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Ramada Demonstrates Its Personal Best

Business Research is defined as a systemic inquiry whose objective is to provide information to solve managerial problems. Cooper and Schindler, 00 (p. 7). This paper focuses on the case Ramada Demonstrates Its Personal Best, and how good business research practices were utilized to resolve a management problem.

In 16, D. K. Shifflet conducted a survey on customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry. Most of those responding to the survey gave customer service a 7 or lower, with 10 being the highest on the scale. The management at Ramada Franchise Systems (RFS) faced the challenge of determining how they could prevent this downward trend from affecting their business. What could they do to improve customer satisfaction and deliver exceptional service?

Shifletts survey identified three areas that could affect customer satisfaction hiring, training, and motivation of employees. RFS conducted exploratory research to help define the problem. This is critical to success. As Albert Einstein said, The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution. Exploratory research typically describes the actions of a population, provides some understanding of the nature of the problems, and requires subsequent research. After this initial research, RFS determined the management question that needed an answer was, “Would developing a consistent set of standards and policies for all of the franchised properties to use for hiring, training, and motivating employees enable Ramada to deliver top-notch customer service?”


At this point, RFS used descriptive research. They contacted several companies that are recognized as leaders in the hospitality industry. They got in touch with Disney since they are noted for providing outstanding customer service and for hiring the best people. Southwest Airlines was contacted as they have captured the essence of fun in air travel. They also elicited information from Carlson Hospitality, owners of TGI Fridays, to find out why they had low employee turnover and high employee loyalty and commitment.

Ramada realized that individual property owners do their own hiring and as a result, the practice varied at each location. To help each franchise recognize and screen for energetic and goal-oriented people during the hiring process, RFS contacted Predictive Index to identify characteristics that were indicative of self-motivated performers. Additionally, the American Hotel and Motel Educational Institute was brought in to learn what other companies were doing to identify and hire the right people.

RFS also solicited input from their employees. They sent out twenty-four employees to visit 00 sites over a six-month period to talk directly to employees. Instead of using surveys, Ramada used a non-traditional approach. The meetings with the management and employees of each property resembled the opening of a new hotel - food and entertainment went along with sessions to frankly discuss issues and concerns, and to gather ideas.

The culmination of this research was a report created for each franchise. Employees felt the training methods were dull and unproductive. Using what RFS had learned from their previous research, they developed a comprehensive training initiative designed to encourage and reward employees for providing outstanding service to Ramada guests. Through instructional and interactive videos, educational speakers and certification classes, employees are trained and motivated to exceed guests expectations. The initiative also introduces employees to different career paths within the hospitality industry by offering tuition assistance and professional certification.

To document its new programs, RFS hired Unifocus to conduct in-depth surveys with the customers at each franchise property when they rolled out the Personal Best program. It also subscribes to D. K. Shifflets customer satisfaction survey.

This outline details the research process of RFS.

I. Problem Discovery and Definition

a. Read DK Shifflet’s Customer Satisfaction Survey Review

b. Defined problem to be lack of consistency in hiring, training, and motivating employees at franchises

II. Research Design

a. Interview companies known to deliver outstanding customer service

b. Interview employees to gather their ideas and concerns

III. Sampling

a. Disney

b. Southwest Airline

c. Carlson Hospitality

d. American Hotel and Motel Educational Institute

e. Employees

IV. Data Gathering

a. In-depth consulting with sample companies

b. Special, in-person sessions with employees and management

V. Data Processing and Analysis

a. Interpret the findings

VI. Conclusions and Reports

a. Communicate the research findings

i. Develop standard hiring practices

ii. Change the training methods to be more effective with self-paced, hand-on courses

iii. Implement improved motivational incentives

iv. Conduct surveys with customers � Hired Unifocus

v. Keep abreast of customer satisfaction ratings � Subscribe to Shifflet’s syndicate research

As a result of employing good business research practices to resolve a management dilemma, Ramada now gets exceptional employee service through its customer service initiative.

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