4 hotel management lessons you can learn from Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda - Insights

4 hotel management lessons you can learn from Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda

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Paul Rusesabagina – source: npr.org

We all agree that managing a hotel in the time of crisis is no mean feat. And, if that crisis is of an extreme nature, your management skills are truly put to test. Like Paul Rusesabagina, the Manager of ‘Hotel des Mille Collines’ from the movie, Hotel Rwanda who provided shelter to over 1200 refugees in the capital city of Kigali and saved their lives during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

If you’re wondering why we are talking about him now in 2019, here’s why – as a hotelier, Paul maintained and displayed the highest level of integrity in the midst of a bloody civil war, took care of refugees as his ‘guests’ and used his well-harbored contacts to save their lives. To many of us who have watched the movie, it is clear that it was his profession as a hotelier that compelled him to fight against waves of odds to ensure the safety of his ‘guests’.

Here are some hotel management lessons that every hotelier can learn from Paul Rusesabagina:

#1 Motivate your staff to put their best foot forward

Source: Lionsgate Films

You can’t run a hotel without having a set of highly motivated staff. The movie shows some of the staff members at Hotel des Mille Collines displaying complete carelessness towards their duties, in the backdrop of a civil war that was raging at that point of time. Paul takes stock of the situation and urges everybody by saying, “Get back to work, we have a hotel to run.”

Happy and motivated employees are your assets. When happy and led by the right manager, they feel involved, serve guests with utmost sincerity and are more creative in their work. All these add value to your hotel business and help you in increasing your hotel’s overall profitability.

#2 Take care of your hotel’s reputation

Source: Lionsgate Films

Try to recall that scene from the movie, where Paul convinces his boss over the phone not to close down the hotel, given the civil unrest in Rwanda. He says, “That would be very bad for our reputation. Hotel des Mille Collines is an oasis of calm for all our loyal guests.”

This shows how fiercely he safeguarded the hotel’s reputation even in the most adverse situation. So, your hotel’s reputation should be literally ‘everything’ to you, that’s how your guests look at your brand.

Consider this – in today’s world of online travel, if you could manage to increase your online reputation score by 1%, you can increase your ADR by around 7%. Plus, it also helps you increase your occupancy rates by around 1.4%.

#3 Nothing comes before your guests

Source: Lionsgate Films

Happy guests are loyal to your brand and they eventually become your brand ambassadors. Not only this, if your guests are happy with your offerings and services, chances are that you may witness a 97% increase in your revenues and profits.

In the movie, Paul refers to the refugees as ‘guests’ and directs his staff to allot them some rooms. The lesson here is – come hell or high water, you should welcome guests to your property with a smiling face, take care of them and their needs to make them feel at home.

#4 Recommend your ‘best products’ to guests

Source: Lionsgate Films

In the movie, you will find Paul recommending lobster for lunch to the non-refugee guests. He goes on to explain how good it is and how the guests are going to like it. You can also see him promoting his hotel’s most popular single malt whisky to his guests.

Understand your hotel’s best products and recommend them to your guests. It could be your chef-crafted food and beverage, wellness spa or anything that could make your guests happy. It is absolutely okay to call it the art of upselling. This helps you earn more revenue.

We all know that the ‘human touch’ is the most important factor when it comes to inculcating all these lessons. But, with changing times, you also need to leverage the power of new-age hospitality technology solutions to serve guests and earn their loyalty.


2017 smart decision guide to hotel guest experience management

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