All for One, One for All – The Value of a Group Programme

Are you on the journey of creating a regional or global service brand and want to support your outlets in having a consistent brand experience, strong service level and unique culture? Then a Group Guideline and Training Programme may be a great solution for you. This article explores the value of a Group Program within the ultimate service experience: Hotels.

What is it?

A Group Programme is a set of guidelines and related training programme which equips your team to deliver a seamless branded experience, manage potential issues well, and generally drive high performance. The program can include all aspects of their job e.g. introduction, brand values, delivering exceptional service, managing complaints, driving sales, being a good supervisor, safety and security management, limiting food hazards, etc.

What is the benefit?

By having a standard set of guidelines you can feel secure in the knowledge that all staff know and understand how to deliver a great guest experience in line with your brand. They will know how to run effective operations and how to manage situations in the case that something happens.

If all staff go through a common training program, you achieve consistency in vision, brand message, execution, culture and service attitude. Guests will know that staying in your hotel is a unique and wonderful experience which they can look forward to experiencing again in any of your hotels.

Furthermore, a Group Programme helps General Managers build a strong and capable team, as newcomers are quickly made up-to-speed, and development discussions can be followed-up with a range of recognised training sessions. If the Group has many hotels it is cost efficient to develop a strong programme centrally – freeing up time and resources locally.

Marriott International has a world-class training programme, developed centrally and requiring every staff member to do a minimum number of training sessions every year. This education allows Marriott to attract some of the best talent, as applicants know Marriott will invest in them and allow them to grow their skills.

How to Establish a Group Programme?

Having developed a number of global programmes I find the development journey to be highly rewarding, allowing you to identify stronger procedures, recognising best practices, and bringing expertise together across teams.

I recommend the following steps:

  1. Define the overall vision with senior stakeholders – what do you want to achieve with the programme?
  2. Prioritise the key component of the programme together with the main stakeholders e.g. your Hotel GMs, Global Brand Ambassadors, HR, etc. should all be onboard. The program must deliver on global vision as well as the main development needs required locally and by HR.
  3. Develop guidelines within each component together with experts from your Group, leveraging their expertise and generating buy-in. Liaise with external consultants and peers to get inspiration on best practices.
  4. Turn the guidelines into a training programme. Consider the best format – eLearning, classroom, or on-the-job training. It can also be very powerful to use train-the-trainer and allow each hotel to localise parts of the training. External companies can help you develop engaging training sessions.
  5. Pilot the initial guidelines with a selected group of management – in this way providing valuable feedback, buy-in, and making sure they also know the guidelines.
  6. Roll-out the guidelines and training to each hotel. Continuously communicate the vision and track the performance.

A Group Programme is a great tool to drive high performance and engagement in your team, generating a common group spirit of “All for one, one for all”.

Julie Olsson Blou has worked with Commercial Development and training for the past 13 years. She has a background with Accenture Management Consulting and Emirates Airlines. She currently works with INHOCO – International Hospitality Consulting, which consists of a group of experts with more than 200 years of experience in Hospitality Management, covering the complete spectrum of Hospitality needs from brand creation and acquisition to HR and asset management.

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