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  • Writer's pictureAdele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Bardessono Hotel & Spa General Manager Shares His Secret for Consistent 5-Star Hotel Reviews

If you want to learn from a high-performing General Manager what it actually takes to help a hotel’s team inspire consistent Five Star Reviews from guests, this is the podcast for you!

The Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville, California, managed by Remington Hospitality, boasts a stellar 5 out of 5 Stars on Tripadvisor and Google, 9.1 out of 10 on and 9.6 out of 10 on Expedia, not to mention some stunning ratings from travel guides and international publications. I had the pleasure of chatting with Alain Negueloua, the Vice President and General Manager of the Bardessono Hotel and Spa, to find out what kind of magic he and his team are doing to inspire such consistently enthusiastic reviews. If you care about revenue optimization, culture, and attracting and retaining great guests and great employees, increasing profit and customer lifetime value, please listen and share this episode of Get Great Guest Reviews with your associates.

As a hotelier who led my previous hotel collection to the highest guest review scores in the world, a 96.1% GRI, Global Review Index from Review Pro, I am passionate about learning about the daily habits of high-rated hotels and what habits they have in common.

SPOILER ALERT! While each General Manager and Hospitality Leader has a different way of describing what they do, there are core habits that highly rated hoteliers all share! Even better, you can apply these habits and philosophies to your daily work life, and you, too, will enjoy similar rewards. These proven principles will work in any category of hotel, restaurant, or attraction and in any service industry business where it is beneficial and vital to have returning customers and enthusiastic referrals, recommendations, and online reviews.

Here are a few principles that Alain and I discussed on the podcast that I find echoed by all the leaders of other highly-rated hotels I have interviewed and that you should consider incorporating into your workflow.

Adele's Takeaways You Can Use at Your Hotel, Restaurant, or Attraction:

#1. Great Hotel Managers make sure every team member understands THE WHY.

When speaking about having high standards, we can share with the team what to do, we can share with the team the best ways to do it, but when you also share why we add our special, heartfelt hospitality, our compassion in action, and our inspired creativity to the mix, only then does our team personally identify themselves with the goals. It's that internal motivation that drives success.

#2.Great Hotel Managers do Reputation Cultivation as a team every day.

That means every day, guest and employee feedback gets heard and fully explored for opportunities to improve the experience for future guests.

#3 Great Hotel Managers apply constant, gentle pressure toward the goal of excellence.

Every top-rated hotel has a leader who is relentless in the pursuit of 100% Guest Happiness and understands that it is their job to support their team by asking the right questions and making sure every associate has the tools, training, inspiration, and encouragement to deliver five-star hospitality to every guest.

#4 Great Hotel Managers know excellence thrives where there is an entrepreneurial spirit.

Removing fear and encouraging passion and personal accountability has a powerful impact on how our team members show up to be excellent every day.

#5 Great Hotel Managers know the little things are really the big things.

Most guests and employees don't leave us because of major things. It's a lack of wow moments or a few little irritants that cause us to look elsewhere. On the other hand, it is the smallest of thoughtful gestures that are received as wow moments by guests, so teach the team to "sparkle a little sunshine" on the guests at every opportunity to make a moment magical and be sure to find ways to diminish friction points every day.

#6 Great Hotel Managers hire the right people

Hire kind, happy people who want to please you. Then, show them what great hospitality they are capable of.

#7 Great Hotel Managers Build Trust. Don’t play the blame game.

Don't blame the guests, and don't blame the staff. It's the leadership's role to communicate well and make sure everyone is fully set up for success. By listening with a humble heart and pairing compassion with action, you can build a strong bond of trust and loyalty.

#8 Great Hotel Managers make work fun by celebrating every win and milestone.

Hard work can be fun and rewarding. Greet your team with the same warm hospitality and compassion you want them to show to each other and your guests. Celebrate the little wins as well as the big milestones every day. The more energy and joy you give your team, the more they will have to share with your guests.

Please listen to the podcast for more details!

Here’s a quick overview of our discussion topics:

  • The elevating impact of an entrepreneurial spirit

  • How experiencing excellence inspires more excellence in a community

  • How to Stand Out from the Competition

  • How to Build Trust

  • Stories of the Power of Taking Action on Feedback

  • The importance of collaborating with your team to solve problems

  • Making Innovative Problem Solving a Daily Habit

  • The Importance of Sharing the WHY.

  • Hiring the right people and implementing standards.

  • Clearly communicating standards and expectations

  • The importance of listening to feedback.

  • Relentless, constant, gentle pressure delivers a great guest experience.

  • The importance of paying attention to the little things.

  • The value of cross-training teams.

  • How a stellar online reputation can help you stand apart.

  • How stellar online reviews can give a competitive advantage.

  • How stellar reviews help attract and retain employees.

We also chatted about great books to read now:

Become a Hospitality Star Maker!

If you want to learn more about making every guest and valued team member feel cared for, appreciated, and respected?

Keep tuned into this conversation and subscribe to Get Great Guest Reviews!

Say YES to great guest review success!

General Managers, would you like a free strategy session for your hotel?

I invite you to connect with me and send a request for a reputation cultivation strategy session for you and your leadership team.

I love to help hospitality professionals elevate their productivity and profitability.


Until next time, keep reaching for the stars!


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