Monday, October 22, 2012

Portman Hotel Company Case Study

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Basic Facts of the Case

The Portman Hotel Company is characterized for being one of the most prestigious luxury hotels of America. The service given to the guests is incomparable with their competitors. The direct contact between the guests and the ¨associates¨ is unique in the hotel business. They have a new concept, were a group of employees called the Personal Valets, provide a service to the guest and are trained to predict the guest’s needs and personality.

The Most Pronounced Symptoms of Distress

The biggest concern this company has is evident. The employees are not performing as they were expected. The hotel wants to have a higher level of employee commitment and responsibility, but there isn’t a concrete plan to solve this dilemma. The Portman’s strategy says that training and motivation will not achieve some standards. That, for me, is a big problem because they are not having a good program for training the associates. They need to develop a stronger training plan to achieve what they are expecting from the member of staff.

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The Problems

The 5’Star team plan is reorganization of the personal valets. This plan is created to solve the problems the PVs have. It is a plan to put an end to the disorganization and tension there is with the different workers of the hotel. The Portman wanted the personal valets feel more comfortable with their work. This strategy was also designed to solve the problem of employees that couldn’t have a long-term relationship with the guests and having some control with the tips, which are so important for the associates. This plan didn’t happen as expected because it had some improvements at first, but still had some problems. I think this is a significant problem happening in this company. They cannot find a real solution and they still have some difficulties. There are several problems going on in this company, but this dilemma might be the one the Portman is concerned with and the one is limiting the hotel to achieve all their goals and expectations.

The Human Resources Issues

The human resource department has been trying to solve the problems the employees have. They wanted the associates to have a work ambience without concerns so that way they could perform a good work and achieve the goals the company expected from them. They tried to make the guest feel at home, helped them with everything that they need, but they cannot do their best because of their intern problems with the other associates. Every time there are more complaints from the guests, and PVs were making each time more errors. The lack of supervision may be the reason this deficiency from the associates is occurring and is another worry the company is being inflicted with. Employees are not being controlled or helped when they are performing their jobs. If they do not want to have more complains from the guests, it is essential for a good performance and a work with no errors, to have a supervisor that con control that. The associates also did not have any guidelines of discipline because the hotels philosophy did not believed to discipline poor performers. They need to change that philosophy and start training employees because that may be a strategy that can solve several problems. Other concern that I could find in the hotel was a problem with the different departments that the company had. Employees said that working with other groups from the company was a problem. The hotel was structured in a way departments could not work together because they hay different functions and was disorganized. The hotel has to break the departmentalization and make the hotel function all together to support each other and that way be able to know what is going on in the hotel. Decentralization is also a big problem. The employees feel they don’t have a person to lead to when they need help. A solution to this can help employees solve easier and faster the problems so that the guest would be helped and that way complaints will decrease.

Recruiting and Selecting

The recruiting and selection of the associates in this company is considered to be crucial to the Portman’s strategy. They are trying to find the most talented people for their company. They believe the quality of service given to their guests depended only on the excellence of the employee. The process of selection was very important so they could find the most capable employee that could satisfy the needs of the guest. The problem was that they wanted to find the perfect employee but didn’t believed in training them to be perfect. As an example, the Portman believed that friendliness could not be trained or motivated, employees had to be friendly by nature. One of the supervisors of the personal valets commented that there is no training because they are so busy. Training is very important so that the goals the company has can be accomplished. Employees need to have training time, even if they have to work and the hotel has occupancy of 100%. If the employees are

Non Human Resources Concern

The original philosophy is another concern this company has. This difficulty, unlike the other problems, is not a human resource issue. They restrict themselves to follow the philosophy and they do not believe in varying it. Many problems in the hotel can be solved if they will vary and have new strategies. One example of this may be the levels of hierarchy that were increasing in the company buy were against this philosophy. They said they will have higher costs if more levels of hierarchy were created, but that can solve some of the most severe problems they had in the company. Costs may increase, but problems may be solved and that will be worth it.


In conclusion I can predict that the most significant concerns The Portman Hotel Company has are based on low performance of the human resource department and the limitation to follow the original philosophy of the company. The Personal Valets is an impressive idea, and may be the key competitive difference for the hotel, but it needs to have a perfect performance so that the hotel can have a remarkable result and can have an Asian-style service, as they wanted to achieve that objective. The company has to work hard solving those problems and find a solution that will have instant results because of the sudden shot up occupancy they are having lately.

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