Joseph S. Khairallah
Chief operating officer, Marcus Hotels & Resorts
100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1950, Milwaukee
Joseph S. Khairallah is chief operating officer of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a leading national hotel management company based in Milwaukee and part of Marcus Corp. He believes that while technology has an important role in today’s business world, it can never replace personal service.
“Regardless of the business we are in, it is all about the customer experience. Meeting or exceeding customer expectations wins new customers and keeps existing customers coming back. Technology is a great tool that helps us to do that.
“For example, in the tourism industry, consumers are accustomed to making their airline and hotel reservations online. They expect Wi-Fi access in every hotel and restaurant. At The Pfister Hotel, we even have a ‘mobile butler’ program, whereby guests can text their requests 24/7 to our associates.
“But high-tech is not completely high touch. Technology does not provide a friendly smile or a warm welcome. It does not anticipate or identify unique customer needs. It does not recognize the significance of a wedding day, a major business achievement or a weekend getaway. It is our people who do that – our associates who know how to make customers feel uniquely special, liked and valued.
“At Marcus Hotels & Resorts, we are in the business of serving customers and creating memories. We say that because the one thing that our guests take away is the memory of their experience. Does technology have a role in that experience? Of course it does. But it is the human touch, the person-to-person interaction, that gives our properties personality – and makes those memories the best they can be.
“Maya Angelou said it well: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’”