Fostering a Positive Professional Environment for Hotel Management & Employees

By Eliezer Quinones General Manager, Chileno Bay Resort & Residences | June 24, 2018

In the world of hospitality and hotel management, sports analogies are a dime a dozen but when you're a former professional athlete there is great depth and meaning in these comparisons. For me, these metaphors are more than tired phrases about "scoring" or "there is no I in team." Instead they are rich in experience and built on themes of teamwork and motivation, aimed at instilling a sense of purpose and to form a collective team in the workplace. The metaphors communicate a workplace structure where the greatest message is human synergy. It's that type of collective thinking that allows hotels and resorts to create a desirable workplace environment and achieve true success… or taking home the trophy, if you will.

Pre-Season: Tryouts and Spring Training

Imagine you are the coach tasked with building a stellar team from scratch. As the General Manager of any resort that is essentially one of the most vital assignment, scouting the best talented prospects and recruiting individuals that aspire to accomplish a goal. You have to take both a focused and holistic approach, identifying each individual's talents and then determining where they fit into the larger team. Each individual prospect must offer a synergy that relates to the team and recognizing that is crucial because acknowledging and appreciating their talents will allow them to learn, develop, and grow together. Once you have a team in place the next step is the training program where every individual will systematically continue to practice their skills, sharpen their toolset, and fine-tune their execution strategies; until it becomes part of their muscle memory.

It's in this phase that you want to build confidence through motivation, a crucial step in creating long-term value for the company and for the individual. So how do you motivate and encourage individuals towards achieving excellent execution with technical and service aspects of the job? You develop their mental game with discipline and constant training!

One of the best things a leader in the hospitality arena can do is to motivate their employees by highlighting the team´s strength and celebrating the accomplishments while working towards a common goal. This can be achieved by reinforcing positive behavior with daily execution, continuing to develop their talents (both preexisting and newly honed), acknowledging their contributions, and underscoring the individual's participation within the cohesive unit. A highly motivated team is going to be more committed to achieving the company's ultimate goal. A supported team is going to be focused on carrying out the job's daily requirements and challenge themselves to perform at the highest level.

For example, finding creative ways to personalize a guest's experience at the resort whether it's celebrating a birthday in a unique way or arranging a thoughtful gesture to mark an anniversary. It is in these moments that first-time guests become loyal customers; which is an excellent formula for success in hotel management.

The mental game is crucial as these practices will set the tone for what is expected throughout the year and help ensure continued success. The General Manager must remain dedicated to narrowing in on the best way to perfect the team's mental game; whether that is providing an open space for feedback, encouraging constant communication, varying motivational efforts, etc. Every team will have their own formula and it is the role of the General Manager to tweak that formula, creating a methodology that works for everyone on the team and adjusting as needed.

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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.