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Three Hotelier’s New Year’s Resolutions

By Jim Hartigan
January 2, 2013

As the calendar changes to 2013, a familiar topic enters into our daily dialogue, that of “New Year’s Resolutions.”  According to that ever accurate source Wikipedia, there is a rich and long history behind this practice.  New Year’s Resolutions date as far back as the ancient Babylonians, who made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named and in the medieval era, knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.  The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

For my fellow hoteliers, I offer these three simple resolutions to help make 2013 a year of improved RevPAR, Customer Service, and overall manager well-being.
  1. Inspect what you Expect – resolve to get out from behind your desk and inspect the hotel.  Set a number of rooms/suites you will inspect each week or month – and then do it.  Recognize the housekeeping and engineering staff when your inspections go well, and use the time to instruct and guide when they don’t.  Inspect the public areas of your hotel.  Include your housekeeping and engineering leaders in this practice and mentor them.  Write work orders from each property walk through.  Keep track of what gets accomplished from one week to the next and celebrate the improvements.
  2. Build a Smarter Team – has “Staff Meeting” become a round table of the same people saying the same things week after week?  Inject something different this year and teach your team new skills.  Have one manager teach the others about their job.  Read a business book as a group.  Bring in an outside expert to teach better communication skills.  The list is endless, but the point is simple – add an educational component to your weekly staff meetings and watch your management team improve their skills.
  3. Walk a mile in your guest’s shoes – Watch check-in from the lobby side of the front desk.  Watch the restaurant or complimentary breakfast hostess from the guest’s perspective.  What areas of the operation are creating lines or log jams?  How long does it take to get coffee or a beverage?  If you’d never been in your hotel before, is it obvious where things are and how you (as the guest) can best enjoy the experience?  The point here is to watch your operation work from the guest’s vantage point.  See what they see.  Hear what they hear.  Feel what they feel.  Special Note:  Resist the urge to jump in and help right away.  Watch, learn, and ask questions…then, if you see an unacceptable guest experience occurring - intervene and take care of things.  Again, use the situation as a learning experience for the staff and involve them in solving guest service complaints.
Get out from behind your desk.  Build your team’s skill set.  Take the guest’s perspective.  These three relatively simple, but not all that easy, resolutions are designed to positively impact your hotel’s performance in 2013.  In the year ahead, remember our motto – Take Care of the Customer, Take Care of Each Other, Take Care of Yourself!

Jim Hartigan, Chief Business Development Officer and Partner joined OrgWide Services, a Training/e-Learning, Communications, Surveys and Consulting firm in April 2010 after nearly 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, including the last 18 as a senior executive with Hilton Worldwide. Jim’s last position was that of Senior Vice President – Global Brand Services where he provided strategic leadership and business development and support to the $22B enterprise of 10 brands and more than 3,400 hotels in 80 countries around the world. His team was responsible for ensuring excellence in system product quality, customer satisfaction, market research, brand management, media planning, and sustainability.

Jim Hartigan
Chief Business Development Officer & Partner
OrgWide Services
165 N. Main Street, Suite 202
Collierville, TN 38017
office: 901.850.8190  Ext. 230
mobile: 901.628.6586

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