THE credo “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” is taken from a well-known 5-star international hotel. The sentence has an elegant feel to it in describing hoteliers behaving like “ladies and gentlemen” and serving “ladies and gentlemen”. What a lovely credo it is to provide guests with the sound of professionalism? Hoteliers are the backbone of personalised service in the hotel industry, and their positive attitudes have become the cornerstone of the hospitality business, particularly during this pandemic period.

Hoteliers can be a significant source of competitive advantage if the management is able to align with the hotel’s strategy and culture. Indeed, hoteliers are the most valuable source of competitive advantage, distinguishing one hotel from another in a variety of ways, including profitability and customer service superiority.

In response to changing customer behaviour, the hospitality industry has adopted a diverse range of services such as lodging, food and beverage, travel agents, tour operators, and car rental vogue. In the hospitality industry, greetings are one method of making a good first impression on guests by establishing a connection between two strangers. Hoteliers use greetings to provide effortless personalised service to their guests, resulting in excellent and memorable results.

Imagine yourself as a guest; when greeted with “Hello”, “Sir”, or “Madam”, you will undoubtedly feel delighted and “special”, as it creates a home-like atmosphere. Greetings make a good first impression, and guests will feel at ease because of the hoteliers’ prompt response.

Small gestures from hoteliers demonstrate the generosity of the employees’ willingness to go the extra mile by initiating a good conversation in which both parties are comfortable and are glad to chat. Clearly, this is the most simple and effective tool for establishing trust and long-term good relationships between employees in the hospitality industry and distinguished guests.

Unknowingly, the greetings alleviate our guests’ fears, and they feel warmly welcomed by the hoteliers. Imagine walking into a hotel’s elegant grand lobby and a well-groomed, smart-looking doorman spontaneously opening the glass door and greeting you “Welcome to XXXX hotel”. You will definitely feel delighted with such greetings because guests expect to be treated special by hoteliers.

Hoteliers are trained not to leave any unattended guests because it creates a negative experience and impression of the hotel. Briefly, the basic credo “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” indirectly makes, not only the guests, but also the hoteliers feel special, which is important to all of us.

Nurturing hoteliers is a source of competitive advantage that states being happy at work by creating positive attitudes would be noticed by guests and the willingness to go the extra mile for the “wow” factor.

Sir Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of Virginia Group and a British business magnate and entrepreneur, once said, “I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised”. It does not take an expert to recognise that happiness, motivation and job satisfaction bring out the best in employees. Thus, it is not surprising that hotels strive to achieve such a state in their employees, led by numerous researches conducted on job satisfaction to study and comprehend the conditions that result in pleasurable or positive emotions from work.

Hotels and other businesses are interested in job satisfaction, knowing how their employees are doing, and getting the best performance out of them. Finding ways to increase employee job satisfaction may allow managers to improve their hotel’s performance without incurring significant additional costs.

Higher labour productivity or lower labour turnover among workers, and hotel gains may be the best examples of job satisfaction. A report in a local newspaper highlighted the importance of analysing and improving employee job satisfaction and motivation, particularly in the service industry, where it was discovered in a study, involving 600 urban adults, that job-hopping is a phenomenon employers must contend with. The report showed that 58% of currently employed adult Malaysians have worked for up to three companies in the past five years, with 23% indicating that they intend to change employers within the next three years.

Meanwhile, 74% of the younger employees have changed employers over the past five years, while 39% will change employers within the next two years. According to the report, the organisation needs to be more assertive and take a more active role in increasing employee job satisfaction and motivation.

Given the importance of job satisfaction to hotels, it is necessary to investigate the true motivators and level of job satisfaction, as well as the relationship between demographic variables and job satisfaction, in order to provide insight into what can improve the level of satisfaction with hotel management.

Today’s business organisations find it difficult to ignore the issue of job satisfaction, especially as the business landscape becomes more competitive and employees play a larger role in achieving organisational success. Every year, major corporations spend millions of dollars to survey job satisfaction and implement strategies to retain their best employees. As a result, a viable organisation must achieve the desired level of productivity while also providing its members with a certain level of job satisfaction.

There is a need to retain existing employees while also ensuring motivation and satisfaction during working hours so they can contribute positively.

In reality, given its labour-intensive nature and emphasis on personalised customer service, the hospitality industry is an important factor in attracting new customers and retaining repeat guests.

A motivated and happy employee will undoubtedly provide the best customer service and be more capable of delivering the “wow” factor. It also seeks to improve job aspects such as compensation and general working conditions, particularly during the pandemic.

Dr Ong Siew Har @Chris is Dean of Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism Berjaya University College. Comments: