Hotel Management Tips: Things You Can Do Now to Run a Better Business
Working in hotel management can be a dynamic experience. Not only are you responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations at your small hotel or bed and breakfast, but you are also leading a team of staff members who are going to help carry out your vision. Knowing how to manage a hotel successfully is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Sometimes, it helps to have a bit of guidance and an arsenal of tools at your disposal to help you manage your business effectively.
At ThinkReservations, we have compiled some of the top tips for successful hotel management. Read on to boost your business and stand out from the competition.
1. Create a Culture Where All Staff Members Feel Welcomed and Valued
Your management style is going to play a significant role in how your staff members feel and how productive they are when they come to work each day. It's important that you actively work to cultivate a culture in which every staff member feels valued — whether they’re part of the leadership team or a part-time employee who helps on the weekends. You can do this by:
Focusing on hiring the right people during the recruitment process. Choose employees who have the skills and experience you need for each position, as well as the personality required for dealing with guests each day.
Getting to know your staff members and caring about them on a personal and professional level. At your small hotel or bed and breakfast, you probably don’t have a very large staff. You should make it a priority to create healthy, professional relationships with your team members.
Having an open-door policy, where staff members can come to you with new ideas, concerns, or questions. Listen to them and if they suggest changes, attempt to implement them. Employees who feel valued are more likely to stay and grow with your business.
2. Communicate Effectively With Your Guests and Staff
Being an effective communicator is necessary when you are working in hotel management. It is important that you have a versatile communications strategy in place that allows you to interact with your guests and your staff on a regular basis. Your communication plan should include several components, such as:
In-person interactions: For your staff, you should have weekly or bi-weekly meetings where everyone gathers to discuss the latest happenings at the property. For your guests, you should consider having an open and visible office where they can come to you to ask questions, get insight into the area, or address any concerns.
Online communications: You should consider implementing technology that allows you to send automatic confirmation emails, reminders, and more. You should also have a presence on social media, and your team should monitor your social pages regularly. Interacting with past, present, and future guests online can help you increase your reach and improve your brand reputation.
Mobile-based connections: You may want to consider investing in a mobile-friendly solution that allows you to connect with your staff and/or your guests at any time. Many people are getting accustomed to working exclusively on their phone or tablet and will find it convenient to be able to communicate with you that way.
3. Streamline Administrative Processes
In order to make an impact as a manager, you should try to spend less time behind your desk and more time out and about on your property. And if you have a team, consider this a sign from them that they’d also love to spend less time on admin work!
One of the best ways to reduce your administrative workload and focus on your long-term goals for your business is to invest in ways to automate and simplify everyday tasks. Especially those that need to get done, but are tedious and can fall through the cracks.
Some tools that can help you out include:
Online Booking Engine: Accept online bookings directly through your website and connect with OTAs and other channels that can assist with selling your rooms. If you’re not currently taking online reservations you’re missing out in more ways than one.
The most obvious gap is that you’re losing precious reservations to competitors that do offer online bookings. It’s no secret that people want to conduct business online and if they’re not already loyal to you, many travelers will leave your site for another when they see they have to call to book.
Another missed opportunity is the amount of time saved by letting guests make their own reservations. When you need to have an employee available to receive every reservation inquiry, you’re limiting what they can be doing to provide stellar service to the guests you have on site. Not to mention that some of those calls won’t even result in an actual booking!
We could keep going, but please just trust us - you need to offer online bookings!
Inventory and Guest Management: These types of tools enable you to manage your room inventory, create a rate structure, and automatically update guest profiles so that you can deliver a personalized experience for every guest who books with you.
Having to manually manage these aspects of your business can create stress, chaos, and result in human error. We’re not saying you should “set it and forget it”, but having the basic management handled with the right technology is a game-changer.
Channel Manager: These types of tools enable you to manage your room inventory, create a rate structure, and automatically update guest profiles so that you can deliver a personalized experience for every guest who books with you.
If you offer your rooms through third-party online travel agencies (also called OTAs), a channel manager has become a must-have tool. A robust channel manager gives you an opportunity to connect with the most powerful booking agents in the industry, such as Expedia, Booking.com, and Airbnb with real-time availability and pricing. Don’t risk underselling or overbooking by handling these channels manually.
In case you didn’t know: The above features and much more are often found in property management systems (or PMS). PMS software is a combination of tools all in one enabling you and your team to manage your property more efficiently and effectively. As we like to say at ThinkReservations, save time and increase revenue when you work with the right property management system. Learn more about what a PMS is and why you need one to run your hotel more successfully in this free on-demand webinar!
4. Immerse Yourself in Every Aspect of Your Property
While it’s important to allow your staff to do their jobs without micromanaging, you want to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in your business. A savvy leader knows how to empower their team, without becoming completely disconnected. Depending on the size of your team, this will vary.
For example, with a smaller team, you should be so familiar with the routines and tasks of the front desk staff that you could step in if required. You should also know what maintenance tasks need to be done on a given day, and you should be aware of where all equipment is in the hotel. In the event that you have someone out or leave unexpectedly, the business can’t stop.
With larger teams, make sure you have regular pulse meetings with your managers so you have a broad understanding of what’s going on across the business. Take time each week to check in with employees and make sure you’re listening to their concerns and suggestions. Keeping open lines of communication and letting your staff know you care can make a huge difference seen inside and outside of your property.
Generally speaking, when your staff knows that you understand their jobs and that you are willing to do the same tasks that they do, they are more likely to respect you and feel valued in the workplace. Not to mention, your familiarity with the operations of the entire property should allow you to provide every guest with an unmatched customer service experience.
5. Become a Destination Expert for Your Area
Most people who are staying at your establishment are going to be exploring the surrounding area, and they are often going to turn to the hotel staff for tips and advice. When you are not working, you should spend some free time exploring the area in order to become a destination expert. Here are some things that you might try, so that you can provide your guests with the most reliable and accurate recommendations:
Dine at local restaurants and sit in each dining space that they have available. Learn where the best table is in the house, and then offer to reserve that table for your guests in the future.
Hike along the nature trails in the area. Scout out the best views, the best spots for picnics and the most romantic places to watch a sunset. Take photos and give your guests directions to those exact spots.
Take local tours and get to know the tour guides. Then, help your guests by booking those tours and requesting the most outgoing and informative guides.
6. Use Dynamic Marketing Strategies to Build Your Brand Online
One of the most important hotel management tips to remember: Don’t neglect your online presence. Your online connections play a critical role in your brand's reputation. You should have a marketing strategy that targets your promotions to specific groups of people who are most likely to book a room at your hotel or B&B - your ideal guests. Whether you work on this yourself or outsource it, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Have a variety of things working for you, such as:
Search Engine Optimization: Use the latest SEO techniques to increase your visibility and drive the right traffic to your website.
Social Media: Develop a presence on the social networking sites your ideal guests use so you can build a loyal following and take advantage of this free form of relationship-building.
Retargeting and Cart Recovery Campaigns: These marketing methods are valuable investments that can bring back website visitors that haven’t yet booked with you.
Online Reviews: Solicit feedback from previous guests on the most powerful review websites, such as Tripadvisor and Google. Prospective travelers rely heavily on this form of objective feedback, and positive reviews can help you organically increase your bookings. Learn more about the benefits of reviews and how to encourage guests to write them in this article!
Time to Get to Work!
Managing a small business can be incredibly challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. If you can dig into the details, communicate, and focus on creating a unique guest experience, you can make your establishment stand out from the competition. With these tips, you should be well on your way to running a successful boutique hotel or bed & breakfast.
For more information about how ThinkReservations can revolutionize your management style, sign up for a free demo webinar!
We look forward to helping you discover new ways to grow your business!
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