Is Paying Extra for a Balcony Cabin on a Cruise Worth It?

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August 29, 2014

Note from DHSI: So, the question is this: Is it worth it to pay extra for a cabin with a balcony? In our opinion, it is a personal preference that has a lot to do with 1. how often you plan to be in your cabin and 2. the extra cost/your budget allowances. Personally, whenever our owner, Erica Rucker, takes a cruise with her Sweetheart, they ALWAYS go for a balcony cabin. There’s just no other way to wake up in the mornings with the sun rising, or kick back in the evenings and watch the sun go down!

 

CruiseCabinCruise ships are floating resorts, where passengers can get a massage, gamble through the night or check out a Vegas-style show without ever setting foot on land.

So with so much to do, do you really need a room with a balcony?

“I think it’s usually worth it,” says Mike Driscoll, editor of industry newsletter Cruise Week. “But that depends on the cruise itself, and why you’re going.”

Of course, seafarers have to figure out if a balcony is in the budget. But Driscoll says price may not be the deterrent it once was.

A few years ago, he says, “you’d be paying double to get a balcony.” Now, cabins with balconies on a standard, seven-day cruise generally cost $100 more than those with a window, and between $150 and $200 more than a stateroom inside the ship.

If you’re sailing in the Mediterranean or to another scenic destination, the view is definitely worth the money, Driscoll says.

“If you’re doing an Alaska cruise, it’s so nice out on the balcony, watching the glaciers,” he says. “You see all the people on their balconies watching the beauty go by.”

There are those vacationers who have little use for a private deck because they’re only in the cabin when it’s lights out. And a balcony may not matter much to them.

“They’ll be out in the casino and running about most of the time,” Driscoll says. “For them, it really isn’t as important.”

TRIP LENGTH A FACTOR

Marshall Jackson, a blogger for BoardingArea who lives in Atlanta, opts for a balcony depending on the length of the trip.

If it’s at least seven nights, he says, there’s more time to relax in your own outdoor space, particularly on days the ship is not in port.

But if the cruise lasts only three or four days, Jackson says, he rarely bothers to get one.

“(It) just seems like you spend so little time in your stateroom on shorter itineraries that a balcony is a waste of money,” he says.

Ellen Davis doesn’t go much for big cruise ships, preferring river cruises where balconies are the norm. And she’s not sure a balcony on a large cruise ship is worth the extra cash just to gaze out at an endless blue sea.

“Not that it’s lacking in its own beauty,” she says of the sea. “But it falls a little flat compared to watching castles float by on the Danube, or seeing children washing down their water buffalo on the Nile.”

Davis, who works in marketing and lives in Peachtree City, Ga., says, “I’d rather enjoy the ocean from the shore, watching the waves crashing, than pay extra on a big boat.”

THE BENEFITS

Others disagree and say that having more than a window to the sea has benefits Cruisebalconybeyond aesthetics.

Brian Matos, director of sales for a supply chain services company based in Frisco, Texas, is one, saying he enjoys having his own piece of the outdoors, away from the crowds.

“It really limits the claustrophobia that sometimes comes with small cabins on a cruise ship,” Matos says. “(It’s) great to be able to sit outside late at night with a glass of wine, looking at the sea and stars.”

William Rodgers, of Martinsburg, W.Va., couldn’t agree more.

“It’s usually said that the stateroom on a cruise matters little as one is never there,” he says. But he found out differently when he and his wife, Judy, decided to book a cabin with a balcony on a cruise to the western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman Island and Belize City.

“We spent more time in the stateroom than we ever expected,” Rodgers says.

While his wife slept in, Rodgers says, he would order from room service, then sit on the balcony “reading my book, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise.

“After we returned to the stateroom in the evening, my wife and I spent time together on the balcony. It was, in her words, a beautifully romantic moment each time we were there.”

Now they’re hooked, he says. “We will never cruise without a balcony again.”

Have you ever cruised with and without a balcony cabin? What are your thoughts on both? Share in the comment section below!

Be sure to take a look at 8 Unusual Cruise Ship Balconies.

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

About the Author
Charisse Jones
USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2013/04/09/is-it-worth-it-to-pay-extra-for-a-balcony-cabin-on-a-cruise/2069029/

Airfare Expert: Why Are There Different Prices on the Same Route?

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August 29, 2014

AirplaneDollarWhy would two large airlines fly the same route but sell tickets for very different prices? Perhaps the easiest way to explain is by using the analogy of gas stations on opposite corners of the same intersection.

Scenario No. 1: The price gap

One station owner looks out his window and notices the other guy’s prices are lower, so he hurries outside to move the numbers around on his sign so prices match (this, of course is the pre-digital, electronic signage era).

Airlines also tweak ticket prices. When one notices another has dropped prices, the first one quickly matches, because just as a gas station owner doesn’t want traffic to bypass his corner, no airline wants to end up on page ten of a search query while a rival flying the same route is on page one. There can be a time lag while ticket costs are getting aligned, though, and that’s when a shopper could see a price gap.

Scenario No. 2: The empty pump

A station owner’s pump runs out of gas and he has to put a bag over it (“Use next pump”). His competitor has plenty. Which station is in the better pricing position?

This happens with airlines too, as the business of managing prices and capacity is a complex one.

Scenario No. 3: When prices go up

When a gas station or airline raises prices, the competition usually scrambles to join and match the higher fares. But not always. Maybe the rivals feel a higher price PricegoesUpwill hurt demand so they sit it out.

Which puts the hike initiator, Airline A, in a difficult position since it may be all alone out there with the new higher prices for a day or so, waiting (in vain) for others to match. Meanwhile, a traveler who only shops Airline A’s site during this wait-and-see period figures all tickets on the route he wants cost the same, buys a ticket and winds up paying more than he had to.

Scenario No. 4: That little something extra

Call this the great intangible: Some corners are mysteriously better at pulling in gas station customers, while some airlines may do better with some customers even if they cost more. It may come down to strong loyalty programs or seatback TVs or maybe it’s the perception of good people and good prices (I’m looking at you, Southwest).

Another way to put it: Sometimes an airline charges more but you don’t care. What does matter is knowing all your airfare options.

Bottom line: Always compare prices

BottomLineYou can never be sure which airline has the cheapest ticket prices because no single airline always has the lowest prices. Maybe it’s worth it to you to pay a little more for certain extras but you need the whole picture right from the start to see the best deals available. That’s why you have to compare prices for air travel, just as you would in deciding which gas station gets your business.

Know of any other ways to save on airfare? Well then, by all means, share them in the comment section below so your fellow readers can start comparing and saving!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

About the Author

FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney is an airline industry insider and top media air travel resource. Follow Rick (@rickseaney) and never overpay for airfare again.

QUIZ: What Type Of Employee Are You?

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August 25, 2014

TypeofEmployeeYou’re SUPER awesome at your job, but have you ever wondered what your boss REALLY thinks of you as an employee?

Of course you have!! Who hasn’t?

Take this quiz to find out what type of employee you are at work!

1. At work, you’re typically:

(a) Serious and intense about getting things done.

(b) Excited to work on projects with your team.

(c) Unhappy and unmotivated.

2. Your mantra is:

(a) Time is money!

(b) Be good, do good.

(c) I’ll do it myself.

3. When the boss praises your work, you:

(a) Brush it off and move on to the next project.

(b) Give credit to your team.

(c) Praise? You never get credit for your hard work.

4. Your co-workers:

(a) Look up to you.

(b) Go to you for help and support.

(c) Generally don’t work with you unless it’s absolutely necessary.

5. What describes you best?

(a) Confident, responsible, and results-driven.

(b) Happy, genuine, and compatible.

(c) Irritable, jealous, and controlling.

6. What do you want to do the most?

(a) Solve problems.

(b) Support others.

(c) Be the boss.

7. When a co-worker gets a promotion, you:

(a) Congratulate them briefly and get back to work as usual.

(b) Are SO happy for them!

(c) Complain that you should’ve gotten the promotion instead.

8. Which of these are you best at?

(a) Making tough decisions under pressure.

(b) Working on a team.

(c) Working alone.

CashProductiveCartoon

Results

Mostly As: You’re the superhero!

You’re the superhero employee! Superheroes are typically serious, intense, and results-driven.

They don’t actively seek praise from others. They simply love solving problems, and they will do whatever it takes to get the job done. You’re all about results!

That said, your strong work ethic might make you seem a little cold. Here are some tips for building positive relationships in the office!

Mostly Bs: You’re the sidekick!

You’re a great team player and you genuinely want to do good work. Your co-workers go to

you when they need help because you’re extremely reliable and supportive.

It’s never about you, it’s about the cause. You’re the co-worker everyone wants!

Mostly Cs: You’re the bystander waiting for your moment.

When it comes to your job, you crave something more – something bigger.

You wish you were given more credit for your accomplishments and you have more control over your own projects. You like working alone, yet you wish you had more support.

Did you take the quiz? We’d love to know your results! Let us know how you did in the comment section below.

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

About the Author

Ariella Coombs

Ariella is the Content Manager for CAREEREALISM. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.

One Simple Dress Code Rule To Boost Your Career

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August 25, 2014

DressforJobyouWantWhether you’re job hunting, seeking a promotion, or just want to be taken seriously at work, how you present yourself is an oft-overlooked, but integral part of the process — and you can boost your chances at impressing with one very simple rule:

Slightly overdress for your position. Just a notch. Remember the old adage: dress for the job you want, not the job you have? It’s absolutely true, because it shows you are excited and eager to be at your workplace, and that you put thought into the details, not to mention the fact that you will simply come across as more professional and competent.

So, when you’re shopping or choosing what to wear, go for the slightly nicer dress, buy a slightly nicer suit or shirt. But you still want to fit in — there’s nothing worse than turning up completely over-dressed (or indeed, under-dressed).

Before an interview, for example, find out what the company dress code is, especially for your desired position and department. Always dress up one notch better than the standard dress code; that way you will look smart and show you have made an effort without over or under dressing.

How to build a wardrobe for the job you want.

Easier said than done? Perhaps. If you’re out of work and looking for a job or Wardrobehoping to move up a level, you may worry that you can’t afford to dress for the job you want.

When budget is a concern or you simply don’t know where to begin, use these tips for building a wardrobe you can be proud of:

Stick with the classics. If you’re shopping on a budget, go for classic styles and colors that will last. Avoid trendy items for now, or save your “fashion statements” for inexpensive items you can easily replace, like colored socks or pocket squares for men, costume jewelry and scarves for women.

Learn to care for your clothes meticulously. Read the labels and follow them to the letter. Does it mean you will spend a little more time doing laundry? Probably. But your clothes will last much longer. Try to avoid buying lots of pieces that are “dry clean only” because dry cleaning can quickly become expensive.

Buy the highest quality you can afford. Price really does determine quality in many cases (up to a point). Bypass any budgetary issues by shopping for gently used items or last season’s styles. Look for a high quality consignment store in your area, which will usually have nicer pieces than thrift stores, and shop outlet malls and discount stores. Familiarize yourself with high quality brands you’d like to buy, then look for them on your discount shopping expeditions.

DressforSuccessBuy fewer, but better items. You may find you need to purchase fewer clothes to ensure better quality. Look for separates you can easily mix and match instead of dresses or matched suits. Stick with classic pieces in muted colors and patterns so that if you wear a shirt more than once a week with a different jacket or pants, people aren’t likely to notice.

Pay attention to fit. Many times the difference between a suit (or any piece of clothing) that looks expensive and one that looks cheap is all in the fit. Find a good tailor who can help adjust all of your clothes — even inexpensive ones. That extra few dollars can make a world of difference. Likewise, get to know your local shoe repair shop that can help keep shoes, belts, and purses looking new.
Look for durable fabrics including wool, cotton, silk, and linen, and avoid man-made fabrics like polyester and rayon, which will deteriorate and show wear faster.

DressforSuccessCartoonChoose multi-season pieces. When considering a new piece, think about how you can wear it in different seasons. Aim to have most of your closet be wearable on all but the deepest winter and hottest summer days rather than splurging on items that are only useful for a short time each year.

Even if you’re working at an entry level position and hope to be a senior VP someday, it is possible to dress with your desired position in mind with a little planning and creativity. Do you have any career wardrobe dos and don’ts to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

About the Author

Bernard Marr is a globally recognized expert in strategy, performance management, analytics, KPIs and big data. He helps companies and executive teams manage, measure and improve performance.

Post-Breakup Escapes: Where to Go to Get Over Your Ex

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August 22, 2014

As we go into the weekend, you might be wondering where you can go. Or….you might be planning your next vacation later on down the line. Here is a list of location ideas that we thought would be useful, even if you didn’t break up! ~DHSI

Road2RecoveryThere’s no way around it — getting dumped stinks. But the silver lining is that it’s a great excuse to get away for a few days. We scoured the globe and found the best places to get over your good-for-nothing ex. By the time you get home, you’ll have forgotten their name.

Tensing Pen, Negril, Jamaica

When your ex broke the news, did you feel the urge to jump? Well, gone are the days of “lover’s leaps” (he/she is sooo not worth it) and here are the days of low-bridge-jumping — an exhilarating rush that’s a little like falling in love with someone new. Set in the cliffs of Negril’s West End, Tensing Pen faces the ocean TensingPenbut doesn’t have a traditional sandy beach. Instead, high, rocky cliffs descend to the pure blue water below. Guests can climb down the cliffs and swim from a handful of ladders that have been built into the cliffs, but the general consensus is that you can’t finish your stay without jumping from the long, skinny bridge about 20 feet or so above the water. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? And it doesn’t hurt to be on a sunny island while you’re getting over your ex who’s stuck at home, filled with regret.

Casa Velas Hotel Boutique, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The 80-room adults-only Casa Velas Hotel is perfectly situated amid quiet luxury in the small neighborhood of Marina Vallarta, which has a Palm Springs-meets-Beverly Hills vibe. With a gated entry, a friendly, (mostly) bilingual staff, and gorgeous rooms that more than meet the challenge posed by the surrounding CasaVelasposh ambiance, Casa Velas is a great pick for those heading to Splitsville. The best part? The hotel sometimes offers a Divorcee Package which includes accommodations in the Presidential Suite for you and your closest (single) friends, a spa treatment, a night out on the town, a farewell cocktail party (complete with a mini-coffin for your wedding ring), and a consultation with a jewelry designer to create the perfect post-marriage setting for that gorgeous engagement-ring rock. Hey, maybe you did get something out of that marriage after all!

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

If your way of getting over someone is moving onto the next, you’re going to want to head to Vegas. And no hotel does Vegas parties better than the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Aside from the notorious pool parties in the summer, the hotel is home to Vanity (just one of your ex’s many flaws), one of the hottest nightclubs in Sin City. The 14,000-square-foot nightclub features world-renowned DJs spinning until 4 a.m. for an uber-attractive crowd; HardRockbouncers keep an infamously tight velvet rope, so they practically do all of the work for you! And as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless, of course, you want to bring your dance-floor-makeout-partner-turned-significant-other home just to show your ex how forgettable they really are.

Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Florida

After a breakup, it’s time for some R&R. One of our favorite spas is the Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami. The spa sits between the pool and the beach Fontainebleauand looks like a shiny sapphire dropped from the sky. At 40,000 square feet, that’s a pretty big rock. A $35 spa pass gets you into the locker rooms, Jacuzzis, cold pool, steam room, and sauna, along with regular access to the gym. The pool, saunas, and steam rooms aren’t crammed into a corner, like they are at so many other spas, but are instead gracefully laid out in the large, trendy subterranean lair. Special treatments like massages are extra, of course, but with 30 treatment rooms, there’s no waiting in line.

To see the rest of the locations that made the break up list, click here.

Are there other locations that should have made the list? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

*Interested in being a guest blogger for us? We are looking for bloggers who have knowledge in the following areas: human resources, career & employment, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration. Send us an email to: info@diamondhospitalityservices.com. If you have your own blog, we can link back to you.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

Thriving Thursdays! Homeless Pit Bull In An Industrial Area Gets Rescued. Now THIS Is Great!

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thriving-thursday-button-medIf you are (and even if you aren’t) an animal lover, as we are, this will surely touch your heart. Pit bulls get such a bad rap these days. Watch this video to see just how gentle and loving they have the potential to be:

*video courtesy of http://www.viralnova.com

The organization that rescued Maisie is Hope for Paws, a 501 C-3 non-profit animal rescue organization. Please visit their website to learn how you can help! They are looking to adopt Maisie out to a very good home, along with other animals that have been rescued.

Don’t forget to share this post with your network. You never know who might be in the market for a new family member!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

*Interested in being a guest blogger for us? We are looking for bloggers who have knowledge in the following areas: human resources, career & employment, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration. Send us an email to: info@diamondhospitalityservices.com. If you have your own blog, we can link back to you.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

The Importance of Trust

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August 20, 2014

Have you ever found yourself in a position of realizing you hurt someone really bad but never apologized to that person? You are not alone! Apologizing to someone you hurt can be one of the hardest things you will ever do BUT it SHOULD be done. Not only will it help the other person, but it will set you free, as well. This was a beautifully written piece by Nadia Arain. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! ~DHSI

 

TrustForgive me, for when I wronged you–I didn’t know the wound I would inflict on you. I didn’t know how everyday interactions would become so difficult for you, how it would make you scared, fearful and disconcerted about even the tiniest of action where you would be required to trust. I was young, foolish and naive to act out of ego or perhaps spite, maybe even confusion to not realize that perhaps, just perhaps I may have rehashed, reheated and resurfaced terrifying, soul destroying old wounds that you carry, you hide, you are ashamed of. The years it has taken you to come to terms with them, and I have in an instant, ripped them apart, ripped apart the scab and left you bleeding, injured and wounded, deeper and yet all so consumingly, shallower than the previous time.

When I wronged you, I didn’t realize the pain someone can carry throughout a Wrongedlifetime, how something small can impact someone’s entire existence, how it can ruin someone’s perception, their life and their little day to day routine. Trust, I thought was a given, something someone was supposed to give me anyway and I thought that I could simply apologize and mend and stitch up the abyss left in your soul, the mark on your spirit and your trust in me would return. Alas, how mistaken I was.

Forgive me not for wronging you, but for my naivete in assuming that people can casually sling on their leather jacket, shades and ride off on their Harley, into the sunset without a care in the world. Those who have this ability, often end up hurting others coldly and callously, without second thought, remark, remorse or smidgen of measure. Forgive me for not knowing how I have mercilessly contributed to your every day confusion, bewildered and bemused state. But acknowledge that I did the best I could with what I had. You asked of me a gallon level but I only know how to give at a pint level unfortunately. You gave and gave of yourself what you had to give and I rejected it consistently and without a glance. That hole in your heart is tired of rejection, tired of giving it your all and someone hurts you, betrays you, fucks you over.

Right?

Right.

I cannot go back in time and mend your heart, mend your spirit or patch up a wounded spirit. But what I can do to honor the pain and trauma I caused is to acknowledge. To accept and more than anything, to admit that I indeed, in all my hideous glory at that moment in time, was so wrong and so afraid that I needed to displace my pain and anger onto someone.

And that someone so happened to be you.

I ask of you to privately accept that instead of being a coward and hiding away from you, I choose to face you regardless of how you will behave or fashion yourself in front of me. I want you despite all the irreversible damage I have caused, to know that the biggest thing is someone owning up to their mistake. Most never gather the low hanging fruit of Courage to attempt to do so. I own up to my shame, my guilt and my fear of how I will be received by a scorned, wounded and damaged heart.

My sincere apologies to you,

ReallySorryAnyone that has ever hurt you.

Share this post with your network! You never know who might needs to see this in order to move on with their lives!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

*Interested in being a guest blogger for us? We are looking for bloggers who have knowledge in the following areas: human resources, career & employment, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration. Send us an email to: info@diamondhospitalityservices.com. If you have your own blog, we can link back to you.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

About the Author

Nadia Arain is a Heart Centric Business Woman and Spiritually Conscious Entrepreneur who is a partner in dynamic growth for Spas and Salons by using life and spa liberation to catapult your lifestyle from AVERAGE To AMAZING. She is a previous day spa owner, Published Author, Business Mentor and Copywriter, She is the current Founder and CEO of The Spapreneur Consulting and her niche is Marketing and Cash Flow systems to have spas running smoothly at all times as well as being Co-Founder of HUSTLE AND FIRE : Unleash Your Passion. Her published titles include The 21st Century *Spartanite, Spa Marketing Success and His Commitment Blueprint.

Discover more of her magic for your spa at http://www.the-spapreneur.com ,today.

Throwback Tuesday: Customer Service….is it really dead?

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Throwback Tuesday

So, here we are. Three years later and we ask this question again: Is customer service really dead? Enjoy this oldie but goodie because we will be following this up with an updated article on the death, or not, of customer service. ~DHSI

 

TRUE STORY.

Reservations were made for a 4 star resort in Florida. Cost: $613.00 for 4 nights. Everything was set. I called the reservations department because I had some questions about a lower advertised rate several days after making my reservation. The agent on the line insults me by saying if I wanted a cheaper room I’d have to re-do the reservation. Obviously, I could afford to stay there since I made the reservation in the first place, but that was totally not my question! I wanted to know how I can get the lower rate and keep the same reservation since I was having problems doing it myself. The guy was becoming increasingly unprofessional and insulting.

Finally, I told this guy to listen up for a second. Advice for the future: learn to LISTEN to the customer to find out exactly what the issue is and stop out-talking the customer, as well. This way, the issue can be addressed and you won’t be sitting there looking like a fool because you just threw out a response to something that was not the issue in the first place.

I canceled the reservation.

Wow.

Might not seem like a problem to some, but when customer service is the lifeblood of your business, little things like this can make or break retaining a happy customer. I am a firm believer that customer service is dead.

Have you ever walked into a store and absolutely nobody offered a greeting? A smile? Have you ever went to check out and the cashier never said two words to you, beyond the total?

What about the cashier/clerk who feels it’s not their job to help you, the customer? Why are you in this line of work if you do not like working directly with the public?

It’s up to us small businesses to bring back customer service. The first thing I teach our team members is this: once you walk into the building to report to work, your personal issues seize to exist. It’s now all about the customers and making sure they’re taken care of. I make sure they put on the “how can we be of service to you today” hat.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts? Share a good or bad customer service experience.

Will Customer Service recover?

Stay tuned….

~DHSI

*Interested in being a guest blogger for us? We are looking for bloggers who have knowledge in the following areas: human resources, career & employment, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration. Send us an email to: info@diamondhospitalityservices.com. If you have your own blog, we can link back to you.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

The Strange, Difficult Questions CEOs Ask in Job Interviews

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August 18, 2014

WhyHireYouInterview questions: Everyone has them.

And everyone wishes they had better ones.

So I asked smart people from a variety of fields for their favorite interview question and what it tells them about the candidate.

1. Why have you had X number of jobs in Y years?

This question helps me get a full picture of the candidate’s work history. What keeps them motivated? Why, if they have, did they jump from job to job? And what is the key factor when they leave?

The answer shows me their loyalty and their reasoning process. Do they believe someone always keeps them down (managers, bosses, etc.)? Do they get bored easily?

There is nothing inherently wrong with moving from job to job — the reasons why are what matters.

2. If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great twelve months it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?

For me, the most important thing about interviews is that the interviewee interviews us. I need to know they’ve done their homework, truly understand our company and the role… and really want it.

The candidate should have enough strategic vision to not only talk about how AchieveVisionTogethergood the year has been but to answer with an eye towards that bigger-picture understanding of the company — and why they want to be here.

3. When have you been most satisfied in your life?

Except with entry-level candidates, I presume reasonable job skill and intellect. Plus I believe smart people with relevant experience adapt quickly and excel in new environments where the culture fits and inspires them. So, I concentrate on character and how well theirs matches that of my organization.

This question opens the door for a different kind of conversation where I push to see the match between life in my company and what this person needs to be their best and better in my company than he or she could be anywhere else.

4. If you got hired, loved everything about this job, and are paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?

I like to find out how much the candidate is driven by money versus working at a YesNoplace they love.

Can they be bought?

You’d be surprised by some of the answers.

5. Who is your role model, and why?

The question can reveal how introspective the candidate is about their own personal and professional development, which is a quality I have found to be highly correlated with success and ambition.

Plus it can show what attributes and behaviors the candidate aspires to.

6. What things do you not like to do?

We tend to assume people who have held a role enjoy all aspects of that role, but I’ve found that is seldom the case.

Getting an honest answer to the question requires persistence, though. I usually have to ask it a few times in different ways, but the answers are always worth the effort. For instance, I interviewed a sales candidate who said she didn’t enjoy meeting new people.

My favorite was the finance candidate who told me he hated dealing with mundane details and checking his work. Next!

Most_Significant_Accomplishment_640x360_Splash7. Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

I find that this question opens the door to further questions and enables someone to highlight themselves in a specific, non-generic way.

Plus additional questions can easily follow: What position did you hold when you achieved this accomplishment? How did it impact your growth at the company? Who else was involved and how did the accomplishment impact your team?

Discussing a single accomplishment is an easy way to open doors to additional information and insight about the person, their work habits, and how they work with others.

8. What’s your superpower… or spirit animal?

During her interview I asked my current executive assistant what was her favorite animal. She told me it was a duck, because ducks are calm on the surface and hustling like crazy getting things done under the surface.

I think this was an amazing response and a perfect description for the role of an EA. For the record, she’s been working with us for over a year now and is amazing at her job.

9. We’re constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less Improveexpensive. We leverage technology or improve processes. In other words, we strive to do more–with less. Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient, or less expensive.

Good candidates will have lots of answers to this question. Great candidates will get excited as they share their answers.

In 13 years we’ve only passed along one price increase to our customers. That’s not because our costs have decreased–quite the contrary. We’ve been able to maintain our prices because we’ve gotten better at what we do. Our team, at every level, has their ears to the ground looking for problems to solve.

Every new employee needs to do that, too.

10. Discuss a specific accomplishment you’ve achieved in a previous position that indicates you will thrive in this position.

Past performance is usually the best indicator of future success.

If the candidate can’t point to a prior accomplishment, they are unlikely to be able to accomplish much at our organization–or yours.

WhatsYourStory11. So, what’s your story?

This inane question immediately puts an interviewee on the defensive because there is no right answer or wrong answer. But there is an answer.

It’s a question that asks for a creative response. It’s an invitation to the candidate to play the game and see where it goes without worrying about the right answer. By playing along, it tells me a lot about the character, imagination, and inventiveness of the person.

The question, as obtuse as it might sound to the interviewee, is the beginning of a story and in today’s world of selling oneself, or one’s company, it’s the ability to tell a story and create a feeling that sells the brand–whether it’s a product or a person.

The way they look at me when the question is asked also tells me something about their likeability. If they act defensive, look uncomfortable, and pause longer than a few seconds, it tells me they probably take things too literally and are not broad thinkers. In our business we need broad thinkers.

12. What questions do you have for me?

I love asking this question really early in the interview–it shows me whether the candidate can think quickly on their feet, and also reveals their level of preparation and strategic thinking.

I often find you can learn more about a person based on the questions they ask versus the answers they give.

13. Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted — like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped.DontGoAsPlanned

It’s a simple question that says so much. Candidates may say they understand the importance of working as a team but that doesn’t mean they actually know how to work as a team. We need self-starters that will view their position as a partnership.

Answers tend to fall into three basic categories: 1) blame 2) self-deprecation, or 3) opportunity for growth.

Our company requires focused employees willing to wear many hats and sometimes go above and beyond the job description, so I want team players with the right attitude and approach. If the candidate points fingers, blames, goes negative on former employers, communicates with a sense of entitlement, or speaks in terms of their role as an individual as opposed to their position as a partnership, he or she won’t do well here.

But if they take responsibility and are eager to put what they have learned to work, they will thrive in our meritocracy.

What did you think of this article? Share it. Comment on it. Like it. Let us know!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

*Interested in being a guest blogger for us? We are looking for bloggers who have knowledge in the following areas: human resources, career & employment, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration. Send us an email to: info@diamondhospitalityservices.com. If you have your own blog, we can link back to you.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

 

About the Author

Tony Knopp, Spotlight Ticket Management co-founder and CEO

35 of the Best Hotel Bars

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August 15, 2014

Doing some traveling this weekend? Looking for a new place to hit up? Take a look at some of America’s best hotel bars! Below are a few of the 35. Get ready to be blown away!

Hotel bars aren’t just for the guests anymore, they are becoming cocktail destinations in their own right.—Nick Pandolfi

The NoMad Hotel, New York City

NoMadHotelBarChef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara, both originally from the renowned restaurant Eleven Madison Park, are the superstar team running this lavish spot, where mixologist Leo Robitschek, also an EMP transplant, mans the handsome mahogany bar. Bottle service, ingeniously, comes by way of rolling carts, though it would be a shame to miss cocktails like Satan’s Circus, a whiskey drink that gets a spicy kick from Thai bird chili-infused Aperol. thenomadhotel.com

Proof on Main, 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY

ProofonMainWith a fantastic chef in the kitchen, fabulous art on the walls and more than 50 bourbons on offer—it’s in Bourbon Country, after all—Proof on Main is not only Louisville’s best spot for a serious drink, but one of the country’s prime whiskey meccas. Patrons can try a flight of bourbons, sample a bourbon mash before it gets aged in a barrel or sip signature cocktails like the Ambassador’s Wife (bourbon, elderflower liqueur, vanilla-citrus Tuaca liqueur and basil). proofonmain.com

39 Degrees, Sky Hotel, Aspen, Colorado

Bar & Pool @ Sky Hotel Aspen

A crackling fireplace, heated outdoor pool and superb views of Ajax (now officially known as Aspen Mountain) are just a few of the draws at this hip après-ski spot. Another is mixologist Denis Côté’s far-ranging cocktail list, which includes classics like the sidecar, warmer-uppers like a Cognac-spiked hot chocolate, and his signature Aspen Slush, prepared with local Stranahan’s whiskey. theskyhotel.com

The Driskill Bar, Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas

DriskillThe Driskill Bar, set in Austin’s oldest and most atmospheric hotel, has button-tufted leather sofas and a gilded ceiling. But with live music that varies from the blues to honky-tonk, it’s anything but stuffy. The Driskill’s bar program makes superb use of Texan ingredients: Its signature drink mixes locally distilled Tito’s Handmade Vodka with hibiscus and agave, and fun snacks include roasted Hatch chile popcorn. driskillgrill.com

Click here to see the rest of this amazing list. Personally, we REALLY like #10 (The Chandelier Bar, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas)! It is an AMAZING sight to see at night.

Have you come across any hotel bars that should have made this list? Any favorites on THIS list? Let us know in the comment section below!

Let’s continue to shine, Everyone!

~DHSI

*If you would like to be a guest blogger on our blog, send us an email to info@diamondhospitalityservices.com.

If you would like to unearth more secrets that you need to know about your career or your next interview, http://www.diamondhospitalityblog.com is THE place to be. We also share hospitality & travel information, as well as uplifting & inspiring posts/stories. Subscribe to our blog and share it with your network. Visit http://www.diamondhospitalityservices.com to see what we are about. We are here to help and inspire!

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