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Managing Hospitality Organizations

Managing Hospitality Organizations
Achieving Excellence in the Guest Experience

Second Edition

January 2019 | 576 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“A perfect book for any Hospitality program, excellent instructor support, and a good resource for students.” 
–Denise A. Braley, Mitchell College

Today’s economy is dominated by the rapidly growing service sector. Even businesses primarily selling goods are reinventing their image and positioning themselves as service providers. Managing Hospitality Organizations: Achieving Excellence in the Guest Experience takes students on a journey through the evolving service industry. Each chapter focuses on a core principle of hospitality management and is packed with practical advice, examples, and cases from some of the best companies in the service sector. Authors Robert C. Ford and Michael C. Sturman emphasize the critical importance of focusing on the guest and creating that unforgettable customer experience. Whether your students will be managing a neighborhood café, a convention center, or a high-end resort hotel, they will learn invaluable skills for managing the guest experience in today’s ultracompetitive environment.

The Second Edition includes new coverage of technology, sustainability, sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion, and ethical leadership. 

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About the Authors
1. The Basics of Wow! The Guest Knows Best

Guestology: What is it?

The Guest Experience

Guest Expectations

Quality, Value, and Cost Defined

The Importance of Guestology

Lessons Learned

2. Meeting Guest Expectations through Planning

Three Generic Strategies

The Hospitality Planning Cycle

Assessing the Environment

Assessing the Organization Itself: The Internal Assessment

Vision and Mission Statements

Developing the Service Strategy

Action Plans

Involving Employees in Planning

The Uncertain Future

Lessons Learned

3. Setting the Scene for the Guest Experience

Creating “The Show”

Why is the Environment Important?

A Model: How the Service Environment Affects the Guest

Lessons Learned

4. Developing the Hospitality Culture: Everyone Serves!

The Importance of Leaders

The Importance of Culture

Culture as a Competitive Advantage

Beliefs, Values, and Norms

Culture and the Environment

Communicating the Culture

Changing the Culture

Lessons Learned

5. Staffing for Service

The Many Employees of the Hospitality Industry

The First Step: Study the Job

The Second Step: Recruit a Pool of Qualified Candidates

The Third Step: Select the Best Candidate

The Fourth Step: Hire the Best Applicant

The Fifth Step: Make the New Hire Feel Welcome

The Sixth Step: Turnover—Retaining the Best and Selecting People out of an Organization

Lessons Learned

6. Training and Developing Employees to Serve

Employee Training

Developing a Training Program

Types of Training

Training Methods

Challenges and Pitfalls of Training

Employee Development

Lessons Learned

7. Serving with a Smile: Motivating Exceptional Service

Motivating Employees

The Needs People Have

The Rewards Managers can Provide

Ways Rewards Can Motivate

How Managers and Leaders Provide the Right Direction

Lessons Learned

8. Involving the Guest: The Co-Creation of Value

The Guest Can Help!

Strategies for Involving the Guest

Determining Where Co-Production Makes Sense

One Last Point: Firing the Guest

Lessons Learned

Section III. The Hospitality Service Delivery System
9. Communicating for Service

The Challenge of Managing Information

Information and the Service Product

Information and the Service Setting

Information and the Delivery System

Decision Support Systems

The Hospitality Organization as an Information System

Lessons Learned

10. Planning the Service Delivery System

Planning and Designing the Service Delivery System

Developing the Service Delivery System

Planning Techniques

Targeting Specific Problem Areas in Service Delivery Systems

Lessons Learned

11. Waiting for Service

Capacity and Psychology: Keys to Managing Lines

Queuing Theory: Managing the Reality of the Wait

Managing the Perception of the Wait

Service Value and the Wait

Lessons Learned

12. Measuring and Managing Service Delivery

Techniques and Methods for Assessing Service Quality

Measuring Service Quality After the Experience


Finding and Using the Technique that Fits

Lessons Learned

13. Fixing Service Failures

Service Failures: Types, Where, and Why

The Importance of Fixing Service Failures

Dealing With Service Failures

Recovering From Service Failure

Lessons Learned

14. Service Excellence: Leading the Way to Wow!

The Three Ss: Strategy, Staffing, and Systems

Hospitality and the Future

Leading the Way Into the Future

Leading and Managing

It all Begins—and Ends—with the Guest

Lessons Learned

Additional Readings


Instructor Resource Site

Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected)

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students. 

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Sample course syllabi provide suggested models for structuring your courses
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course 
  • The Instructor's Manual contains numerous resources for each chapter, including lecture outlines, answers to review questions, suggested activities, suggested discussion topics for Ethics in Business Feature, and case notes. These resources are collated in the Instructor's Manual files, and are also available separately on this website.
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • Additional Readings provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.
Student Study Site

Student Study Site (Open Access)

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts 
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow students to independently assess their mastery of course material
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Multimedia resources facilitate student use of Internet resources, further exploration of topics, and responses to critical thinking questions
  • Additional Readings for further study.

“A perfect book for any Hospitality program, excellent instructor support, and a good resource for students.” 

Denise A. Braley
Mitchell College

“The book is a great addition to both classroom instruction and scholarly literature of the hospitality and service field. It covers various management tactics on service responsibilities, problems, and approaches to solutions. It challenges readers to identify issues associated with the problem and think outside the box to solve problems in the workplace. This is one of the most needed and highest-quality books we have in the field.” 

Wei Wang
University of Southern Mississippi

“This detail oriented book not only covers key concepts but utilizes real-life examples to make the content more convincing and validated. It is also a good book for in-class discussions and application practices.”

Chih-Lun Yen
Ball State University

“A wide-ranging comprehensive text, looking at key contemporary issues in hospitality.”

Alistair Williams
Johnson & Wales University

“We all know how important it is to turn customers into "Raving Fans"—but getting everyone in an organization on board takes thoughtful action. Managing Hospitality Organizations offers fourteen principles of service that prove when you serve your people well, they will pass that service on to your customers. Whether you are a student or a manager on the front lines, if you want to create “Raving Fans”, this book is for you!”

Ken Blanchard
coauthor of The New One Minute Manager®, Raving Fans®, and Servant Leadership in Action

“Although Bob credits me as the ‘Father of Guestology’, he and Mike have developed the concept of Guestology into an entire book that perfectly captures what it means to manage an organization from the guest's point of view. This is an excellent text to learn how to use the management philosophy I and my team pioneered to ensure that in every phase of the business, from the planning and design of new parks and attractions to their everyday operations, all Disney cast members are focused on satisfying and exceeding the Guest's wants, needs, and expectations."

Bruce Laval

"The second edition of Robert Ford and Michael C. Sturman's excellent text, Managing Hospitality Organizations, is a must read for students pursuing careers in the business of hospitality and the faculty who facilitate their learning. This new edition retains the right mix of theory and practice that students need, call it the art and science of hospitality, while incorporating key changes to how hospitality businesses interact with and satisfy their customers today, including the evolving role of technology in service strategies, systems and staffing and the changing nature of customers themselves. I congratulate the authors on a job well done!"  

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D., President
John Carroll University, Dean and E.M. Statler Professor Emeritus, Cornell School of Hotel Administration
Key features


  • New coverage of innovations in technology and sustainability, including expanded coverage on mobile apps, big data, data analytics, virtual reality, social media, and eco-innovation, which are important topics in our modern hospitality world
  • Updated coverage on generational differences, including millennials and generation Z 
  • Current cases and examples from well-known companies like Lyft, Whole Foods, Amazon, Wendy’s, and Southwest Airlines that are leading the service industry today
  • New and expanded coverage on important topics like emotional labor, sexual harassment, cultural differences, and equity that hospitality managers have to address in their organizations
  • Learning objectives that help students fully understand what they should get out of each chapter
  • Updated readings, references, and photos throughout giving students additional coverage and application of the content


  • A structure based on three core hospitality management functions: strategy, staffing, and systems, allows students to see how these functions relate to each other and to the guest 
  • Each chapter focuses on one proven principle of hospitality management such as sustaining a total service culture or hiring people who love to serve   
  • Examples, Case Studies, Activities, and Ethical Scenarios provide students with ample opportunities to see core principles in action 
  • Woven throughout the book is a strong emphasis on how creating an excellent guest experience can translate into a sustainable competitive advantage 

For instructors

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