Language Learning: Getting the Point Across

Language Learning: Getting the Point Across

Service is king in the hospitality industry. Competition is relentless. An advantage that can be leveraged that truly impacts customer satisfaction can result in longer stays, return visits and directly affect the bottom line.

Continually providing quality service and seeking ways to improve are clearly top priorities in the industry; however, the means to achieve these objectives are not always clear and well-defined.

LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels management stepped back to re-examine its objectives and identified language barriers as an obstacle affecting many facets of the organization — communicating with guests, level of service rendered to guests, dialogue among associates, and overall communication. Miscommunication between associates themselves and with guests often results in tasks not being completed accurately and guests’ needs not being fully met, thereby creating the potential for workplace and guest dissatisfaction. This, too, directly affects the bottom line.

LXR needed a way to overcome the language barriers. 

The decision was made to acquire a language learning tool that could be used throughout all 30 properties to improve language skills and bridge communication gaps; but what type of tool?

Mark Eggers, LXR’s senior director of training services, wanted a solution that is “engaging and has lots of versatility. If people aren’t engaged or enjoying [it], they aren’t going to learn.” The interactive capabilities of technology-based solutions steered him to software. He and LXR selected TELL ME MORE Corporate powered by Auralog “because it is self-paced, highly engaging, online-accessible and has a wide variety of activity types.”

READY, SET, COMMUNICATE!

Paola Guerrero, HR trainingmanager and LXR servicecoach, says that implementation of software went smoothly. A small group of managersand associates successfullypiloted TELL ME MORE priorto company roll-out.

“Due to the success of thepilot, we decided to move forward with a customized program for LXR that was created in a way that we can offer a blended approach with online group classes and classroom style while incorporating content relevant to the hospitality industry,” says Guerrero.

Industry-specific content customized for LXR called “Jobs in the Hotel Industry” explores the various facets of everyday operations of a hotel. LearningLanguage Learning modules include banquet, housekeeping, landscaping, laundry department, steward, general and in-house vocabularies. Learning paths address conversations with guests, events and locations, staff, safety, maintenance, janitorial tasks and other hotel-related objects and situations. Three additional modules are in development that will focus on cafeteria, public areas and service culture.

Reinvesting in human capital demonstrates LXR’s commitment to training, employee satisfaction and enrichment. Improving the language skills of its staff will have a direct impact on the quality service delivered to guests and fellow associates.

LXR was very smart about introducing and promoting the opportunity for language learning. Guerrero explains that the complimentary language training was “presented as an employee benefit and promoted in new-hire and management orientations.” Nicole Jantze, vice president of Service Talent Acquisition, explains that “the messages about the new benefit conveyed that the language training provided them the opportunity to grow their proficiency and even learn a new language.”

FIVE-STAR RESULTS

Since July 2006, TELL ME MORE has been available to all associates at every North American LXR property. Due to the anytime/anywhere online accessibility, associates have the opportunity to work in the solution from home as well as in the on-site classrooms. More than 70 associates are strengthening their skills in ESL (English as a Second Language), Spanish and French.

The hospitality-industry custom content enables learners to combine their language learning with skill acquisition that is relevant to their workplace and positions.

Language Learning Challenge & SolutionWhen accessing reports from the Teacher Tool portal, trainers have observed some individual and group learning trends, in addition to spending time with learners in the classroom. Learners are spending a great deal of time in activities that utilize speech recognition and SETS (Spoken Error Tracking System). Trainers particularly like how the solution uses the power of speech recognition to enable learners to repeat what the native speaker says and record their own responses. As a learning tool, SETS identifies letters and syllables that learners may be struggling with and focuses on them for further practice which is helping improve pronunciation. “These exercises are engaging and keep them coming back for more,” says Eggers.

Assessment tests are being taken, and progression in skill level is evident. “Additionally, other managers and I have seen an increased confidence and pride in the associates who are taking advantage of the language learning and working in TELL ME MORE. This only helps us as an organization,” Eggers explains. “Confident associates interact better with each other — and especially with our guests. An associate who can understand someone else’s language can better satisfy their needs and truly makes every guest’s stay more personal and memorable.”

Personal service, great memories, return stays, happy employees, increased revenue. That’s priceless in any language.

—To learn more about TELL ME MORE language learning solutions, visit the Website www.tellmemore.com. Check out LXR Luxury Resorts and Hotels at www.LuxuryResorts.com.

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