Thinking of Becoming a Hotelier? Things You Should Know
Of all the industries one could choose, the hospitality sector is perhaps the most challenging, and for some entrepreneurs, it is a natural step up from running a restaurant, which gives you the basic skillsets needed to successfully manage such a business. As you will already be aware, this is not a behind the scenes industry and customer relations play a critical role, and that means constant staff training, and when you consider the daily needs of a small restaurant, you can easily triple that and still be short of what a medium sized restaurant would require. You will require the assistance of an army of essential backup services, and indeed, the hotel industry can be split into several categories, all of which combine to give the guest a positive experience.
Food & Beverage
This would cover the bar(s), restaurant(s) and room service, and you would ideally hire an F&B manager to liaise with the head of the kitchen and the bar manager, and aside from the more than adequate freezing space, you would require several essential daily deliveries for bread, fruit and vegetables. Menus would have to be approved and changed on a regular basis, and with varied entertainment, the guests will enjoy their leisure time within the hotel and therefore spend a little more.
Even a small hotel would require a lot of linen on a daily basis, what with bed linen, bathroom items, and of course, staff uniforms, there really is no alternative than to forge an alliance with an established linen hire company, and preferably one that deals with the high end market, as they would only use the very best linen. The guests take notice of the bathrobes and towels, and attention to detail is critical with linen. Your image is everything, and the way your staff dress is a direct reflection on the hotel management. When it comes to hotel linen services, you cannot afford to have anything less than the very best. The ideal supplier would have a hire policy, and without tying you to a long term contract, they would have the resources to guarantee reliable deliveries of pristine linen and uniforms for your staff.
This would typically include the climate control, hot water supply, and of course, general building maintenance. One would hire a contractor to handle the essential kitchen maintenance, and a medium hotel might directly employ one or two service engineers, otherwise this is also outsourced. Obviously, there must be inspections to meet local authority standards, and fire escapes and emergency exit signs would be checked, and one can never forget health and hygiene, as cleanliness is vital.
Every hotel must have state of the art security, as the modern guest expects the very best. There wouldn’t be a square foot that isn’t covered by CCTV, and a manned presence is often required, especially for a medium to large establishment. This would include the perimeters of the grounds, and with secure car parking also patrolled and monitored, and this would either be outsourced to a professional security company or the hotel would directly employ two or three people to handle all security.
This is a critical aspect of any hotel, and you really can’t afford to take any chances with the people you hire. If you are wise, you’ll outsource HR to a recognised recruitment agency that specialises in the hospitality industry, and they will source and shortlist all employees, ensuring you get the cream of the candidates, especially for management positions. It isn’t just the fact that your employees have regular communication with the guests, which in itself is enough of a concern, but think of the time and money you could waste by hiring the wrong people. Staff motivation is a critical ingredient of the smooth running hotel, and make your staff feel like they are part of a big family, and by cultivating a “can do” attitude, your guest will always feel like royalty. The hotel industry looks for happy, outgoing people who are very service minded, and always promote from within, as this will be both recognised and very much appreciated by your employees.
This will define the rate of growth your business will experience, and while it is essential to focus on providing the ultimate guest experience, one needs to have a firm marketing plan in place. The word digital cannot be separated from your marketing campaign, and with a dynamic website and a strong social media presence, your business will be well represented in all the right places. There’s no other way to ensure that your hotel reaches the right people than to enlist the help of a digital marketing agency, who will compile a digital marketing plan that would likely include search engine optimisation and social media marketing, and by listing the hotel in the right online directories, this will maximise your exposure.
The General Manager
The GM is the kingpin of the organisation, and if this happens to be you, there is much to learn. Otherwise utilise the recruitment agency and really take your time with this selection, as, like any other business, the man (or woman) at the top will define the entire operation. The qualities for a good GM are indeed many, and would include the following:
- Good Communicator
- Great Organisation Skills
- Lead by Example
- Attention to Detail
- Ability to Focus on the Big Picture
- Great Motivator
Leadership quality is an absolute must, and this person would have risen through the ranks and have at least 10 years of hands-on experience in the hotel industry, and should be able to fill any position within the hotel.
Ideally, you would have a hotel background, or at the very least some experience managing a food and beverage outlet, as without some background in the industry, this is a very difficult field to enter. With the right staff and al the essential services behind you, the challenge of creating the ultimate guest experience awaits!