Author: John Fay
Date Posted:7 March 2015
Managing a hotel may seem like a daunting task if taken as a whole. Simplifying it by taking small steps could make it achievable and less stressful. The key is to learn to keep tabs on everything that’s happening in the hotel.
Assuming that you are a novice in the hotel business (that you may have gotten through an inheritance), here are some things that may be simple to read but hard to put into practice. If applied and practiced diligently though, it will surely turn you into one of the best hotel managers around.
The hotel staff might want to bend your ears if given the chance. The thing to remember is to listen carefully to what they are NOT saying. Begin by asking questions like “What is in this place that you like?”, “What are the things that need to be changed or fixed?”, or “What is your job around this hotel?” to the following people:
- The accountant
- Three random hotel guests
- Head of the housekeeping department
- The receptionist
- Taxi driver
- Doorman or bellboy
- Chief chef
- Head engineer
Learn to listen carefully to their answers and observe their facial expressions while they are talking. You would be surprised to find that there are a lot of things that are left unsaid which you can get from these observations.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep a sharp eye on things that are happening in the hotel. They are your best assets and keeping a sharp eye on your investment and future makes sense. Here are some things that you have to keep a lookout for; remember it is best to do these observations daily but on irregular and unpredictable times to get the most accurate results.
- Reports of past sales
- Checking on a daily basis one or two random guest bedrooms
- Forecast of your cash flow
- The garbage area and kitchen refrigerators
- Washrooms for the staff and public
- Your balance in the bank
- Guest and staff food displays
- Walkways, gardens, flower beds, and ashtrays in public rooms
- Monthly and daily financial reports
- Laundry rooms
Use your mouth for the common good.
There are so many things that a good hotel manager can make good use of, including even the simplest words. The rule of thumb is to think first before you speak. Here are the things that you can affect with just your words (and overall behavior):
- Without using the name badge, call the employee by his/her name
- Find out the ingredients after tasting the soup of the day
- Give compliments publicly
- Take a daily taste of the bread basket served in the morning and evening
- Use your eyes when you smile
- Make time to make a call to every guest that lodges a complaint
- Eat an employee meal once, daily
- Make sure that every criticism you give is constructive
Aside from speech, the nose can literally be of good use when making observations and improvements in your premises. Here are the things a manager’s nose is needed for, both literally and figuratively:
- Unwashed ashtrays
- Breakfast coffee
- Hotels of other competitors (if you’re up to it)
- Prices of beverage and food
- Employees who resigned from their posts
- Pricing for rates of room
- Ways of purchasing
- The area where the staff changes their clothes
- Appreciation of the hotel owner
- Best review from a customer
- Worst review from a customer
There are other parts of the body that a hotel manager can make use of, too, which can give a hotel the best run in the area:
- Feet: Instead of spending the whole day behind a desk, take the stairs and stroll the walkways while observing the hotel’s operations; plus, it’s better for your health
- Hands: Don’t hesitate to touch things, such as surfaces of counters and tables to check for dust and dirt
- Mind: Never stop thinking of newer, more creative ideas on how you can run the hotel smoothly
Learn when you can, improve when you can.
The Internet can be a gold mine when it comes to tips and ideas for managing hotels. Tricks of the trade are discussed by seasoned and successful hotel managers that give timely advises as well. Most of these nuggets of wisdom are compiled in book form where websites promote for sale. It may be a good idea to browse through these sites and see what they have to offer – or even purchase a book about hotel management if you can afford it.
Other sites of huge chain hotels aim to acquire further listings to add to their group. Reading their core values and programs would help to broaden your knowledge of how the large group hotel chains work. One may be able to see that even with these large hotels, emphasis is still focused on workers who are passionately involved with the hotel business.
One of the emerging trends are boutique hotels. These are a cross somewhere between large and small hotels with an emphasis on ambiance and location. There are exquisite ones that are located in Australia that are managed very well with their passion for being different from the anonymity of large chains and the slackness of small, poorly run hotels. Valuable lessons can be gleaned from the managers of these boutique hotels who believe that even if location may play an important part in the success of a hotel, it’s still the personal touches that bring in a steady stream of satisfied clients.
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