Are you considering a career in hotel management, but you are not sure what it will take to succeed in that top job?
Working your way up to a management position in a hotel is not going to be easy, but it’s an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience. You get to work with all kinds of people, in exotic locations and luxurious settings around the world.
If you enjoy a challenge, have a thirst for adventure and you’re passionate about hospitality, you may just be the right person for the job.
Here are eight essential leadership qualities you’ll need to become a successful, international hotel manager
There is no easy way around it; managing hotels will take up a lot of your time and energy. You will work long hours, have a lot of responsibility and be managing a million tasks at a time. To commit to this demanding occupation, you need to be absolutely passionate about what you do.
You need to care about customers, about your brand, about your employees, and about the service your hotel provides. You need to be obsessing over details and thinking of ways to improve or grow your business all the time. You can only give your hotel the physical and mental energy it needs to succeed if you truly love what you do.
There is a lot of discussion and research going on about the benefits of diversity in hospitality (and across all businesses) today. Not only are more Gen Y employees prioritising diversity in their choice of workplace, it is also linked to better business performance and innovation, and even higher profitability.
International hotels typically attract diverse employees, particularly when it comes to junior positions. However, if you want your hotel to outshine the competition, you are going to have to work at creating a diverse workplace across all levels. It is also important to promote an inclusive culture within the organisation, and clearly communicate shared goals, to foster a sense of unity.
Staff need to feel valued to believe in the group to be committed to what you are collectively trying to achieve – that is how you get the most out of your employees.
Great communication occurs in many different forms, and it is a core element of good hotel management. It many involve regular feedback, a friendly approach, clarity, regular updates, or choosing the appropriate medium.
A great hotel manager is able to listen to guests and staff effectively, and to communicate not just how, but also why things are done. This is important, because once your staff understands the motivation for a certain task; they may actually be able to improve it. A manager could be missing out on new innovations in their hotels because they are not open to hearing what junior staff may have to say.
Communication is not a natural talent, it’s actually a skill, and it can be exercised. Active listening, and nonviolent communication are two potential strategies that can help you do your job more effectively, as a manager. Check out a few more ideas on good communication for managers, here.
There is a substantial amount of research showing that executives with a high level of emotional intelligence receive more favourable performance reviews, and their organisations perform better financially. Emotional intelligence is not only essential when managing others, but equally important when developing your own leadership style.
Peter Drucker, renowned author of ‘Managing Oneself’ and business guru, advocates for CEOs and corporate leaders to work on understanding their own strengths and weaknesses. He argues that this knowledge is key to their success, and is just as important as understanding how your business operates.
The old saying, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ is particularly important for those who are visible and in positions of seniority. Junior staff look to their managers for inspiration and guidance. You have to exemplify the principles you stand for in your own behaviour, to make sure you create a positive culture within the organisation.
This is about more than just cultural leadership: it is about maintaining credibility and authority.
If there is a gap between what you say and what you do, if you use double standards or expect more from others than you offer yourself, your employees will inevitably notice. This will lead to dissatisfaction and mistrust. Leading by example is essential to getting the respect, trust, and ultimately cooperation you need from staff to do your job.
The hospitality sector is evolving constantly. The use of new technologies is expanding rapidly, with data playing a major role in service delivery. Amazon and KAYAK are now offering hotel bookings through Alexa, and an increasing number of players are stepping in to explore this new space.
When it comes to marketing your hotel, creativity is key. Competition is fierce in this space with many hotels already using integrated social media platforms, linked to events or special offerings, to promote their business.
Take Kimpton Hotel Palomar’s “Live Like a Local” campaign, for example. This involved a city-wide scavenger hunt in San Diego, with customers searching for local landmarks and bars, linked to its own social media hashtag.
As a leader, it is essential that you are open to new opportunities, and that you are actively promoting creativity and innovation to keep your hotel on par with competition. If you are not sure how creativity can help your business, check out tips on different creative strategies for innovation in hotels.
In a recent study of the hospitality industry, when asked to describe their organisation, most managers discussed the kind of hierarchical reporting relationships you would find in an organisational chart. This understanding of your company does not consider the work flow across different sections, or how the external environment affects internal operations.
Much of what happens within an organisation which involves invisible, informal networks, in large hotels in particular can become incredibly complex. A good leader understands and can coordinate all the different activities within the organisation, to maximise efficiency.
According to research on the hospitality and hotel industry, employees’ contribution of skills and knowledge is crucial to the success of a company. As a manager, you need to empower your employees to share their ideas and innovations, and be willing to put suggested improvements into action.
However, as a manager, you have also got to balance the need to give employees autonomy, while also maintaining direction over organisation activities. This a special skill, and one that is essential to learn.
Click here for more information on courses available at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School.