Over the past several months, the basic building blocks for development of key performance indicator (KPI) targets and threshold levels have been introduced and discussed. Both KPI x-bar charts and KPI range charts  were profiled in detail  (see the May and June issues of DM Review, respectively). This knowledge will now be leveraged to illustrate a real world case study in the hospitality industry - the challenge to effectively track and manage reservation wait times, an important success ingredient for retaining existing customers and acquiring first-time customers. Keep in mind that the Six Sigma control chart techniques presented here could also be extended to similar venues such as call centers, help desks and service repair. In fact, any KPI metric that emanates from a process with normally distributed observations is a candidate for this control chart approach.

During the last decade, the reduction in business travel and the cyclical nature of the hospitality industry has challenged management to develop creative branding approaches (nap hotels, executive apartments, HHonors Rewards/frequent guest programs), superior accommodations (Heavenly Beds/Grand Beds, digital HDTV, high speed Internet) and optimized operations (Energy Star compliancy, weekly commission payments). Throughout the hospitality industry, the mantra of "excellence" is consistently mentioned as the key ingredient to success. All the major players have imbued their vision statements and core values with references to pride, spirit, integrity, quality and consistency - all imperative inputs to the excellence equation. The value statement for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. specifically mentions a "passion for excellence" and "encouraged innovation." In the search for performance management excellence, the Hilton Hotels Corporation has implemented a balanced scorecard that incorporates revenue maximization, operational effectiveness and brand management. The culture at Marriott International, Inc. prides itself on its reputation for superior customer service - "people serving people."

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