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 April 2019...

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.