What does it take to manage a successful hotel?
I am proud to say that I am managing a very successful hotel. Establishing and managing a successful hotel has to do with various factors. I will list the ones that make a difference in this tough hotel business.
As an owner and manager of a boutique hotel, I can tell you that it is a 24/7 job at the beginning of your existence. You always want to make sure that everything works smoothly, especially at the beginning. Just think about your first online feedback you will receive; they can decide if you stand on top of an OTA or at the bottom.
I remember the first month of our establishment. I did not have the right receptionist at that time, and so I had to stand behind the reception from morning to night. Some guests made some jokes, saying “Hey, should I take over for a couple of hours; I guess you need a break.”
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Nevertheless, I made it, and one of the reasons why I did not give up has to do with passion. I have immense passion for this business. It is tough - no doubt about it - but to be honest, I just love to see happy guests leaving the hotel and saying I will definitely recommend your hotel to my friends and colleagues. These comments motivate me each time.
Well, at the beginning of your hotel business you need to have patience. It is certain that your hotel is not going to be fully booked week after week. Therefore, you need to be patient and confident that word-of-mouth marketing will do its job for you, as well as the great online feedback that you will receive day by day.
I realized that having very clean rooms, great breakfast, free parking, and awesome amenities is not everything you need to manage a great hotel. What you definitely need to have is an unforgettable, positive attitude and a staff that radiates happiness. For instance, as I explored in one of my videos, the receptionist is responsible for creating the first impression to new guests. One of the magical moments that exist in a hotel business is the check-in process. Your new guests are getting to know your services for the first time in person and they will create an image about you in no time. Make sure that this image is not just a positive one, but one that will remain for up to five years. Make the check-ins unforgettable.
By and large, your staff and you have to be friendly, in a good mood, keep a smiling face, be open for questions and requests, be motivated to serve, be charming, be funny, be open for small talk, have a positive attitude towards strangers and be flexible.
The right personal characteristics are responsible for your success. Do not underestimate personal characteristics. Taking them too lightly will create fatal flaws for your whole business.
For example, I do not visit a specific Italian restaurant in Munich anymore due to the owner’s very bad attitude towards my family. Even though we used to go there two times a year for more than three decades. I do not recommend the restaurant anymore neither. I used to, but after an unforgettable experience, I now regret that I used to visit there. That is how I changed from being a regular customer to a person that does not want to know anything about the restaurant anymore.
Thus, your services, building and amenities can be brilliant, but if you once radiate the wrong attitude or respond in an inappropriate manner, you will lose your customer in no time. Not only will you lose a specific customer, but their friends and colleagues as well. The customer may even do bad advertisement for you. Most people do not hesitate to tell their bad experiences about a business.
I know that there are times you are demotivated, in a bad mood, sad, tired, exhausted, fed up, needing a break and wanting to escape. However, in this very business you should not show your negative feelings to your guests that are always expecting happiness and friendliness. Your guests do not know what you are going through, what you experienced a day before, or that something horrible happened in your family. Your guests do not know what is going on with you and they do not know your story.
Your guests want to be treated the right way no matter what. Thus, try to suppress your negative feelings while talking to your guests. If you already know that you have an awful day in front of you and you feel that you are very aggressive towards other people, I suggest to stay at home. Trust me when I say that one bad response to a guest can ruin your online positive rating on OTAs, TripAdvisor or Google business. Thousands of people are reading guests’ experiences and making decisions based on them. If you have one feedback that describes how mean the staff has been, the potential new guest who is reading the review on an OTA will most likely not make a reservation. The devil is in the details. The reader of this review did not experience the situation and so the reader starts to imagine what happened. The only input the reader has of the occurrence is the post of the guest and your response to it.
A few more points that I want to emphasize is being flexible, having short goals and a crystal-clear vision of your business.
As a hotel owner or manager you have to be flexible. Let us say you have a shortage in your cleaning staff and your hotel is fully booked. Thus, your staff got sick from one day to the next, and you could not find a rapid solution. That is the time to be flexible. Clean the room and make the beds as well. I do not suggest to have an attitude to be too good for doing this job just because you are the owner or manager. Have in mind that it is your business and your business has to run smoothly no matter what. Your guests do not care who did the room; the fact is, it has to be done nicely. They pay for it and therefore they deserve an excellent service. I cannot tell you how many beds I have made, but I can tell you how many guests said that their room was not ready: 0. That is the most important number in this context for me.
Having short goals keeps you motivated, attentive and creative.
You already know when you can expect low-peak periods, and so you can already start to look for solutions. Set a short goal and figure out how to reach it. Perhaps look for new joint ventures, social media strategies, and ways of doing advertisement. Call your OTAs and prepare special discounts. By and large, having short goals to improve your hotel business keeps you creative and attentive.
Do you have a vision for your hotel business? Where do you want to be in five years from now? How many Hotels do you want to manage? Do you want to sell your hotel business?
Write down your vision and keep it in mind. Your vision will guide you as long as you are passionate to reach it. Your vision will be another reason for you to wake up early in the morning and keep on going. Your vision is powerful and in my opinion it contributes to reach more than one expects.