If you think a hotel manager's job is just about looking good in a suit and exchanging witty banter with guests and staff – you may have watched too many episodes of Gilmore Girls. Running a hotel is a 24 hour-a-day, 365 day-a-year demanding job; one that requires vast amounts of leadership, organization, and problem-solving skills to make a guest's stay pleasant and comfortable, while making sure that the hotel is profitable and efficient.
A typical day for a hotel manager involves meetings with department heads to review day-to-day operations as well as special occurences such as arriving VIPs and banquet functions that require extra care, walking the property and inspecting every imaginable detail to prevent problems and delegating tasks to the appropriate department, dealing with vendors and suppliers, hiring and training new employees, assessing customer service levels, strategizing, budgeting, scheduling – you get the picture. With so many moving parts to oversee, it's no wonder that stress levels for hotel managers are at an all-time high.
So what can be done to prevent burnout? Many hospitality leaders are turning to technology to help ease some of the challenges and overload that hotel managers deal with on a daily basis. In fact, according to reports by Software Advice, hotels are fast adopting hotel management software like property management systems (PMS) to streamline the check-in and check-out process, generate financial reports, manage staff and automate daily tasks – saving precious time and relieving the hotel manager of the more tiresome and tedious responsibilities. And hotels that want to serve their staff and customers even better and get more ROI from their PMS systems are turning to Performance Support technology.
Here are three challenges that keep hotel managers up at night and how Performance Support can help them get a better night's rest:
1. Ability to anticipate guests' needs and expectations
Hospitality leaders know one thing is for sure: A great guest experience begins with a great first impression. Mickael C. Damelincourt, General Manager of Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto said, "If you lose them at the beginning, it is very hard to recover. In their mind, they've decided it is a bad hotel." And according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, hotels everywhere are energizing their efforts to “dazzle guests during the first, crucial 15 minutes of their stay—or at least avoid annoying them.”
How the guests are treated at the front desk and check- in will set the tone of the entire experience even before they make it to their rooms. When guests arrive at the hotel, front desk agents should be able to offer prompt and friendly service but even more importantly, they should be able to “read” guests and anticipate their needs. For example, if a particular guest has a baby or toddler, the front desk agent should be able to offer additional services (i.e. a crib, bottle warmer, babysitting services) to make the guest’s stay more comfortable. With Performance Support, the system analyzes the guest profile and immediately prompts the agent to ask the right questions and/or next-best recommendations – providing helpful and personalized customer service at the highest level!
2. Difficulty recruiting and training the right staff
Now more than ever you need to employees who you can trust to hit the ground running, but ask any hotel manager about the biggest challenge their hotel faces on a regular basis and you’re likely to hear the same response – the hotel staff. High employee turnover continues to plague the industry and a report from Deloitte, Hospitality 2015 – Game changers or spectators, found staffing costs account for a tremendous proportion of hotel operation costs. Deloitte’s report states that, "An average hotelier spends 45 percent of operating expenses and 33 per cent of revenues on labor costs." So how can a hotel manager provide training and learning to new hires and existing employees, while keeping operation costs down?
An increasing number of hotels are seeing the benefits of blending traditional employee training methods with just-in-time training solutions. Performance Support Systems shorten the training duration by supporting hotel staff in real-time, on the live application. For example, in the past getting a front desk clerk up to speed on using the hotel software would entail having him/her participate in formal classroom training, completing lengthy e-learning modules, or worst case scenario calling a helpdesk while the guest is standing and waiting. This is problematic for many reasons. Foremost, hotels have limited staff and little time for lengthy training sessions, be it online or in the classroom. Second, calling a helpdesk presents many issues such taking too long until the problem is solved, the high costs involved with staffing the helpdesk, and frustrated guests. With Performance Support, step-by-step guidance is provided through wizards without the need for high technical skills. The systems will even alert users when they have made an error and support them through the correct steps – or can even do it for them using automation.
A well-planned and well-executed onboarding and training process will also increase the chances for a positive work experience leading to a win-win relationship between new hires and your hotel. For additional guidelines to enhance your hotel's onboarding and employee training, claim your free copy of our Ebook: Five Steps to a Successful Onboarding Process.
3. Putting out fires
Hotel managers know what they have signed up for and being available 24 hours a day to resolve urgent problems is one of those things. There is no doubt that some emergencies will warrant their immediate attention regardless if it is 2 pm or 2 am, but barring an outright crisis (i.e., a real fire) hotel staff should be able to take care of most of the issues that arise on their own accord.
Many daily activities and operational functions within a hotel’s busy routine can also be easily coordinated, completed and tracked using the PMS. Meanwhile, the same Performance Support System that you use as a training tool can also be designed, to identify any errors entered in real-time, based on pre-defined rules. It will alert the employee and guide them through the correct task completion, preventing costly errors and - more importantly - averting a 2 am phone call!
Kryon Systems helps organizations around the world to improve their business results by shortening or eliminating training, reducing users’ mistakes, increasing productivity and facilitating compliance with corporate policies and procedures. Kryon’s flagship solution, Leo, provides performance support to organizations. When using Leo, business managers can rest assured that their workforce performs at the level they expect, from the first time, every time.