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Align Hotel Teams: Using OKRs in Setting Goals and Bonus Schemes

11 July 2023
In the bustling world of hotels, ensuring that the commercial team - encompassing general management, sales, marketing, and revenue management - is aligned toward a common objective can often seem daunting. Traditionally, these roles, while interconnected, operate within their own silos, each with distinct goals that occasionally conflict with one another. This division complicates interdepartmental coordination and dilutes the overarching strategy, creating disjointed efforts that undermine overall success.
Imagine if there was a method that clearly defined collective goals and offered a measurable roadmap to achieve them, effectively aligning the entire team. Enter OKR - Objectives and Key Results. OKRs provide a framework that helps businesses set, track, and achieve their goals.
In the context of a hotel's commercial team, implementing the OKR methodology could be the solution to unify your commercial operations and create a truly synergistic team. By setting ambitious objectives and pairing them with measurable key results, OKRs foster focus, alignment, and drive results.
In this blog post, we will explore applying the OKR methodology to align your commercial team's efforts, integrate it into your bonus schemes, and create a motivated, goal-oriented workforce dedicated to the hotel's growth and success. Let's dive in.

Understanding OKRs

Objective and Key Results, or OKRs, is a goal-setting framework that encourages organizations to aim high and strive for exceptional achievements. Initially introduced by Intel and widely adopted by high-performing companies like Google and LinkedIn, the OKR methodology creates alignment and engagement around measurable goals.
The concept of OKRs is relatively simple: You establish an Objective, a clearly defined and inspiring goal you want to achieve, and then set Key Results, specific measures used to track the attainment of that objective. Key Results are quantifiable, time-bound, and ambitious, yet achievable.
Consider this: Objectives define where we want to go, and Key Results determine how we'll get there. It's like having a destination (Objective) and a map (Key Results) showing the path to reach that destination.
OKRs are beneficial in a variety of ways. Here are a few that stand out:
  • Focus: OKRs help teams and individuals concentrate their efforts on what truly matters, eliminating distractions and facilitating the prioritization of tasks.
  • Alignment: With OKRs, every team member knows the team's objectives and their role in achieving them. This understanding fosters collaboration, as everyone is working towards common goals.
  • Measurable Progress: With quantifiable Key Results, teams can track their progress toward Objectives. This ability to measure progress allows for timely adjustments, recognition of achievements, and ongoing improvement.
Now that we have a basic understanding of OKRs and their benefits, let's delve into how to apply this powerful methodology to the commercial team in a hotel setting.

Applying OKRs to the Commercial Team in Hotels

Setting and aligning OKRs starts with understanding your hotel's strategic priorities. Once these are clear, you can cascade them down to the commercial team's OKRs, ensuring everyone is moving in the same direction. Here is how you can apply the OKR methodology to the commercial team in a hotel:
  1. Define the Objective: Start by determining a clear, inspiring Objective that aligns with the hotel's strategic priorities. This Objective should be ambitious and feel somewhat uncomfortable; it's meant to stretch the team's capabilities and inspire them to aim high. For instance, an Objective could be "Become the top-rated hotel for business travelers in our city."
  2. Set the Key Results: With the Objective in place, it's time to identify specific, measurable, time-bound Key Results that, if achieved, will ensure the objective is met. Key Results should be challenging yet achievable, pushing the team to perform at their best without setting them up for failure. For the previous Objective, some Key Results could include:
    1. "Increase the average weekday occupancy rate by 20% over the next quarter."
    2. "Boost overall guest satisfaction scores among business travelers from 80% to 90% within six months."
    3. "Secure contracts with at least 10 new businesses for regular bookings over the next three months."
  3. Involve the Team: OKR setting should be a participatory process. Each member of the commercial team should be involved in determining the Key Results for which they'll be responsible. This encourages ownership of the goals, fosters engagement, and leverages the team's collective insights.
  4. Align and Publish OKRs: Make sure the OKRs of individual team members are aligned with the team's OKRs, and in turn, with the hotel's overarching Objectives. Once set, OKRs should be made visible to everyone within the organization. This promotes transparency, reinforces alignment, and fosters a culture of mutual support and collaboration.
  5. Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular team check-ins to review progress towards the OKRs. These meetings can identify potential roadblocks, celebrate progress, and allow course correction.
By implementing OKRs within your commercial team, you establish a shared sense of purpose and direction, aligning all roles towards common objectives. The OKR framework fosters a cycle of ambition, achievement, learning, and growth, paving the way for heightened team performance and hotel success. Next, we will explore how these OKRs can be tracked and incorporated into your hotel's bonus schemes.

Tracking Progress with OKRs

Once you've set your OKRs, the work isn't over. It's just beginning. OKRs are dynamic tools that require regular monitoring and updating to ensure they're driving your team toward your objectives. Here's how you can effectively track progress:
  1. Establish a Tracking System: Decide on a system or tool where all OKRs will be stored, updated, and reviewed. This could be project management software, a dedicated OKR tool, or a shared spreadsheet. It should be accessible to everyone on the team and updated regularly.
  2. Regular Check-Ins: Establish a routine for team check-ins. These could be weekly or bi-weekly meetings where team members update their progress toward Key Results. It provides an opportunity to discuss challenges, strategize solutions, and celebrate achievements.
  3. Measure Progress: Each Key Result should be quantifiable, enabling you to measure progress. Track this progress over time to provide insight into how well the team is moving towards achieving the Objective.
  4. Adjust as Necessary: Don't be afraid to revise your Key Results if circumstances change or if a Key Result is no longer driving you toward your Objective. The aim is progress, not perfection.
  5. Review and Learn: At the end of each OKR cycle (typically quarterly), take the time to review your OKRs. Did you achieve your Objective? Why or why not? What can you learn from this cycle to apply to the next one? Use this as a learning experience to continuously improve your OKR process.
Tracking OKRs isn't just about ensuring you're making progress toward your objectives. It's about creating a culture of transparency, accountability, and continuous learning within your team. It's a way to regularly align your team's efforts, celebrate achievements, and foster a sense of shared purpose. In the next section, we'll discuss linking these OKRs to your commercial team's bonus schemes, further incentivizing your team to strive for these ambitious goals.

Linking OKRs to bonus schemes

OKRs aren't just tools for aligning your team and driving progress; they can also be powerful motivators when tied to performance-based bonus schemes. By linking the achievement of Key Results to tangible rewards, you give your team an added incentive to strive for their objectives. Here's how you can incorporate OKRs into your bonus schemes:
  1. Identify Reward-worthy Key Results: Not all Key Results might warrant a bonus. Choose those that are most impactful or require extra effort to achieve. This could be a significant increase in occupancy rate, securing a substantial contract, or significantly improving customer satisfaction scores.
  2. Define the Bonus Structure: Establish a clear and fair bonus structure for achieving Key Results. The structure should be proportional to the difficulty and impact of the Key Result. It could be a fixed bonus, a percentage of the achieved result, or tiered rewards based on the level of achievement.
  3. Communicate Clearly: Ensure the team knows the bonus scheme, how it is tied to their Key Results, and what they stand to gain by achieving them. Clear communication is essential to ensure understanding and motivation.
  4. Review and Reward Regularly: Bonus schemes work best when they provide regular and timely rewards. Consider reviewing and rewarding achievement quarterly to align with your OKR cycle. This keeps the momentum and motivation high.
  5. Foster a Fair Environment: While a bonus scheme can be a powerful motivator, it can also cause competition within the team. To avoid this, ensure that OKRs and bonus schemes are structured so everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve their Key Results and earn their bonus. Fostering a fair and supportive environment is crucial.
By incorporating OKRs into your bonus schemes, you're not just aligning your team towards common objectives but actively incentivizing them to work towards these goals. This can boost motivation, improve performance, and ultimately lead to better results for your hotel.
In the next section, we'll discuss aligning your commercial team in hotels using the OKR methodology in setting goals and bonus schemes.


Aligning your commercial team – general management, sales, marketing, and revenue management – under common objectives is critical for success in the hotel industry. Siloed operations and conflicting goals can hinder progress and undermine your team's potential. However, with the OKR methodology, you can effectively unify your team's efforts, creating a more cohesive, motivated, and high-performing unit.
Implementing OKRs within your commercial team allows you to establish a shared vision, define a clear roadmap to success, and track progress toward your goals. Involving the team in the OKR setting process encourages engagement and ownership of these objectives. Moreover, incorporating OKRs into your bonus schemes provides an added layer of motivation, rewarding your team for their hard work and dedication to achieving exceptional results.
Remember, the journey toward effective team alignment is iterative, and you're bound to experience learning curves along the way. However, with patience, persistence, and commitment to the OKR process, you'll create an environment where everyone pulls in the same direction, driving your hotel toward new heights of success.
Embark on your OKR journey today, and witness the transformative power of focused, aligned, and motivated teams in propelling your hotel's growth and success.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide on aligning the commercial team in hotels using the OKR methodology in setting goals and bonus schemes. I hope this assists you in drafting your blog post. Feel free to let me know if you need further help.