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Edition 316 – Repercussions

Two recent experiences of the quality of food at boutique accommodation had me thinking about the repercussions for the business as a whole and the impact on the business’ reputation, overall.

In the first situation, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, food served cold was sent back to the kitchen. I really don’t like doing that as there’s a sense of feeling pretentious about one’s position in life. However, salmon that is cold on the inside can present many health issues.

In the second situation, in the Blue Mountains, food served lukewarm at best was coupled with simply appalling service. We’d waited for 20 minutes for a wine list and our order to be taken whilst other tables that came in after us were attended to. We were told by one of the wait staff that it’s understaffing. It wasn’t, it was merely indifference to the customer. Raising an expectation of improved service on my part presented the opposite, but that’s a story for another time.

The common thread for each of these experiences is that they’re both boutique accommodation. Nicely appointed rooms, top quality bedding, bathrooms that were superb – they weren’t your average run of the mill motel room. They also offer packages to “enhance” your experience. In each case, a dining package was taken up – partly out of curiosity and partly out of seeking convenience, as we wouldn’t need to leave the premises to dine.

Here’s my guess – the world has changed in some boutique accommodation places and rather than employ in-house staff and experts to run the restaurant, the whole dining option has been contracted out. If that is the case, then each of these accommodation providers has a major issue on their hands as the food is not provided by restauranteurs but by caterers. There is a distinct difference between the two.

The problem for these accommodation providers is that they’re offering a high end experience let down by a low end support act which, on it’s own, is disappointing, but combined with the otherwise boutique experience, creates serious repercussions for the chances of a re-booking.

All of this reminds me of businesses that either:

  1. Partner with another business to provide an additional service offering to their client; or
  2. Start up a new service offering in their existing business which is not in the space the business usually plays.

I’ve seen businesses that have deviated from their specialty, out of some misguided effort to make more money and, in the process, end up tanking money and reputation through poor execution of what, on the face of it, should be a reasonably sound business philosophy.

Too many business owners and managers only look at the immediate revenue line of adding a new service or partnering with someone else and fail to stop and consider all the consequences, good and bad, of the longer term impact on the business.

If you’re going to offer a new service, or partner with someone else to do so, remember: 

  1. The headline numbers shouldn’t always be the final determinant.
  2. Strategise, in great depth, how the new offering will work in your business and impact on other elements of it.
  3. Put people in charge that are not merely technically proficient, but can lead.
  4. Test and re-test the end result – both internally and externally.
  5. Set the bar high and ensure you’re achieving it, or understand fully if you’re not.

This Week’s Tip

Partnering with someone is as good as doing it yourself.
Remember the impact of that if it works ….or if it doesn’t.