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Service tips from the world’s most loved hotel brands

Susanne Axelsson
Susanne Axelsson
July 1, 2021
Service tips from the world’s most loved hotel brands

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As the author of “Thanks for coming in today”, Charles Ryan Minton, is nearly as famous in the customer service industry as the hotels he’s headed up. He’s built a career in leadership of many of the world’s most loved hotel brands, including the famed Westin (owned by Marriott Bonvoy). On any given day, employees know that they’ll find Charles taking a long walk around the hotel listening to his employees and guests. The wisdom he has gained from years of listening is nothing short of stellar:

Making people matter

The inspiration for Charles’ book is a sad one, having lost a well-loved colleague suddenly – Jason had a contagious energy and passion for customer service, and made everyone he met feel like they matter with just one line: “Thanks for coming in today.”

Charles knew he would miss hearing that line from Jason, every day, and has honoured him ever since by greeting employees at his hotel with the same line. He says that now and then, someone gets confused – of course they are there if they were rostered on – but it’s about letting them know that you truly appreciate their time and effort on that day!

“Every job matters, and it really matters when people make the decision to come to work. We're one or two people away, every day, from either a really great day or pure hell, because every person’s presence has an impact.”

A mop can be replaced – your best employee cannot!

Charles acknowledges that the secrets to building a happy and motivated team probably can’t be shared in just a few sentences, but boils it down to these fundamentals:

Leadership – Your leaders must be genuinely appreciative of the time and effort that their team puts in every single day. It all starts there – but there’s more at play here…

The right tools – Charles shares a story about a long-term housekeeper who left a job simply because her manager wouldn’t budget the few dollars it costs to replace her old and dirty mop; the single most important thing for her to be able to do her job well. For this reason, Charles keeps a “mop list” – the things that people just really need to do their job well.

“We may not want to admit this to ourselves, but employees don't come to work, excited to provide customer service for their manager or the brand. They want to provide good service because it makes them feel good and it's a representation of themselves. So if you're not providing them with the tools that they need to do the job, you're impacting their personal representation.”

The right people - When hiring, the Westin’s final step in the interviewing process is to look for a passion for customer service – someone with ‘a servant heart’ who lives to make others smile. This passion makes everything else easier - from on-boarding to living out the “service pledge”(more below). 

Blow people away with the service basics

Charles is a big believer in creating a “service pledge” for your brand, and is surprised at the number of businesses who haven’t taken the time to develop this foundation. A service pledge reflects the basic service standards that everyone in the business lives out for every customer – super simple, but incredibly important.

Here’s one service basic that should be at the top of everyone’s list, and one that consistently earns positive feedback from guests at the Westin Fort Lauderdale – the 20/10 rule. 

“Within 20 feet of a customer make eye contact. Within 10 feet, there must be a verbal exchange; hello, good morning, how's your stay going? This simple exchange is the single most important way to make your business feel friendly, and will quickly change the vibe of an environment.”

And we’ll leave you with one last quote for continuous improvement that Charles lives by, from Buddy LaRosa (a frontline success magician himself!):

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest… until your good is better, and your better is best”
Susanne Axelsson

About the Author

Susanne Axelsson
Susanne is the Frontline Community Evangelist as well as the author and researcher for Frontline Magic Handbook. She believes happy customers are born out of great experiences. Great experiences are delivered by motivated frontline people.
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