We’re all familiar with the first rule of retail being the customer is always right. This is especially true in the hospitality industry. When guests book hotel stays for vacation, they expect more than a room with comfortable furniture. When people book a restaurant for dinner, guests want more than just food. They expect a pleasant experience. The experience can be greatly enhanced or dispelled by the way the staff interacts with them. Staff with good morale is crucial in creating positive experiences. A staff with low morale will create negative experiences regardless of the beauty and comfort of the hotel.

Impressions of the Whole Business

A hotel property designed for vacations is often a resort type hotel with more than a bed and bath for the night. You have pools, spas, restaurants and shops. These various services may or may not be part of one company but whether it is or isn’t, guests view it as one large entity. The experience expected from a national chain restaurant located within the hotel property will be equal to that of the hotel. This means the quality of service in each location within hotel property needs to be excellent. A high standard of service for the property as a whole is a good start. Each entity within the property should have managers in agreement on this point and well trained knowledgeable staff to represent not only individual shops or services, but the hotel as a whole. A well trained confident team of staff with high morale is a good start to guest satisfaction.

Restaurants, independent of a hotel or not part of a chain also need to ensure staff satisfaction – thereby ensuring guest satisfaction as a flow on effect. Training staff so they are confident in what they are selling, allowing staff to sample food so they know what they are selling and allowing staff to have some involvement in the restaurant will all go in helping staff satisfaction and ultimately guest satisfaction.

The Director of Human Resources with Stay Sky Hotels and Resorts in Orlando recently said, “At Sky, we recognize guest satisfaction begins with a good staff and good team is one with high morale. For that reason, we offer top notch benefits, such as flexible health insurance packages, vacation time and continually work on the little things that make a difference in the lives of the Stay Sky family.

Little Things Make a Difference

Employee of the month programs are a good incentive for staff to work harder. Prizes can include a great parking place, gift certificate and name on a plaque.

Staff discounts are a good incentive to stay with a company. Many people enjoy working for certain companies simply because the discounts offered are valued. Discounts like 10 to 20 percent off goods and services or a certain number of stays each year free of charge can be great as well as remaining profitable. The staff member gets to experience the hotel from a guest’s perspective which often leads to ideas for how to improve areas of service.

Attractive uniforms boost morale. Let’s face it, most uniforms are hideous from a fashionable point of view. Uniforms or standard dress codes apply in the hospitality industry for purposes of identification. After all, you don’t want your guests wondering who is or isn’t a staff member. However, uniforms don’t have to equal unattractive. Offering two or three styles of shirts and pants or skirt so staff has a choice and is better able to fit their body type is a good idea.

Training and career progression paths can also boost morale. If staff feel there is an opportunity to progress, then they may work harder to ensure guest satisfaction in the same respect, if staff feel that a restaurant or hotel has bothered to spend money on further training, this can also boost the staff members morale – even if it’s treated as a day off the floor!


Within the hospitality industry which includes hotels, restaurants and spas, bonuses for staff when profits are up are a great for morale. In fact, a bonus is always a welcome addition to income and is the best incentive for hard work which leads to more profits. This is a win/win situation for both owners and staff.

Handle Complaints Without Blame

When staff morale is high throughout the hotel or restaurant, regardless of position, you’re much more likely to have smooth operations in place which leads to customer satisfaction. Guests do not enjoy overhearing a cluster of employees complaining about their jobs and supervisors, nor do they enjoy hearing management blame problems on incompetent employees. Problems brought to the attention of staff members should be dealt with quickly without blame. Correction, if necessary, should occur privately and without the belittling another individual, especially in front of guests.

As stated, the hospitality industry is all about the experience of the guest. But the experience of the guest starts with staff morale. Nobody enjoys a cranky staff. A team of staff with high morale, who appreciate their job as well as feel appreciated, will go a long way toward creating a positive experience for guests.


Carla C. Burton is a self-employed Travel and Hospitality writer with a BBA in Business Administration from Bond University. Although a Gold Coast native, Carla moved to Melbourne in 2008 to further her writing career in the Travel industry. Carla has become a top contributor to many travel blogs world-wide and thoroughly enjoys the freedom that self-employment has provided her.