General Managers the key to rethinking the commercial work

04 November 2021
Good morning Hotel General Manager. Welcome to a new day with many problems to solve. Hotel General Managers seem to live for solving problems. Therefore, they are expert problem solvers. Now, they are essential to rethink the commercial work and use their skills to set up a new way of working.

Many Hotel General Managers have worked in almost all positions in a hotel, so their insights are authentic and based on hands-on experience during years of hard work. The decision-making process is easy since every decision is made based on the General Manager's gut feeling. This way of making decisions is an excellent way since the data quality and systems in general in hotels are pretty bad. To solve problems quickly, a General Manager needs a combination of genuine experience and gut feeling. Years of experience also explain why general managers are a bit older than the rest of the hotel team members.

Be aware of becoming outdated

This old method of making decisions works well as long as the GM has people around that have expert skills within their area of responsibility. However, it becomes more complicated with a lack of talents in the most significant specialist roles. Add a changing travel behavior and a shift in market segments. Suddenly, some of the GMs experience is outdated, which means that the gut feeling does not work anymore. Making decisions based on the wrong assumptions might cause damage to reputation, guest satisfaction, and profitability.

Rethink the way of working

Now is the time to rethink. The segment mix has shifted, so acquiring guests and customers and managing guest experiences have changed. The old way of working does not produce the same results after the pandemic as it did before. So hotels need to reinvent the commercial work in hotels by a fresh approach to five areas.

Structure, size, and flexibility of the organization

Many hotels likely need a different skill set in their commercial departments. In addition, the segment shift means that the hotel has to attract other guest segments. The change might be temporary, so working with freelancers is a way to keep all options open.

Find and hire talents

It seems like finding people is the most challenging problem to solve for hotels when reopening after the pandemic. However, it is a seller's market, so the potential employee can ask for higher pay, better terms, and work anywhere. This situation is new to hotels, and without being open to new ways of working, it will be hard to find the right people.

Automate tedious tasks

Fewer people need to manage the same workload. However, there is a limit to how many hours they can put in, so there are only two options. One option is to prioritize and cut the least important tasks. Another option is to automate the mundane tasks and focus on the critical things to recover faster.

Lead the team

There are fewer people to lead and less room for mistakes. So put together guidelines to prevent errors and delegate responsibility. Meetings waste a lot of time unless they are well planned and executed. 

Report the progress

Review the reporting process. Speed up the process so reports are timely and accurate. Actions need a much tighter follow-up because many hotels have to experiment more to understand the new market situation fully. Make decisions based on facts and figures (and some gut feeling).

Finally, the General Manager should delegate the daily problem solving to the team and focus on solving tomorrow's problems today. The hotel will become more profitable with a proactive General Manager.