Monthly Archives: June 2009

Never do anything that someone paid less could

Do you or your supervisors find it difficult to delegate?

Why employ staff at vast expense and then not utilise them thoroughly? A recent survey by Learndirect Business found that nearly two thirds of the people surveyed felt that they had talents that were not being called upon.

Just see if you or any of your supervisors and duty managers are guilty of any of these excuses…

“It takes too much time to explain, I can do it quicker”
In the short-term yes, but in the longer term if you delegate you are saving time

“They aren’t yet capable”
And never will be unless you start incorporating delegation as part of your people’s development plans

“No-one, except me, is up to it”
Maybe, but are you being too much of a perfectionist?  Does the task need such a degree of excellence?  If not, maybe someone can do the job adequately in less time

 “I enjoy these tasks – losing them would make my job less interesting”
In the longer term, improvement in staff morale and performance will make your job easier and just as enjoyable

 “I delegate some things – the things I hate”
Consider whether simply discarding and offloading work you don’t want to do is the most effective way to develop and motivate people

 “If someone else does it I’ll lose control and respect”
You’ll lose more control and more respect by not devoting enough time to managing the whole business effectively because you are too wrapped up in the detail

If you could delegate more or need some guidleines to help your supervisors delegate more effectively click here to download the full article on 6 Steps to Fffective Delegation.

How effective are your energy saving measures?

It’s good to read of hospitality businesses doing their bit for the environment. What concerns me is how ineffective these measures appear (from a customer’s perception at least) – despite the potential positive impact on their bottom line at a time when most could do with a boost.  Some do have good intentions – re-using towels, key cards for lighting and AC, but without the necessary staff training I fear these do little. 

These are some simple suggestions for hotels based on my observations from my past 2 weeks travelling alone:

  • Train reception to issue only one key card per guest – to avoid one being left in the room all day (Last week I was issued with 2 and told one was for the lights….).
  • Train chambermaids to switch off all lights after servicing the room and allow the guest to determine which lights they want on (especially in mid summer).
  • Train chambermaids to only replace towels clearly left for replacing (9 times out of 10 all are replaced regardless).
  • Train chambermaids to switch off TV’s in rooms rather than leaving on stand by.
  • Train porters and cleaners to switch off lights and heating in rooms at the end of the day.
  • Train chambermaids to turn off heating in rooms in summer or turn down to a reasonable temperature in winter.
  • Train restaurant and bar staff to switch off TV’s in restaurants and bars when empty (why do we need TV’s in every corner of the bar anyway, especially when music is playing already?).

What you save on power will probably soon pay for these longer term measures:

  • Fit sufficient towel rails to hang up used towels separately to keep used and unused apart – otherwise all have to be replaced regardless at the end of your stay. 
  • Allow guests the option to open windows for fresh air instead of being obliged to use AC. 
  • Install movement sensors in meeting & function rooms.

And that’s just on front of house. Who knows what savings could be made BOH?

I have just produced a new report “57 Ways to Boost Sales and Get More Repeat Bookings for Your Hotel“. To get your copy click the link here.

How to encourage referrals ~ Give people a reason to talk about you

Was it Oscar Wilde who said ‘There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’?

Sadly more people (especially us Brits) are likely to share their bad experiences than their good ones.  And in the current climate few people will want to spend their hard earned cash on poor customer service. 

On the other hand, there’s nothing like a referral or testimonial to endorse your hotel or restaurant. Pick up any research on advertising effectiveness and you’ll see word-of-mouth at the top of the list. In fact a recent Google study showed that 33% of people booking accommodation online made up their mind after reading a testimonial. And one of the best things about word-of-mouth is it is essentially free.

So how do you get people talking about you and how do you get referrals? Well, obviously they’re not going to be saying good things about you unless you’ve met their expectations and gone beyond this.

So ensure you do something exceptional. Think of the things that are of high value to your customers but low cost to you so you can give added value. Give people a reason to talk about you.

What can you do today to add value and give exceptional service to encourage your customers to talk about you?

Using your training budget wisely is key to controlling your training spend.

It was encouraging to read the ‘experts’ views in the Caterer in response to the question ‘Can hospitality businesses afford to cut training spend?’ (News analysis, 22 May), and I would not disagree with any of these comments.

However, for the 51% who were reported to be planning to cut their training budget they might first want to look at how wisely they are spending their existing budgets.

Firstly, we need to recognise that every line manager too has a role in training; that it’s not all down to formal courses or the training department. This starts with an accurate identification of the (training) need. Simply because someone is not able to perform a particular task to standard doesn’t always equate to a training need; so many businesses just throw money away by nominating people from programs that with the best will in the world would never resolve the problem. And assuming it is a training need, how well is the individual briefed beforehand so that they have a clear picture of what it is they should be taking away from the training?

When the training is conducted by a third party i.e. someone other than the line manager, we need to be aware that in order for newfound skills or knowledge to be transferred to the workplace individuals might then need further coaching and/or support from their line manager.

Secondly the business as a whole needs to recognise the role that line managers have in the training and development of their staff. This means that the bottom-up approach will seldom be effective.  Even if the junior ranks are trained, without the backing, guidance, support and coaching from those above them it will be an uphill struggle for them to implement their training.

Formal training, as well as eating up training budgets is often not as effective as on job training, not least due to the inherent logistical problems, particularly with the shift patterns operated in so many hospitality businesses.  But in order for on job training to take place the people who do need training are those line managers, mentors, buddies, and coaches who will be implementing this. Giving them the skills first can make not only for a more cost-effective way to train but provides excellent development for those involved in delivering or supporting the training.

Finally, to make best use of training budgets businesses must measure the return on what they have already spent. No business in their right mind would continue investing in an area of training unless it was paying dividends, but how many businesses make the effort to measure how effective training has been? In its simplest terms this is asking the question ‘Did the training achieve what we set out to do?’

So if businesses are serious about looking to save money on their training, maybe they should first think about the most cost-effective way of delivering it and ensuring they are gaining value and a return on that investment.