Are you a Good Hotel Manager or a Great One?

October 10, 2017


Chances are, there’s no shortage of inspirational sayings, memes or beautifully designed graphics in any or all of your social feeds. Maybe you’re flipping through a magazine, watching television, or sitting in the dentist’s chair when the words of Helen Keller, Winston Churchill or Richard Branson suddenly grab your attention, and you’ll think to yourself: Yeah, I should really keep that in mind.


But more often than not, lofty calls to greatness are lost on us. This is due in no small part to the sea of information with which we find ourselves surrounded. Take your average hotel manager, for example. Phones are dinging, guests are rolling in, and a thousand problems need solving. Who has time to stop and reflect about what makes a great manager?


You do — that is, if you want your hotel to be the best it can be.


Sure, there are upper-echelons of authority in most hotels. The buck may not actually stop with you. But without a good manager, what hotel has ever succeeded? Without a great manager, what hotel has ever exceeded the expectations of guests? And without great staff what is the point?


It’s true that great management is a key underpinning of success in the hotel industry, but the definition of a great manager isn’t what it used to be. As the industry has evolved, so has the definition of skillful management. Let me give you three examples.


1. A great manager motivates employees

If hospitality revolves around creating exceptional guest experiences, the question of where those experiences begin is all-important. And the more research we see, the clearer it becomes that the guest experience is actually an eco-system of interactions — and this eco-system begins with employees. When they feel motivated, validated and empowered by their managers, a positive charge is generated and passed on to guests. A ho-hum attitude toward team members — or worse, an adversarial stance — will likewise create a negative charge. Guests will feel this negativity, and the guest experience will suffer as a result. The old-style authoritarian approach just does not cut it any more.


2. A great manager is collaborative

Collaboration is closely related to the importance of motivating employees, but it’s important to understand who benefits. Fostering a collaborative atmosphere in your hotel isn’t something you do as a charity to your team members; it’s something that ultimately benefits you, the manager! A collaborative environment is first and foremost a place where human beings will actually want to work, and this automatically makes your job easier. Second, it leads to solutions and innovations that you would not have come up with on your own. So go on, involve your teams in decision-making, create that committee of Millennials (or anyone with different ideas to your exco), and listen.


3. A great manager stays on top of trends

In 21st century hotel management, it’s not enough to be great with guests. Nor is it enough to keep your team inspired and motivated. You need a stronger dose of perspective — and you need it regularly because this is the only way to understand the ever-changing industry in which we work.


To stay in touch, I recommend that every hotel manager put in at least 20-40 minutes of dedicated reading every day. Of course, it’s crucial to find your way to the right information — and do so quickly. That’s where things like RSS and customized news feeds are valuable. Every hotel manager is pressed for time at various moments throughout the day, but by organizing your information sources and bringing them to you automatically, you can maintain the discipline of absorbing industry trends without losing touch of daily operations. Without this kind of up-to-date industry knowledge, even the most skilled hotel manager is essentially fumbling in the dark. (Some hotel examples I use include Eye for Travel, Hotel News Now, Hotel Magazine, and The Hotel Conversation. General motivation or challenges come from Seth Godin, James Clear or just sift through some Ted talks.) The point is, read – something, anything.


What’s your inspirational quote?


I could go on listing dot points all day, but the difference between you being a good manager and a great hotel manager - is you. Are you passionate about the work? Do you find a unique sense of satisfaction when problems are solved, when innovations put you ahead, or when guests leave positive feedback about their experience? Do you even have an inspirational quote that guides you on a daily basis?


There’s an endless stream of advice out there, but when your natural instinct is to reach for greatness in the hotel manager profession — and to never stop reaching — then everything else will take care of itself.



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