Inside Delta // The Hospitality Economy
By: Susan Salgado, Managing Director of Hospitality Quotient
I remember the first time I visited Union Square Cafe, on a busy Friday night in 1992. The restaurant was abuzz with lively diners, and even though the staff appeared incredibly busy, we were greeted with undivided attention and a memorably warm welcome. The experience inspired my husband and me to make a tradition of dining at the bar every other week even though at the time we lived nearly 100 miles away in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
That initial visit was the start of a very long relationship for me with Danny Meyer’s larger organization, Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG.) Wanting to dig deeper into the underlying culture that results in unmatched guest experiences in Danny’s restaurants, I completed my doctoral dissertation on USHG’s culture of hospitality at NYU’s Stern School, and in 2003, became the company’s first-ever Director of Culture and Learning. As such, it was my job to establish systems and structures to support and grow the amazing culture of hospitality that Danny had created organically in his restaurants.
Today, as the Founder and Managing Director of Hospitality Quotient (HQ), the learning and consulting arm of USHG, I lead a team that helps other organizations across industries (from healthcare, to education, retail, entertainment, and now, airlines) transform customer experiences through a deeply-rooted culture of hospitality. We are very proud to have recently entered into a partnership with Delta Airlines, which will roll out in the coming months.
At HQ, we believe that this is the age of the Hospitality Economy. Superior products and excellent service are no longer enough to distinguish any business. As much as airline companies compete on service—from baggage handling, to on-time flights, to onboard amenities—what really distinguishes organizations in the commoditized airline market is the customer experience. At HQ, we know that the difference between a good customer experience and a great one lies in the hospitality that is demonstrated by each and every member of the team. A true culture of hospitality must be genuinely embodied from the inside of an organization out.
That’s why we’re so excited to work with Delta, a process that will begin with an in-depth discovery phase and lead to one-size-fits-one leadership development and training opportunities. At USHG, we’ve always admired Delta’s devotion to excellent customer service. Together with Delta, we look forward to ensuring a sustainable competitive advantage with a culture of caring and thoughtful hospitality—and in doing so, making the in-flight experience even more enjoyable for Delta’s customers.
Read more about the Delta - Union Square Hospitality Group partnership in the Delta Newsroom.