Giving Leadership - The Best Return on Investment for Your Hotel

By David Lund Hospitality & Leadership Expert, The Hotel Financial Coach | October 02, 2016

Hospitality Financial leadership is about making a new connection to the skills, talents and passion that managers have with guest service and college engagement and attaching that connection directly to their third power – their financial power. It's true what we say in our industry, look after the guests and the money will look after itself but only when we invest in financial leadership does this really ring true. Today we want financially engaged leadership teams across the board and building the team that has all three skills is paramount to your business success. That's Hospitality Financial Leadership, a management style that embraces guest service, colleague engagement and a superior return on investment by letting the team develop and use their natural financial talents.   

"It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving." - Albert Einstein

When we give as a leader we create two things. Both of these creations are the keys to being an effective business leader and having more fun being that leader. This occurs at any level, you don't have to be the General Manager to enjoy the results and it works best when practiced by everyone. Imagine being more effective and having more fun! and it's free! In addition to having fun and being more effective it is hands down the best strategy to grow your business and its value. When you lead with the kind of caring and engagement that is possible your team will follow your direction and it's a familiar story from there.

Building the kind of team that cares about each other translates into colleagues and managers that care about their guests. This is the way to build an amazing team that will propel your business forward on all measures, especially financially. It's a tried and true method and what makes it difficult is how busy and how wired our lives have become. The secret to making this style of leadership come alive in your hotel is slow things down to the next person you encounter, slow it down to the next conversation. One at a time, slow and meaningful, making every human interaction stand on its own as a building block for your team and its leadership. 

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When we think about leveraging our business and managing and enhancing the bottom line we often think about more rate, higher occupancy, lower costs, fewer OTA bookings, better weather, the list goes on and on. The one thing we often miss is, who are we being as the leader of the business?  The real question is who are we being and what are we doing inside our organization. Doing and being are the key to establishing your leadership in such a strong and personal way that your team will want to follow. Your colleagues and managers will follow because they like the experience as its warm and natural. Your team will build itself on this doing and being. Doing amazing things for each other and your guests and being a thoughtful and caring leader. Recruiting will be easy because you have such a high bar and a clear mission.

Serving others first is the hallmark of your style and the members of your team emulate this culture.  We have all been in the opposite position inside a business or organization. The opposite being the kind of place where it's all about the money, the bottom line.  The greed and lack of any personal commitment to each other and the missing mission of service is all too apparent.  The good news for everyone here is we're in the hospitality business so we don't need to worry too much about being nice. Actually, that's what people want and giving your customers what they want and lots of it is good for business. It keeps your customers coming back and it creates wild raving fans. You develop this incredibly valuable leadership style by following the simple and ancient giving formula. 

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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.