Driving efficient operations and delivering memorable guest experiences can be difficult under virtually any circumstance, let alone a hectic Q4 and busy holiday season. As comforting as the holidays are, this time of year is an often-stressful one for hospitality leaders. It’s during this “most wonderful time of the year” when managers must tighten budgets to avoid overspending; promptly account for inventory to avoid rollover; and, most importantly, motivate and encourage staff more than ever.
Supervisors: I hear you. Throughout my 30-plus years in this evolving industry, I have certainly experienced challenges in holiday seasons past. So, the question is: despite now being an extraordinarily busy time of year, how can leaders end 2016 with a bang and make 2017 their best year yet?
Despite the industry moving at a rapid pace of innovation, I believe that some tried and true best practices never die. Here are some, for example, that have motivated me throughout the years:
Fail to plan and plan to fail: Although simple, there’s never been anything truer to keep in mind as you tie up loose ends this year. For example, not only should you be finalizing a detailed inventory process from this year, but you should be working to create a projected spending outlook for the coming year based on your top demands and goals. You may be strapped for time, but do what you can now to grab as much footing as possible for the new year (or even just the upcoming quarter) besides the fundamentals.
Learn from mistakes and failures: Always walk away with a valuable learning lesson, even when the mistake is not your own. For example, shortly after being brought in to manage a housekeeping department I noticed several discrepancies in par stocks and under/over product ordering. Even though I was onboarded to pick up the pieces—in which I quickly implemented an inventory management plan that restored fiscal responsibility—I focused on valuable takeaways that I could apply to future experiences when necessary. Every day in this industry is a new opportunity to learn and grow, no matter how much experience you have.
Never neglect the guest experience: Despite the myriad of things you must handle this time of year, you must ensure you’re nurturing your guest relationships along the way. For travelers who decide to call your property home for the holidays, what are you prepared to do to create truly memorable guest experiences? I suggest taking an inside-out approach to this. Take care of your staff; get to know team members on an individual level, and you’ll find that they’ll take care of your guests in the form of creating amazing experiences (ones that will make guests feel more welcome to return each year during the holiday season).
Still feeling stressed? Allow me to leave you with one final (and hopefully helpful) tip: My General Manager once suggested to me having a pad and pen and writing down each task I needed to accomplish for the day. Only once I finished a task could I cross it out and move on to the next (you can even go a little further, as I did, and add numbers to your action items). Start out simple with one or two crucial tasks and then work your way up to four, five, six, etc.
As you serve guests and support your staff, be sure to give yourself good credit for the hard work you do. When it comes to the extensive list of things you must handle this time of year, remember to tackle tasks one at a time. Soon you’ll see that your list is indeed doable, and your goals for 2017 are more reachable than you think.
From one supervisor to another, Happy Holidays and New Year!