When we talk about hotel management the first thing that comes in our mind is the role of a hotel manager. Let’s say a hotel manager is a confident, approachable and adventurous person who never backs up from any challenge that is thrown upfront him; long-story-short, they aren’t afraid to try new things! A hotelier is always excited to experience new cultures and they know the importance of teamwork and how to utilize it to redefine your customer experience by improving the existing norms of guest engagement. In general, managing a hotel comes with a range of responsibilities. You must be able to adapt to new technologies, help numerous departments and ensure the hotel maintains a standard of excellence. As a hotel manager, you will be responsible for overseeing and having a strong knowledge of finance, planning, service and organization. While you have a team of managers or staff working alongside you, as hotel manager you have to lead rather than follow in most of the cases. Additionally, you should also make sure your staff manage their time and departments efficiently, whether that be through improving their monthly profits or simply ensuring a guest’s expectations are exceeded without breaching privacy.
With all these said, a hotelier must have strong attention to detail, leadership and teamwork skills. At some hotels, depending on the size and type, you may find yourself dealing with a lot more day-to-day tasks than you would at a more prestigious place. You may also have less contact with guests, but you’ll spend time monitoring the business through regular meetings (which is crucial at times). You will need a diverse range of soft and hard skills to be a successful hotel manager. Many future hotel managers embark on internships to gain more experience, working at hotels of varying ranges, reputations and locations. This is also a great way to complement your degree. The skills you should have include communication, teamwork and organization. However, you also need to understand and appreciate the challenges every department faces. It is important you spend time working or shadowing each part of a hotel, from finance to housekeeping. This ensures that you will have the awareness and experience to assist these departments when you become a manager. So, let’s see what are the ideal characteristics of a successful hotel manager and how a staff can be influenced to work better with these qualities.
Managing a hotel can be simplified if the hotel manager is adaptable to the latest technologies. Also, by using technologies like AI-enabled voice and chat-based services a hotelier can focus on the priority tasks and can engage the staff for a better human touch. As we know that time management is crucial in the world of hospitality, let us see how to manage a hotel easily with the following measures.
1. Use the latest technology: According to current scenarios, a hotel manager needs to be tech-savvy to manage their staff and hotel effectively. A hotel (directly or indirectly) is all about experience, so to enhance the guest experience, hotels are advancing in tech-side to enable them gather valuable guest data in order to enhance their guest experience. Technology, and its use in the hotel industry, is developing so rapidly that predictions can be a simple yet subtle game. We can already see robot butlers, smart mirrors and mobile payments in action in various hotels around the world. A hotel manager can utilize the latest tech in hotels to manage their staff efficiently. Also, IoT (Internet of Things) and the IoE (Internet of Everything) will enable more data-driven decisions and tools to support the experience of the connected traveller. Emerging technology like virtual reality, 3D printing and wearables could all be utilised in hotels.
Making delivery of food, products, services, and even seeing room or seating options, as we illustrated earlier, are all ways to make the guest and the operators better understand each other’s needs and meet those needs for the new user economy.
2. Delegate priority tasks: Managers across all industries and fields have to know the importance of delegating. The most effective managers know when and how to delegate specific tasks to capable employees. The best managers take it one step further, and recognize as well as reward staff when they produce results. This is key to recruiting and retaining the most qualified staff members. Tell your people what results you expect and give them the freedom to find their own way to achieve them. Avoid managing their process or risk micromanagement. Set clear expectations, provide regular feedback and allow them to operate independently.
3. Utilize chat and voice-based services: Voice and chat-based solutions are becoming a crucial ingredient in the recipe to success for the hospitality industry. This service is really important when it comes to redefine your customer experience because the voice-based solutions give your customers hyper-personalized recommendations based on their behaviour and preferences. In turn, it saves a lot valuable time of a hotel manager and they can utilize it to complete other priority tasks. With the help of voice-based service, you can engage your customers by solving real-time queries and providing concierge services.
Chatbots or more commonly they’re known as chat-based solutions is an interesting way for hotel managers to engage with your customers, because they respond fast; really fast! They are smart, since they are built with the latest AI norms, like- Natural-Language Processing and NLU. Chatbots understand your query & preferences and render proper solutions in seconds. How? The chatbot learns automatically, without any human help; the more the conversation, the better it understands your guests and helps a hotelier to manage their hotel effectively.
4. Know your staff: Before you manage the various departments of your hotel, you must know what the people in those departments do! Clean a room to see how long it takes and what tasks are essential. Work the front desk to understand how many customer complaints and issues are handled by your staff that you never hear about. You may think you handle too many customer complaints, but it's likely your front desk staff handles the majority of the issues without needing your help.
Spend time with your maintenance manager, valet manager and your cook to learn what goes on in a typical day. Having these experiences makes you a better manager in two ways: you have hands-on knowledge, which allows you to put employees' concerns and complaints in perspective, and the staff respects you more because they know you have that knowledge. To effectively manage a hotel, you must have the support and respect of the staff and you must know how to prioritize issues when several arise at once.
5. Plan and market accordingly: To easily manage the hotel, you must be able to plan several months in advance for upcoming promotions and events. Bringing in a new business is essential to the success of the hotel! In the summer, start planning your marketing for the city's holiday festival of lights. In the winter, start calling the event planners of the upcoming summer professional conference to try & become one of their preferred hotels. Develop a relationship with wedding planners and nearby venues, and offer an attractive package for wedding guests that includes amenities not available at other hotels (which is a great thing to do), such as shuttle service to and from the wedding.
You can also manage and maintain the check-in/out issues with proper training. A smart front-desk executive can easily handle these without any delay and could assist you to connect with your guests in a better way. Maintain a regular positive conversation with your staff members. They need feedback about the quality of their work, both good and bad! You also need to communicate regularly with hotel staff about any changes or special events that may be coming up because surprises are nice for guests, but not for employees!
6. Rigorous and continuous training: If you want your hotel to improve overall, your staff should be encouraged to improve individually because nothing remains constant! Provide job-appropriate training opportunities to your staff so they can perform better. These might be workshops on improving customer relations or cooking classes for your restaurant staff. Again, talk with your staff to learn their needs. You can also research industry publications for additional ideas. You should always provide adequate mentor-ship and training for new staff members. Providing opportunities for staff to learn and move up within the hotel promotes overall morale and helps you develop well-rounded employees.
7. Establish good relationships with suppliers: You will be responsible for purchasing supplies and equipment for the hotel. You should know your suppliers and generate positive relationships with them in order to run your hotel frictionlessly. Make your payments on time. Study the industry and get to know the products and prices that are available. If you make occasional visits to the supplier's office, you can personalize the relationship even more. This can lead to better service.
Usually, you will want to build steady relationships with suppliers, so you are not constantly making up new orders for supplies. Occasionally, however, you should study the market and see if other suppliers might work better for you. If you have a longstanding relationship with one dealer, but someone else is offering better prices, you may want to ask your first dealer to match the price. This can help you keep expenses down.
8. Maintain brand relevance: Brand relevance in hospitality focuses on achieving preference on the basis of differentiation, benefits, and customer satisfaction within a set of brands under consideration for a given application. But in today’s environment, unless a hotel manager can maintain its brand relevance as categories emerge, change, fade, and narrow application preference may not be sufficient! In terms of brand relevancy, the hotel industry works differently. A hotel manager must know that hotel sales are different from consumer goods sales because marketers must sell tangible as well as intangible products. In many cases this means that they are marketing services rather than goods, and the success hinges on creating the right feeling in the consumer. For example, a hotelier should focus on managing a resort that will cultivate a relaxing and fun atmosphere that is recognizable to customers and inspires the same feelings in the consumer, but this may not be the case for other businesses.
Let’s take a real-life example: The Marriott International's Aloft Hotels brand tested a robotic butler called "Botlr" in the late 2017 as a way to aid and assist all the front desk associates to respond more quickly to guest queries and demands. Earlier this year, the brand introduced a whole-new generation of Botlr that takes the form of a chatbot instead of a robot and it’s known as ChatBotlr; it's available via text message to the guests & allows them to make service requests directly from their smartphones -- anywhere and anytime when they have a need. This has made the brand more relevant and more number of millennial travelers have been attracted through this campaign. This shows us that brand relevance is pivotal in the hospitality industry.
So, now you know how to manage a hotel easily! Schedule a demo with us and we will tell you how to boost your customer engagement by redefining the existing guest experience. Also, we will show how you can build and maintain a staffless hotel via AI-enabled chat and voice-based services.