I don’t mind admitting that when it comes to a weekend my choice of television entertainment leaves a lot to be desired. As a classic example I am already excited by the prospect of the next ‘The Hotel,’ which features on Channel 4 every Sunday evening.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of this amazing show, it is a fly on the wall style documentary following the owner of The Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay. It’s all a little Faulty Towers to be honest but that just adds to the general amusement of the show.
The staff are an eclectic mix to say the least and are headed up by Mark, the Owner and Manager, who for all intense and purpose appears to try his very best. The show follows the daily life of those working for the business, while giving a balanced view on the experience had by its clientele.
This week was of particular interest as Mark decided to draught in a consultant who would come into The Grosvenor to highlight areas of the business that could be improved. The consultant suggested that they come into the hotel unannounced and have the experience that a ‘real’ guest would receive before feeding back.
Insert your own car crash noises right about now!
It was both terrible and hilarious in equal measure starting with the check in, whereby the team were too busy arranging their own holidays to care about the needs of their paying customers. Then, once settled in to the room, the guests requested a cup of tea and biscuit from reception, which was met with audible disgrace and mocking comments.
And so it goes on. Needless to say at feedback time the mystery guest was far from amused and provided a series of immediate actions which needed to be put right, starting with the attitude of the staff.
Although the programme was without doubt funny it also brought to light a few serious lessons. Mark, the Manager of the hotel, clearly had no respect from his employees with one openly saying ‘There may be people in here who need help but I’m not one of them. I’m good at my job.’
I was quite startled by this comment as I’ve always been a great believer in taking ‘good at your job’ and making it ‘great at your job’. I don’t think that anyone can ever stop learning and if you are given the opportunity to take lessons from an industry expert then why not? I thought this person’s attitude was immediately defensive, which would alert me to the fact that they obviously had something to hide.
Also Mark didn’t take any of the criticism constructively. He didn’t even want to hear what the consultant had to say, so I would question why he wasted their time. If you are asking someone to review your business warts and all, then expect that this is what they will give you. Rather than thank the consultant for being honest and doing his job, he discarded his comments and discredited the entire process in front of his workforce – although I think this was more to appease them and be ‘on their side’ than anything else.
Finally many of the problems that The Grosvenor was facing (it has since been sold on to new owners – although I believe Mark is still involved) were as a result of poor communication. Had Mark taken control and managed his team, as was his role, then he may have seen more success.
The sad fact is that all the gimmicks and quirky games in the world are only going to keep people amused for so long they are not going to communicate the values of the business to a wider audience and appeal to those who may want to visit the hotel in the future.
Although I will continue to watch The Hotel, it is with sadness that Mark lost his business. Perhaps the lesson for him to learn would be to surround yourself with similar, hardworking, supportive and willing team members – only then will you move forward and take a business and those you employ from good to great.
The Hotel is on Channel 4 from 8pm on Sunday evening.