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Be a Hospitalitian -- Relevance to Ski Instruction

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So, I'm lucky enough to live in Boulder County and met Bobby Stuckey when he and his compatriot, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, started a revolution in fine dining in Boulder by opening Frasca, an amazing restaurant.  The food is really good, but the most amazing part about it (IMHO) is Bobby and the amazing way he makes you feel.  He recently gave a TED talk where is message was "Be a Hospitalian."  Here it is

 

 

So this talk got me thinking about the guest experience when we are teaching skiing.  I've had a lot of ski instruction and I've seen a lot of different instructors.  Some focus on making guests feel good by blowing smoke up their XXXX, others use some element of tough love, but some really have a knack of finding a balance that makes the experience an amazing one.  So, I'm wondering what you do to try to make the guest experience exceptional?

 

And do you find any of this useful?

 

Mike

post #2 of 7

Excellent Mike, just watched it (I love Ted talks!)

 

Yes that is the way I approach teaching skiing.  I'm not a high level instructor, but I do the absolute best that I can.  My MA skills are not very advanced - but my PA skills (just made that up. People Analysis) are very good.  I strive to connect with the student, to be their friend for an hour, to help assuage their fears and share my passion for this sport.  To share with them the difficulties I had learning as an adult, to empathize with their difficulties.  To suggest things they might do afterwards.

 

I guess that is hospitality, never thought of it that way.

post #3 of 7
I like the distinction between service and hospitality. It is easy to get caught up in providing a technical lesson and miss opportunities for hospitality.

I have done several Backroads bike tours and the guides are true hospitalians. It is amazing how they make you feel by their actions, not their words.

Thanks for posting this.
post #4 of 7

Thanks, habacomike.  I teach at a mountain (Cannon) where our GM tries to promote this way of relating to our customers. Give 'em the pickle!  It's a happy way to work with our clients and each other.  The practical value for us is that it makes our day better too.  I can tell you our GM loves it when people send letters praising how great so and so was during their visit.  People come to ski for a variety of reasons, one of which is to have fun.  So lets have fun together!

 

I love the Teddies too, they are always informative and illuminating.

post #5 of 7
Ever since I had a National Academy experience with Horst Abraham, who INVITED me to improve my skiing, I've tried to invite clients to learn what I've learned and become part of my ski world. This involves getting to know who they are, what they do, how they feel, what they want, etc., and then inviting them to investigate changes in their movements.
post #6 of 7

Bobby says hospitality is free. It's not. And hospitality does not directly generate revenue. But it does help generate repeat and referral business and that generates a return on one's investment in hospitality. Hospitality requires a mind set change for most people. That means training and ongoing reinforcement of the practice of hospitality. If people have idle capacity, then it is free to use that capacity to implement hospitality. But if you design idle capacity into your schedule to enable hospitality, then that's a real cost for hospitality. If you understand the value of repeat and referral business (including the cost of negative referrals), then it is much easier to budget for hospitality. That will make it easier to achieve Bobby's goal of making hospitality more common in America.

 

PSIA has a service model. Bobby makes a distinction between service and hospitality. But using his semantics, the PSIA model is a hospitality model. What Bobby asks for are things the PSIA service model already asks for. These are things I already do, but listening to Bobby has given me ideas for how to do more and how to do it better. Resorts can also enable hospitality by empowering staff to make their own hospitality decisions. At my resort this is part of the policy, but we can do a much better job of training new staff not only that this is ok but how to better identify hospitality opportunities and then implement them. And most importantly, we can do a much job of motivating staff to be more hospitable.

 

Many ski resorts are now using the "Net Promoter Score" method for surveying their customers and identifying ways to improve their product. If you believe Bobby, this approach gives you a method to measure your hospitality. It's more than just surveying your customers (guests!). It's an entirely new way to run your business. That should make Bobby happy.

post #7 of 7

When I have students, I try and help and direct them to areas that they can ski and practice.  Also, I try and think of things they may enjoy at the resort.  I try and make them feel welcome.  I definitely think ski instructors can have a great role in hospitality.  You are with your students anywhere from 1-3 hours (depending on the lesson) and if you are excited about where you work, guest will likely want to have that same feeling.  Great reminder on how everyone can have a role.

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