News for the Hospitality Executive
|Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
|By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, August 6, 2008|
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager
Part Five (conclusion): Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization
|By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS
August 6, 2008
“Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only
to our own interests,
This series opened with the perspective that we have all learned in our careers as hoteliers that there are understandable differences between “leaders” and “managers.”
The need exists for both. As individuals and organizations, we need people who are inspirational with a vision and other people who put into practice that vision through focus, effort and dedication. The second group, usually titled “Managers”, embraces the genuineness of that vision and primes it to be the success that it can become. They are the ones often responsible for handling, directing, organizing, monitoring and delivering results through other people.
This five part series addressed areas of concern and interest for today’s hotel manager.
Part one - Understanding the Organization – outlined some of the differences between leaders and managers and the need for both. While leaders often may seem inspirational, they often do not have the concentration or stamina to be involved in the every day necessity of running the process of delivering results through other people.
Part two - Motivating the Team – delineated key issues that affect the people reporting to us and how they are so unique to each person.
Part three - Using your management style effectively – covered 10 standards to concentrate on your personal management style, with a focus on the tremendous diversity of people who own, manage and operate hotels in a global market.
Part four - Communicating with clarity and candor – provided skills to be developed, fine tuned and used.
Part Five - Maintaining relationships
In the hospitality and travel industry of today, we do not and cannot conduct business in the same way as our parents and grandparents did with the incredible diversity of people who own, manage and operate hotels in this global market.
As hotel managers accountable for the practical, every-day business practices that provide a range of potential results, we have learned we must use our personal strengths. We have come to realize that in an industry that is open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year that we must effectively make use of the skills and resources of our associates, fellow managers, professional colleagues, suppliers, ownership group and organizational leadership.
Relationships in hotels have a great deal to do with our personal success. Talent, knowledge and long hours may be part of the equation in reaching that success, but how we interact with the groups mentioned above is a challenge that must be met.
The following are offered as components of those interactions:
1. Recognizing that you as a hotel manager or supervisor are dealing with an incredible multi generational workforce.
Many hotels today have four generations working in the same establishment. A major challenge for today’s hotel management is that these groups are not all motivated by the same things. One program I have personally used successfully is titled Showdown At The Generation Gap. This program includes DVD training and has support materials available. The program addresses how we all see the world differently, with our own perspectives, habits, bias and points of reference. Generational conflict happens when Boomers and X’ers begin to make assumptions about each other and fail to recognize the other person’s frame of reference. The program strives to cover how different generations view the workplace, common complaints and misconceptions about each other and how the generations can adapt their communication styles to build alliances with each other.
Here are two potential resources for your consideration
2. Defining and Communicating the line between friendship and cordiality
We all learn the need to balance relationships with people that we work closely with. This applies up and down and sideways in the organization.
Traditional wisdom suggests finding close friends away from the hotel, but the long hours and positive experiences do make friendships possible in this industry.
Keep in mind potential danger zones which include:
This industry has many high touch components in it and there are often many ways to address challenges. Most disagreements and “objections” to proposed methods of handling issues come from misunderstanding.
Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this series addressed this critical area in a number of ways, but much if it boils down to improved listening, clear communication on the what and why of projects and the aptitude to convince people that there are options. Avoiding the appearance of “right” and “wrong” in responding to potential resistance is essential to keeping your best staff on the team.
4. Managing Your Boss
A Google search of this topic yields several dozen hits with the exact title, and hundreds more of related material. One of the best responses I found was from Marin Haworth1 titled Managing Your Boss - Taking the Initiative2. The article reinforces to all of the significance of building relationships - when we have a boss, we need to remember to get the best from our boss and he maintains the burden is on us.
He proposes that, while we are limited in how much control we have in the employed world because so much is passed down, we can take some proactive steps to address the frustration we feel at times.
He offers the following as potential ways to seize some control with a better relationship with your boss:
5. How to Say “no”
For those of us with children, we have all learned a wide variety of ways to say “no”.
Our staffs are not children and we need to remember they deserve to be treated with respect.
Situations range from simple day off requests to large capital budget plans.
There are times when “no” is the required response. Consider this simple approach:
We are all deluged with information overload these days. That fact does not mean we can ignore the people who are on our team that need our support, as much as we need their resourcefulness and commitments.
Many persons studying foreign languages are frustrated by their inability to understand what proficient speakers say. Though EFL learners can often understand materials in standard dialects, limited vocabulary, and slow speeds, non-standard dialects, idiomatic phrases, or rapid speech represent a challenge to many foreign language learners.
What are the best ways to develop ones listening skills? The following article abstract from author and English Teacher Tim Newfields offers eight simple listening tips, classified in terms of pre-listening, in-listening, and post-listening skills3.
Tips for better listening
We have many of both in this industry. Occupancy is off or we do not have housekeepers today. Cash flow is strained or we need to figure a better way to increase REVPAR.
Managers are paid to solve problems. They should also be accountable in being able to identify the differences between real problems and short term glitches.
Identifying a long term solution to a staffing shortage through creative brainstorming has been accomplished by many hotels in the US and Canada, yet many other hotels are not yet addressing the need. Repositioning market segments can address cash flow or REVPAR, but they each require thinking, discussion, listening and planning for action.
8. Developing Your Support system
One of the best teams I was ever privileged to be associated with was at a pleasant, but somewhat dated downtown hotel. The hotel was clean, it met the brand standards and the staff was friendly. During my five years tenure though, we experienced a very tough economic cycle in our market and monies for marketing and advertising were almost non existent.
This hotel ended up being recognized by the international brand it was associated with for five awards of excellence in different areas and it captured the highest occupancy in its market 3 of those 5 years. I sincerely believe the successes that were enjoyed were due to the incredible team effort of seven people who, regardless of title, brainstormed and made their case on why a certain tactic should be taken. They supported each other and me, and I fortunately did not hamper them by hogging all the credit or insisting “my” way was the only option. I remain friends with five of those people today – 20+ years later.
9. Preparing for the coming crisis
“Houston, we have a problem” was a famous quote from the US Apollo 13 space program. Originally a genuine report of a life-threatening fault, it is now used humorously to report any kind of problem.
Being prepared in our industry for a crisis is very real. Earlier in my career, I served as a resident manager at a 400 room convention hotel. The hotel had a fire detection system but codes did not require sprinklers at that time. We practiced fire drills monthly to the point where the staff was getting annoyed – after all, we’d never have a fire and the fire department was close by anyway. You know what’s coming next – a fire that spread with incredible speed, destroying much of the hotel through smoke and water damage.
The hotel was full, with several hundred other guests in banquets and the outlets. One of the bell staff was honored by AH&LA the following year for his heroic action of knocking on dozens of doors evacuating guests. The practice sessions and awareness made the difference.
Fires are a frightening thing. While the hotel received a multi million dollar renovation, we were closed for just under a year, with hundreds of people losing at least some income. The good news was that we were not even sued by anyone, and this was attributed to our preparation and because those regular drills likely saved many lives.
Today, we have the danger of fire, robbery, assault, equipment malfunction, flood, hurricanes, drug dealings, and even terrorism. We cannot live in fear but we also cannot assume someone else will prepare for it.
For answers and ideas on how to prepare, consider these and other sources:
I personally find quotes4 to be a reason for me to pause
and reflect. I trust that they will be of interest to you as this
series is completed.
Feel free to share an idea at email@example.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops or speaking engagements. Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources.
All rights reserved by John Hogan. This column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.
John Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis. He holds a number of industry certifications and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands. He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.
John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20 year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels. He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain.
He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program. He has conducted an estimated 3,100 workshops and seminars in his career. He served as senior vice president for a client in a specialty hotel brand for six years.
He has published more than 350 articles & columns on the hotel industry and is co-author (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from a range of industry sources and AMAZON.com. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and is finalizing his 2nd book based on his dissertation – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.
Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
|Also See:||Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008|
|Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008|
|Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008|
|Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008|
|Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008|
|Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008|
|Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008|
|The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008|
|For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008|
|Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008|
|Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008|
|Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008|
|Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008|