How to Effectively Deploy Hotel Management Resources for Maximum Bottom-line Impact

By Clifford Ferrara Executive Vice President of Sales & Revenue Generation, Chesapeake Hospitality | December 29, 2013

It is not exactly a revelation that hotel owners and operators are always looking to drive sales, increase operational efficiencies and maximize revenue. For all but the best hotel management companies, however, the proverbial pot of revenue gold at the end of the rainbow can sometimes be elusive.

At a time when many hotel management companies are engaged in or have recently completed meetings with their sales teams-dissecting performances, evaluating accomplishments, and reviewing goals for the coming year and beyond-this might be an appropriate time to look at some of the specific strategies and techniques that hotel professionals can use to achieve those goals.

For most companies and for most properties, that means beginning by asking some very fundamental questions: how are you deployed towards achieving your goals and results? Whether you are taking over a hotel or are committed to boosting your current performance, what are you going to do differently to make it work? Are you properly staffed with the right people? What specific strategies and techniques should your sales team(s) be implementing to effectively and efficiently leverage resources to impact the bottom line? And what can hotel management companies do to provide those sales professionals with the support and structure that they need to make that happen?

Size-up Your Asset

Every meaningful management turnaround begins with (and is foundationally reliant upon) a detailed and high-quality market analysis. The market assessment is broad-based, pulling city/regional volume reports that show all the rooms and rates that are produced in that particular market for transient travel. That information shows which corporations are producing the largest amount of rooms for that market, and allows the hotel manager and sales team to evaluate overall market potential. Utilize contacts with the local chambers of commerce and convention & visitors bureau for information and reports. Understanding what feeder cities have an impact on your market is essential, and knowing who and where the demand generators are in your market is also important. As you begin to refine and narrow your analysis, assess more detailed information, whether through proprietary brand reports or products provided through third-party vendors such as TravelCLICK's Hotelligence 360.

Regardless of where it comes from, securing detailed information with a breakdown of where hotel business is coming from, what the average room rates are, and what channels guests have booked through provides hotel managers a better sense of what kind of potential exists in the market and wherein lies the opportunity. Looking at how the overall volume of business breaks down into group or individual and leisure or business bookings also begins to give a more detailed picture of where that market potential might come from. The bottom line is that it is impossible to create a truly optimized management/sales strategy to boost revenue without first achieving an intimate understanding of every feature on the landscape of your marketplace. The best hotel management companies have developed their own in-house tools for evaluating this information and developing a corresponding strategic plan to leverage it to their advantage.

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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.