The Plaza Inn Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 May 2016

The Plaza Inn


David Bart, General Manager of the Plaza Inn, received a letter from the hotel association of which the Plaza Inn was a member. The letter stated that the hotel’s service levels did not measure up and that the front desk and reservations, two critical departments, received the worst ratings among all of the association’s properties. Unless the management of the Plaza Inn could submit a plan for guest service improvement and pass the next inspection scheduled in six months, its membership would be rescinded. In fact, at the Plaza Inn, the inability to efficiently expedite phone calls and respond to guest needs was troubling to Bart, not only from a guest service perspective, but also from the standpoint of lost revenue.


1. What structural change is indicated at the Plaza Inn?
2. How could the Plaza Inn develop a collaborative strategy?
3. How could technology help solve the problems at the front desk?
4. What changes in culture are needed at the Plaza Inn?


1. What structural change is indicated at the Plaza Inn?

The Plaza Inn was reopened in 1983 in a stable environment with little competition. However, the environment became more dynamic and uncertain. The end of David Bart’s first year at the Plaza Inn was marked by the outbreak of the Gulf War. During the first quarter of 1990, occupancy hit an all-time low of just 40%. As environmental uncertainty increases, the Plaza Inn has to become more organic and shift to a flexible, decentralized structure that emphasizes horizontal collaboration, widespread information sharing, and adaptability.

The Plaza Inn needs to be redesigned into a learning organization. Instead of David resolving all the problems, the employees would identify and solve problems. The structure would be created around horizontal workflows or processes rather than departmental functions such as sales, catering, F & B, front office, and housekeeping. The Plaza Inn could use self-directed teams which eliminate boundaries between functions because teams include members from several functional areas. Plaza Inn employees would be encouraged to resolve problems by working with one another and with customers.

2. How could the Plaza Inn develop a collaborative strategy?

The Plaza Inn is a traditional organization designed for efficient performance, and strategy is formulated by top managers like David Bart and imposed on the organization. For example, Bart decide how the Plaza Inn can best respond to competitors like the new Ritz-Carlton, efficiently use resources, and cope with environmental changes. However, if the Plaza Inn becomes a learning organization, the actions of its informed and empowered workforce would contribute to strategy development. Since the Plaza Inn’s employees are in touch with customers, suppliers, and new technology, they are best suited to identify needs and solutions for strategy making. In addition, the Plaza Inn strategy could emerge from partnerships with suppliers and customers.

3. How could technology help solve the problems at the front desk?

The front desk receptionist provides guest service, answers the phone, takes messages, and books reservations. The sales office is not connected to the computerized Property Management System (PMS). Bart believes that the front desk should perform a central function in the operation of the Inn. Rather than computerize the housekeeping, sales and catering departments, and train the managers to utilize the PMS, Bart prefers that the front desk oversees those activities. This, he believes, allowed for greater consistency and control.

Since the front desk cannot perform adequately and is costing the Inn customers, Bart should computerize sales, housekeeping and catering departments and even add a computerized check-in kiosk in the lobby to relieve the chaos at the front desk. In addition, Bart should install a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track guest interactions and allow employees to call up past service records. This would enhance customer service at the Inn and make the hotel more competitive with the Ritz-Carleton, a hotel known for its outstanding customer service. CRM would coordinate sales, marketing, and customer service so that these departments work together smoothly. The Plaza Inn could also benefit from technologies such as Web services, blogs, and social networking to enhance customer relationships.

4. What changes in culture are needed at the Plaza Inn?

The Plaza Inn needs to change from a rigid to an adaptive culture. The corporate culture is fixed, and although the Plaza Inn was highly successful in 1983 under Antoine Fluri in a stable environment, it became a victim of its success when the environment changed in 1991 during the Gulf War. The cultural values and practices that helped attain success are detrimental to effective performance in a rapidly changing environment. For example, the lack of computerization gave the Plaza Inn a small, intimate atmosphere in the 1980s, but in the current environment, it causes delays and frustration for employees and customers and is contributing to a loss of revenue.

As a learning organization, the culture of the Plaza Inn would encourage continuous improvement, and change. The Inn would adopt a mindset that would minimize boundaries within the organization. Employees would be viewed as valued contributors, allowed to develop and apply their full potential. Instead of looking for an experienced manager to head the front office and replace Laura, David Bart could help her develop the management expertise that she lacks by offering her management training. The challenge for David Bart would be to maintain stability as he actively promotes change toward a new way of thinking.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 9 May 2016

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