Thinking Strategically in this Recession

In this time of recession, there has been widespread panic throughout the hotel industry.  With much lower occupancy forecasts, hotel managers have been trying to prepare for 2009 as it seems like it will be a grim year.  But what are some of these managers doing?  Some hotels have been laying off employees to meet the demand, finding any way to cut some costs, and even working hourly shifts themselves to save some money.  But is this really the right way to do things?  We will provide you with a new perspective and maybe you will begin to look at your operations in a new light.  You will find that your job as a manager should mean more than trying to catch up to the present.manager1

If you think about your job description as a manager, what does it contain?  Is it to remedy situations and deal with issues as they arise?  Or is it to strategically plan and steadily improve the hotel as a whole in the long-term?  If it was written well, your job description should include a combination of both of these areas.  Unfortunately, at a time of a worsening economy and with the uncertainty of where your next dollar of revenue will come from, it is hard for managers to think of anything else than the short-term.  They begin cutting employee shifts, finding cheaper supplies, and doing anything they can to make that bottom line more attractive.  Though yes, some of the cost cutting is necessary to meet the lower demands, do the managers have the correct mentality when they are going about these profit saving measures?  My guess is no.  The managers are usually just thinking, “How can I get this month’s P&L looking good even though we are not getting any business?”  Newsflash!  If you have no revenues, your profit line will not look good no matter what you try to do! 

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Simple Guest Service Reminders

For the new year, resolve to improve guest service throughout your property.  We all know it will be tough year to hit budgets and to attract more business.  A great, and cheap way to keep the business you already have is to make sure your guest service exceeds standards.  A very simple way to do so is by making sure that your team  is trained to say the right things to guests.

customer_serviceAt a recent stay at a very fancy and expensive hotel, we ran into many issues.  The issues ranged from very small to a very large one but regardless, it did not seem that the guest service team was properly trained to handle the problems that we encountered.  Though they were able to fix the problems quickly and satisfactory, the guest service team was not empathetic or even apologetic at all.  This made our mystery shopper feel very unimportant even though we had just paid over $400 for the night.

To see the effect of slight changes in your team’s words on your guest service, please read this article on the Hotel & Motel Management website.

The author, Doug Kennedy, provides great examples of what many of your associates currently say to guests and what they should say instead.  It is a great way to improve your guest service without much cost!  For example, Kennedy points out the dreaded way to greeting a lone-diner at a restaurant with, “Just One?”, making the diner feel even lonelier.    He provides an excellent way to greet those guests by using, “Welcome to the restaurant  are you ready to be seated?”  The author also gives a few other great examples but leaves you to figure out how this concept can be applied to the many other areas of guest contact in your hotels.  It is a great way to keep your current guests happy and have them continue to choose your hotel in the future without spending any money!