Adele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM
Podcast Interview: Sally Beck, General Manager of the Award Winning Royal Lancaster Hotel London
Updated: Jun 18, 2021
I immensely enjoyed this inspiring conversation with Sally Beck, the General Manager who led her team to move from #272 to #15 out of over 1,154 hotels in London. What a phenomenal journey! Since then, The Royal Lancaster rose to not only the top 10 in London, but also to the Top Ten in the UK on the "Best of the Best" Tripadvisor Traveler's Choice Awards.
One thing that never fails to amaze me is that when I speak to leaders who have broken away from the pack and found a way to achieve extraordinary levels of guest or customer satisfaction, the principles that they used to empower that that culture is very similar. Indeed, many of these concepts are what I stumbled upon through time and practice to help the Library Hotel Collection achieve 96.1% guest satisfaction and the highest ratings on Tripadvisor.
Have a listen to what Sally shares with us and find some ideas that you can begin to apply to your own daily work.
Here are just a few of my favorite quotes and concepts from the show.
"I empowered them to make the guests happy."
"I wanted to be the happiest hotel in London"
"If my team are really happy, the guests feel it."
"This happiness, peace is really important. It's not just a byline to run the happiest hotel in London. My team has to be empowered, thanked, praised, valued, cared for, trained, respected. it's all of that. It's not a case of saying it and walking away. They have to be listened to and part of the solution."
"My responsibility isn't to make them happy My responsibility is to allow a culture that allows them to be happy. Their happiness is their responsibility. But if I can make it, no bullying, no shouting. You know, if we've got a problem, we think. Okay, why did that happen? What happened to create that? No one gets up in the morning to a bad day's work. It just doesn't happen. They get up in the morning to a great day's work and stuff gets in the way. My job is finding out what got in the way and let's remove that.
"But when it comes to guest engagement on the problem, I don't want someone having to look at standard operating procedure to work out how to function. I want them to be confident, emotionally intelligent individuals that can fix the problem for the guest."
On helping the team feel confident and empowered, Sally believes in an inverted pyramid concept, where management supports the team. "It's much easier to be directed and say do it that way and don't think, but it doesn't give the right results."
"I don't think you can have fear in your building. If you have fear in your building, your team isn't comfortable being empowered."
On hiring they look for behaviors, attitude, and enthusiasm.
"Sometimes they're so scared to see the general manager. It takes me a while to warm them up before I see that spark of beautiful energy that I'm looking for. But if I don't see it, I say to the team, keep looking because you've got to find those who want to be in hospitality and that have the desire to look after people and make them happy"
“Investing in Tripadvisor, understanding, and looking at those comments is your best advertising tool.”
" …it just generates good feelings and the guests genuinely feel it.”
“We’ve noticed the further we have gone up (on Tripadvisor)…generally our rates have gone with it.”
There's so much more, so please be sure to listen!
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