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Difficult choices after the 11th of September

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 2 Novembre 2001

I left the sunshine of Capodichino a couple of hours ago, to come and plunge into the fog of Milan, where I was lucky enough to land a minute before they shut down the airport. I have been to Sorrento for the Five Star Diamond Award ceremony; the prize was awarded to the Excelsior Vittoria Hotel by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences during a beautiful ceremony, in a very special atmosphere and a unique setting, as unique as some of the historic hotels of our country. The Excelsior Vittoria Hotel has recently won the fifth star in the hotel grading system, and has now also obtained the recognition of this prestigious American institution – but most noteworthy is the company’s commitment to quality. One of the essential requisites for obtaining the Five Star Diamond Award is a philosophy based on customer service, warmth and consistent quality. In these times of uncertainty, there is much discussion on the best policy to adopt, and the winning strategy is sometimes believed to be a drastic reduction in personnel and personnel costs. The example of the Vittoria Hotel does not point in this direction. Certain Italian areas may indeed benefit from a reconversion of national tourism, and the rediscovery of places which were previously ignored in favour of exotic destinations, on condition, however, that the emerging projects are based on suitable proposals, not just marketing operations devoid of adequate contents. During the prize-awarding ceremony, the importance of polices centred on human resources has been mentioned several times – the concept is generally widely accepted in principle, but the concrete approach is often divergent and short sighted. As Alistar Telfer, President of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association, remarked in Dubai, during a stopover in a tour of Asia: “After the events of the 11th of September, hotels should not rush to cut down personnel drastically; they should rather attempt – as much as is compatible – to retain the human resources they have managed to train and develop with great effort and at a significant cost.”.

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