Hospitality: People first, Systems second

Working for a hotel management software company like innRoad and being a process improvement geek, I get really excited about being able to help people do more faster. But, after a recent stay in New York I was reminded that it doesn’t matter how fast your systems are or how many clicks it takes to do something, the most important part of running your hotel is the people you employ.

I was checking in at the hotel, and the front desk was slammed. A large group had a flight cancellation and the hotel was over-booked. They were scrambling to get rooms cleaned and get people back into clean rooms. Needless to say, I was waiting in line. The front desk staff were moving guests through, every computer was in use, and it was getting done. As I stood in line, I reflected on the fact that their systems were working, which is great.

Three things were very clear to me:

  1. It didn’t matter to the people standing in line what system the hotel was using to check guests in and out
  2. Patience for waiting has become a thing of the past
  3. The woman behind the desk who was handing out waters to the people in line was my new best friend

Now, let me take a minute to tell you about this woman. She not only understood the importance of getting people through the line quickly, and she had mastered the art of the “2-click, swipe, click” check-in, but she also knew the importance of relationship building. She knew that being hospitable mattered as much, if not more, than getting people through the line quickly. Even though she was focused on shrinking the wait time for her new guests, she was just as quick to provide a smile and a bottle of water. And, isn’t that what you would do if you invited someone into your own home? Isn’t that the feeling you want your front desk to exude?

We’re going to be writing more blog posts on the importance of employees in the coming weeks. We look forward to your comments and any feedback both here, on Facebook and on Twitter.