I have been writing recently to the members of many hotel group Executive Boards to encourage them to use the current quiet period during the Covid-19 virus to reset their guest experience concept and direction by moving on from the rather obsolete, very twentieth-century concept of SOP-Customer Satisfaction to a concept and direction in which hospitality is rooted in its forgotten essence of unconditional love. Of course, they either ignore me or tell me that they are happy with what they are doing.
It is a fruitless activity because none of the Boards can see the essential connection between unconditional love and genuine hospitality or how SOP-Customer Satisfaction is disconnected from the essence of hospitality. However, I write every couple of years anyway because I know that one day an Executive Board member somewhere in the world will experience a “Eureka!” moment that leads to change throughout the hotel industry.
I am 65 years old now and I hope that I will find that person within the next 25-30 years, but since I’ve been looking for over 10 years now, I won’t hold my breath. Unfortunately, there seems to be a very little turnover of the Board members, so I end up writing to the same people who ignored me two years previously.
The essence of hospitality has always been and will continue to be unconditional love and its related spiritual values of loving-kindness, compassion, and heart-warming care. Unfortunately, the whole hotel industry seems to have has bought into the corporate construct of SOP-Customer Satisfaction as being their guiding light, so mankind continues to be stuck with a hotel industry that is disconnected from its essence and fundamental purpose of providing unconditional love to its guests through the many services that hotels provide.
A hotel is like a lamp and the light of that lamp comes from the guiding concept of hospitality. Because SOP-Customer Satisfaction is a quality-oriented concept which has a tenuous connection to hospitality’s essence of unconditional love, the light in the lamp is quite dim, and you can feel this in many hotels.
In contrast, when the concept guiding the staff in a restaurant or a department or even a whole hotel is rooted in unconditional love, such as in a Heart-Based Hospitality hotel, the light in the lamp shines brightly and the hospitality experience has a very different and a much higher energy vibration. There is no limit to the brightness of the light in the lamp because unconditional love has no limit, and so a Heart-Based Hospitality hotel will always outshine an SOP-Customer Satisfaction hotel in this analogy.
When you develop the spiritual capacity of hotel staff and you work with human energy, the desire to show unconditional love towards others grows continuously, and you feel an ever-increasing and overflowing love for others. Indeed, the process of developing their spiritual capacity changes the staff. Their hospitality becomes very warm, graceful and gracious, loving, kind, compassionate, and caring over time as their capacity increases.
No guest is left out regardless of what they are like. Think of a soiled and crushed letter that reaches the hand of a lover from her beloved. That letter is no less precious because of the condition in which it has arrived. It is cherished because it has come from a loved one. In the same way, we can learn to love a fellow human being, a fellow “soiled and crushed letter”, no matter who they are.
Unfortunately, I see no hope that the current generation of Executive Board members can accept that hospitality is a spiritual concept whose essence is unconditional love. Nor can they seem to fathom the potential financial benefits of doing so.
Why can’t they accept Heart-Based Hospitality? After all it’s just a concept and direction that restores the forgotten energetic and spiritual connection of hospitality with unconditional love. I’ve tried to answer this question in the article called A Story About Spanish Galleons to Explain Why Hotel Industry CEOs Cannot See an Alternative to SOP-Customer Satisfaction.
To be honest, SOP-Customer Satisfaction is great for increasing the size of a hotel group and that’s probably why Executive Boards don’t want change. A new hotel signs a management contract, you give it access to the group’s SOPs, HR systems, training workshops, etc., and three months after the opening the new hotel has settled down in its groove and everyone knows what to do. This is very good for the hotel group’s shareholders. Why rock the boat by restoring the connection between hospitality and unconditional love, which will require massive change and effort?
Perhaps the Executive Board members are happy with what they have been doing for the last 20-30 years and don’t want to implement change as their retirement is not that far away and nobody at their level cares anyway. I don’t know.
Perhaps they think that their SOP-Customer Satisfaction hotels provide Heart-Based Hospitality already. But that is impossible because SOP-Customer Satisfaction is a quality standards-oriented concept, not a spiritual and energetic concept.
A CEO recently wrote a one-and-a-half-line reply to dismiss Heart-Based Hospitality. She clearly felt that Heart-Based Hospitality was just another fancy name to revamp SOP-Customer Satisfaction just as she was doing with her latest efforts to revamp her group’s guest experience with a new concept, which is just another fancy corporate name for what they are already doing. That hotel group is in financial trouble, I see.
We can easily see that SOP-Customer Satisfaction isn’t connected to the essence of hospitality because every corporate mission and vision statement shows this. Indeed, you won’t find any mention of the spiritual values of unconditional love on a corporate website. The two concepts are very different and are created in different ways.
A lot of change will be necessary to restore the connection to hospitality’s essence. For example, you can’t create Heart-Based Hospitality with traditional hotel training and development methods and workshops. A revolution in hotel training and development is needed. All of the operational manuals, HR systems, procedures, and job descriptions, for example, will have to be adapted too. Then you have to carry out the new workshops for the staff in every hotel in every brand and follow this up with the reinforcement programme and leadership activities called the 13 Pillars. That’s a lot of work!
Having said this, one day someone with a senior position in some well-known hotel group will speak at an international hotel conference like the boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes and say that the Emperor is naked, meaning that the hotel industry has lost its way and that it’s time to reconnect hospitality to its essence. I don’t think that the attending CEOs and VPs will be shocked because silently I think they know already.
This scenario is inevitable because Heart-Based Hospitality is the only direction that the hotel industry hasn’t explored. It is like a door that the hotel industry keeps walking past, preferring to go through all the familiar doors again and again. Until then the hotel industry will continue to provide mankind a quality standards-oriented version of hospitality that doesn’t meet people’s increasing emotional, energetic, healing, and wellbeing needs. But it’s a respectable version that fits in nicely with tradition and that seems to be the main thing.