A Look at Discretionary Effort: A Driver for Excellence

  • December 08, 2022

One of the many things that makes The Ritz-Carlton unique is that we look at the propensity a Lady or Gentleman has for demonstrating discretionary effort – that little bit of extra effort a person chooses to exert when no one is looking. The Ritz-Carlton actively seeks out Ladies and Gentlemen who find joy and fulfillment in looking for ways to push past the basic fundamentals of their job descriptions to create special moments for guests.  It is only because we are lucky to have such committed brand advocates working daily for our guests that our culture is sustained and carried forward.

Creating lifelong memories and special “surprise and delight” moments would not be possible unless our hotels and resorts were full of Ladies and Gentlemen who refuse to be satisfied with the bare minimum.  We don’t just deliver on the functions of our jobs. Instead, we look for both big and small ways to deliver the unexpected.  That is how we create Ritz-Carlton guests for life.

A few examples:

  • A family is checking into a resort property after a long day of travel.  The General Manager, returning from a meeting, notices how tired the parents are and can see their small child is crying.  Instead of continuing to his destination, he stops to greet the family and to hand the child a small package of crayons and a coloring book from behind the front desk. 
  • A guest completed a massage at the hotel’s spa and comments on the lovely essential oil scrub used during her treatment.  After the guest leaves the spa, the spa manager packages a small portion of the scrub together with a handwritten card, and has it delivered to the guest’s room.

If any of these moments hadn’t happened, would the guests feel like something was lacking in their stay?  Certainly not. But that’s what makes these moments meaningful, not only to the guests, but to the Ladies and Gentlemen as well. 

Additionally, discretionary effort:

  • Isn’t just for guests.  It extends internally as well to other members of the hotel team, which helps to foster a sense of teamwork and lateral service across the hotel.
  • It is very difficult to learn if a person doesn’t already possess the proclivity for it.

How might modeling the concept of discretionary effort impact the culture of your organization?

Interested in learning about these foundational elements and how they can impact your organization? Explore our Virtual and Onsite solutions, and consider enrolling for our next onsite course experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta on February 28-March 1, 2023. Enrollment details can be found here.