Career Information: Hotel Management

Managing hotels is stressful and exciting. Tips for learning to keep rooms clean and customers satisfied.

For those of you who think Hotel Management is anything like Faulty Towers, the popular British comedy series, you are exactly right. Well, at least, partially right. Running a hotel, no matter how high class and exclusive it may be inevitably results in sometimes comical and always memorable experiences. The hotel business is unpredictable and at times, zany, because you are dealing with unpredictable and zany creatures, that is, human beings. For those of you thinking of getting into the hotel management business, here is some insight into the industry along with some guidelines to follow and pointers to take to heart.

Hotels come in all shapes and sizes. There are ten room hotels and those that have over three-thousand rooms. There are skyscraper rooms, and there are basement bungalows and one-floor motels. Though every hotel has a different personality and composition, the principles of running a hotel are the same in Boston as they are in Hong Kong. The key component is, of course, customer service.

Customer service is facilitated, first and foremost, by an accommodating staff. The staff must be friendly. Some hotels believe in this creed so much that part of the hiring process is counting the number of times a person smiles. Friendliness of the staff can be almost as important as the actual accommodations to some people. Friendliness is great, but must be coupled with professionalism. The staff must always have clean and tidy uniforms""the first impression is the lasting impression in the hotel business. All staff should be practiced in the art of answering the phone politely and professionally, and should be aware of rates, room availability, and any specials running. Every staff member should be prepared to tackle any challenge or task that may occur""from a clogged sink to a financial audit. A successful operation in the customer service department relies on go-getters who will do their best to tackle any problem that gets in the way of a customer's enjoyment.

Guests are not always on their best behavior, but the staff must be; it is their job. Particularly during stressful times of the year""the holiday season, tax season, the heat of the summer""people tend to get irritated and impatient. It is the job of your staff to accommodate even the nastiest of customers. Patience and a smile should be met with harshness and rudeness, even when it is very difficult to do so.

The staff must also be prepared for strange scenarios to occur. Embarrassing room lock-outs resulting in the eviction of a towel-wrapped patron in the hallway at 3am, credit card failures, not to mention some of the interesting items left in the hotel rooms and placed in the lost and found. The staff of a hotel must have patience and professionalism, but must also have a sense of humor. Aside from humor, however, you need personnel with an eye for detail. From cleaning rooms to an impeccable state to constantly mopping the floors, the hotel staff must be prepared to clean, clean, clean. Even the office workers should be handy with a broom and dustpan for supreme customer satisfaction.

In addition to a versatile staff a hotel needs an efficient and functioning administration system. Whether you have ten or ten thousand rooms, your hotel must have the proper reservation system. Though computer software for this aim is expensive, investing in a system is crucial. The Micros system is a great system to use for any size hotel. This computer system allows you to make reservations, set-up house accounts, and makes the billing and receiving process easy.

Another component of a successfully run hotel is an organized housekeeping operation. Linens and cleaning supplies should be ordered on a routine basis based on use and need. Linens should always be fresh and must be thrown away when and if they become dingy or discolored. Shabby materials are unprofessional and will deter customers from a return visit. The linen room should be maintained in an orderly fashion. Linens should be sorted and stowed in their proper places directly after cleaning and drying. Cleaning supplies should be labeled and stowed properly as well. Organization is the key to running an efficient business, particularly a hotel business.

While you may have all the components that make up a functioning hotel, you need to actually get customers to visit. Advertising is another facet that can be challenging in the hotel business. Internet advertising through sites can pay off in a society that is now, more than ever, glued to the computer. Other forms of popular advertising include billboards, fliers, newspaper ads, magazine bits, and of course, word of mouth. The best advertisements are the words of satisfied customers, so do not lose track of the importance of treating your guest like a king or queen.

© High Speed Ventures 2011