8 things I have learned in hotels
Well, hospitality is not one of the fields where you come out with plenty of tangible skills. You do not program apps, build things, or save lives (sometimes only). But there is definitely a lot of skills of you learn. Here I am to share with you my 8 biggest learnings in hotels.
Don't worry be happy
In hospitality you quickly learn that having bad days is a luxury. You are facing customers, you need to smile and seem happy. All. the. time.
Maybe this sounds a bit fake - sometimes you just have to act the part of your finest self. You put on your smiley face, go out there and work. Guess what- after a while that fake smile becomes something more real.
The hotel industry is about people, and in luxury hospitality you need to understand what the guest needs better than the guest themselves. Listen, look for small cues, research. It absolutely changes how you see, understand and serve people afterwards. Empathy becomes a second nature and you will seek to create these connections wherever you go.
Handle the unexpected
They say in a hotel you experience everything from life to death. Many things will happen which you would never expect. A storm or a power outage on a scale of a whole hotel becomes a very exciting situation. You learn to greet the ambulance or police, check on fire alarms, handle drunk or rude guests, family feuds.
You learn to work under pressure, creatively solve problems, and orchestrate situations under pressure. For all of you who have been manager on duty, kudos!
Going the extra mile
This expression becomes very fast a cliche. Nevertheless going the extra mile for your customers makes their experience from merely good to excellent. You can do this by using your empathy, and understand what will they really appreciate. Make a special gift for the business traveler finally coming with family. Help them in to find their lost luggage in the Benelux. Always ask yourself (not the client) if there is more you could do.
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." Vince Lombardi
This is the skill, which will drive you to attempt to reach perfection. The feeling of striving for more, making every day a better job, pleasing your customer, will stay with you wherever you go.
Hotels are a place full of people: on the top of the many guests, you have plenty of coworkers from different shifts and departments. As they say, the guest is easier to deal with, as you know that they will leave in a few days. But the coworkers stay. That’s why it becomes very important how you treat the people around you, and how you cooperate and communicate. Giving feedback, motivating, training and finding new ways of cooperating are essential, and you need to grow your people and team leading skills to succeed.
From the success on your main KPIs, to the motivation to get out of bed and into work- it will depend on your team and the relationships you build.
Have you been in a situation, where your inbox is full, the phone is ringing, you need to get a report ready by 6PM, the lobby is full, a guest is screaming at you, and the fire alarm rings? In hotels, you will be. For me in these moments putting tasks in my imaginary Eisenhower box is the solution.
Learn how to evaluate tasks fast and drop them in one of the boxes. Act accordingly. Productivity +100 points!
With guests coming and going, high staff turnover things in the hotel business can change pretty fast. You work different times, change procedures, use a new system.
Adaptability is crucial. The environment changes so fast, you can not allow yourself to hold on to things, like your favourite shift, coworker, old processes. Sometimes you change location, move to a new hotel in a new country, and you start learning from the basics.
But, this teaches one skill, which is super important, and will serve you in so many situations:
You did your extra miles, yet you still did not receive any good feedback? You have another guest screaming at you? Your coworker is again chit chatting instead of helping you with the tasks? The system is down again?
All of these situations can be very frustrating, and your nerves are tested on a regular basis. You will develop a whole lot of patience towards the things which are not necessarily under your control. Learn to resolve what you can, talk to people, find better ways to do things.
By handling the unexpected, you learn what are the things you can control and take action. More importantly, you develop a huge amount of patience to let go of the things that are out of your control, and keep a positive mind with whatever life throws at you.
So there you have it, my unexpected learning of hospitality! The list might be inconclusive- there are many things you learn, but for me these are the biggest! I hope I managed to show you a different side of the hotel business today.
If you work in hospitality, comment what were your biggest learnings? If you do not, let me know, what was surprising to you?
If you would like know more, elaborate, argue, discuss let me know!
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