By Valerie Coello, Director of Implementation, ALICE
After more than a decade of operations experience in hotels, I can confidently say I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best teams in the hotel industry. There have been highs and lows throughout my career, but there is nothing better than when every team member is working together to provide exceptional guest experiences.
Hotel operations teams play an essential role in customer satisfaction. A hotel is only as successful as its operational teams.
With my experience in the hospitality industry, and now as someone who works with hoteliers every day, I’ve gained valuable insight into how the best performing teams excel. Here are ten of the best ways hotel management can improve operations at their hotel.
1) Invest in your team
Ensure that every department in your hotel has the proper tools they need to do their day to day jobs. This can be as easy as making sure your housekeeping team always has the proper supplies (including PPE!), or that the front desk always has paper and stationary available. On a larger scale, it's ensuring that your team has a strong, user-friendly property management system (PMS) and tools like ALICE to help them communicate and keep guest information as up to date as possible, and accessible.
2) Empower your employees
Encourage your employees to make decisions when a manager is not available. Let your front desk agents or room attendants handle guest concerns immediately, before they escalate. As much as managers like to be present it is impossible for them to be present all the time. Trust that you’ve trained your team well, and that they know how to do right by your guests.
3) Leverage software
Hotel operations software can help your team with task management, accountability, and communication. ALICE provides guest messaging, housekeeping, service delivery, guest services, and preventative maintenance, all of which, at the end of the day, help your teams provide exceptional service. Technology is your friend and it can assist with manual tasks that are time consuming.
4) Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
When it comes to communication and streamlined operations, information is power, so make sure your team has all of the information they need to succeed. Ensure your team feels comfortable with what is going on that particular day or week. Informed employees put guests at ease. Make sure the names of hotel VIPs and events are visible in back of house areas, and in the pinned notes of your team’s operational software.
5) Ask your team for feedback
Candid feedback sessions with your team are valuable. No one knows the hotel guests, and their preferences, more than they do. They know how to make sure a guest’s stay is memorable, so ask them what they think, and solicit suggestions for improvements.
Room attendants may have tips to save time while still meeting standards, incorporate this into your training. The engineering team may have a list of items that they’re always fixing, maybe it’s time to replace them all together. Your team sees a different side of your hotel’s operations, which makes their insights incredibly valuable.
6) Read comment cards and online reviews
Pay attention to guest feedback and comment cards. A happy guest is one that will continue to be loyal to your hotel brand or hotel. The modern traveller is very savvy, and well traveled, whether it be for business or leisure. Consider their feedback as a form of market research.
As a hotelier, reviews allow you to see gaps in your operation as well as ways to enhance the guest experience. Compare the comments to recent service recovery, what are ways you can improve your current process to minimize those costs while meeting guest expectations?
Your hotel’s online presence is important, so be sure to respond to reviews on review sites and social media, both positive and negative.
7) Cross train your team
Hotels are a non stop, 24/7 operation that is constantly evolving. Hoteliers, by trade, are some of the most adaptable people I have ever met. Many hoteliers have a passion to learn about other departments, so why not train them?
Cross departmental training allows your team to understand your hotel’s operation as a whole. For example: upgrading a guest’s room at check-in can set off a chain reaction; the amenity that was placed in their original room won’t be in their new room, requiring a new amenity to be prepared and re-delivered, often requiring last minute work from other departments.
Cross department training also allows teams to see gaps in communication, and better ways to problem solve once they understand the operation as a whole .
8) Recognize the importance of preventative maintenance
A solid revenue strategy allows you to put rooms out of order for preventative maintenance and updates. Preventative maintenance is essential. It's important to remember your hotel room will be home away from home to guests. They want to feel comfortable in a room that is modern and clean. A successful hotel regularly takes care of long term maintenance.
9) Define common areas of opportunities for your guests
Are your guests always requesting more towels? Place more towels in the room as a standard. Are certain mini-bar items being consumed more than others? Appropriately stock up the in room mini bar. These are easy fixes!
10) Enable guests to easily communicate with you.
Guests are always busy and on the go, no one wants to wait in line to give feedback or voice a concern. Use follow up calls after check in and text messaging while the guest is still in house to check on guests. A guest will be more likely to tell you about any concerns if you are easily accessible.