In the fast-paced and high-pressure world of hotel management, one mistake can spell disaster for your reputation. Our hotel management cheat sheet will help you keep yourself and your staff on the fast track to success.
We'll get this one out of the way right up front, not because it's unimportant, but because it is of the utmost importance. The secret weapon to hotel management success isn't a fancy degree or years of training, it's organization. Such a simple concept, but for some reason, it gets overlooked in the rush to get the job done and make a mark in the hotel industry. Our advice to hotel managers is to slow down, take stock, keep notes, and make a plan.
Maybe slowing down seems counterintuitive after we've acknowledged how fast-paced the hotel industry is, but slowing down a bit in the beginning and taking a serious look at how the business is run will go a long way in making your job much easier when pressure mounts and stress increases. Below, we've laid out some of our best tips to help keep you organized on the front lines of hotel management.
Make a plan. This goes further than deciding what you are going to do each day or assigning tasks to your employees. Managing your time effectively starts with a solid plan of action. Some of this might be trial and error, and that's okay. Keep track of successful plans and those that didn't turn out as well, so you won't repeat mistakes later down the line.
* Manage your time wisely. This is where the plan comes in. Once you know what works and what doesn't, you can fine-tune your plan of action and tweak it as needed. Keeping your plan and all your notes in digital format mean easier logs, quick searches, and printable audits. We've got a great article on task management here.
Hotel management includes everything from organizing events, overseeing department needs, and making sure customers are always happy. It's a lot to handle, but you're not alone. Having a great, well-trained, attentive staff helping you keep things running smoothly is the second secret weapon in successful hotel management. When you allow your team to work autonomously, they tend to be more efficient and confident, knowing you trust them with their daily tasks and to help smooth over any rough patches. Read on for our staff and logging cheat sheet.
Hire the right staff. Hotel management includes interviewing and hiring staff, as well as overseeing their training. Get a head start on this by hiring only those applicants that are personable, reliable, and eager to learn. Don't be too worried about prior hotel experience—if you find a candidate that has the drive to succeed, it's okay to take a chance on them and help mold them into the perfect employee.
* Training should be ongoing. Training hotel staff needs to be more than one or two days of on-the-job training. Make all training ongoing, providing your employees with the right tools for success.
* Checklists, logs, and accountability keep everyone moving in the right direction. Using digital checklists and logs for all staff members holds everyone accountable and provides a sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day, all while saving money on unwieldy paper logs and lists. When employees can see their tasks at the start of the day and then check them each off as they are completed, it gives them a visible acknowledgment of a job well done. As the hotel manager, you'll have printable records of each employee's task checklist and can quickly spot problems with time management or mistakes.
For more information on employee task management software, see this article.
Emergencies are unavoidable in the hospitality industry. As hotel management, it is your duty to ensure your facilities and grounds are safe and secure, and that your staff is prepared for any number of emergency situations. Fires, floods, or customer illness are just a few of the emergencies you'll need to prepare for. Don't wait until an emergency strikes before coming up with your action plan. Imagine as many situations as you can, geared toward your particular area and hotel type, and then devise a plan of action to share with your entire staff.
Review and update the current plan. Go over current emergency procedures and check against current local regulations and recommendations. Make changes as needed to stay in compliance.
* Update staff information sheets. Using a digital file system instead of paper will make this step much easier. Instead of updated hundreds of sheets, logs, and books, you'll only need to update one file. Be sure every staff member sees and reads the updates and understands the procedures.
* Dry runs to ease anxiety. Take the time to run monthly (or more often) dry runs of emergency procedures, making sure that every shift is given an opportunity to participate. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and that goes for emergency preparedness, too.
We would hope this one would be obvious, but you might be surprised how many hotel managers get completely caught up in their other duties they forget the whole reason they're there. Make your presence known to hotel visitors. This helps customers feel secure and relaxed knowing management is on the premises. When complaints come in, act immediately. As mentioned above, having a plan in place before incidents happen will help make this a smooth and positive process instead of a stressful one.
Review past complaints. It's never fun to think about the bad experiences of your patrons, but it's necessary to make sure those bad experiences are never repeated. Look over old logs of complaints, see how they were handled, and check whether the customer walked away satisfied or still upset.
* Make changes to your policies. Don't be afraid to make changes to your customer service policies. Times change and that includes how customers expect to be treated. Go over the current plans of action and make any changes necessary to keep up with current good management practices.
* It's not always about complaints. Excellent customer service goes far beyond handling complaints. We're talking about preventing those issues in the first place. If you've spotted an area that seems to get more complaints than others, focus your efforts there first. Create new plans, go over procedures in that department, and fine tune it to be more pleasing to your customers.
It's true that hotel management is a challenging and sometimes stressful job, but that doesn't mean you can't find time to relax and have fun. One of the most exciting parts of hotel management is planning and attending events for both customers and your staff. Be present in those moments, and take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.