Frontline Training: The Key to Successful Revenue Management

By Drew Salapka Vice President of Sales and Revenue Generation, Hotel Equities | September 28, 2014

Can you imagine a football coach devising plays for his team, discussing them with the rest of his coaching staff, but never communicating those plays to his team? How well do you think that team would do? Did you ever wonder if a similar scenario might be happening at your hotel?

In my twenty years in the hotel industry, I have witnessed many high level meetings where the revenue management strategies never left the room or the webinar. The game plan, so to speak, was not communicated clearly to the front desk associates.

How can we expect our hotels to shift share when we don't give the plays to the people who handle the bulk of our reservations? Continual revenue management training at the property level is mandatory if we expect to go out and win the game against our comp set today. If we are not conducting frontline training, our competition is probably running up the score. We must equip our hotel teams with the tools and knowledge they need in order to be successful.

I began my career as a laundry attendant and worked my way through each department in the hotel. I quickly learned two universal things about every hotel department. First, we are here to serve our guests and each position in the hotel supports that vision. Second, we must be trained on how to do the job in a way that supports the vision.

My first trainer, Charles, was a 68-year-old, mentally challenged gentleman. He explained that if we did not fold the sheets correctly, to ensure that they were wrinkle-free, our guests would not feel that they received the best value for their money. I was amazed by the fact that our laundry attendant did not just view his job as folding laundry, but he understood that he was responsible for a guest's impression in the room. Looking back, I realize that someone trained Charles on the fact that his job was more than just processing linen each and every day.

As my career moved through every department of the hotel, I noticed a similar trend. Each department spent a few weeks training me before I could do the work on my own to ensure that I understood the job and how it supported the hotel's vision and mission. I am thankful that I began in a hotel with a good training environment. That training facilitated my success at a young age and it helped me fall in love with the hotel business.

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