5 things airlines could learn from hotels

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Mar 7, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://travel.cnn.com/5-things-airlines-could-learn-hotels-627526

    Air travel, for many, is something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

    The aviation industry “has been in survival mode for as long as we can remember,” says Eric Léopold, director of the passenger program at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
    Fairly or not, the industry's triage mentality has undermined public perception.

    But does it have to be that way?

    The hotel industry, so connected to air travel and yet worlds apart when it comes to reputation, could prove an inspiration, if only airlines would change.

    With the help of experts in both the airline and hotel industries, we’ve put together a list of ideas that could make flying fun again.

    1. A recognized rating system


    One of the first things potential hotel guests check is the star-rating of their hotel.
    It helps to manage customer expectations and provides a clear sense of the value, rather than simply the cost, of a stay.

    Airlines don't employ this system.

    Although one already exists -- the Skytrax Global Airline Ranking -- few air travelers know about it.
    This means airline customers are often unsure of what to expect and may feel entitled to an unrealistic level of comfort.

    "No one expects to go back to the glamour days of Pan Am, especially if they're flying economy," says Lori Lincoln, director of corporate communications at Shangri-La International Hotel Management. "But major airlines could improve by addressing the lack of consistency in terms of product and service. When you fly certain airlines, you never know what you're going to get."


    2. Dedicated staff

    Ask any top-end hotel executive for the secret of the brand's success, and you'll invariably get the answer: the people.

    Airlines will agree. Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted says that staff service is “critical” to achieving five-star status in a company’s rankings.

    And yet staff service after you board an airplane is often a poor substitute for what you receive when you check in at a good hotel.

    Incentive is an important factor. While a hotel receptionist or porter could rise to a management position over the course of a career, the ceiling is lower for flight attendants.

    Timothy Wright, general manager of the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel in Hong Kong, says that “thorough training and development opportunities throughout the employee’s career” are crucial to maintaining a high level of service.

    For example, staff at Shangri-La are carefully chosen for their ability to engage customers and extend genuine care and hospitality.

    “The core values of helpfulness, flexibility, anticipation and honesty are very important,” says Wright.

    Read More: http://travel.cnn.com/5-things-airlines-could-learn-hotels-627526
     
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  2. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Really good analysis.

    I agree that the staff is important. And the fact that the Flight Attendants (who are the people we most interact with) do not really have a clear line of Career Advancement. They can be moved to Purser or Lead F/A but can they actually work up in the ladder to where they are not flying. Seems like the only step up would be into F/A training or as Ticket Agents.

    If you are stuck in a job that really has no obvious chain of advancement, your attitude will eventually show it.

    And you will get similar scenarios with Ticket Agents, Baggage Handlers, etc.

    Maybe the airlines need to re-examine their Human Resources. And maybe then we will get back the "Pan Am" experience from the 60's and 70's (Heck I would also take Reno Air, Muse Air, or even People Express)
     
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  3. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    That is not true at all. The reason most cabin crew remain cabin crew is that their skill set and qualifications are best suited to that role. Not to mention that many of them prefer the flexible lifestyle and extended time-off that a flying job provides.

    There are plenty of former cabin crew who have moved on to become pilots or into management positions within airlines all over the world once they take the initiative to qualify themselves appropriately. I have personally (at the small airlines that I have managed) hired two former cabin crew into management positions, one for revenue management and one as a marketing manager. Both of them impressed me with their line supervision skills as Pursers, and they also took the initiative to get part-time MBAs while they were flying. When the need came up to hire for the management roles, they had a definite advantage over external candidates as a result of their demonstrated performance.
     
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  4. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Sean, that may be true in your circumstances with the smaller airlines. But here in the US, where the "Corporate Creed" is that the line employees are not capable of Corporate responsibilities. . . Well, it just isn't the same.

    Many of the Flight Attendants get burned out dealing with the corporate policies that affect them. As a result, they start to view the job as a "job" (or paycheck) and not a Career. I see it in my own business that employees that do not see an opportunity for advancement, tend to do less than excellent on the job.
    If an employee doesn't get paid until the door closes, then what does that say about the 15 to 20 minutes while loading the plane. If you knew you were not getting paid, are you going to be as cheerful? Helpful?

    When an airline actually respects the employees, then the employees will respect the customer. This is true in all occupations.
     
  5. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    I know more people who have risen through the ranks at US airlines than have done so elsewhere in the world. At Delta. At United. At American. At Continental. At Skywest. And other large airlines too.

    Certainly, the view in most businesses is that most line employees are not suitable for management roles. That is why they were hired as line employees and not as managers.
     

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