London Hotels – Staff Training Secrets

Here’s a review of findings from a set of personal interviews conducted with leading London hoteliers:

Rocco Forte Collection (including Brown’s in London). Sir Rocco Forte’s hotels have high staff retention rates but there is “no magic answer” to achieving this. The emphasis is on training and providing clear and direct communication to people about what is expected of them. Rocco Forte Hotels also invest a lot of time and effort in creating an attractive working environment.

Intercontinental Hotels Group. This company has a creative approach to training its staff. For example they use “Learning Maps” to help staff empathise with customers by walking through the hotel from the customer’s perspective. Because staff need to follow the tone and style of each brand, training is brand-driven – it is quite different for Holiday Inn as compared to Intercontinental for example. The company also runs an “Employee Room Benefit Programme” to let staff use any of their hotels worldwide at cheap rates.

Claridge’s (Maybourne Hotel Group). At this company’s ultra-deluxe hotels, they pride themselves on their ability to recognise you when you return to stay there and to offer you extremely personalised service. There is plenty of hard work behind this and the training is usually driven by mystery shopping feedback. They use their most experienced team members as “role models” to act as mentors for new hires.

The Lanesborough. This is an exclusive, ultra-luxurious hotel near Hyde Park with a managing director who is one of the most respected hoteliers in London. He passionately believes in leading by example and has a pragmatic approach to staff training: learning on the job is reinforced by regular meetings in which new ideas are encouraged.

Red Carnation Hotel Collection. All of this group’s hotels are currently at or near the very pinnacle of the London hotel rankings on TripAdvisor. Comments from previous guests highlight the friendly staff and the service philosophy based on “tiny noticeable touches”. The Group’s CEO believes in recruiting people who have lovely personalities who are then given continuous professional training.The management team is stable and this also helps to provide a very solid example to staff.

Malmaison (a 4 star chain of boutique hotels). At Malmaison they like to emphasise a sense of fun in everything they do. As the CEO himself puts it: “If it’s not fun we’ll make it fun!” This results in a company culture where staff are given ways to find enjoyment and fun in their day to day jobs. The company also puts an emphasis on product-based training by partnering with its suppliers: this is quite an unusual approach but reflected in the service that guests receive in Malmaison’s London hotel.

One Aldwych (iconic 5 star hotel). The legendary founder of One Aldwych, Mr Campbell-Gray, told London Hotels Insight that his core belief in managing hotels is: “love your staff”. He wants all One Aldwych staff to provide great service in a natural way “from the heart” and they ban the use of “service scripts” which are sometimes used at other hotels. The hotel has a down-to-earth service style which leads to it being “a snob-free zone” as the management put it.

Hilton. Hilton is famous for being consistent wherever you are in the world and a large part of this is down to its online “Hilton University”. This is the company’s global training resource centre and it emphasises the shared Hilton values, wherever in the world you happen to be working. Do check out the review of the best Hiltons in London at London Hotels Insight.

You’re bound to enjoy staying in one of the above top London hotels even more, now that you know a bit more about the staff who work in them.