The up-market hospitality sector is becoming increasingly competitive. There is far less disposable income than this time last year and any ‘spare’ money there is available is being spent far more cannily.
The entire population is being hit, including those who traditionally had mounds of disposable income such as ladies that lunch and high-flying executives. These are people who, just a few months ago, would not have blinked an eyelid at spending a couple of hundred pounds on a lavish meal and wine for lunch, or footing the bill to stay in a deluxe hotel rather than a standard business travel hotel.
In this increasingly competitive market all businesses, not just those in the hospitality sector, need to be at the very top of their game and pay attention to the small touches that have a significant impact.
Staff image may seem trivial in times of economic woe, but that is far from the case.
Top quality uniforms are a must. Cheap nylon suits, baggy shirts and too long trousers portray a poor image. Top quality surroundings should not house staff in old-fashioned, uncomfortable and cheap looking uniforms.
It is vitally important staff where their uniforms well. Someone can wear a luxurious item, but a slobby personal appearance can cheapen the look significantly. That is why managers need to maintain stricter than strict standards when it comes to personal hygiene, make-up and jewellery.
Staff image is intertwined with corporate image – a key factor to success. The moment standards start to slip a company is on the fast track to business disaster.
There are ten things I think must be rigorously maintained:
• Clothes must be cleaned and ironed
• Impeccable personal hygiene is a must
• Wear garments that fit correctly – don’t squeeze into a smaller size
• Long hair to be tied up in a neat ponytail
• Trousers tailored to perfect length
• No garish jewellery
• Neatly knotted ties, worn at the correct length
• Clean hands and nails
• Wear socks that blend in with uniform
• Muted make-up and tidy facial hair
All businesses must bear these principles in mind if they wish to succeed in this tough economic climate. A great staff image exudes confidence, professionalism and a top-quality service.
To remain a top player during this tough period, businesses must be at the top of their game. Paying attention to the finer details will place them there.
Gill Eastgate is Managing Director of Edinburgh-based NKD Clothing. The company supplies bespoke uniforms and corporate wear to clients such as the De Vere and Malmaison hotel groups.