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  • Writer's pictureAdele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Do Happy Employees = Happy Guests? Or is it vice versa? Guest: ex2cx expert, Jill Raff.

Outside of location and price, the Guest Experience is the most important differentiator in choosing a hotel. In fact, it is so important that many travel decision-makers are willing to pay more they planned to and select a less convenient location in order to have an exceptional elevated experience that enriches their lifestyle.

But an excellent guest experience isn’t created in a lab. It is delivered by human beings. And right now, the hospitality industry is grappling with how to attract and keep great employees, perhaps with as much concern as they have for attracting new guests.

So which comes first? Does focusing on happy employees create a loyal fanbase of guests? Or does focusing on happy guests create a loyal base of highly engaged and enthusiastic employees?

Listen in as Jill Raff, the EX2CX expert, and Adele Gutman, the creator of the Five-Star Review System talk it out on this episode of, Get Great Guest Reviews, the Podcast. Although their approaches seem opposite, they agree on many of the same principles.

Here are just a few highlights from the conversation:

Save Time and Money by Investing in a Highly Effective Work Culture.

Acquiring new customers and attracting new employees to replace those who let due to lack of loyalty for the experience are costly expenses for any business, but that is especially true for hospitality. Inspiring employees with a vision and goal that gives their life's work meaning is a powerful way to catch the eye of the best workers in the industry and retain and develop them over time.

By inviting employees to participate in a culture of caring, collaboration, and continuous improvement, you will cultivate a team of confident, creative problem solvers who are always ready to go the extra mile to deliver happiness.

As you fix problems instead of sweeping them under the rug, employees have less stress from putting out fires, are happier, and feel more successful when guests show appreciation for their elevated experience.

You cannot deliver 5-Star Guest Satisfaction from the Executive Office. Your associates are the first “customers” you need to inspire, with a bold vision for a purpose-driven career. You want your teams to come to work with a smile because they get to make the world a better place, not just to clock in and get paid.

Employees are feeling the pain and need your leadership, not your control.

Stop counting on your team to handle problems without any support. To have less employee turnover or churn, work together to find ways to diminish the impact of ongoing issues so that they stop being an incessant burden to your team. Keep asking the team for their input. Eventually, when they realize that your questions are sincere, they will share with you invaluable observations and ideas that can spur on daily micro-innovations.

Everyone wants to feel like a VIP, including your employees:  An associate will be better able to make your guest feel like VIPs if they are coming from a sense of pride and if they themselves know what it is to be treated with care, appreciation, and respect.

Break the Silos and create alignment with a Great Internal Communication System.  Customers will quickly feel the disturbances and friction caused by a disconnection between departments. It is up to leaders to facilitate an open flow of communication not only moving up and down but laterally between coworkers and departments.

Invert the Pyramid:  The C-Suite and Owners support the General Managers and Directors of Sales & Marketing, the GMs and Directors support the mid-level managers and every member of the line staff, not the other way around. Keep asking the team, how can we support your success with our shared goal of making guests happy? Explore your team’s insights and your guest reviews to reveal the gap between what your brand promises and how your customers and staff feel the actual experience is. Then collaborate with your team to close the gap between expectations and reality in a way that outshines the competition.

I hope you will listen to the conversation for yourself and see what concepts you can apply to your business. I would be delighted if you shared your comments and please subscribe below so you never miss out on any future episodes.

You can also subscribe wherever you enjoy listening to Podcasts.

Speaking of reviews, we would be so grateful if you could share a heartfelt review for the series on your favorite podcast platform. It helps hospitality stars find us and it helps us support the global hospitality community with free educational content.

Thank you so much for your support!

If you need help inspiring five-star reviews at your business, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at We are here to help! 

Follow and connect with Jill Raff:


Instagram: ex2cx_expert

Twitter: Jill Raff

Youtube: Jill Raff

Follow and connect with Adele Gutman:

Website: Adele Gutman

LinkedIn: Adele Gutman

Twitter: Adele Gutman

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