I was visiting my friend Mike the other day. Mike is the owner/operator of a Helicopter Skiing business and attracts guests from all over the skiing world. These guests are attracted to Mike’s place of business because of the extra-ordinary snow conditions and the extra-ordinary all-inclusive service they receive.
There are challenges, however. Because there is a lot of snow, it snows a lot! When it is snowing, the helicopters cannot fly and the
people, who are paying $1,000 a day or more, have to sit around and wait for the weather to clear. This puts a load on the real pros in the business, the guides. Sometimes, the weather is marginal but the helicopters can fly and the guests can get out and get skiing. The responsibility of the guides is to find the best terrain possible and ensure the guests have the best possible day they can.
I visit my friend Mike quite often. We are of the same vintage and share many of the same values that are necessary in running a guest oriented business. We have been in the business for a long time and we are both still active in teaching. On this day, Mike was lamenting the lack of “entoosiasm” in his guiding staff. Mike is Austrian, you see, and while he has a great command of the English language he also has a slight German accent. I had to ask him to repeat himself a couple of times before I figured it out that he was talking about “enthusiasm.”
The winter has been a tough one with a good number of “down days” due to weather. Mike’s lament was centered on some of his professionals, his guides. As the season was winding down and the weather and conditions were testy, he was noticing a distinct lack of enthusiasm. “The guests come down here for one week,” he said, “they are enthusiastic, they are spending a lot of time and money, they deserve the very best service and every consideration. Why is it some of the staff cannot appreciate this?” He answered his own question when he continued, “Because it is a lot easier to hide and do nothing than it is to get up and do something!”
I did not have a quick and easy answer. I have seen the same thing all through the ski and golf business. I don’t know how many times I have walked into our golf clubhouse on a windy and drizzly day and seen the golf pros huddled together around a table. Their body language was giving a clear signal that they did not want to be out on the teaching range or to be bothered by anyone.
My message to you is that if you are a real pro, keep your guests needs and interest close to your heart. You have to have a passion for your sport and for your guests. And for your sake, maintain your “entoosiam”!