in a restaurant or the furniture of a hotel room may be outstanding, but if the waiter or the room attendant provides inattentive service, customers will be disappointed with their experience.

This principle also means that the customers are part of the product too. A couple may have chosen a restaurant because it is quiet and romantic, but if a group of loud tourists is seated next to their table, the couple will be disappointed. Managers must manage not only their employees, but their customers too, so that they do not create dissatisfaction for other customers.

Hospitality services are highly variable. Their quality depends not only on who provides them but also when and where they are provided. There are several causes of variability. Fluctuating demand makes it difficult to deliver consistent product during periods of peak demand. The quality of service also depends on the time of transaction. A guest may receive an excellent service one day and a poor service from the same employee the next day because he may feel unwell or perhaps had some emotional problems. Variability or lack of consistency in the product is a major cause of customer disappointment in the hospitality industry.

 

 

Exercises:

1. Find in the text the following topical words and phrases, make sure that you are able to explain in English what they mean, and add them to your working vocabulary:

a wake-up call, a rest room, a service provider, fluctuating demand, consistent product, peak demand.

 

2. Write out from the text the sentences or their parts which contain the words and phrases given below and translate them into Russian:

to be requested, to be in stock, to accomplish, elusive, inherent, to occur, simultaneously, outstanding.

 

3. Answer the following questions using the topical words and phrases:

1. What does consistency mean in hospitality industry, in practical terms?

2. Why is consistency so elusive in hospitality services?

3. In what sense can a waiter be called a part of the product he or she sells?

4. In what sense can customers be called a part of hospitality industry product?

5. Who is supposed to be managed by a manager in hospitality industry?

6. What are the causes of variability in hospitality industry product?

7. Why is it difficult to deliver consistent hospitality industry product during periods of peak demand?

 

LESSON 3: CONTACT PERSONNEL

Reading:

Efforts to control consistency in the hospitality industry are some­times unsuccessful because concentration is not placed on the right areas. In the book called You Can't Lose If the Customer Wins Ron Nykiel, a former vice-president for Stouffer Hotels discusses the areas in the hotel on which employee – customer contacts take place. He calls these areas "points-of-encounter". Here is an extract from this book which begins with an imaginary journey in which the readers are invited to stay at the imaginary hotel called King's Crown. "Our flight has just landed and you decide to call the hotel so that to inform the hotel that we are here and arrange for a pickup in their van. You find a phone booth and dial the number.

Encounter Point 1: The Voice on the Phone.The phone is ringing and ringing and ringing. After what seems like eternity a voice answers, "Hello!" You wonder if this is really King's Crown Hotel and not the hell. Before we can say more, the voice says, "Please hold on," and is gone. When it returns, you state the purpose of your call. "But you are booked for tomorrow, are you sure you're here?" After a considerable discussion, you are told that you can have a room, but all the nonsmoking ones are gone. Fortunately, there is one available since the previous guest just died of emphysema, leaving available space. Wait for a van near Terminal 2.

Encounter Point 2: Our Delightful Driver.After twenty-nine minutes of your waiting under cold drizzle, the van arrives. A no uniformed individual of questionable gender tells us that someone forgot to tell (him/her?) that passengers were waiting until just now, so (he / she?) cannot be blamed for being late. Mr or Ms driver got a bad disk out of joint yesterday, so we have to place our bags in the van. Arriving at the hotel we unload the bags, but find our driver waiting with palm up.

Encounter Point 3: The Invisible Bell Person.Thirty centimeters before dragging ourselves to the front desk, a uniformed porter emerges from thin air and attempts to "de-bag" us. Having dragged tonnage this far, we reject the offer only to be given that look of "miserable low-class skinflints".

Encounter Point 4: The Front Desk.The Bell Cap is not the only person to suddenly emerge as now a Convention of Royal Muskrats in front of us to the only desk clerk on duty. Forty-seven minutes later it is our turn. You guessed it; reservation did not relay the message that we were coming and the body still has not been removed from that single remaining smoke-filled vacant available room. Suddenly, the desk clerk asks if we don't love the appearance of the lobby, which was just renovated with pure gold at a cost of $ 365 million. Ten minutes later we are being escorted to the police station for attempted murder of a desk clerk."

 

 

Exercises:

1. Find in the text the following topical words and phrases, make sure that you are able to explain in English what they mean, and add them to your working vocabulary:

a point-of-encounter, a phone booth, to arrange for a pickup, to book smb, to unload the bags, a bell person, a front-desk clerk, to relay the message, to renovate the lobby.

 

2. Explain in English what is meant by the following phrases:

"Please hold on!", nonsmoking rooms are gone, a guest died leaving available space, a no uniformed individual of questionable gender, our driver is waiting with palm up, a porter attempts to "de-bag" us, a look of "miserable low-class skinflints", for attempted murder of a desk clerk.

 

3. Answer the following questions:

1. Who is the author of the book from which this extract is taken?

2. What can you say about the style his book is written in?

3. What does Ron Nykiel mean by a point-of-encounter?

4. What was the purpose of calling to the hotel?

5. Why did they have to wait so long before being answered on the phone?

6. What was their first surprise?

7. What solution was proposed by the reservation office?

8. Why did they have to wait so long before being picked up by the hotel van?

9. What was wrong with their driver?

10. What problem did they confront at their arrival at the hotel?

11. Why did they reject an offer of help from the porter?

12. How long did they stand in line before the reception desk? Why so long?

13. What did they learn from the desk clerk?

14. Why did they feel like murdering the desk clerk at the end?

 

LESSON 4: REVIEW EXERCISES

1. Discuss the following concepts and notions:

an organization image, internal marketing, fam trips, greening, managing the tangible evidence, points-of-encounter, room service.

 

2. Give your definitions of the following topical words and phrases:

consistency, to tangibles a service, a trade mark, intermediaries, travel writers, facilities, a meeting planner, a conventioneer, a door clerk, a desk clerk, a concierge, a fern bar, a trade dress, to bring a suit against smb, a resort hotel, reception, a hotel voucher, a rest room, a consistent product, peak demand, to arrange for a pickup, to relay a message, available space, "de-bagging", a return customer, a check-out counter, a positive attitude.

 

5. Choose a topic for an Essay from those given below:

1. The four characteristics of the hospitality industry and how they relate to the purchase of a meal at a fine restaurant.

2. Identify the physical evidence used by your favorite (or just one which you know) restaurant or a hotel to tangibilize their products.

3. The common management practices that restaurants use to provide a consistent product.


UNIT 4.

CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IN HOSPITALITY MARKET

 


Date: 2016-01-03; view: 585


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