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A blindfolded GM is a disaster

10 November 2022
Governments restricted movements which made it impossible to travel. As a result, hotels suffered, and the pandemic had a massive negative impact. Hotels guests have returned to hotels this year, and travel is about to recover fully. However, hotels had to let people go during the pandemic since revenue had disappeared. In the past couple of years, hotels have experienced a knowledge drain. Getting former employees back into the industry and attracting new talents to hotels is difficult.

Hotels have experienced the same challenges in their marketing, sales, and revenue management departments. There are too many vacant positions to fill and too few applicants. As a result, hotels will not be able to fill empty marketing, sales, and revenue positions for the next few years. Some people even say that the workforce crises will continue until 2030. The conclusion is that silos do not work anymore since hotels cannot manage without all roles if the hotel has structured commercial work by the department and not as a commercial team.

The GM is blindfolded

The lack of people in marketing, sales, and revenue mean fewer people focusing on revenue, so there is no time for extensive reporting to the GM or top management. The lack of up-to-date information blindfolded the GM, who will have to trust instincts rather than facts when making decisions about improving the performance of the business. What should the GM do in this situation? Dreaming about the past and trying to recruit when no people are available will not help. Here are a few ideas on how to build a better future.

One commercial team

It is hard enough, if even possible, to fill each silo with someone and even harder to recruit several people. That is probably not going to happen. Instead, put all marketing, sales, and revenue management roles in one team and form the commercial team. Each person in the commercial department needs to have a broader role than just expertise in one area. The hotel needs to broaden the knowledge within the team by educating and training each team member so that each team member can fill in for each other and partly overlap in knowledge and skills. A broader knowledge base will make the hotel less vulnerable if the business picks up fast or someone leaves. One commercial team is a win-win for the hotel and each individual who will, over time, gain new knowledge and develop personal skills and experiences. The benefit for the hotel is that people will stay longer in their positions and be ready to take a step up when the hotel promotes the department head.

One system for the commercial team

If the hotel has one commercial team, it needs one system where the team can collaborate and quickly access all the data they need to make a qualified decision about attracting more guests and selling more to each guest. The commercial team is responsible for total revenue and needs information about all revenue sources, guest spending patterns, market insights, and many more functions. A broader scope for each team member requires more knowledge that spans several functions. One system lets several roles collaborate to become more productive in growing revenue and profits. Collaboration is vital when each position has an extended and somewhat overlapping area of responsibility.

Combine automation with human judgment

Hospitality is a people business, meaning highly qualified people serve other highly skilled people. Hotels that still let their employees perform duties that a machine or computer can do better are using people as a production resource, similar to modern slavery. Most industries have replaced hard manual labor with automation. Hotels should replace all mundane commercial tasks with automation and let humans make decisions based on high-quality data and human judgment.

The GM can regain control

The automation immediately produces information for the GM fast and accurately. The GM can trust that the information is always accurate and on time since there is no human intervention moving data from one system to another. The commercial team works in one system, so the GM can easily log into the system and see what is happening. The feeling of being in control is fantastic. The GM can trust the commercial team to develop creative ideas and plans to grow revenue and profits. The rivalry between the roles in the siloed organization is gone, and now the team solves problems without the GM as a negotiator in the middle. Finally, the commercial organization can focus on improving the business and reaching long-term goals.