The general manager's priority list

10 February 2022
Governments in Denmark and Sweden have now lifted all covid restrictions. Norway and Finland will soon follow. The Nordic countries are often role models for the rest of the world, even if we have had our fair share of two difficult pandemic years. Now it is time to open up and start traveling again.
After a long wait, hotels in the Nordics are now looking forward to a fantastic summer with all-time-high revenues. Demand for overnight stays from domestic holiday travel will still be strong, and welcoming the rest of the world with open arms will bring back travelers to the Nordic region. Going from being almost idle to a fully packed house requires a lot of the team at every hotel. Here is the general manager's high priority list.

People - the team members

On top of the list is the hotel team members. Taking good care of your employees will increase their motivation to give excellent service to your guests. Make sure you have the right, enough, skilled and well-trained people in your team.
 
First, focus on recruiting the best people before your competitors have taken them.
 
Second, the guest's needs, requirements, and behavior have changed during the pandemic years, so you have to re-train all your team members to fully understand how they need to behave and deliver products and services to the guests. Finally, the onboarding program for each employee (oldtimer and the inexperienced newcomer) needs to be excellent to minimize the training time and get everyone up and running in no time.
 
Third, Making an effort to make the job easy for all team members needs some investments. One example is Amazon, with well-defined workflows, which makes them exceptionally well organized. In addition, Amazon puts a lot of thinking into the process and makes the process as fast and accurate as possible, making the job easier for all employees. Just imagine the profit increase when applying a few of these thoughts in your hotel business.

Commercial strategy

Next on the list is to get organized in the commercial department to attract guests and acquire customers. Hotels can no longer afford to let people work in silos in an individual bubble with conflicting goals with the others in the team. The general manager's job is to break down the silos and get all the commercial roles organized as a team.
 
First, appoint a leader of the commercial team. Hotels need a strong commercial leader that can take full responsibility for bringing in the total revenue to the hotel.
 
Second, create a commercial strategy for the next twelve months with the commercial team leader. Agree on the plan and how to measure progress. Then support the leader without interfering in all the details.
 
Third, give the commercial team the right resources to reach the goals. The vital resources include providing systems, tools, other resources, and cash for ads and other campaigns. Ensure that the team is highly productive and has the right resources; otherwise, the competition will win the business.

Guest experience

Finally, adjust the guest experience to the needs and requirements of the returning or new guests. General Managers love to renovate, refurbish, and develop new products and services, but this time, the guest experience is the last on the priority list. Team members come first because the guests will not get a superior experience without team members. Attracting guests and acquiring customers come second because there will not be any revenue without guests.
 
One additional piece of advice. Please do not trust your pre-covid gut feeling since it has probably passed the best-before-date. Covid has dramatically changed guest needs, requirements, and behavior, so your gut feeling will drive you in the wrong direction and lead to bad investments. Instead, do your homework by talking to guests and reading up on travel and consumer trends before you decide about investing in the guest experience.