Traditionally, the summer travel season is a very busy and exciting time for many independent hoteliers. Rates and occupancy are higher and opportunities to capture revenue are increased. And good news – this summer will be no different. It’s predicted that 222 million passengers, 2.4 million per day, will fly on U.S.-based airlines from June 1 to August 31. This is a 4.5% increase from 2014 summer airline travel, making it the highest level of summer travel ever forecasted! With more people traveling comes the need for more hotel rooms, as well as more chances for your team to deliver exceptional service and build lasting relationships with guests. However, as the leader of your independent hotel, you should ask yourself, “Is my team ready for the challenges of the summer season?”
Of course, such a broad question can be answered and addressed in multiple ways, but a great way for operators to gauge the readiness of their teams is to establish measureable goals and responsibilities that can be easily analyzed and explained. This allows your team to quickly understand its strengths and opportunities for improvement, while continuously working towards providing great hospitality during the busy summer.
Here are a few ways to ensure your team is maximizing its potential and delivering top-notch hospitality this summer:
Lots of guest experiences are “made or broken” at the front desk. With high summer occupancy, it’s inevitable that some days will go less smoothly than others, so you must work to keep check-in and check-out consistent. Tracking transaction times and establishing benchmarks will help set team member expectations, coach them to be more efficient and move guests through the process faster. With high guest volume, keeping tabs on timing will be challenging, but it will pay off in guest satisfaction over the course of the summer.
Housekeepers are the unsung heroes of every independent hotel. During the summer, high occupancy creates complex issues, such as the need to turnover available rooms faster, as well as increasing the number of rooms in need of daily servicing. With more responsibility, but less time, you can help your housekeeping team by providing highly detailed daily worksheets, which include room lists for preferred guests, requests for early cleaning and other special guest requests. Adding additional structure and prioritizing responsibilities will help you monitor and improve your housekeeping team’s daily performance.
Online Guest Relationships
Actively managing online guest relationships can have a major impact on your independent hotel’s online reputation and offline revenue. Tourists rely heavily on feedback left by other travelers on TripAdvisor and OTAs, so you must make strong efforts to monitor and respond to comments daily. Whether you manage this personally or assign it to a tech savvy team member, setting goals of responding to feedback immediately or on strict schedule will get you into the habit of engaging online regularly. Travelers view hotels who interact online much favorably than those who ignore their feedback, so incorporating this online task into your daily operations can result in greater offline revenue.