Five years later, the Hammersmith hotel has been transformed into a four-star, state-of-the-art convention centre, revenues have soared, and employee retention and satisfaction are well above the industry average. Behind this remarkable story is Service Extraordinaire, a change programme created by a new management team that has set an example to other hotels.
The architects of this revolution - general manager Rene Angoujard, assistant general manager Isabelle Macart and HR director Helen Kalyan - started out with a vision: 'To be the best hotel in London, to be the best Novotel in the world'. They then set about building awareness and commitment among staff.
The approach taken was to listen to guests and staff through a succession of open tables and other meetings. One resulting element is a set of behavioural standards - an essential step in defining how staff were expected to act. Coaches were recruited internally to spread the message, and carefully evaluated to check that they were delivering.