Hotel Management Tips
‘Every business is different’ – true, but in our experience, the challenges they are confronted by are remarkably similar. Here we outline seven things which often cause significant issues or result in under-performance in the world of independent hotels and which highly effective hotel owners ensure are part of their everyday ‘habits’. See our hotel management tips below.
Habit 1: Be Clear about Who You Are….
Most hotels we work with have lost their way as a result of having their market eroded by the rapid growth in the number of branded and budget hotels. It is no longer good enough to offer a comfortable bed, a hot shower and a good breakfast. You need to be clear about who you are, what you are and where you are trying to get to. This translates into having a clear Core Purpose and Vision, something that all your team can buy into and be part of. It is amazing the energy that can be built if everyone has a ‘common purpose’ in life, and the improvements you will see in delivery, guest satisfaction and ultimately, performance can be enormous. Get your team to help you agree these. Just ask yourself these questions;
Why do we exist?
Where are we trying to get to?
Why should guests come to our hotel?
What do we want to be known as?
What makes us unique/different?
To help, imagine you are going on a journey; Your Vision is your destination, your Mission is how you are going to get there, and your Core Purpose is the reason you are going on the journey in the first place. Together these will provide you and your team with ‘A Common Direction’, something all good hotel owners are crystal clear about. The answers to the questions above will help a lot to set your future course.
HABIT 2: Plan what you do…
Hardly any of the hotels we get involved with have a Business Plan or a Sales & Marketing Plan. Some have a budget. A bold statement perhaps, but you cannot run a business effectively without a plan, as without this, activity becomes random and people simply aren’t sure what it is they are trying to do or where they are trying to get to.
But, plans need to be practical… Agree what your key objectives are for the year and then sit down with the management team and work out what needs to be done to get there. And, always involve the people who are expected to deliver the plan. People will not react well to a plan that is foisted upon them. Regardless of the size of a hotel, as a minimum, you must have a budget (properly presented – see below) and a Tactical Sales & Marketing Plan that outlines what you are going to do over the year, when it is going to happen and who is going to do it. This should be costed, and these numbers should be fed into the budget.
A hotel project management plan is particularly important, that is why once we have evaluated your business, we provide you with our unique business review and create a bespoke strategic plan with clear actions and targets. Find out more about our approach here.
HABIT 3: Communicate with your team…
So many hotels we visit rely on the ‘bush telegraph’. They have no formal communication channels, and the management team and staff are expected to just pick up what is going on by osmosis! Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t work very well. To really engage your team, and equally importantly, to hope to deliver a high quality, consistent product and service, it is essential that people not only know what is happening and what is expected of them, but how the business is performing.
Effective hotel operators have a clear meetings structure which embraces all members of the team. In particular, any hotel, regardless of size should have ‘Morning Prayers’ every day to brief all key members of the team what is happening that day, a monthly Operations Meeting with the key members of the management team at which bigger issues and initiatives get discussed, a Sales & Marketing Meeting on a monthly basis to review progress against the Sales & Marketing Plan and to agree actions for the month ahead, and a regular Revenue Meeting to monitor rates and demand, and adjust rates. We would also advise a monthly circular to all staff, or if your team is very small, a monthly Staff Meeting to update everyone as to progress. People want to be included and involved. They will not abuse this if information is delivered in the correct spirit.
HABIT 4: Be clear about your expectations
In the same way as people don’t tend to be very effective if they don’t know what is going on, they don’t tend to be very effective if they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing! Effective hotel owners have clear Job Descriptions and use these as the basis for training their team. It is only with this basic tool that you can ensure that your people will deliver consistently. These can then be used to monitor and measure performance against. This puts everyone in the position that they know what is expected of them which is a good feeling to have as an individual.
HABIT 5: Provide a Consistent Product…
How often have we experienced the situation where your meal experience in a restaurant varies enormously from day to day; portions vary in size, the presentation on the plate is different, the style of service is different etc.. If McDonalds burgers varied to any degree, like their product or not, they would not have the following they do. You must have Standard Operating Procedures and you must have Standard Recipes. The former requires that you map and record every process in your business. These become standards which you train your team against. Without these the inevitable will happen – people will generally do their best, but their best will be inconsistent, and inconsistency will certainly not be overlooked by your guests. In the same vein, Standard Recipes are essential, not just to ensure the quality of the food is consistently high, but to ensure the presentation is the same every day, regardless of who is on duty. So, this requires photography and big pictures on the kitchen wall! It will also enable you to cost your dishes and ensure portions are consistent. This in turn will give you some of the tools you require to control your Food Cost.
HABIT 6: Sell your socks off
This hotel management tip is important when considering the future of your company. I have alluded to the fact that most independent hotels fail to plan sufficiently. They also fail to sell and wonder why they are short of business. Effective Hotel Owners not only have a clear Sales & Marketing Plan, but they put in place proper sales resource to deliver these plans. Too often we find hotels with a ‘Sales Manager’ or ‘Sales Executive’, but when you look at what they actually have to do, no time is left for them to do any selling! Selling requires someone to leave the hotel and go to meet prospective clients. In a market where few people do sell, you will immediately put yourself at a huge advantage if you do proactively sell.
HABIT 7: Control your Business
Of course you are in control of your business…. Well, are you? The vast majority of independent hotels we come across have such poor management information, they simply are not in control, whatever they may think. ‘Essentials’ include monthly management accounts. These must be presented in the format of The Uniform System of Hotel Accounts or you simply have not got the ability to analyse what is going on and therefore make effective decisions. Do NOT use a ‘corner store’ accountant. These people are generally dangerous and will harm your business. Use an accountant skilled and knowledgeable in hotels – every time. ‘Essentials’ also include regular statistics monitoring your performance; Food Cost, Liquor Cost, Payroll Cost, ADR and Occupancy are a minimum.
We would be more than happy to discuss your own challenges – and then read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey! It’s a great read.
If any of these hotel management tips are helpful, then feel free to call on 01420563099.