Slatin Group: Elements of Service

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Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine

October 31, 2012

We conducted a two-phase Elements of Service program at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, which is owned by Strategic Hotels & Resorts and managed by Hyatt. This 419-key, four-star property was designed by Michael Graves and opened in 1989. The General Manager is Mohsen Khaleghi, a Hyatt veteran who was brought into the HRLJ in mid-2011. At the start of our work there in late March 2012, the hotel’s occupancy rate was in the respectable mid–70% range. However, the hotel had not escaped the challenges of the recession and the pullback in corporate business, which provides its main revenue source. Further, the hotel now has to compete in price with the behemoth San Diego waterfront convention hotels that had formerly let slide the mid-size and smaller conventions, conferences and meetings that the HRLJ has historically hosted.

Slatin Group was brought in to work with the hotel on upgrading its already excellent service by emphasizing our inclusive approach to special-needs guests. The program was part of Hyatt’s continuing staff training and education program, In the first phase in late March, Slatin Group partner Anna Carroll and I met with top managers and conducted two days of individual interviews with managers and staff across all levels and areas of service. We toured the property and observed staff-guest interactions and discussed our findings with management. We returned to the property in May, and held five 50-minute workshops with groups ranging from eight to 18 participants, again including managers and staff from all levels and areas of service. Voluntary attendance grew at each workshop throughout the day. Feedback from staff ranged from “I knew all this already, but it’s great to have a refresher,” to “This training should be mandatory for all employees,” from a senior-level veteran front desk manager.

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