5 common problems all hotel managers should know how to solve
As hotel guests sip cocktails poolside, enjoying R&R, it’s the job of hotel managers to make sure such stays are pleasant and go off without a hitch. To this end, a GM’s responsibilities range from managing employees to ensuring that a property is efficiently running and making a healthy profit.
In this people-pleasing, service industry, everyday problems are expected. When tackling such issues, it’s advantageous to have a high level of curiosity, says Eric Walters, general manager of Hilton Portland.
“Ask questions until you feel you have gotten to the root cause and don’t be afraid to reach out to other hospitality leaders who have conquered an issue you are currently facing,” says Walters.
Here Walters describes 5 of the most common problems hotel managers face on the job:
1. Recruitment and retention of staff. “We know that we are competing with a number of companies and industries to recruit the best staff. It’s is extremely important that we provide a great work environment where our Team Members feel cared for, valued, and respected, so they continue to choose us for their career.”
2. Balancing costs. “It’s important to have a good pulse on the revenue forecast and make adjustments to the cost model quickly.”
3. Instant guest follow-up. “Ten to fifteen years ago, you would get a letter or maybe a handwritten comment card from a guest that provided feedback regarding their past stay. Now, that feedback comes real-time via social media and the world is reading your response. A delay of a few days can demonstrate that you are not listening.”
4. Information overload. “There is so much data available to a hotelier these days, that it is important to determine what is important quickly, so you can make a timely and accurate decision without getting bogged down in minutia.”
5. Ensuring that your property stays relevant. “Not only is it so important that your hotel stays relevant in the marketplace by providing a unique and memorable experience, it is just as important that you keep your hotel relevant through all distribution channels and on the internet or you will become white noise and soon forgotten.”
The proper approach is critical to solving common job challenges like these. Depending on the complexity of the issue, for Walters, “My approach may range from making a quick decision based on my past experience, and asking questions, or it may require additional input from others at or above the property level,” he says.
Training and soft skills also prove helpful in resolving on-the-job difficulties. “For me, I really had to work on my listening skills,” says Walters. “I used to think I was a great multi-tasker, but realized over time that I was missing details because I was thinking of the next project, meeting, or email I needed to respond to. Once I stopped and gave the conversation or issue at hand my full attention, I started making better decisions.”