In today’s climate, a brand’s reputation can be one of two things – their strongest asset and an integral marketing tool, or their biggest liability. Of course, we live in a digital age which is laden with opportunity for consumers and employees to potentially impact the public perception of a brand. This is a double-edged sword of sorts, as more online platforms and daily media consumption provides brands with a wealth of opportunity to portray their business to the public – a realization which demands a great deal of responsibility. Look no further than the incident in 2017 during which passengers on a United Airlines flight took (and shared) a video of a man being forcibly dragged off a plane by security when he was randomly selected (and declined) to forfeit his seat for airline maintenance workers. This caused a social media uproar, which tarnished the reputation of the brand in a significant way.
This power of media proves to be especially true in the case of hospitality, as the industry itself is based almost entirely on public perception(s). If a hotel or travel brand’s success is decided by the experience it provides, good media and reputation can be the catalyst to growth and new business – but bad media? That’s a different story – literally. Whether delivered through social media, media coverage, online review sites or word of mouth, media has the power to make or break a hotel. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Still not convinced? Consider the following:
– 64% of consumers trust search engine results the most when searching for news or information
– 69% of job seekers are likely to reject an employment offer from a company with a bad reputation
– Nearly half of U.S. adults said they have Googled someone before doing business with them
– Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results
– A bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire
Now, if a hotel’s reputation can make or break its ultimate success, how can hoteliers best manage this? What represents the key differentiator(s) to generating great media, versus bad media? As with most things in hospitality, we find ourselves back at the core principle – a great hotel must provide a great experience, each and every stay. However, what creates a great experience? Well, this might garner a different answer depending whom you ask, but ultimately the provision of exceptional guest service is the responsibility of hotel staff. Quite simply, a beautiful property, incredible location, and cutting-edge technology or amenities aside, a hotel can’t operate without its people. From the front desk staff to the concierge, housekeepers, chefs and more, it’s a hotel’s staff who often play the most integral role in the creation of a memorable guest experience. And while any great hotelier understands the importance of putting together an exceptional team – this, in itself, can often be a difficult pursuit in the realm of hospitality. Notorious for rapid employee turn-over, the hotel and motel industry experiences an estimated employee turnover rate of 73.8%. To provide more context, most HR experts agree that a healthy turnover rate should actually be somewhere in the 10-15% range.
This brings us to our next question – for an industry so focused on the guest experience, why is there not more focus on the employee experience?
Safety has become an important discussion topic across our industry, as reports of unsafe working environments for hotel staff have begun to emerge in the media. Surveys of housekeepers around the nation show that housekeepers are sexually assaulted at over twice the rate of workers in other industries. Safety mandates for housekeepers are becoming prevalent, such as in Seattle, New York, Chicago, and Sacramento County. Even without state laws, Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require that all employers provide a safe workplace. According to OSHA, 2 million workers are victims of workplace violence annually and recommends establishing a workplace-violence protection program and equipping personnel with hand held alarms In fact, hoteliers are repeatedly coming to the same realization: there must be policies and procedures in place to protect and empower hospitality staff. With incidents of injury, assault or harassment against hotel staff being notoriously high across the industry, it is imperative that hotels seek out every opportunity to protect their staff, and their reputation, from unnecessary risk and harm.
Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point that apps are keeping workers safe. In particular, next-generation panic buttons are leading the way as the true future of worker safety. With innovative app-based safety platforms designed to keep hotel employees safe, both on and off the property, hotels can have a complete security system in place in case any unusual situation arises. Using Bluetooth technology, React’s safety platform precisely pinpoints the location of a staff distress call – down to the specific floor and room number. If the employee in danger moves, their location will be tracked and updated in real time, ensuring they can be reached quickly and efficiently. Having the power to locate an employee within seconds of a distress call helps hoteliers to create a safe, confident workplace – ensuring the well-being of staff just as they are expected them to care for the welfare of guests.
With media being the dominant force of influence that it is, and the on-going demand for strong, stable staffing across the hospitality realm, there is no better time for hotels to invest in the well-being of their employees. With the right technology and policies in place, hoteliers can create an inspiring and safe environment for their employees, one which continuously generates great media – from guests and employees alike.
About the Author
Robb Monkman is the founder and CEO, of React Mobile, Inc. With experience launching multiple products, from idea to exit, Robb previously headed up the sales and marketing of advanced communications solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Several years ago, Robb was the victim of an armed robbery and hostage situation that left a lasting impression on him. He soon learned that thousands of people every day were in situations where they desperately need help but couldn’t make a call. He made it his mission to solve this problem, founding React Mobile to create a simple yet powerful personal safety platform that today is transforming the way people call for help in emergencies. React Mobile is making tomorrow a safer place and already helping people all over the world.
About React Mobile
Founded in 2013, React Mobile is a global leader in providing panic button solutions for hotels. Their best in class hospitality safety platform helps hotels keep their employees safe. The React Mobile system allows management to deploy response resources to the exact location of an emergency within seconds of an alert, getting help to where they need it fast. In an emergency quick response times are essential. To learn more, visit ReactMobile.com