Empowering Your Hotel Staff as a Leadership Style

By Mark Ricketts President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotels | September 02, 2018

Many outstanding leaders believe in not asking of their subordinates something they would not do-or be able to do-themselves. Managing a rush of guests arriving on scene all at once with aplomb. Sure thing. Light bulb goes out in a room just as the engineering staff goes off duty. No problem. We all know how to change a light bulb, and know where to find one in the first place. A staff member has to leave the property due to a family emergency and we must cover for them, without losing a beat. Been there, done that.  Think of this principle as one of the Golden Rules of Leadership. 

Among these Golden Rules, another key element of leadership is in having the intent, skills and confidence to empower our staff-assigning responsibilities, but, also, giving individuals defined authority to solve issues, internally or with guests and our professional partners.

In this article, we will talk about how good leaders understand why and how to empower their staff, giving them the tools to think creatively and purposely in a variety of settings. We will also provide some practical examples of empowerment in action; and talk about how this leadership style contributes to and enhances a hospitality organization's overall culture of quality and value.

Empowerment Realized

In simplest terms, empowerment means that staff members, when faced with an "out of the box" situation, can do more than just say: "I'm sorry."  

When we ourselves are customers, is there anything more frustrating than having a problem and the associate that you are dealing with is unable to make a decision to resolve the problem-no matter how small the issue is?  A typical response is: "Do I really have to wait for a supervisor…?"    

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.