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  • Writer's pictureAdele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Creating a Culture of Innovation at Your Hotel or Restaurant

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say that the hospitality industry is famously slow on embracing technology or innovation. But not every innovation has to be done on a grand scale. When it comes to Customer Experience, it’s the little things that can make the biggest impact.

Yes, we should review our tech stack at least every year to see if what we have is still the best fit for our goals. Yes, we need to be open to updating our product in new ways to stay ahead of the curve. But for most hotels, allowing critical feedback to trigger daily micro-innovation is the secret to a culture of continuous improvement and transforming the guest experience.

Here are common mistakes to steer clear of if you aiming for guest satisfaction success.

Only look at the Semantic Analysis:

You can’t get the full benefit of the feedback from only looking at a synthesized semantic report, because the data is out of context. It's in the details where the real revelations come to light.

Let's look at it once a month:

Month-end lookbacks on critical reviews also mean a loss of details remembered. Staff may find it hard to remember a guest at the end of the day or the end of the week, but it's rare to get the full picture of an exchange if there's any delay. That means an opportunity for insights that lead to continuous improvement will be lost due to hesitation.

It's just one person's opinion:

Many of us try to reassure ourselves by thinking that it's only one person's opinion. Sometimes that is true. In many cases, however, a single mention of an issue is usually a representation of what many guests' were feeling, but simply never articulated. Most people will leave and what might have caused the loss of loyalty and return visits of many other less forthcoming guests.

Here's what really works instead:

Kathy Van Ness, COO of Red Door says, everything in your operation should be seen as an opportunity for creativity and innovation. Yes! So true!

When handling a complaint, you need to approach your team members without blame, but rather, as professionals who are equally committed to the goal of making every guest happy. Collaborate as partners to investigate issues and find the smallest, easiest to implement solutions to reduce the chance of recurrence.

Before implementing a solution, check with the team to contribute their ideas and avoid unintended consequences that might be caused by the change.

Objections from your team are a gift that leads to better outcomes. By overcoming team objections you will likely land on a more effective solution.

Ask your team to share their insights and ideas. Celebrate learning, creative problem solving, challenging the standards. It's the only way to continuous improvement which will empower you to outshine the competition!


  • Itamar Gilad’s ICE method for evaluating major projects.

  • Why Semantic Analysis Reports are not as effective as individual real-time feedback, in context for improving hospitality industry operations.

  • How to best collaborate with employees to investigate root causes for guest and employee distress, without causing more distress in the process.

  • Breaking down opportunities for change into three or four primary categories: People (Communication or Mindset), Process, or Product.


Twitter: @AdeleGutman

Itamar Gilad ICE and the Confidence Calulator

Glenn Haussman and Anthony Melchiorri's Episode of No Vacancy Live

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