The general manager of a hotel must know sufficiently about each department in his/her property, from rooms division, to food and beverage, engineering, marketing, accounting, controls, security, sales and promotion, repairs and maintenance, forecasting, psychology just to name a few.
He/she must also pay attention to trends and “divine” the future developments in the market place in order to maintain occupancy and profitability. Researchers established that the following characteristics contribute largely to management success.
Study and know your guests (their likes, dislikes, eating habits, beverage preferences, accommodation requirements right down to the comfort level of beds, to name just a few). Record cards will help refresh your memory. (These days you can establish a computer file for each of your repeat clients).
Be aware of your competition (study what your competitors are doing, how they price their rooms, what amenities they offer, the level of pricing).
Strategize by visioning the future and anticipating market developments to forecast. You can plan for the future if your vision happens to be correct. If you visioning proves to be wrong after two years, you can always change plans.
Julius Caesar’s favourite saying “Fortune favours the bold” is as true today as it was when he coined it. Always beware of food and beverage trends and see what needs to be changed from restaurant design, service-style, menus, beverage offerings and pricing. You have to cater to your guests, survey the competition and their prices.
Technology, at least in developed countries, and now increasingly also in developing countries, has become an important factor. Hen guests plan to stay, they consider whether or not you offer IT connectivity, Wi-Fi, flat screen TV with a few world-wide channels, business centre, room service, bars, even the size of the room, airport pick up, are just a few of what is expected of luxury operations. Always upgrade technology in your property. Thirty years ago, IT in a guest room was unheard of, credit card use was limited and cumbersome, room cards to open rooms was in its infancy, and controlled lighting a visionary technology.
When implementing new technology, consider advantages and disadvantages, and costs. Do your room card keys work flawlessly? What are the additional costs of IT connectivity? How will you train your staff to manipulate new technology? More importantly is the staff ready and willing to make it work? Sometimes new technology can backfire because staff may be too old or unable or not want new technology.
Always look fore new trends and be the first to offer it if you see a competitive advantage.
Trends come and go. If you implement a change and find that after a few years it fades away, be the first again to switch to the new one. A few years ago, buffet style food in hotels fro brunch was popular. This is now fading and a la carte brunch is taking its place.
Locally grown foods is “in” and as an astute manager ask your chef to come up with an innovative menu featuring locally grown food. Always walk through the property at least twice a day to ensure that everything is done according to your directions and orders.
Ask employees about problems they encounter and how they feel. Even if you don’t talk to any, you can gather information about the morale and enthusiasm of front of the house employees who actually deliver the service and goods.
Interview each new hire after the human resources made an offer to approve or oppose the decision. Be aware that your staff represents you. Their attitude must fit your ideas of a well-managed hotel. Plan to renovate rooms, every five to six years, change food and beverage concepts, ass or discontinue a service or department. Be ahead of your competition, and be ready to maintain status quo if there is no need to change.
The world is changing constantly, and so should you and your hotel.