Imagine just for a moment that your hotel or restaurant is held up by three golden pillars. Without all three it would surely collapse.
The two most important pillars are the guests and the employee’s pillars, followed closely by the management pillar. It may sound strange and many may disagree with me and say that the management makes the rules, makes the operational decisions and is therefore the most important. Indulge me for a moment.
I suggest that while management is indeed very important and perhaps the ‘glue’ that keeps it all together, it is in my mind not the ‘all important’ pillar as many in our industry believe them to be. The pillars did not start as golden pillars but rather as ordinary concrete pillars. Strong pillars but still concrete. All the pillars will become golden and benefit greatly from each other if all pillars are kept consistently satisfied and in unison over time. They will keep your business on solid foundations.
The employee pillar is perhaps the most important of all three pillars. To keep a cadre of happy and satisfied employees is a hard task. In today’s industry employees hail from many different backgrounds and cultures. Each comes with their own expectations from their workplace. It is neither wise nor clever to ignore the different demands and expectations, and operators dismiss them at their peril. It is much more rewarding to recognize these differences, to learn from them and use them as a way of bringing the staff together in common purpose. It is so worthwhile and educational to learn and experience firsthand different customs from around the world, different foods, and to hear different languages. It enriches the hotel and allows for a much higher standard of service to the diverse clientele of today.
While many cultures make up your staff, they are all ‘one family’ during the day. As with all families, it takes time and hard work to keep them happy. There are many well known ways to do this that will bring huge benefit to that management pillar and the resulting benefits to the bottom line.
The steps to achieve this with the staff pillar can include setting up a system that celebrates important events in the staff lives such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries and even National days, and which can be done in the staff dining room as an example. Attending funerals of immediate family shows caring and show that staff are indeed ‘ hotel family’.
Long time employees should be rewarded, and hotel events held that bring all the staff together ‘outside’ of the work atmosphere. Outstanding employees should be singled out for promotion and supported in courses that further their knowledge and experience. They are the future of the hotel, and therefore priceless.
Of course all the above is well known as are bonus systems, appreciation letters, meals taken by management in the staff dining room as policy, barter agreements for staff stays at other hotels, greater responsibility and authorization to solve complaint. Rewarding employee suggestions that work or save money and a multitude of other ways both small and large that will have a unifying effect on your staff are all well known and time tested. These and more are the many parts that make up a whole.
Educate your staff to understand each other’s important role in the puzzle that results in a hugely satisfactory stay for a guest. Believe me; they will have newfound respect for their colleagues, and cooperation between departments will benefit.
If the staff pillar stands firm and golden, this will have the greatest impact on the guest pillar. The guests generally do not come into frequent contact with management but rather interact with your staff. If your staff is treated well and their expectations met, this interaction with guests will be very beneficial to the overall guest satisfaction, and it will trickle down into the results. The reputation of the hotel will grow, the social media will be overflowing with compliments and this will drive more business to your hotel in a positive ‘vicious circle’. All other facets of the hotel being equal, your staff will, if happy, drive your business to greater heights, your ADR higher and increase your profits.
So now you have two pillars that are golden, and we turn to the management pillar. Having started the important process by which the staff and then guest pillars became golden, the management pillar will now turn to gold also. What we understand is that by its’ hard work, correct decisions and nurturing the staff, the management pillar turned to gold by affecting the other pillars positively. That is the perfect job description of management!
The good guidance offered by management turned the staff into a unified and satisfied team who in turn caused guests to enjoy their stay and enhance the hotel reputation. This in turn brought greater occupancies and higher ADR’s. The pillars, acting for and benefitting off each other, are the best way to increased profits and a better ROI.
Sound simple? If hard work at getting it right, if making it part of your hotel identity and culture is what you do, then yes, it is simple.
When is the last time you had a chat with a member of your staff? When did you last check your rating on Trip advisor and read guest comments? When did you last attend an event honoring staff? When did you last have a meal with staff in the staff dining room? When was the last staff satisfaction survey performed? When did you last have a meeting with all your staff and answer their questions?
Ask yourself these and many more piercing questions, and if you do not know or do not you’re your answers, then maybe the gold on your pillars is rusting away!