General Managers need to make employees more productive

21 October 2021
Hotels stress their employees by feeding them too many notifications and irrelevant information or withholding the information they need to do a good job. Information overload and poorly designed processes and systems are bad for productivity. Hotels need to take a longer perspective to improve productivity to increase profits.

Hoteliers love to solve today's problems and are expert problem solvers. However, very few think about how to plan for success in the future. One reason is that a constant flow of guests spoiled hoteliers until the break-out of the pandemic. There was simply no urgent need to plan for the future. The money was pouring in, so hoteliers and owners were happy, and the easy way out if the number of guests increased was to hire some more employees. Rarely do hoteliers think of working smarter instead of adding more working hours. The name for working smarter is productivity, and the impact on profits is immense. 

Productivity is the efficiency of doing something. The most common measurements of productivity is the output divided by the input. One example is the number of hotel rooms cleaned per day per cleaner. Another is sales in a restaurant per total worked hours. Companies, including hotels, always want to improve productivity as a way to increase profits. What goes unnoticed is the various factors that hotels need to handle to reach higher productivity. It is not to put more pressure on the employees. Instead, it is about providing the processes and tools employees need to become more productive.

Fear of missing out systems (FOMO)

When warnings and signals keep popping up, employees tend to lose focus on the current work. An example is when the telephone rings and the receptionist is busy servicing a guest. Most of the time, the receptionist excuses themselves and answers the phone because of FOMO. The same thing happens in systems. That little message light or sound distracts and asks for attention. Every hotel needs systems that shield employees from unimportant distractions and thereby minimize work interruptions. Fewer interruptions help team members concentrate more and thereby increase productivity in work. If the hotel uses systems with automatic notifications, they have to be customized based on importance or impact. You do not want all messages, just the important ones.

Team collaboration systems

In hotels, fast communication between the team members is essential to reach the commercial goals fast. A lack of effective communication will affect a business negatively. It reduces overall productivity. Working with the same data creates less friction between the team members, and a decision can be made quicker. Having a dedicated platform where all team members have access to the same information is necessary for every team not to lose the most attractive opportunities. 

Production systems

The hotel PMS is the core production system for processing guests through reservations, check-ins, transactions, check-outs, and payments. The best hotel PMS has clearly defined, fast, and accurate processes for every step of the guest journey. Just saving a few seconds in each part of the process will amount to many hours. For example, a hotel with 100 rooms and an occupancy of 75 % will process about 40 000 guests per year. If the hotel improves the process and saves two minutes per processed guest, the total savings will be 80 000 minutes (about 1330 hours) per year. This time could be saved or freed up for enhancing the guest experience. Thus, productivity is not only about saving on cost; it is equally important to use the working hours for something more valuable.

Another example is CRM. Most hotels use an out-of-the-box CRM and try to set it up to match the needs of a hotel. The initial investment might be low, but the cost of frustration and losing valuable time to manual workarounds when using the system is substantial. A better solution is implementing a CRM developed for hotel B2B Sales with well-crafted workflows for winning more deals and contracts. It will be hard to find qualified people for commercial roles, so time is scarce for the commercial team. Productivity is, therefore, critical when working on attracting guests and customers to the hotel.

Remember, it is nothing wrong with your team members. It is the processes and systems you can develop to increase their productivity.