Tips on Operating a Well-Run Hotel
The operation of an entire hotel can seem like a daunting task unless the owner breaks it down into a series of manageable pieces. Assigning different folks to attend to each detail allows the owner to oversee each one with more efficiency and effectiveness.
Here is a quick rundown on how to divide the responsibilities:
First impressions do matter and nowhere is this fact more important than at a hotel. Outside, the design and lighting of the property should provide a sense of arrival for your guests – a “wow” moment when they realize that they are going to have a great stay at this hotel. Inside, this feeling should be reinforced. Valets and bellhops should greet every customer with a friendly “Hello” and be ready to assist them in most any way possible. It is also essential that the hotel’s personnel be readily identifiable as employees – that means uniforms – so that newly arriving guests do not have to wonder who is or who isn’t responsible for their car and luggage. Luggage should be carefully but expediently brought inside the hotel – especially in inclement weather – and should be parked with care and a claim check given.
The Front Desk
In a similar manner, the front desk affords an amazing chance to dazzle your guests with friendliness and service. Efficiency is the key here as no guest wants to wait in line any longer than is necessary. Front desk staff should typically be your most experienced people because they provide the first impression of your establishment and are usually the ones that are contacted when a problem arises. Along those lines, ensure that you empower your managers – and when possible, their subordinates as well – to solve problems as quickly as possible. Do not second guess their solutions – just coach them on how to better handle the situation in the future.
Guests demand the highest-quality service when it comes to their personal space. This means that bed linens, towels and other personal-use items must be changed regularly. For instance, towels get replaced as they are used while bed linens should get replaced daily. In addition, your housekeeping staff should be beyond reproach when it comes to the sanctity of a guest’s personal items. Install safes, if possible, for maximum security and side with the guest if at all possible if an issue does arise. It is also imperative to trust your staff with one caveat: trust but verify. No honest employee will ever have a problem with this strategy.
Food and Beverage
Aside from shelter, food is the No. 1 tie-breaker that guests mention when considering a hotel. Whether you provide a free continental breakfast or deliver room service directly to a room, meals – and drinks! – constitute a considerable benefit for your guests and a lucrative revenue opportunity for your hotel. With that said, the food and drink must be of superior quality and arrive in a timely fashion. Otherwise, a bad meal will only sully the entire reputation of your establishment and bias the overall experience of your guests.
The Concierge Desk
Regardless of the amenities available on-site at your hotel, guests will usually want to travel off-site for some of their entertainment. For this reason, a knowledgeable front desk person – or whomever is acting as your concierge – is an indispensable addition to any hotel staff. With the right connections, a concierge can find tickets to a concert, a play or even an amusement park. The good feelings that this type of service will engender for your hotel are immeasurable. In short, as a point of contact, your concierge is the single most important person in your organization.
It behooves a hotel manager to keep a wary eye on the workout area, the pool and especially the hot tub. Each of these areas presents a breeding ground for any number of bacteria and viruses. Simply put, they must be cleaned once per day at a minimum.
While your guests will probably overlook this fact, their health and security should always be your paramount concern. The security process extends from simply having the right signage in the halls and common areas through fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in every room to the proper fire suppression system in the complex. In addition, appropriate protocols should be in place to ensure that unauthorized access to guest rooms is thwarted or altogether eliminated.
At the end of the day, hotel owners are in business to make money. Behind the scenes, they must pay attention to their financials or they will not ever be able to provide service to their guests in any kind of reasonable way. In most ways, the financials of a business are its lifeblood. They determine how much you can spend on staff, infrastructure, amenities and upgrades. Ignoring them is a simple recipe for disaster. Check them every day and guide the running of your business with them.
Running a hotel is a fairly daunting exercise. Only those with fortitude and tenacity should undertake the task. We are here to help. For more information on these and other inventive ways to creatively serve your guests while increasing the value of your hotel property, please visit us at The Passport Group. We can be found online at ThePassportgroup.com or you can reach us directly at 415.523.0393.