Measuring for Success: Rating Your Management Company

By Jed Heller President, The Providence Group | October 28, 2008

In an ideal relationship, you want your managers and management company to take credit for what they have done right and take responsibility and action when something isn't working. You also must be able to measure the results of the management company's service and, when appropriate, your general manager's performance. Just as you hold any employee accountable, you must hold a management company accountable, which will help your organization run more effectively and efficiently.

Plan for Success

Recently, I was hired to review a property in West Virginia where communication was minimal and management results were marginal at best. One huge problem struck me immediately - no one had set goals for the management team. There were no expectations, and in turn, no tangible results to measure.

The first thing I did was help the company set up a 2006 budget and marketing plan. We also scheduled regular reports and meetings, which serve as roadmaps. If you don't have them, how can you be sure that you are headed in the right direction?

Many business owners don't realize how important a business plan can be. It can be used to analyze the performance of your business so you can determine strengths and weaknesses - and assess what must be done to improve. As a roadmap, a business plan helps set your course and guide you to where you want to end up.

It can also guide conversations with management and your management company. With a solid business plan, you have an objective and a target. This also allows everyone to become more knowledgeable about the organization as a whole.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.