No industry is perfect, and of course when running a hotel, challenges are sure to arise. These challenges are amplified by the fact that there is a strong seasonality component, which can make it difficult to find qualified personnel who are the motor behind any successful hotel. Among other important issues that come about are payments, housekeeping and managing your online reputation, to name a few.
In this article we look at the different challenges faced by the hotel industry and some solutions to overcome these obstacles. Any problem can be mitigated with excellent service, the right software choices and by making strategic, data-based decisions.
What are the most important hotel challenges?
There are many obstacles that the hotel industry faces and we’ll look at each of them one by one.
Finding qualified staff is one of the most important hotel challenges as your personnel are the face of your business. You need them to handle guest services, housekeeping, manage operations, take care of administrative tasks and take payments. However, there can be a qualification gap in the industry as many who work in the service industry may only have a high school education.
So how can you overcome this challenge? By upskilling your staff. Upskilling is about finding out where there are knowledge gaps or where there is room for improvement and start regular training. Learn more about upskilling staff.
Another important lesson is to empower staff to make decisions. When staff lack confidence you need to rely on more Human Resources to tackle problems that might be easily solved. By upskilling, staff will feel more confident to make these important decisions and solve problems that will then de-escalate problems into manageable situations. After all, your hotel is only as strong as those who are managing it, so make sure you have the best and most skilled team out there.
Housekeeping is without a doubt one of the most important and the most problematic areas of the hotel industry. Nothing is like first impressions, and the first impression a guest has when they arrive at your hotel can make or break their stay. When the hotel room and common areas are not impeccable, it can lead to bad reviews and unhappy clients.
This is why you should invest time and resources in finding qualified staff that clean well and take care of the little details. It’s about doing regular deep cleanings, finding the nooks and crannies that can be easily overlooked and going the extra mile to make sure they are attended to. This is where improving and automating housekeeping service can make a difference because it improves communication, and allows you to log areas that need to be cleaned or service requests and needs from guests.
Accounting is a fundamental part of any business and having a trustworthy accountant and staff who know how to handle payments well and without error, are few and far between. When juggling so many things, it can be hard to pay providers on time, and have sufficient cash flow that’s not being reinvested into operations to make payments. Furthermore, there are few things that can ruin guest satisfaction more than badly managed payments.
This is why a service like Mews’ hotel payment processing is so important. You can lose the risk of human error and free your staff from repetitive tasks like credit card data entry by automating payments in a single gateway with a single click. It’s the perfect solution to overcome the challenges presented by payments.
One of the most important and perhaps one of the most difficult challenges hotels face is to create lasting relationships with their guests. With so many channels available, guests have more and more opportunities to comment on their experiences through online review sites like Tripadvisor and Google reviews.
While this can be a good thing if guests are satisfied, if guests are not satisfied, reputation management can be one of the biggest challenges a hotel meets. To overcome this, it’s important to have a protocol in place as to how to respond to a negative review and how to leverage good reviews to help you sell hotel rooms. Nowadays, your online reputation can make or break your hotel, so make sure you take care of it. Read more about how to boost your Tripadvisor ranking.
Operations should be like a well-oiled machine. From managing reservations, handling guest requests, housekeeping and front desk duties, there’s a lot to juggle on a daily basis. However, if this machine stops working in an effective manner, it can lead to guest dissatisfaction, which can greatly harm your hotel’s online reputation. It is for this reason that operations are so important to look after.
This is where a hotel property management software like Mews comes to the rescue – by automating operations at check in and check out, having a booking engine, a front desk revenue management system all in one. This software helps ensure that operations run smoothly and automate processes so that human resources can be invested in more important areas.
Ever-more demanding guests
With more information available at our fingertips before traveling, guests are becoming more and more demanding because they feel like they know exactly what to expect and if their expectations aren’t met, they get easily disappointed. Since guests are able to see the rooms and the property and read reviews, when those needs aren’t met, it’s the cause of dissatisfaction. This is why meeting their demands is one of the biggest challenges faced by hotels in the digital age.
The most important way to prevent this from happening is to be transparent about what you offer and what you don’t offer. Make sure the rooms that are shown in the picture online are accurate representations of what their actual experience will be like. Another way to mitigate guest expectations is to provide a top-notch customer experience with excellent customer service, because nothing leaves a lasting impression on guests (or inspires positive reviews) like excellent guest services.
We’ve looked at some of the most important hotel challenges faced in the hospitality industry, including operational issues, reputation management, payments, housekeeping and human resources, to name a few. It goes without saying that one of the best ways to overcome these challenges is by investing in human resources. Finding qualified staff that is capable of running your hotel from operations to housekeeping and front desk services, is the surest road towards guest satisfaction and guest retention.
Wherever you can’t meet the needs with human resources, you can cover with good quality hospitality industry software that can streamline and automate processes, freeing up your staff’s time to handle more important matters like ensuring a first-class customer experience.
9 June 2021