Since early 2020, hoteliers and other hospitality industry professionals have been navigating an ever-evolving obstacle course littered with unexpected changes and new challenges. Facing both a shortage of available labor as well as an oversaturated and highly-competitive marketplace, many industry professionals are looking to learn how to improve hotel operations while driving revenue back into their business.
In this blog post, we help hoteliers, sales managers, and other hospitality professionals learn how to improve hotel operations by exploring proven tactics and strategies. From using technology to automate processes to implementing effective team management strategies and hiring practices, the goal of this post is to send you on your way with at least one — if not seven — new ways to improve operations at your property.
Discover how to improve hotel operations with these 7 tips
1. Combat labor shortages with thoughtful hiring practices.
You can start just about anywhere when learning how to improve hotel operations, but to kick off our list, we assess the hotel labor shortage and discuss tactics hoteliers can use to combat the industry-wide issue. While a variety of industries have returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic employment levels, the hospitality and tourism industries are still struggling to fill open roles.
Commenting on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2022 employment report, Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive VP of Public Affairs and Policy for the U.S. Travel Association, explained the situation in more detail. "Despite this month’s employment gains, growth in the Leisure & Hospitality sector is far too slow to make up for more than two years of pandemic-related losses. A lack of available workers, coupled with the slow return of business and international travel spending, is restricting Leisure & Hospitality’s recovery, even as other sectors of the economy regain — and in some cases, exceed — pre-pandemic levels."
One solution? Identify individuals who have a passion for hospitality by developing a thoughtful hiring process. Create honest and comprehensive job descriptions that:
- Clearly detail the duties of the position
- Outline available shifts/schedules
- Include wage expectations
- Showcase benefits (retirement, PTO, profit-sharing, insurance coverage, etc.)
- Highlight hotel culture and work-life balance
When hiring hotel staff, provide candidates with a clear and transparent description of the job and conduct a variety of pre-hiring activities with applicants (interviews, screenings, background checks, etc.). By fully vetting candidates and ensuring they have a complete understanding of the position, hotels can work to reduce turnover rates and build a team of satisfied employees.
2. Invest in your team.
Create an environment in which people want to work by investing in your employees. Competitive wages, paid time off, health insurance, and a strong work-life balance are key factors modern workers are seeking in employment opportunities. eHotelier Enterprise reports that satisfied hotel employees are 31% more productive and can increase a hotel’s profits by 12% on average. In addition, employees that feel supported are more likely to share honest feedback with management, helping the hotel improve in ways they may not have otherwise realized needed improvement.
Identify which areas, policies, procedures, or departments are most in need of improvement at your property, and develop a thoughtfully tailored strategy to improve hotel operations. Work with managers, leaders, and other support staff to revitalize hotel day-to-day operations. Touch base with hotel staff and check in with guests regularly to see what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do to continually learn how to improve hotel operations.
3. Simplify room block management.
Most hotel sales managers have jam-packed schedules, and managing group room blocks can end up eating up large parts of the day. But don’t let room block management be more than it needs to be. Using an automated room block management system can improve a hotel’s operational efficiency by eliminating tedious data entry, syncing real-time updates to the hotel’s CRS, PMS, and RMS, and reducing the risk of human error.
Save time and boost efficiency by implementing a centralized room block management and upsell system, such as Cvent Passkey, to streamline and automate group bookings at your hotel.
4. Offer cross-training opportunities and promote growth.
Empower hotel employees by encouraging and promoting cross-training opportunities. Not only will employees be able to explore a variety of positions and skills that interest them, but managers will also be able to see how teammates respond to new challenges and work with others. You may even uncover some hidden skillsets. For example, you may have an employee working in a back-of-house position with a penchant for sales right now and not even know it. Ensuring that employees are assigned to the most appropriate position based on their unique strengths is key to improving hotel operations.
Furthermore, invest in your staff by using your connections to help diligent workers move up the ladder. Support and encourage employees who have an interest in growing their career in hospitality, tourism, hotels, restaurants, or even unrelated industries.
5. Market, sell, and execute successful events.
Planners remotely sourcing and executing meetings need information quickly and efficiently. In fact, some planners now expect items like floorplans and diagrams to be part of the sales process. Meet planners' needs with engaging event diagramming software that gives them the ability to visualize their event at your hotel before they ever set foot on the property.
Create interactive floorplans that show planners the unique value of your event space and what your hotel brings to the table. Add diagramming tools to your hotel listing that allow planners to instantly view different event areas and layout options, or take a 3D tour of your property.
In addition to improving the way a hotel sells event space, interactive and automated event tools help improve efficiency and accuracy amongst hotel staff. With Cvent Event Diagramming, you can invite planners, teammates, and other stakeholders to watch and comment live as you make changes to a diagram they can see from anywhere in the world.
Bring your event space to life
6. Reduce chargebacks and no-shows.
Chargebacks and payment disputes can cost hotels millions of dollars and endless hours of corrective work each year. Hotel chargebacks may be the result of disputed no-show charges, dissatisfied guests, or even billing errors.
Reduce the risk of chargebacks and minimize resulting hotel loses by:
- Looking for pre-arrival fraud indicators.
- Using a reliable imprint machine or electronic card reader.
- Clearly defining guest payment, cancellation, and no-show policies.
- Including attrition and no-show clauses in group and event contracts.
- Encouraging groups to manage their own reservations.
- Sending cancellation and cut-off date reminders.
- Reducing guest complaints through service-focused employee training.
Reducing the risk of guest disputes and credit card chargebacks can improve hotel operations, boost efficiency levels, and minimize profit loses.
7. Utilize digital hotel tools and mobile technology.
Increase the efficiency of front desk operations and prevent long lines in the lobby by adopting digital check-in services. Offer an app for no-contact mobile check-in that allows guests to use their mobile device as a digital room key. Short-staffed hotels can install a digital concierge in the lobby to assist with check-in procedures, answer guest questions, and improve the overall guest experience.
In addition to streamlining front desk procedures, hotels can use various forms of digital tools to improve day-to-day hotel operations. A wide variety of digital tools are available to hoteliers, including:
- Digital messaging systems that log staff tasks, send alerts, and set reminders.
- In-room digital guest tablets that communicate room service orders, guest preferences, or housekeeping requests.
- Hotel digital signage can communicate vital information or updates.
Digital tools can have a substantial impact on improving hotel operations in high-demand travel areas and can lend a hand to short-staffed hotels. While mobile tools will never replace the value of an employee, they can be used to drive revenue, optimize operational efficiency, eliminate excess expenses, and help prevent staff burnout.
At-property operations directors: This is for you
Above-property operations executives: This is for you
Start outperforming the competition and improve hotel operations today!
Now that you have some tools, resources, and strategies needed to improve the way your hotel operates, it’s time to put your new skills to the test. Create exciting innovative marketing campaigns advertising property changes, new booking opportunities, exclusive offers, and key hotel features. Not sure where to start? Check out our post on hotel marketing strategy for 12 essentials to help you succeed.