Most hotel managers must juggle a variety of tasks, from marketing the business and encouraging more bookings to balancing revenue and expenses.
Managers also must have the traits of a good leader – they need to be friendly and personable, have excellent communication skills, manage their time well, and much more.
But changing times means changing demands. Managers today are facing different challenges and problems than in times past because of new technological developments and customer behaviors.
Here are the top six problems hotel managers are facing today.
Changing Customer Expectations
With the emergence of services like Uber and other apps that make instant results possible, consumers are beginning to expect the same level of convenience, personalization, and efficiency everywhere they go.
Some hotels may need to upgrade software and other technologies just to keep up with the demands of their guests, and others may need to hire IT consultants or tech-savvy staff to help with implementation and training. Hotels must keep up with their guests, which is harder than it’s ever been.
Keeping Up With The Latest Technology
Increasingly, hotel guests are becoming tech-savvy and demand and expect conveniences like Wi-Fi, USB ports, more electric outlets, flat-screen TVs, and so on.
Hotels can also streamline workflows and systems using the latest technology, which is often expensive but worthwhile. This requires managers to stay up-to-date with new developments, and find the right applications and software to meet their changing needs. “Futureproofing” is nearly impossible in an age where advancement is constant, and hotels are sure to have different needs over time.
Long & Irregular Working Hours
This isn’t anything new in the hardworking hospitality industry. Due to ongoing demands and the nature of the hotel business, responsible individuals need to be on-site nearly 24/7. Even if those duties are divided among several people, as they usually are, a manager’s hours are often long and irregular.
Managers must manage stress and burnout if they are to be successful in their role over the long haul.
Maintenance & Renovations
Here, too, customer and executive expectations are shifting fast. You must keep your lobby and your amenities up-to-date, and up to the standards of your guests. Ongoing construction, renovations, maintenance, and technology costs can add up fast. This makes balancing the books even harder.
Bookings & Pricing
With the growth of OTAs and online bookings, it’s difficult if not impossible to maintain consistent pricing across the board. Inevitably, pricing will vary from one site to another, which affects the bottom line of the business.
Peak seasons drive more bookings and revenue, but can also put a lot of stress on hotel staff. Prices may need to be reduced during off-peak seasons.
Managers are responsible for ongoing changes to bookings, which are constantly fluctuating, and then come up with a pricing strategy that works.
As leadership expert John C. Maxwell says:
If you think you’re leading, but no one is following, then you’re only taking a walk.
Good leadership is hard to come by. Positional leaders have a hard time earning the respect of their workers, because while they may have managerial experience, they may not necessarily have tangible results as a leader.
Another challenge in leadership is finding people who are responsible and will own up to mistakes and problems in the workplace. A manager needs good people, just like employees need a good manager.
Managers need to surround themselves with good team members. Without proper support from sharp people, even good managers will quickly burn out and fail at their responsibilities.
In some ways, thanks to new software platforms, resources, and tools, it has never been easier for hotel managers to carry out their many duties. But in other ways, because of shifts in technology, as well as consumer behavior and thinking, it has never been harder.