Hospitality professionals are often under immense pressure when it comes to standing their ground and saying ‘no’. For some reason, the industry has become synonymous with accommodating any and all requests and practices, almost inclining towards powerlessness! But your hotel’s growth depends just as much on going against the norm and saying ‘no’, as it does on saying ‘sure!’.
It might sound counterintuitive but when you really think about it, being a ‘yes, please’ person can result in a lot of internal stress and external chaos. In an industry where saying ‘yes’ equals good service, you owe it to yourself, your staff and your business to make the right choices.
And you can only be confident of your choice, when you are familiar with the consequences of your ‘YESs’ and ‘NOs’, both.
So, here’s a checklist of 6 operational bottlenecks you should start saying ‘No’ to, in order to stay successful in your hotel business.
#1: no to technophobia
Let’s face it. There is absolutely no way in the world that you could extract yourself from technology and still dream of success in the hospitality space. Starting from where your prospective guests look for you, the channels that connect you to all your vendors, how you track competition and measure yourself across all online review sites, the billing and invoicing systems – everything is powered by technology in one way or another.
The magic of technology lies in your adoption choices. There is no single formula for all here. Depending on your business requirements, budget and whatever other factors come into play for you, you need to pick and choose from the umpteen options that are at your disposal. But to be aware of the options you have is mandatory. There are several aspects that go into successfully managing an independent hotel. There are third-party integrations for almost every business requirement a hotel might have. There are even marketplaces that list out every integration that you will need, like this one here.
So, it’s time to get over your fear (or aversion, whatever it is!) of technology and embrace it. There are way too many benefits once you decide to let technology share your load.
#2: no to hunches & guess work
Hotel business, today, involves one too many variables right from macro factors like political stability and climate changes to micro ones like, say, a transport strike in your town or even a local carnival! This being the case, you simply cannot rely on hunches to dictate your decisions.
To stay ahead of competition and to reach your audience, you will need granular data on all aspects of your hotel operations. Rate intelligence, competitor analysis, market research, demand forecasting, reporting, etc. are areas where your dependence on data is high. And if not for data-driven insights on all these areas, you’ll keep walking in circles because guesses can only take you that far! Basically, you need to observe, analyze and track multiple parameters to be successful in the long-term as a hotelier.
If you, as a hotelier, haven’t already made this phrase your mantra, you should now – Data is King. Information is wealth, if you will.
#3: no to irrelevant traditional practices
“That’s how it has been going on so far and so that’s how it must continue”. Sound familiar? Yep. We all relate to this phrase in one or the other way, but in hotels, it is common for many areas of operations fall prey to this method (or the lack of it).
Whether it is the way you maintain records, or the way you keep track of housekeeping tasks or even how you manage reservations, it is easy to continue doing what you have been doing forever. But, great things happen when you switch things up a bit and innovate. Keep yourself updated on what’s happening the world over when it comes to operational innovations.
The biggest challenge to any organization is getting complacent with the way things are. Make sure you question the efficacy and relevance of your systems, processes and ideologies, every now and then.
#4: no to delivering mediocre guest experience
55% of customers would pay more for better customer experience.
This is the age of the customer where a business is only as good as it treats its customers. Social media has empowered customers today to such a degree that they no longer feel powerless, when it comes to getting what they expect and pay for. From travel review sites to personal social handles, guests today have multiple platforms through which they can either bring in more customers to your doorstep or convince dozens of strangers from ever doing business with you.
This is why guest experience strategy has become part of almost every business vertical, today. Independent hotels also need to carefully strategize their guest experience program, to reap all the benefits of investing in guest experience.
A common misconception that rules the hotel industry in this context is that guest experience is how well you are of service to them during their stay at your property. While in reality, this is just a part of the guest experience. If you truly wish to sweep your guests off their feet, you need to look into pre-arrival as well as post-departure guest experience in addition to how well you look after them during their stay. This includes their entire journey with you, starting from how easily they can find you online, to how well you nurture your association with them even after they leave your property! And the best part is that with the right technology, it can be extremely simple for independent hoteliers to enhance guest experience.
#5: no to complications
It is not for everyone, being a hospitality professional. Not everyone can handle the day-to-day stress that it brings with it, which is also challenging and oddly satisfying at the same time. We get it! But that being said, it is always wise to simplify as many things as you possibly can, accounting for all the other things that aren’t in your control.
Simplify your reservations, check-in/check-out, review collection process, inventory distribution, revenue management, accounting, reporting, reputation management, housekeeping, channel management, and what have you. Minimize dependencies that come out of having individual systems working in isolation. Instead, invest in a cloud PMS that brings together all of those and lots more. When you can have every little aspect of your hotel covered by one all-inclusive PMS, and use it from the convenience of your smartphone, why complicate and go for any other system!
#6: no to working in silos
This is applicable to any organization. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link and this cannot be true when it comes to organizational success as well. For your hotel business to sail smoothly, all members of staff across all the many departments will have to work in unison and with the same objective in mind. For this to happen, you will have to inculcate a culture that binds all of you together. It’s similar to that of a family.
Working in silos can pose many challenges that you might not even consider. Miscommunications, duplications, lack of coordination, delays and chaos are guaranteed. And these are things you can easily avoid. Working in silos also affects productivity as there is no sense of belonging or contribution. Encourage an open culture and a sense of fraternity where every employee is familiar with every other. You could never run the hotel by yourself and just so, no department can function in isolation. This is why silos need to be broken to be successful as an organization.