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Monday, July 28, 2014

Top 10 Hotel Management Tips for the Hospitality Industry

The Hotel Industry is a fast-paced, high-pressure environment that takes a whole network of workers and departments to keep everything running smoothly. Serving a variety of purposes, hotels have the opportunity to provide customers with a great, memorable experience or be a dark spot on an otherwise great trip.

Hotel managers have the task of ensuring customers are satisfied and overseeing all of the different activities and departments of a hotel:

Here are the Top 10 Tips for Managing a Hotel:

#10 Build and lead a great team

As a hotel manager, you are only as good as the team around you. That is why forming and fostering a great team is of utmost importance. This means you need to hire people with the right skills, attitude and character that will help your team achieve your goals.

Focus on developing a culture that reflects the goals of the company. Connect with workers and be present in the life of the hotel. As a manager, a compliment and a smile go a long way to developing a positive team environment.

How to build and lead a team:
  • Hire people with the right skills and attitude to work together
  • Establish clear objectives, responsibilities and expectations of final results
  • Remove roadblocks that may prevent the team from accomplishing goals and resolve conflicts
  • Allow the team to work more independently providing support in the form of resources
  • Delegate as much as it is reasonable to do so
  • Provide timely feedback on team's progress, making corrections where necessary

#9 Always learning and improving

Hotel managers are often a jack-of-all-trades because their position forces them to be. If you do not have attitude to learn and innovate, you need to work developing that as quickly as possible.

Developing a keen eye to stop problems and areas of weakness will greatly allow your hotel to continue improving and ensure your ability to offer a satisfactory customer experience. Taking hotel management classes or sitting through training may be the best options for those wanting to know how to manage a hotel.

How to constantly learn and always improve:
  • Do a self evaluation and highlight the areas that you need to work on and where you need to excel
  • Educate yourself, learn from others and follow industry related blogs and news
  • Value employees and focus on their strengths, let them have a voice to share ideas and implement viable ones
  • Be sure staff at all levels of the organization receives adequate training and mentorship

#8 Greet your guests

Be present to those staying in your hotel and take every opportunity you have to give your guests the impression that you are on their side, ready to ensure a great experience.

Greet them at the door as they arrive and leave, welcome them as they arrive and thank them on their way out.

Be open and easily approachable, make suggestions to visitors of local areas they might like to visit or inform them of events and specials that are taking place around the hotel.

How to greet your guests:
  • Be present on premises, available and easily approachable
  • Make a good first impression, greet guests with a formal expression, always make good eye contact and remember to smile
  • Ask how you can assist them or what you can do for them
  • Follow up with the guest to ensure that they have been properly helped and if they need additional assistance

#7 Be Prepared for Emergencies

Guests expect their hotel choice to provide excellent safety and security but even the best security measures may not prevent an emergency from occurring.

With the possibility of hundreds or even thousands of people staying in your hotel, it is important that you have a clear plan for emergencies.

This includes evacuation procedures clearly marked in each room as well as a communication plan for any type of emergency.

How to be prepare for emergencies:
  • Prepare for large scale fire and a safe evacuation with an emergency action plan
  • Structure a command, control and communications outlet for an effective emergency response
  • Plan and train staff for incidents of violence, theft and crime scene management
  • Ensure that all emergency equipment and first aid kits are fully stocked and properly working

#6 Strategic Business Relationships

When running a business or organization, there is nothing as powerful as a mutually-beneficial business relationship. Brainstorm partnerships you can form and benefits you can offer the potential partner, and then go for it!

Whether it be offering guests coupons to a local restaurant, offering discounts through tourist destinations, or partnering with local universities and corporations, strategic business relationships can be a powerful way to ensure a constant stream of people are coming through your doors.

How to be build business relationship:
  • Start local, get to know your neighboring business, their services and business hours, and keep their phone number on file
  • Make recommendations to guests asking for restaurants, shopping, or local events and attractions to visit
  • Personally call the recommended businesses to inform them of a guest who is joining them and to treat them well
  • Follow up with the guests when they return and ask them if everything went well, listen to the customer response and consider making any changes to your recommendations according to negative feedback

#5 Be internet savvy
There are several reasons why hotel and restaurant management professionals need to be web savvy.

All hoteliers want to know how to better market and brand themselves. Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is great way to connect with potential customers. An example of a useful YouTube video is to make a two-minute video that captures the top 5 reasons your hotel rocks!

Make your website locally optimized for search. This is an easy way to connect your hotel to those looking for a hotel in your specific area. Submitting your hotel's address and website to online Maps and Google My Business will pay dividends for years to come.

More and more hotel reservations are booked online. For the convenience of your guests, offer online booking, and make sure your hotel is listed on sites like Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline. Connect your hotel management system to your online booking program and you are able to automatically build an email list for email marketing.

Often times a small fraction of customers who had a bad experience are more likely to write a negative review than the overwhelming majority who had a great experience. This can pose to be a problem for those in hotel and tourism management. Being aware of this and taking steps to fight this potential danger is imperative. Try offering incentive for guests to review your hotel on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other sites where reviews are posted and respond to certain complaints professionally.

How to be internet savvy:
  • Review your website, have a professional online marketer examine it's user experience and On-Page SEO, pursue the recommended corrections that makes sense
  • Use social media to promote newsworthy events and specials, post pictures, start conversations and make connections
  • Embrace online marketing, follow sites like Inbound.org and practice Local SEO, finding and building citations to grow your reach online
  • Visit popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, keep track of all comments and make an effort to correct negative responses
  • Google is your best friend, get on their map, build on your Google+ profile, integrate Analytics and Webmaster Tools with your site for metrics

#4 Have the right equipment

Hotels need to have the right hotel supplies to be able to maintain their business and daily activities. It is important to have a hotel management software systems, transportation for airport shuttles, the right lecterns and podiums in your conference room, and the right public address systems within the hotel.

Daily comforts such as clean towels, bed made, a clean room, toiletries and trash removed must be maintained on daily basis and in a timely fashion.

How to have the right equipment:
  • Take advantage of your hotel management software, assign tasks, status of rooms, review reports and check your forecasts
  • Keep track of inventory, room maintenance, furniture and fixtures
  • Quickly replace any faulty items and schedule orders for any needed linens, amenities and supplies

#3 Boundaries

Because being a hotel manager is a 24/7/365 position, you need to make sure you have the right boundaries in place so your job doesn't overtake the rest of your life.

You owe it to your family, friends, and health to block out time for important people in your life as well as time for yourself.

Consequences of a failure to set boundaries: being burnt out and not enjoying anything you do.

How to set boundaries:
  • Find out what is the slowest day of the week at work and make sure you take that day off, leaving a day for your entertainment
  • Be available via text or e-mail when you are not scheduled for work, leaving phone calls for extreme emergencies
  • Plan your vacation out earlier in the year, and set aside a personal weekend or two for family events or personal growth
  • Share your responsibilities and train a select and reliable staff members to properly handle tasks that may need your attention when you are away

#2 The customer is always right. Always!

Listen to complaints and don't just fix them, fix the root problem behind them. Turn the weakness into a strength by using the complaint as an opportunity to improve the way your hotel functions.

Do everything you can to turn an upset guest's problem into a good story they will want to share of how you went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their good experience.

How to listen to customers:
  • Start by apologizing for the issue and provide a solution to remedy the problem, investigate any issue if no remedy is not immediately apparent
  • Listen to WHAT a customer tells you, not HOW, and learn to read between the lines
  • Respond to the customer slowly and calmly
  • Interpret the body language of a customers from far, watch to see if they are having a good time or need some assistance

#1 Have fun!

As a manager, it may seem like you have a never ending list of things to do. Enjoy your guests, enjoy your staff, and enjoy your work.

Good attitudes rub off on those around you, and as a hotel manager you have a great opportunity to impact and influence your work environment and to foster hard work and fun.