By David Lund
Productivity is like our health and fitness. We are never just staying in one place for long. You are either moving toward a better picture or you are moving away from the ideal shape you want to be in.
In your hotel it is a never-ending journey that requires your constant and continuous attention. In this piece I am going to highlight the Top 10 List to avoid and best practices to adopt so you can stay in shape. And remember, just like guest services and your colleagues, your productivity will never be perfect, but you can always benefit from a regular work out.
Number 10 – Being a Perfectionist
Perfection is a great thing if you are buying a diamond, landing on the moon or you just got a hole-in-one. Not so much in your hotel. Being a perfectionist drives everyone else on the team crazy and it wastes valuable time. Very good is the sweet spot we want to strive for because it is efficient and quite acceptable to almost everyone.
Number 9 – Working Without a Routine
Everyone, no matter what, can benefit from a routine to be more productive. I wrote a full article on the secret power in a routine, you can read it here. In your hotel the key is making sure everyone has theirs in place is you, leading the way by modeling this great ritual. Be sure while you are doing this to look out for the ones who falsely claim that multi-tasking is king.
Number 8 – Not Giving a Reward for a Room Credit
With Covid this brings a new twist, but it won’t be long until we are back to offering cleaning on a daily basis. Make sure you respect your guest’s individual preferences and offer them a perk at the same time. It will please them and reduce your costs. Items that cost you little that are popular work the best. A free cocktail, appetizer, upgrade the next time, and a late checkout are just a few. Get creative and stay away from more free points.
Number 7 – Not Capturing DnDs
Much like No. 8, the biggest part of the labor engine in your hotel is likely your room attendants. Anything you can do to maximize the productivity around the hours per room occupied is where you want to focus. Find a way to capture these credits and do not just let them fall to the room attendant’s favor. RA incentives work best here.
Number 6 – Not Using an Up-to-Date Daily Rooms Forecast
If your schedules are based on the weekly forecast and not updated daily, you are missing an opportunity to finetune things. The hotel business is a game of inches and a volume sport at the same time. An hour here and there all add up to whether you are taking or giving.
Number 5 – Not Scheduling Based on Minus instead of Plus
I was taught this by a housekeeping manager I worked with in San Francisco. She had great productivity numbers and I asked her for her secret. She said two things: one, it is a daily thing and, two, she scheduled using minus not plus.
“What is that,” I asked?
She explained that if the formula said she needed 15 RAs to flip the house tomorrow, she scheduled 14, not 16. Most people will schedule extra person or more to cover their backsides. She further explained that with very few exceptions it is always possible to get the job done with one less, instead of one more. By the way, the difference is at least two a day! (Pro Tip: This adds up over a month, year.)
Number 4 – Lack of Regular Effective Communication
People, all employees, need to know what is going on. Daily effective communication in all departments in the hotel is key. The number of times you avoid extra costs for things that could have been caught ahead of time and dealt with more efficiently is worth a fortune. Flip it around and if you are running by the seat of your pants this equals poor fuel mileage. Drip, drip, drip.
Number 3 – Extra Breaks for Snacks, Smokes and the Bathroom
I am calling myself out here. I quit smoking quite a long time ago but I still remember the crowd and the frequency of our daily get togethers at the designated smoking spot. Your colleagues will find a way unless you set strict guidelines. BTW, a trip outside for a smoke always equals a trip to the washroom too.
Number 2 – Not Tracking and Scheduling with Productivity Measures
If you are not using these tools on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis to track your labor effectiveness you are missing the boat. I have written a lot around this topic, read more here. And remember as Peter Drucker says, “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure.” Labor cost and percentages just do not work well enough here.
Number 1 – Drum Roll… Smart Phones, Social Media, Texts and Email
All I can say with this one is good luck! Finding a way to control your staff and the amount of time wasted on these devices is like finding the Holy Grail. Please drop me a line when you do and tell me how you did it.
Well, there you go. Dave’s Top 10. I hope you liked the show!