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- Who: Sandra Maisonneuve
- Website: savvy-hospitality.com
- Course Topic: HR for Hospitality
- Interesting Stats: Average monthly earnings between $6,000 and $10,000
Who are you and what course have you created?
I am a professional who has worked in hospitality operations for a very long time and has always had a keen insight into employee training. After working in various countries, I returned home in 2015 and secured a position as a professional instructor at a management and cooking school in Paris. It was there that I honed my skills in developing training content. While my students used textbooks, I realized the importance of creating visual aids to complement the books. These visual aids not only helped students grasp the concepts better but also assisted me in maintaining a focus on the primary topics.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been creating training content for a hospitality company. This content is designed for both in-person training and for uploading to their online training platform. I don’t currently offer these courses for sale on my website.
What market does your online course serve?
The online courses I create for the training platform “Litmos” at the hospitality company are specifically designed for the company’s employees, making them tailor-fit for professionals in the hospitality industry. They cater to various positions within the company, ranging from dishwashers in the restaurant to roles in marketing, HR, and finance. I meticulously design each course to address the unique needs of each department. By providing specialized training, the courses aim to enhance skill sets, improve service standards, and boost the overall efficiency of operations. They serve as an invaluable tool for employees looking to excel in their respective roles and for the company striving for excellence in the competitive world of hospitality.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
My course offers practical solutions and techniques to address specific departmental challenges.
Its primary goal is to equip employees with the tools they need to provide exceptional service and advance in their careers. Additionally, the course ensures that companies can accurately relay crucial information related to efficient work practices. While many companies have established procedures, converting these procedures into training content not only makes them easier to acknowledge but also facilitates the creation of a structured learning path. This path ensures that every new employee receives the necessary and same knowledge to perform their role to the best of their ability.
How did you get into the market?
After many years in the business as an operations manager, I often found myself pressed for time, resorting to handing out rudimentary bullet-point tasks on word sheets to new employees. It wasn’t the most effective method, and I recognized the gap in comprehensive training resources tailored to the unique demands of the hospitality industry.
My perspective changed when I worked at a school that delivered professional diplomas through apprenticeship. This role introduced me to the transformative concept of “learning by doing.” It was a revelation — not only could training be more engaging, but it could also be more impactful. This experience ignited my creativity in designing training content. I quickly grasped the significance of conveying messages that were direct and to the point, ensuring that the subjects taught could be immediately applied in practice.
Drawing from these experiences, I saw an opportunity in the market for training materials that are both informative and immediately actionable. After all, the essence of the hospitality business revolves around immediate and effective execution. Through my courses, I aim to bridge the gap between knowledge and application, ensuring employees not only understand their roles but excel in them.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
Managing training for nearly 300 employees presented significant challenges in terms of content delivery. Previously, the company’s approach was to print all materials, compile them into binders, and distribute them to the employees. However, this method proved ineffective as binders were frequently left at home, and the content often went unread. Additionally, I had no way to verify if employees were engaging with the material as intended.
Creating the online training platform revolutionized our training process. Now, with just a single click, I can deliver training content to individual employees or entire groups. The platform allows me to monitor when employees access the course and the duration of their engagement. This not only simplifies the analysis of training uptake but also enhances accountability among employees
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
I never harbored any doubts because I’ve been immersed in professional training field for nearly a decade. Creating training content is an ever-evolving task that requires continuous adjustments. That’s why I firmly believe in tailoring content to meet the specific needs of a business.
While educational institutions might lean towards a broader approach, companies stand to gain significantly more from content that’s adapted to their unique requirements. One invaluable lesson from my 25 years in the hospitality industry is the importance of adaptability. Consequently, crafting tailored content posed no challenges for me.
What’s your online course like?
My course offers a diverse blend of content.I primarily use Canva as my go-to platform for content creation, allowing me to seamlessly combine text, images, and videos into presentations. - Sandra Maisonneuve Click To Tweet
A significant portion of my course content are with videos and integrated text. Although these require more time for editing and text incorporation, they are generally well-received by employees because of their efficiency and directness.
The online training platform also equips me with various tools, such as the ability to create assessments and generate reports.
How long did it take you to create your course?
The duration for course creation varies significantly depending on the content. For instance, a video training on crafting cocktails might take me around 3 days to complete, accounting for filming the process, editing, and finalizing the content.
On the other hand, a conflict resolution training, which primarily involves providing written information on a PowerPoint, can be wrapped up in under 2 days.
However, as a general rule of thumb, I allocate about 4 days to create a course. I strive to ensure that each course is impactful and tailored to the needs of the audience. To enhance authenticity and relatability, I incorporate real pictures from the business and pair them with written procedures. When necessary, I also capture significant actions on film to serve as a recap or highlight at the end of the training.
What online course platform are you using?
Litmos link to HR software Paycor.
Do you like it?
Are there any features you wish it had?
Creation tool. Like video editing, screen recording, image writing.
A better way to create quiz and assessment. Assessment is a powerful way to test knowledge but it should also allow keep track of employee evolution.
Online training should have a way to quiz, assess/evaluate, keep track of test record and highlight area for development. So future training content can be tailord to the individual need
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
Canva, loom, and scribe cap cut.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
I like The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service” by Lee Cockerell – Written by the Executive VP of Operations for Walt Disney World, this book offers insights into providing top-notch customer service.
eCornell University’s (Online )- They offer a range of courses, including hotel management, food and beverage, and marketing
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
One of the more significant oversights I made early on was underestimating the importance of mastering content creation tools. I initially believed that simplistic content would suffice, but I quickly realized that to truly captivate and educate my audience, the material needed to be visually engaging. This realization underscored the importance of dedicating time to learn and master various platforms and tools.
Another pitfall was becoming too complacent with a single platform. Once I felt comfortable with one tool, I stopped exploring others. However, the digital landscape is ever-evolving, with new platforms and technologies emerging continually. It’s essential to stay updated and open to adopting better tools that can simplify the creation process and enhance the quality of the content.
Please share some idea of revenue.
Discussing revenue specifics can be delicate, but I’m happy to provide a general overview. I typically charge approximately $57 an hour to craft training content, with the total hours contingent upon the specific needs of each business.
To offer some context: a straightforward online course on “table setting” generally takes less than a day to film, edit, and publish. So, for such a course, the cost would be approximately $456 (considering an 8-hour workday).
On the other hand, a more comprehensive course on “guest welcoming in a hotel” could take around 4 days to complete, bringing the cost to roughly $1824. If I were to adapt the same subject for a different context, like a yoga studio where the welcoming standards might be less intricate, the course could be condensed into 2 days, costing around $912.
I average monthly earnings between $6,000 and $10,000.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
A good part goes to my family living expenses.
I am also allocating funds to drive future growth. A sizeable fraction is set aside to enhance and expand my business. I would like to refine my website and developing a robust marketing strategy. This will position me to attract more companies keen on transitioning their training to online platforms.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
The hospitality industry is undeniably challenging, but my passion for it has been unwavering. My journey, which began as a dishwasher and progressed through roles as a waitress, restaurant manager, F&B manager, and now as a professional trainer, is testament to my dedication. Creating training content has been more than just a professional endeavor; it’s been a personal mission. It allows me to encapsulate and share the very essence of what makes this industry so vibrant and fulfilling. Being able to craft content that reflects this passion is incredibly gratifying. I firmly believe that to truly thrive in this field, one needs an intrinsic passion, and through my courses, I aim to ignite that very sentiment in others
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Moving our practical courses to online formats during the Covid-19 pandemic was a big challenge. At the hospitality and cooking school in Paris where I worked, our main teaching method was ‘learning by doing’. But when the pandemic started, we couldn’t use our normal hands-on teaching methods anymore.
The school wasn’t ready for online learning, and we didn’t have the tools for online classes. This urgent situation pushed us to quickly adapt and try new things.
To get close to the feel of in-person classes, we used videos to show demonstrations and had virtual group meetings to keep students involved and recreate the classroom feeling.
At first, we all had doubts about online classes. But over time, some parts of online learning actually improved the experience for students. They liked being flexible in their learning, watching recorded lessons again, and using video setups. Some students were good with phones and tech, while others were not. This led to students sharing tips with each other. Even though these skills weren’t directly about restaurant or kitchen work, they were valuable for their professional growth
What advice do you have for people just starting out?Understand the needs and pain points of those you're training. Tailor your content to address these specific needs rather than offering generic solutions. - Sandra Maisonneuve Click To Tweet
It’s easy to get carried away and produce a lot of content quickly. However, it’s more important to focus on the quality and effectiveness of your training materials.
Early on, I could have benefited from seeking more feedback on my courses. Constructive feedback helps identify areas of improvement and can guide course adjustments.