The value of people, the fifth “P” of the marketing mix cannot be understated.

 In Perspective

Unwittingly, I have become a student of the 5th P of the marketing mix’  people.   A brand’s touchpoint is its people. It is the staff of a hotel that caters to guests and influences the overall customer experience. When engaged in international consulting marketing, it is not unusual to live in a hotel for weeks. Life becomes routine in a hurry, especially when English is a second or third language and you are not accustomed to cultural nuances. Hotel staff become familial.

Dining room staff are trained in the fundamentals of service. Tables are set properly, and cutlery is clean. Wait staff approach at the right time to take a beverage order, present a menu and take the order.

The grounds staff are uniformed or identified in a way that you know they are employees. Courtesy is the rule and that is present in abundance, along with the obligatory smile, and a greeting. Bar staff are well-trained in the handling of alcohol and routines are well-managed to encourage the second round.

Security is present, yet not obvious, and willing to help with accessing services offsite. Basic training is clear all the way to room service and the people who sweep the halls. It is the trivial things, however, that make the experience memorable and exceptional.

North Americans tend to speak English rapidly, and there are numerous accents. Even when hotel staff are well-schooled in the English language, there is often incorrect messaging when English-speaking guests speak too quickly and use slang and jargon common to the society from which they come. Polite staff nod and seem to understand what was said, but they really don’t understand the nuances of the language. English-speaking guests must slow their speech, speak clearly enunciating words, and use words that although simple, are not patronizing. Hotel staff who know how to help guests communicate in a friendly animated way, rate high on my list.


Grant Lee, CPM
Marketing strategy and tactics

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