September 21, 2017 

Don't Fear The Word Sorry
By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng.  
This is a word you should never have to say, and yet it is one that can have a very powerful effect when used correctly.
For most well-run properties, mistakes are a rarity. While this doesn't preclude them from happening entirely (we are human after all and errors are bound to crop up during transition periods or staff turnover), apologizing is not something we do only when we are at fault.
This comes down to a debate between logic and emotions. When a guest comes to you with a grievance or compliant, they are probably not in a purely rational state of mind. Regardless of whether it was an actual error on our part or if the guests have overlooked something, we say that we're sorry in order to show humility and to empathize with their plight.
A good mantra to adhere to in this regard is: "The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always king."
Rather than shifting the blame or attempting to logically show how the hotel is absolved of culpability, just say the 'S' word then work with the guest to resolve the issue. I've witnessed this firsthand and heard stories of it countless times where the hotel staffer reacts defensively to a guest's criticism, and it never ends well. Even though it's commendable for a team member to stand up and protect the integrity of your property, I can't think of one instance where this tactic has won over a guest. In an emotionally charged debate, logical reasoning never wins.
Instead of exacerbating an issue, a quick and sincere 'sorry' is the path of least resistance. Only once you have demonstrated that you care can you politely insinuate that maybe, perhaps or possibly the hotel isn't at fault...or at least not completely so.
Moreover, this simple phrasing harks back to what it means to be a hospitality professional and dedicated to service. That word 'service' implies that you are willing and able to serve or oftentimes act subserviently to achieve a given result. Guests may not be expecting you to be at their beck and call for everything, but they will certainly appreciate that you care or are at least attempting to understand.
Sometimes the true nature of service means going beyond the mere tasks you perform and into the manner with which you perform them. Deploying the magic 'S' word in the right place will help guests see that you performing those tasks with only their best interests at heart.
One of the world's most published hospitality authors, Larry Mogelonsky is the principal of Hotel Mogul Consulting Limited 
managing a team of senior consultants. The firm delivers strategic solutions to owners and operators, helping them understand their business and profit accordingly. Larry also sits on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology. His work includes four books, "Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?" (2012), "Llamas Rule" (2013), "Hotel Llama" (2015) and "The Llama is Inn" (2017). You can reach Larry at  Reproduced with permission of the author.

Companies Are Held Accountable For I-9 Compliance
New I-9 goes into effect September 18, 2017
Employers will be held responsible for compliance with federal laws verifying that a person is authorized to work in this country. Businesses cannot use the defense that they hired someone to enforce compliance, they will be held responsible.   
Federal agencies have been turning on the heat on employers who have not been enforcing immigration laws.  
Part of that scrutiny includes audits of employer's I-9s. Also, the fines for non-compliance of Form I-9 rules have increased.   
In a recent case heard by the Ninth Circuit Court (DLS Precision Fab LLC v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 2017 WL3378997 (9th Cir. 2017), DLS Precision Fab LLC (DLS) was fined $305,000 for not following proper I-9 procedures. The court held that the company was responsible for the Human Resource Director's lack of compliance.
This case emphasizes the necessity for employers to ensure that their staff is in full compliance of I-9 procedures.
 Ensure that you are using the correct version of  Form I-9 which was implemented on September 18, 2017. It has the revision date of 07/7/17 N.
  • Follow the Form I-9 instructions and the Form I-9 Supplement to verify their accuracy.
  • Train staff members who are responsible for completing Forms I-9 to verify the accuracy and timeliness of the completion of the forms.
  • Government resources:
  • If a question arises about a Form I-9 issue, refer to legal resources to avoid further problems. This is especially important in California in light of the emphasis on enforcement and immigration protections.
CLIA members can call the FREE CLIA Helpline at 916.925.2915 with questions about the I-9 Form and other concerns.

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Joseph Fan

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In honor of our parents who made us who we are today


Excellence Awards Applications Now Available

Nominate your Property, Staff or Owner for the 2017 CLIA Excellence in Lodging and Hospitality Award

Give them the recognition they deserve!

Deadline is October 16, 2017

Save The Date!

California Lodging Expo & Conference
November 6, 2017
Hilton Concord

 These exhibitors will be at the Lodging Expo with great CLIA prices and services:

American Asian Hotel Owners Association
Timesh Patel
Heartland Payment Systems
Rodney Biggs
Lodging Finance
Mark Skolnick
Jim Zimmerman
MEP Green Design & Build LLC
Dung Vu
Peter Nguyen
Anna Ngyuen
Prem Sales LLC
Ketan Patel
Sandip Patel 
Contact: Chris Middleton at or 925.478.0929

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