Alchemists once searched for a substance that could turn base metals into silver or gold. The meaning, also known as “the philosopher’s stone,” was believed to be able to grant immortality. The Great Work was the name given to efforts made to find it. Alchemy and philosopher’s stones are now relegated to a historical curiosity. They only appear in Harry Potter movies.
Alchemy’s symbolic impulse is still relevant. For example, hoteliers always look for that panacea that will turn an ailing property into gold. Renovations and amenities that are thoughtfully put us on the right track. Direct bookings and higher guest loyalty levels get us closer. We are getting closer when we discuss the interactions between guests and employees. A motivated and inspired team is the key to running a successful hotel. The best finish in the universe will only do you good if your employees are motivated.
What if we went one step further? What if we began to pay attention to our employees’ health and wellbeing and the performance of hotels? Could this be the “philosopher’s stone” of the hotel industry — having healthier, fitter, and happier employees?
Several notable brands have already said yes. Marriott International’s employee wellness program, TakeCare, has significantly increased customer satisfaction over the past few years. For instance, Marriott Suites Maharashtra in India showed that the wellness program led to a 13% increase in guest satisfaction in just one year. The company also claims it has benefited from “higher associate engagement” and “cost savings due to lower medical claims.”
Marriott’s TakeCare Program is a range of programs available to Marriott associates. These include fitness, nutrition, stress, weight management, quit-smoking programs, and programs to improve financial health. The American Heart Association has recognized the company for its efforts, which are grouped under the corporate responsibility banner.
The Ritz Carlton, in Chengdu (China), is another excellent example of Marriott’s increased attention to employee wellbeing. This property also hosts yoga classes for its employees and ping-pong tournaments. It partners with local organizations to hold a 5K race to benefit children. Hyatt is included, too. The Hyatt Regency San Francisco gives fitness bracelets to their associates and holds fitness competitions between different Hyatt hotels in the area.
Are these hospitality alchemists on the right path? The benefits of demonstrating that your workplace is progressive and focuses on people and action rather than bland corporate statements are almost beyond count. Your existing employees will feel and look better. Your employees will be motivated to do excellent work and interact positively with your guests. Your reputation in the job market will also improve. You will attract better talent as a result.