Fall 2015: Using Hospitality & Excellence to Drive Innovation and Program Participant Engagement

*Notes taken from presentation presented by Neal Pire, MA, FACSM. Please contact presenter for more information on the presentation*

Presenter Story:  Aimsley is a receptionist whom he met while visiting the Plaza Hotel in NY For Business. He speaks about the excitement in the Aimsley's voice each and every time a question was asked or a person walked out the elevator no matter if it was a visitor or a coworker. Aimsley's job was to exceed expectations and make you feel special.

When you exceed expectations and make someone feel special in the field of health & fitness:

Engagement ^

 Retention ^

Attendance ^ 

Referrals ^

Participation ^

Take Home Messages

  • A participant is equal to being a customer
  • You must invest in their time
  • Make sure you are dealing in Reality
    • seeing through their eyes
  • Don't expect what you don't inspect
    • KPI (Key Performance Indictators)
  • Service Rules!
    • Basic Hospitality Creates Experience

Perception is Reality

Presenter story: Once I visited a gym run by 2 brothers who were on the floor everyday talking to people, answering questions,cleaning and building relationships with their members. As time past they started to realize that their lease was soon to be up and they wanted to find a better space and better deal. Soon they began to retreat to their offices all day interviewing potentials and slowly they lost touch with their gym and its members. The equipment became poor, the locker rooms were horrendous and many members were unhappy. Through it all their was one member I decided to talk to because I wanted to know why she remained and her answer was, "My friends were there."

Remember it is about the customers view. Don't blindly accept what you perceive as reality.

See Business Through Customer's Eyes

  • Be enlightened Partner "MBWA" (manage by walking around"
  • Utilize a comment box to see what your customer/member wants
    • Make sure everyone knows when you respond/fix a problem
  • Have a focus group to choose certain aspects of development for the gym
  • Member Advisory Committee- connect members to the business for growth
  • Surveys- venues such a Survey Monkey can help you connect with members' wants

A Leader's 4 Most Powerful Words

What Do You Think?
  • Customer response: "He cares about me?
  • Employee: " I matter."

Most Companies Have No Idea!

80% of companies described the service they provide as Superior while only 8% of their customers actually described it as such.

Can You Handle the Truth?

The people that will lead us to the promise land are:

  • Disgruntled Customers whom problems you must solve
  • Off the Scope Competitors who think outside the box
  • Rogue Employees who are creative in their approach
  • Fringe Suppliers
  • To innovate you MUST "Think Outside The Box"
Your most unhappy customer is your greatest source of learning- Bill Gates

KPI to help "Keep It Real"

  • Customer Satisfaction score
    • Overall, how satisfied are you?
    • What do you like most?
    • What needs Improvement?
  • Net Promoter score
    • Measures loyalty: 0-1 detractor, 7-8 Passive, 9-10 Promoters
  • Why is excellent service important?
    • 9-10 What do we do well?
    • 7-8 What do we do to get a better score?
    • 0-6 What do we need to improve?
Satisfied customers are not good enough, they are not loyal; Delighted customers are. Customers have high expectations when spending is discretionary. 

Hospitality Leads to Engagement

  • Good Hospitality help keep current customers & help attract new ones
  • Customers don't purchase your service, they purchase experience
  • Disney calls it "creating moments of magic"
Presenter Story: at a hotel in Seattle Fairmont I received unexpected experiences. I got a free ride to my destination from the hotel concierge and when I got home I was met with a variety of teas, slippers, and candles waiting in my room.

Hospitality Do's

  • Eye contact
  • Smile and Polite greeting
  • Energetic Voice
  • Listen, Engage, & Educate
  • Know their name
  • Please & Thank You
  • Positive Words 
  • Mental note of Likes, Dislikes, personal details
  • Telephone Skills: Smile, Full name & Number, Thank Caller


  • No derogatory slurs
  • No sexual/religious/ethnic jokes
  • Don't Engage in distracting behavior

65% of customers are visual

  • Be in uniform with good hygiene

Check out the ACSM Career & Business Guide for more Information and advice!