We live in an era of incredible divisiveness, and it’s more important than ever to have your employees’ backs.
Just yesterday we published a story written by my colleague Dana Miller highlighting how some hotels are navigating contentiousness around mask mandates in hotels. While many hoteliers stressed the vast majority of guests have no issues complying with the rules, there are some who vocally oppose them.
As we approach a historical divisive presidential election here in the U.S., I think it’s safe to assume that that’s only going to get worse, not better, over the next couple of months. Your front-line workers are going to be the ones who bear the brunt of dealing with possibly angry and unreasonable interactions.
So with that in mind, I think it’s a good reminder that some of the traditional “the customer is always right” thinking just can’t apply right now. Staff members are already stretched to the point of breaking, dealing with huge amounts of personal stress and the ongoing anxiety of living through a historic economic recession. What you can’t do is become an additional point of stress to them while they’re breaking their backs for you.
As tricky as mask mandates have been to enforce for hoteliers, they have the ability to draw a line in the sand because the use of masks impacts the health and safety of other guests. But there are likely to be other areas of perhaps unnecessarily politicized conflicts between staff and guests where the mental and emotional well-being of your employees should jump to the front of your decision-making process.
In the years I’ve written these blogs, I’ve referenced the Tales from the Front Desk subreddit multiple times, often as a way to inject some levity into our regular coverage. But the ton of posts there have made a marked shift since the onset of the pandemic, from more straightforward humor and catharsis to regular expressions of how truly overworked and underappreciated many hotel employees are feeling right now.
Reputation management and TripAdvisor scores are still as important as ever, but they’re not more important than the people who have helped you keep your hotels from collapsing under the stress of this incredibly difficult time.
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