Portman Hotel Case Study
1. What is the PV system trying to accomplish? What are its business goals? (.5 point)
The Portman Hotel was trying to bring the personal attention to detail and service that is commonly found in Asian luxury hotels, to the American hotel scene (Heckscher, 1986). Every aspect of the hotel would borrow elements from the Asian culture, including not only its architecture but also the way that it runs its day to day operations (Heckscher, 1986). Its business goals were “to build a company providing high quality at affordable rates and to do this quickly and against strong competition” (Heckscher, 1986).
Their goals were threefold, (1) they wanted to bring a new standard of quality, (2) they wanted their guests to have more than a normal …show more content…
The system was designed with very minimal layers of management. Each PV was considered equal with only one manager between the PVs and upper management. Its intention was to lower management overhead, but was a key downfall in its overall success (Heckscher, 1986). The Portman Hotel’s belief that “the caliber of service depended directly on the caliber of the people” (Heckscher, 1986) demonstrates that recruiting played a key role in the original strategy of maximizing service while minimizing overhead. Training was supposed to play a large role in this strategy. “Each PV in the initial group received a two-week training course. Part was on cleaning rooms; part was on other skills needed in their job, such as mixing drinks; and part was on how to judge a guest’s personality so as to know what kind of service to provide” (Heckscher, 1986). In addition, the case study mentions that each PV is only responsible for five rooms, while the average hotel’s maid is responsible for sixteen …show more content…
cleaning rooms only). The lower wages were to be supplemented with tips, in the range of $200 per week, but in actuality the case study says this number is closer to $40. “In an effort at re-education, the hotel briefly tried leaving a letter in each guest’s room explain the role of the valets and suggesting an appropriate tip; but this made guest uncomfortable and was soon discontinued” (Heckscher, 1986). The hotel management was not prepared for the American response to such elaborate guest services. While the services were revolutionary as intended, the American customers were not tipping at the projected high rate.
The American labor market itself isn’t always in alignment with the Portman Hotel’s way of doing business. American luxury hotels cost more, meaning a smaller portion of the tips were left for the PVs. Also, in America most companies commonly work with unions, yet management felt that the “associate contracts” were sufficient to protect the workers’ rights, and thus they didn’t need to work with the unions. This practice proved inefficient.. The management’s lack of trust and fear of the labor unions created unnecessary tension between themselves and the