Who…?

Hilton is one of the world’s most recognisable hotel brands.

In an increasingly competitive hospitality industry, the Hilton brand continues to be known for its high levels of service and quality.

In the UK, Hilton is expected to showcase the best of what the brand stands for by building a guest centric culture.

The challenge…

Improving the guest experience is a key priority for Hilton’s leaders.

The business had invested in a ‘bottom-up’ technology platform that encourages front line team members to share and implement their ideas for improving service.

However, both team members and managers said that the process was robotic and repetitive. The approach was generating audit checklists, not improvements that created the responsive, personalised and authentic service Hilton wanted.

After three years of trying, guest satisfaction and loyalty (SALT) scores remained stubbornly static.

Our challenge: to develop the practical skills of front line managers so they could change the service behaviours of their team and have a positive and sustainable impact on the guest experience.

Our insight

To successfully and sustainably improve service behaviours within properties you have to change the social norms for what people need to notice, think, feel and do to fit in.

You do this by changing the risk profile of the group’s behaviour: making it easier/more attractive for people to copy the pioneers (the best performing team members), and more risky/less attractive to stick at ‘average’.

To be able to change behaviour in their teams, managers need to understand how to facilitate cultural change, but perhaps more importantly, they also need the practical skills to be able to impact and influence the attitudes and behaviour of the people around them.

What did we do?

We worked with every hotel General Manager to understand the journey their hotel was on and the kind of guest experience they wanted to create.

We ran kick off training workshops with the hotel leadership teams to develop their:

  • Understanding of how to change group behaviour and the role of storytelling in this
  • Practical communication skills and capability to make choices about setting, body language and tone of voice to influence their teams

We provided in-operation coaching to support leaders in translating the workshop training into real changes in the way they led their team – focusing on creating a storytelling culture within the hotels that kept the guest at the centre of every team and used the example of the pioneers to drive continuous improvement.

We facilitated short group review sessions with the hotel leadership teams to consolidate learning and drive change across the property…

…and provided one-to-one coaching for Directors of Operations and Heads of Department to help them grow the approach in their team and to support the development of their Assistant Managers and Supervisors.

We created a learning network between the Directors of Operations, enabling them to learn from other hotels and for the best ideas to spread across the whole business.

The results

Guest feedback for overall experience & helpfulness of staff improved by…

Guest feedback improved across all 11 hotels that were part of the programme.

Over a period of 6 months, overall experience and helpfulness of staff improved by over 15% on Hilton’s SALT scale and the improvements have been sustained.

However, the best measure of success can be found visiting the hotels…

Now when you join one of their ‘bottom-up’ service idea generation meetings, the culture change is obvious. Instead of a flat conversation with people struggling for ideas, the team are buzzing with stories of the great guest experiences they’re delivering day in and day out and are full of ideas to test next.

Hilton are making the training a core part of their new manager induction and developing the capability of their Talent Coaches to sustain the storytelling approach within the hotels.

What used to count as very good for us, is now the norm… and our great guest experiences are now at a different level

Magdalena Eliasz, Director of Operations at Hilton Heathrow

Find out more…

The future of work is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed…

If people are the key to success in your industry, then those companies that get their culture right are going to attract and engage the best talent and will enjoy a huge competitive advantage…

… if you’re not innovating to improve your culture, your business is going to be left behind.

At The Pioneers we help companies re-engineer their people management systems to create cultures where everything flows: where people flourish, where everyone’s on the same page and where it’s easy for people to work at their best.

If you’re interested in creating a more service oriented culture, please get in touch to find out about how we develop new ways of working that make employees more engaged, create better customer experiences and improve business performance.