13 Books Every Hotelier Should Read

Like any industry, hospitality is constantly changing, especially with the emergence of new technologies and evolving approaches to travel. That’s why it’s important that hoteliers stay on top of customer service techniques and continually hone their expertise, be it in the guest experience, hotel management, or in emerging technologies.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 13 must-read books for hoteliers that will help them become masters of their craft.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

To some, Carnegie’s 1936 work is the Bible of customer service, and its teachings are still relevant to this day. It lays out the fundamentals in handling people and persuading others to one’s line of thinking; it will, Carnegie claims in a list of 12 guarantees at the beginning of the book, “enable you to win new clients” and “help you to handle complaints [and] avoid arguments.” 

100 Tips for Hoteliers: What Every Successful Hotel Professional Needs to Know and Do by Peter J. Venison

Himself a hotelier, frequent hotel guest, and author of the best-selling Hotel Management, Venison lays out practical tips, tricks, and advice on everything from designing a hotel, to opening one, to running one.

Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience by Jonathan Tisch

The CEO of Loews Hotels know a lot about what it takes to make guests happy. Among his many nuggets of advice, he highlights the role of technology in making meaningful connections with guests, as well as how to perfect what he calls “the art of the welcome” both in person and digitally.

The Spirit to Serve by J.W. Marriott and Kathy Ann Brown

The founder of what has become the world’s largest hotel brand delivers wisdom he acquired over the years that helped him build his hotel empire. He boils it down into 12 lessons that hoteliers of all stripes can use for their own success.

The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli

This book takes the reader behind the scenes at the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel renowned for its impeccable customer service culture. The key to its success is understanding its customers’ needs, empowering its employees (the company authorizes each employee to spend up to $2,000 to make a guest happy), and its thorough employee training regimen.

How to Run a Great Hotel by Enda Larkin

Written in the aftermath of the 2008 recession that brought new challenges to the hospitality industry, this guide for hoteliers covers four themes that drive excellence: defining a long-term vision for the hotel; effective leadership; engaging employees; and captivating customers.

Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions by Jon Taffer

The host of Bar Rescue and one of the most-respected authorities in the hospitality industry, Taffer outlines his Reaction Management strategy of handling guests. He posits that all guest reactions can be controlled to some degree by hotel staff, and that mastering this control is key to success.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by the Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni

The name Disney is synonymous with magic and making dreams come true. Understandably, it takes a robust customer experience strategy to maintain such a reputation. This book delves into the business machinery behind the curtain and highlights Disney’s strategies for enchanting their guests every time.

Without Reservations: How A Family Root Beer Stand Grew Into a Global Hotel Company by J.W. Marriott Jr.

Before Marriott was a world-class hotel brand with more than one million rooms around the world, it was a family-run root beer stand in Washington D.C. Executive Chairman Bill Marriott reveals the advice his father, founder J. Willard Marriott, left for him in a letter — advice that can help other hoteliers find their success, too.

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit by Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon

Guest loyalty, the authors contend, is the key to business success. Loyal guests are less critical of a brand’s failings. Loyal guests become brand ambassadors. Loyal guests will spend more with a brand simply because they love it. The authors divulge winning strategies that have proven effective at brands such as the Ritz-Carlton and BVLGARI.

The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon and Rick DeLisi

The authors assert that customer loyalty is more about giving guests an effortless experience than it is about trying to delight them. They argue that guests are more likely to punish a brand for bad service than they are to reward a brand for good service. Hoteliers, they say, should focus more on making service painless than on attempting to dazzle the guest.

The Amazement Revolution by Shep Hyken

A New York Times bestseller, Hyken’s book lays out seven strategies that brands can use to increase guest and employee loyalty — including making it fun for employees and creating a community of evangelists who will talk up the brand to their friends, family, and associates.

Customer Loyalty: How to Win It, How to Keep It by Jill Griffin

Griffin’s thesis revolves around guest loyalty as the core to business success. Although she touches on the various aspects of loyalty programs, she highlights the fact that loyalty is most commonly won through unique product offerings and extraordinary service.

Have you read any books for hoteliers lately that others should read? Let us know in the comments, or on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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