GENEVA — Metrics are crucial to hotels. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And the types of measurements hotels require are mind boggling. There are so many standards to be met, ranging from food safety to security and risk management; from energy usage to sustainable food management; and from guest service scores to TripAdvisor ratings. On top of that are brand standards for everything from sheet quality to wastebasket specifications.
Geneva-based SGS Group Management Ltd. is one of the world’s largest inspection, verification, testing and certification companies, with 80,000 employees and 1,650 offices and testing laboratories. Their range of services goes far beyond hospitality, and includes oil and gas, consumer and medical testing, sustainability and the environment.
With such a broad, global reach, they are able to offer many services through one company. Their hospitality clients include McDonalds, Coke, Unilever and Nestlé on the foodservice side, and IHG, Accor and Starwood on the hotel side.
“It’s a one stop shop,” Peter Hvidberg, global business manager for travel and hospitality, told CLN in a telephone interview. “There are a lot of players out there, including B&V, Intertek, Diversey, LIA and hotels with their own consulting companies, but very few can offer a one stop shop.”
Travellers’ safety at all times has to be the number one priority for any hospitality business. Any issues with the management of confidential customer information, food intoxication, water or air contamination as well as infrastructure or security incidents can negatively affect a hotel’s brand and operations.
SGS has developed its own Hospitality Excellence Program, built around the HACCP program, with modules dealing with all aspects of food sourcing, management and preparation, plus hygiene and cleanliness of storage, preparation and serving areas.
SGS can offer swabbing of restaurant and hotel surfaces, swimming pool water testing, and testing of water pipes. They can test food from suppliers, and can drill holes and test for asbestos.
“Managers and chains get a lot of complaints regarding outbreaks, and everyone blames the hotel general manager even if it didn’t come from them,” said Hvidberg.
Sustainability is often a deciding factor when travellers choose service providers, destinations and hotels. Environmental impacts such as the energy and water used and the approach taken to employee welfare, waste management, and integration with local communities all play a key role in influencing customer and stakeholder perceptions of brand value.
SGS services include environmental auditing. There is a social-environmental package for new hotels in remote areas, showing how to work with the community and where to source suppliers. Sustainability can also include ways to minimize the amount of food that goes out at a buffet and that goes back to the kitchen.
SGS also looks at service, providing training, performance assessments, mystery guests, and analyzing social media ratings and evaluations. They have developed their own performance checklist, or can provide second party audits using systems such as Medallia.
“Nobody else is trying to bundle, and nobody has the global reach that we do,” said Hvidberg.
Some big chains require services in several regions. That’s where SGS’s global reach can come into play.
With a presence in nearly every single region around the globe, SGS experts speak the local language, understand the culture of the local market and operate consistently and reliably, the company stressed in their promo brochure.