Five Lessons Hoteliers Can Learn from Steve Jobs

Among his many accomplishments, Steve Jobs inspired the world to live creatively, expand boundaries, and continuously fuel the will to succeed. His journey—and his eagerness to share it with the public—stand as a foundation for all to build upon. Consistently quotable and incomparably wise, here are some lessons the hotel industry can learn from Steve Jobs.

1. Guest experience trumps everything else. At the core, Jobs was about improving the user experience. That is why the guest experience should be the number one priority for any hotel. To optimize the guest (or user) experience, one must break down criteria into their simplest forms. Steve Jobs held focus and simplicity in the highest regard; he said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Jobs started with simplicity to improve the end-user experience, and his idea directly translates to hotel guest experience. With clear, straightforward standards that are all about guest experience—and measurements along the way—you can consistently make sure your staff is always reflexively looking out for #1: the guest.

2. Emphasize the importance of teamwork. Jobs said that “great things in business are never done by one person—they’re done by a team of people.” In a hotel, teamwork is the backbone of the guest experience. Without excellent interdepartmental execution, the number of hotel incidents—from delivering an incorrect room service order to double-booking a room—skyrockets. Hotel employees are continuously communicating with hotel guests in meaningful ways. If staff members and guests alike act like a team advocating for your hotel at all times, you will see improvements in guest loyalty, brand perception, and overall profit.

3. Details make all the difference. Jobs explained that if he “had never dropped in on [a calligraphy] course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.” He was the first person in the computer world to care about aesthetic details—small differences that actually matter to the user. Hotels naturally have a very diverse workforce–a veritable font of unique perspective and idea generation that can come in many forms.  Additionally, a hotel guest’s experience is highly influenced by small, subjective aspects. Ambiance, guestroom touches, guest name use, and smiling are all small details that significantly alter the experience.  Deliver these things authentically and the offering will naturally be interesting and compelling.

4. Train employees to produce excellent quality, and hold them accountable for it. Jobs advised: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Define what the superior product culture is—both tangibly and intangibly—and inspect it from every angle.  Continuously train staff members to ensure guests are consistently experiencing that quality, and hold managers accountable. Expecting excellence and then measuring your organization’s dedication to standards will make it difficult to miss each mark.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Jobs admitted that “getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to [him]…It freed [him] to enter one of the most creative periods of [his] life.” He was able to take a step back, analyze what went wrong, and create a plan for his future. He founded NeXT and bought Pixar before returning to Apple and making the company stronger than ever. In hotels, the mistakes are often behavioral, and they affect guests on a personal and emotional level. Quality assurance audits and mystery shopping will locate problem areas and provide an environment to ‘practice on the evaluator’. Self-assessments are very difficult–the biggest mistake hospitality professionals make is when they lack a grasp of the customer perspective.  The seemingly simple request at the front desk is more than likely an incredibly important moment of truth for the guest.  See that from their perspective and the mistake will never be repeated.

Coyle’s hotel mystery shopping programs and quality assurance programs provide you with the complete story to each and every guest experience.  For more information about our services, please contact us.

© 2024 Coyle Hospitality Group. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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