As mentioned in the article Hospitality – The success keyword for the Hotel Industry, the core concept “Hospitality” must be built by employees who directly serve and interact with customers. Talking with a senior expert in the field of hotel personnel, Mr. Huynh Thanh Tam – Director of Human Resources & Hotel System Administration HSSC Company (Hospitality Solutions Saigon Corporation), we will understand more about the role, characteristics as well as the current situation of human resources in the hotel industry today.
Senior expert Huynh Thanh Tam (Kerry) has nearly 20 years of experience in pre-opening setup and operation for large international hotel groups in Vietnam such as Six Senses, Accor, Best Western, Oakwood …
PART 1: HUMAN RESOURCES – THE HEART OF THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
Reporter: Good morning Mr. Tam, thank you for participating in today’s conversation. With nearly 20 years working in the hotel industry, how do you evaluate the role of human resources in this industry?
Mr. Huynh Thanh Tam: Human resources are important to all industries, not just hotels. However, due to the unique characteristics of the profession, human resources hold an extremely important position in the hospitality industry.
First, the hospitality industry is a service industry. More understandably, in the hospitality industry, a service is a product offering to customers. For manufacturing industries, products are created mainly by machines, while for service industries such as hotels, products are created mainly from human services.
Therefore, many parts of our hotel are difficult or impossible to automate. For example, receptionist, restaurant, room, maintenance, security, and spa, etc. Because it is the work of interacting with customers, affecting their emotions and reviews of the time using services at the hotel.
In addition to the above departments, human resources in the hotel also have an executive and management division (such as executive offices, human resources, accounting, and sales, etc), which are all important links in the human resources of a hotel.
Personally, I think human resources play a decisive role in the success or failure of a hotel business, the rest comes from the location, design, and functions, etc. However, the design and functions can be adjusted, but if there are no good personnel resulting in poor service, the possibility of failure is very high. So, if you consider human resources as the heart of the hotel industry, it is not flamboyant at all.
Reporter: With such an important role, surely the hotel staff is under a lot of pressure?
Mr. Huynh Thanh Tam: That’s right. The characteristic of the hotel industry is that the service is immediate and of course, the customer feedback is also immediate.
Virtually all hotels have a workflow for each department, but just like any industry, whether service or manufacturing, mistakes on standard operating procedures (SOP) or machine malfunctions. A hook can happen, especially for the service industry which is mainly related to human factors, these errors arise in practice quite often, leading to customer complaints.
In the information age today, such business errors can lead to great consequences if they are not handled and corrected in time. Lightly, the reviews are not good, affecting the decision to book, or the return of the guest (because the majority of customers today go through reviews before choosing a hotel). More seriously, it can lead to media crises, even a boycott of hotel service.
Reporter: So how to promote well human resources in the hotel business, sir?
Mr. Huynh Thanh Tam: First of all, a hotel business must have a team of good, professional, and dedicated personnel. This issue relates to recruitment, welfare, promotion, training, and corporate culture policies. We will talk more closely on another occasion. Once we have the above factors, we need to pay more attention to the following issues to promote well human resources.
First of all, is ongoing training. The hotel profession is always evolving, updating and many problems arise, requiring hotel staff to be continuously trained, updated in the process, how to handle situations. In international hotel groups at Vietnam local and abroad, training is required, prescribed at least 4 hours a month per staff.
The second is internal communication. When one department makes a mistake, the other parts need to be informed so that there is a timely and reasonable handling direction in order to regain the sympathy of customers. For example, a mistake in the front office, or the housekeeping department, can still be corrected with other services (giving a spa package, or a meal, etc). Or simply, when the restaurant does not comply with the customer’s request in a certain dish, the appearance of the chef with a side dish and greetings will surely alleviate a lot of troubles.
In fact, the pressures of the hospitality industry also bring opportunities for the people of this industry. The instantaneously reflected quality of service also means that hotel employees have the opportunity to correct mistakes immediately, even during their stay. In fact, if the hotel deals well with the above cases, the rate of return guests is very high and even becomes the hotel’s brand ambassador.
Customer reviews on social networks are always a valuable reference channel for hotels to review and adjust to better serve customers; bring a better experience to customers. Particularly for personnel in the hotel industry, being able to work in professional and prestigious hotels, highly appreciated by customers, will be a good environment for personal development, both professionally and future career opportunities.
Reporter: Thank you for your time!
In the next story, senior expert Huynh Thanh Tam will give comments on the current situation of hotel human resources in Vietnam, as well as sincere advice for those who intend to pursue & passionate about working in the hotel industry. You won’t have to wait for long.
Author: Thanh Toan
Translator: Nam Pham – HSSC Hospitality