I’ve recently been turning through an excellent little book called 100 tips for Hoteliers. Subtitled “What every successful hotel professional needs to know and do”, it’s written by Peter Venison, erstwhile GM of the Carlton Towers Hotel in London.
The book’s format is really accessible: 100 tips over 150 pages, making it ideal for returning to in spare moments. The tips span the whole lifecyce of a hotel, from choosing a site and planning a concept to building and motivating a team and marketing your operation.
Here are ten tips that stood out for me. You’ll have to get onto Amazon and order a copy if you want to check out the other 90 …
1. Choose the right neighbourhood. Before you buy a property, make sure there are no nasty surprises nearby – a busy fire station next door, a refuse disposal company down the road …
2. Visualise everything. Sense-check each decision made by architects and interior designers to make sure what they create is fit for purpose. “How can the customer reach those bath taps? Where can we hang or store the towels? How do we clean under that bed?” …
3. Open full throttle. Soft openings are for wimps – pre-market your hotel in order to open with a full house.
4. Manage the moment. Resist the temptation to stay locked away in your office and get out into your hotel to experience first-hand the service levels guests are enjoying – or suffering.
5. Say thank you and well done. Money isn’t everything: motivation is best fuelled by achievement and recognition.
6. Demonstrate you really care. “We have all experienced the head waiter who sidles up to a table, before you have even taken a mouthful of food, to ask if everything is all right, and then moves on before you have answered”. Don’t allow a similar insincerity into your dealings with guests.
7. Don’t let meetings clash with your greetings. The more time you spend in areas of greatest guest activity, the more you learn – so don’t spend too long closeted away in meetings. And never let a guest be told that you are “in a meeting”.
8. Price it right. Pricing policies are crucial to your business, so understand and master the relationship between price and volume.
9/ Create confidence in others. “Good training is the art of teaching someone how to do something to the standard you require and with the confidence that will ensure that it is successfully implemented in a manner that will please customers and colleagues alike.”
10/ Keep your feet on the ground. Don’t become the guest – “because the tools of your trade include food, booze, and beds, don’t be tempted to mix your work with your pleasure”.
If you could offer just one tip to an aspiring hotelier, what would it be?