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  • Writer's picturePhilip Marchant

5 Tips for Success in Hospitality Management

I have been a manager in the hospitality industry for over 25 years running everything from nightclubs to cafes, hotels to holiday parks, wedding venues to county clubs and private members clubs as well as contract catering in business, education and healthcare. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way to help in your career dealing with the different demands of owners, staff and customers.

Hospitality is a multi-billion pound global industry with a huge variety of jobs and skills to learn and master.

Tip #1: the customer is always right.

This cliché applies to every aspect of hospitality because this is the ultimate customer service industry. But remember you most unhappy customer is your biggest learning opportunity. Turn complaints into change and make your offering even better, learn from the mistakes. An unhappy customer dealt with correctly can become one of your biggest marketing tools and best customers. Always listen to the complaints, apologise and rectify the situation as quickly and with as little fuss as possible. Don’t forget the compensation to your customer sometimes something as simple as a free drink or a small discount will work wonders. A suggestion box is always a good idea, for both customers and employees.

Tip #2: Find a Mentor/get the qualification.

I have put these two together as gaining the qualification is always great to learn the basics, but a mentor can really show you the true scope of the position. Embrace the knowledge of the industry’s veterans. Mine your professional network, set up a coffee date with an influential manager, and ask about both successes and failures. Hospitality managers are jacks of all trades — driven, hard-working, and eager to learn and grow — so both hands-on experience and old-fashioned classroom learning combine to produce the most successful managers. Whether or not you already work in hospitality, the first thing you should do is to invest in your education and learn the modern standards and practices of the management industry. These days the college route isn’t necessary as there are plenty of online courses that will give you the certificates of qualification and online tutorials on the likes of youtube can further your knowledge. And you can do these in your spare time whilst earning and learning at the same time. There are always new things and innovations in the hospitality industry so read the industry magazines, google the latest developments and ideas and watch what others are doing and adapt it to your business.

Tip #3: 6 traits of a great leader.

1. Communication:

The most common problems in the industry are normally caused by poor communication. Learn to communicate well with your staff both in organised briefings and training sessions and on the go remember that everyone understands differently. Learn to communicate with the owners and back up ideas or suggestions with facts and figures.

2. Organisation:

Get organized; keep a detailed calendar and to-do lists. Work efficiently and learn to delegate, this not only eases your workload to concentrate on the business strategy but also builds your staffs respect and trust in you. Murphy’s’ law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” he was probably talking about a busy Saturday night at your business. Make sure that your standard operating procedures deal with handling problems and make sure your staff are competent in dealing and solving them.

3. Listen:

Listen to your staff and take on board their grievances and suggestions remember these are the people doing the work day in, day out and this can lead to better and more efficient working practices.

4. Provide the right tools:

Create detailed and comprehensive training sheets and train your staff both one on one and as a team. Provide the best equipment and learn the best way to use it. Continually update both the training sheets and your staff on the latest developments and get them to suggest, plan and train with you.

5. Create a great environment:

Hire fun, bubbly people with a service attitude, people can be taught to serve a drink or cook a dish but the right attitude is hard to teach. Give everyone a responsibility this promotes a feeling of being trusted and respected. Give your staff the training, tools and authority to fix issues or problems and back them in their decisions. Fire bad staff, admit you made a mistake and get rid of the bad ones as soon as possible, the other staff will actually be pleased and respect you more for this. Remember personal details like their birthdays and give them a card and present. Give them the day off without them asking for birthdays both their own and childrens and partners, wedding anniversaries etc.

6. Rewards and discipline:

Reward your staff for positive things, like good ideas, exceptional customer service, good reviews etc do this in front of the team and it will encourage others to perform better. When it comes to discipline, do this in private. NEVER berate your staff in front of other staff or customers.

Tip #4 Focus on the Big Picture.

It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day details of running your business, and it is important for managers to stay informed of daily activity at the business. However, it’s also the role of the manager to focus on the big picture while letting staff members take care of their daily responsibilities.

You should be creating short-term goals for your team members that lead to long-term results, such as increasing revenue year over year, creating opportunities to boost the image and marketing reach of the business.

Keep your establishment on the cutting edge by visiting restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that appeal to your same client base. Network with managers and professionals in complementary industries, such as catering and event planning. Develop these relationships and look for opportunities to make mutually beneficial business deals. For example, a hotel might offer a 10% discount to a local pizzeria, which will reciprocate by posting free advertisements for the hotel.

Your job is not simply to manage the day-to-day operations; it is also to help realize company growth, whether that means expansion of services or greater efficiency. Regularly examine procedures and systems. Get input from employees. Aim to get things right the first time and perpetuate good practices. Be proactive in reputation management, offering incentives to customers who write reviews for websites like Yelp.

Tip #5 Be present for your guests.

Take joy in spending time with your customers. Take time to greet them upon their arrival, check in during their experience, and wish them well upon their departure.

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