Hotel Arts Barcelona Placement Cultural Studies Essay


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I really wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country, because it is my second language at school but also because I really want to discover the Spanish culture. Especially Barcelona attracted me a lot because I heard a lot of good things about this city. I have been to Madrid a couple of times but my perception of Barcelona was way different. Barcelona has a couple of things which attract me very much: the architecture, the climate and the football club.

The department I was working in was the Guest Service Department and sometimes in the F&B (bartender). I had several duties, some of these responsibilities were welcoming the new guests, taking care of the luggage of the guests, parking the cars of our guests, calling taxi's for the guests, explain the directions to the guests and giving recommendations to the guests about restaurants and clubs.

The Hotel Arts Barcelona is a 44-story, 482 room luxury hotel on the seafront of Barcelona, in Spain. A lot of people believe the hotel was build to service the 1992 Summer Olympics but actually it wasn't. Although the construction of the hotel was part of the big changes underwent by the city to prepare the Games, the hotel wasn't made for the Olympics. Hotel Arts is one of the city's leading hotels. The construction of the hotel was fully finished in 1994. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and is 154 meters tall. It's one of the few skyscrapers that Barcelona has. The hotel underwent a total renovation in 2006, they installed new technology and upgraded the guestrooms and the bathrooms into modern, luxurious spaces to the standards of a 5 star hotel.

A vision is an almost impossible dream and a mission is a written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement guides the actions of the organization, it sets its overall goal and it guides decision making for every level of management. It's the direction for the company for within at least five years.

Their vision is to provide the finest personal service and facilities, for their guest who will always enjoy a warm relaxed yet refined ambience. If you see this sentence you can conclude that it's almost impossible. Their mission is to instill the well-being and fulfill even the unexpressed wishes and needs of their guests.

2.2.3 Mission Statement in practice

The mission statement is definitely reflected in my department. Every morning we had a briefing about all the things that happened with out guests, good and bad things. So for example when it was someone's birthday, everyone of our department kept that in mind so when someone came across the guest he congratulated him and gave him a little present. That is an example of fulfilling the unexpressed wishes of the guests. Every morning we also had a value of the day. Which was one of the 11 service values. For example: I own and immediately resolve guest problems.

2.3 Market segments

2.3.1 What market segment(s) does your hotel focus on?

Hotel Arts Barcelona can be put in the luxury segment. They aim for well fortuned guests who are willing to spend from 400 up to 10.0000 euro per night. They make use of demographic segmentation because when you divide the market on a demographic base you get groups like: age, gender, life-cycle, occupation, race, income, education, religion and nationality. Hotel Arts has a mix of business guests and leisure guests. In the summer time it's mostly leisure but trough the whole year there are big conventions being held in the meeting rooms.

2.3.2 Characteristics

As I explained in the previous sub-title, there are different characteristics of demographic segmentation; age, gender, race, life-cycle, occupation, income, education, nationality. Hotel Arts is focusing on the upper-income guests and business guests. If you compare the demographic characteristics with other types of segmentation you will get the following things. When you look at the psychographic segment you can find a relation with the demographic segment. In the psychographic segment they are focusing on the social class, lifestyle and personality. When we talk about the targeted social class for the hotel, it's the upper-level. If you look at the products the hotel is offering like, like. With geographic segmentation, they focus on geographic variables like: countries nations, states, and cities. Ritz Carlton is a brand that is known all over the world, that's why it's not necessary to adapt to geographic variables because it doesn't matter.

The mission statement does reflect on the market segment where Hotel Arts focuses on because the guests want to be treated like a king because they are used to a certain luxury standard. They say in their mission statement that the genuine care and comfort of their guest is their highest mission and that they pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities, and those things are exactly what the "luxury guest" wants.

When I started with working they let me walk with a colleague who showed me everything in my department. The first day was just looking, I didn't do anything but observing my colleagues. In my department we didn't have SOP's because the department itself was new. We did have standard procedures of working but it wasn't written down on paper. When a guest arrived we had a certain operating procedure. The cab with the guests came driven to our main door. One of my colleagues opened the trunk and took the luggage out. He told me trough a little microphone the name that was on the tag of the luggage and I opened the door of the cab and greeted the guest with the name that was given to me trough my earpiece. We first asked how their trip was to Hotel Arts and after that we asked if the guest wanted us to take care of the luggage. If yes we gave the guest one half of an orange ticket with a number on it and the other half we put on the luggage. It was an amazing system and it gave the guest more than just a warm welcome. We exceeded the expectations of the guest from the beginning by saying their name when opening the door of the cab.

My managers were kind and open-minded, one came from Brazil and the other one from Belgium. They were natural leaders because they never acted like they were the boss or the manager but you always knew that you didn't want to disappoint them. They had a lot of conversations with the employees. If they had the feeling that there was a problem they always invited you for conversation. They asked a lot about how things where going personally and that was really nice. Because its good that your manager supports you and cares about you. We always had a group meeting 10 minutes before starting the shift and we always had a evaluation about the day after the shift. They also give you the room to improve yourself by giving you several responsibilities. For example after the first month I got the responsibility of welcoming the and taking care of the luggage of the band Coldplay. It took me a lot of planning and off course a little stress but it was nice to know that my manager had trust in me. One thing that I very much appreciated was the fact that my supervisor had arranged a Spanish class for me and a couple of my other foreign colleagues. I don't have the feeling that there are a lot of thing to improve for my managers. They were very talented and as a matter of fact when I left the hotel they got a promotion as Rooms Division managers

3.1.4 Guest Satisfaction

When guests checked out they were asked to fill in an questionnaire with a few question about every department. Sometimes people got a phone call after there stay. Every month we got a report back about the answers that were given by the guests; this is called: the Gallup Report.

Customer feedback is obviously an important part of the improvement process. Simon Cooper, president and chief operating officer, states, "When it comes to customers, feelings are facts." The Ritz-Carlton deploys multiple methods to capture the customer experience, such as comment cards and a follow-up survey call from Gallup to guests after their stay. In addition, the staff discreetly look, listen, and ask for feedback during transactions and moments of truth to build upon the Ritz-Carlton knowledge-management system. In addition, there's a follow-up survey conducted by Gallup, which provides third-party validation. Finally, mystery shoppers circulate though the various properties to critique the processes. [5] 

3.1.5 Problems, complaints and solutions

We had to take care of that the luggage went into the right room, which was sometimes a lot of work because of the arrivals of big groups (100 people at the same time). We made a sheet with all of the guests names and room numbers and after that we tagged all the luggage and made sure it was brought up. We had to take care of the parking as well, sometimes it was a problem for us because we had to park guests their cars but at the same time other guests wanted us to retrieve their cars. What we did to make sure it wouldn't be to busy with the parking we always asked if the guests were using their car during their stay. If not, we put them down in the big garage, if yes, we parked the cars in front of the hotel. Barcelona has a big problem with pick pocketing, because we where the first employees to come across when guests came back to the hotel, we were the first to listen to the problem. We had to send the guests to the concierge because he dealt with these problems but we always had the responsibility to follow up on the guest if we would come across him/her.

We didn't have a point of sales system in my department because were weren't selling anything, we were just providing service. I know from the times that I helped as a bartender we had Micros which was linked to the Opera system of the whole hotel. On Opera you could find everything of the guests. You could see what their preferences are in terms of their coffee, their newspaper and so on. With this knowledge we created a thing which was called Mystique. This is accomplished by having the empathy to know what thrills guests and how the staff can make the visit memorable. This is accomplished in conversations with guests and by maintaining a knowledge-management system that records the preferences of every guest. These preferences were all saved on Opera and it is accessible for Ritz Carlton employees all around the world. Maybe it's a favorite magazine or wine, or dessert, or cappuccino. Whatever the case, employees know how to surprise the guests, which leads to strengthening the relationships with them.

I have to make sure that all the employees are good ambassadors of the hotel, we must give arriving guests a warm welcome and a fond farewell. We can either make or break a holiday from the start and at the end. For example if people leave the hotel and nobody can order a taxi for them or help them with the luggage they will leave with a bad feeling. My responsibility is also to give my employees, like you for example, a warm welcome as well and to help you with problems.

Welcoming the guests is a really strong point. We use a special system for this. The cab with the guests comes driven to our main door. One of my employees opens the trunk and takes the luggage out. He tells the doorman trough a little microphone the name that is on the tag of the luggage and the doorman opens the door of the cab and greets the guest with the name that was given to him trough his earpiece. We first ask how their trip was to Hotel Arts and after that we ask if the guest wants us to take care of the luggage. It is an amazing system and it gives the guest more than just a warm welcome.

Simon Cooper, president and chief operating officer, states, "When it comes to customers, feelings are facts." The Ritz-Carlton deploys multiple methods to capture the customer experience, such as comment cards and a follow-up survey call from Gallup to guests after their stay. In addition, the staff discreetly look, listen, and ask for feedback during transactions and moments of truth to build upon the Ritz-Carlton knowledge-management system. In addition, there's a follow-up survey conducted by Gallup, which provides third-party validation. Finally, mystery shoppers circulate though the various properties to critique the processes. [6] 

I think these are good performance indicators because if they say that they got noticed and helped immediately when they arrived it says a lot about giving a warm welcome. When they say the time of waiting for a taxi it says a lot about how fast people were getting helped. If their named was used when they left you can say that they got a fond farewell.

Because every department gives it's own specific service, and ours is welcoming guests, anticipate on needs of guests and giving guest a farewell, it's good to be judged on specific indicators about our own department. If we score high and fits with our mission statement of giving the finest service to our guests.

Because the hotel was situated in a an area where a lot of restaurants and nightclubs are, there were always people around the hotel. We always had a line of taxi's right next to the hotel who were especially for our guests. If people from a restaurant from nearby came to our entrance and asked for a taxi we weren't allowed to help him. We had to deal with that a lot. One day I started at seven in the morning and 10 minutes after I started a young man came to me. He got pick pocketed by a criminal gang, he lost his mobile phone and his wallet. He asked me to let him call with the hotels phone at the entrance but he was not a guest. If you look at this trough the JUSTICE way I couldn't let him make use of the phone because he was not a guest. Above that, the young man looked like he had drank to much. But if you look at this trough the CARE way, even though the guy had drank some alcohol he was really calm and friendly. On the other hand he was also really desperate because he couldn't call for help. I could see the sadness in his eyes and because he asked me this in such a friendly way I decided to help him and let him make one quick call with the phone of the hotel.

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