Finding Work-Life Balance in the 24/7 Hospitality Industry

By Henri Birmele Managing Director, Hotel Shangrila Santa Monica | August 01, 2013

"A true balance between work and life comes with knowing that your life activities are integrated, not separated."
― Michael Thomas Sunnarborg, 21 Keys to Work/Life Balance: Unlock Your Full Potential

Summer has come to our beautiful 1939 streamline modern hotel perched on the bluff directly overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, one of California's iconic landmarks. And with summer comes our peak season for international guests. Like hoteliers around the world, we go to great lengths to give our guests a premium experience.

Recently, after another 16-hour day, I made my rounds to check in on and speak with a few on-duty managers. The conversation turned to the topic of work-life balance given the demands on those of us working in the hospitality industry - the long hours, handling the needs and special requests of our guests, and overseeing and managing all of our operations while working at 99 percent warp speed, taking just a moment here and there to catch our collective breath.

Juggling everything and getting it right is no easy task. Unfortunately, while all of this dedicated work is taking place, it is easy to forget the human toll these increased demands take on the entire team - everyone from our hourly workers to our senior management.

Over the course of my broad and varied career-with stints at beach resorts to city hotels to work in the entertainment industry - the topic of how best to strike a better balance between workplace needs and individual and family demands inevitably comes up in conversation. Our industry, in particular, presents some additional challenges including 24/7 hotel operations, peak seasons, flex schedules and a wide range of employee skill levels. There are no easy answers.

In our career-driven culture, I have both witnessed firsthand the pressure, stress and fatigue that accumulates when we - and our teams - do not have our working and family life running in sync. And, let's face it, the very nature of our industry brings another, often unspoken enemy – the unwitting resentment that can build up from seeing our guests in full vacation mode while we work around the clock attending to their needs. For some, it is just too much.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Michael Koethner
Joshua Miller
Paul van Meerendonk
Arthur Weissman
Naseem Javed
Nelson Migdal
Dana Kravetz
Roberta Nedry
Gayle Bulls Dixon
Lisa Klueppel
Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.