The hospitality industry is a peculiar field, seeing as how you’re selling a general feeling, rather than just a product or a commodity. You see, there are some hotels or restaurants that simply feel cozy, welcoming and pleasant to be at, without really excelling in anything. We all have that one hotel that wasn’t the cheapest, the most luxurious or the best equipped but that we have fond memories of. Chances are that a person would return to this hotel, even if they encounter a superior offer elsewhere. In the hospitality industry, it’s all about return visitors and the only way to acquire them is to create a positive experience the first time around. Here are several skills that a leader should have to facilitate this process.
1. Communication skills
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that the organization of your hotel greatly depends on your ability to organize everything. However, making a solid plan doesn’t mean much if you can’t find a way to convey it to your staff. Moreover, there are some guests that demand or require special treatment and it’s your job to accommodate them. Either way, in the digital era, communication skills need to be used both orally and in writing. Needless to say, the latter comes in many different formats. Circular emails can replace meetings while IM tools can keep your team coordinated at any given moment. Even when it comes to your marketing, you need to become good at conveying the message.
2. Being a good listener
Previously, we put an emphasis on your ability to convey a message, however, what about your ability to receive feedback. You see, showing interest in what people are telling you is just one of many ways to make them instantly like you. Dale Carnegie talked quite a bit about this in his iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, nonetheless, this is not all that active listening is good for.
The problem with your vision of your hotel/restaurant lies in the fact that you know all the details and see all those behind-the-curtain parts that other people won’t be able to see. Therefore, you don’t have a real idea of what your business looks like from the outside. By listening, really listening to people, you’ll get a much more realistic view of your business, as a whole. This will give you an opportunity to further emphasize its strengths and fix all your weaknesses.
3. Willingness to self-improve
Being a hospitality manager takes a lot of responsibility and there’s really no limit to how good you can become in this field. The problem, nonetheless, lies in the fact that learning from experience will be limited to situations that you and your staff have encountered, which is an unreliable didactic method, to say the least. Instead of believing that hospitality is an intuitive career path, you should find a suitable course and enlist on it.
Needless to say, this will provide you with a certificate that you can use with your marketing, later on, as well as the knowledge you can apply on a daily basis. Moreover, it’s completely up to you whether you study just enough to get a diploma or if you embark on this adventure to revolutionize your business. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to be quite resourceful, at times, and provide yourself with necessary hospitality training resources. These learning materials come in various forms and are of varying quality, which is also something you need to take into consideration.
4. Cultural awareness
The next thing that a leader in the field of hospitality needs to understand is the fact that you’ll probably receive guests from all over the world. Now, in theory, a guest is supposed to adjust to the culture of their target country (your culture), however, as a business, you need to go above and beyond to be welcoming and… well, welcoming. This is why cultural awareness matters. This doesn’t mean that you should greet every single one of your visitors in their native tongue but you could, at very least be aware that they’re coming from a different culture and give them some room to breathe. Don’t be too pushy, too talkative or try to engage with them physically (even if you see it as nothing more than a handshake).
The next important skill you need to master is multi-tasking, seeing as how you might be required to handle several tasks at the same time. In the middle of the season, you’ll have the place full and your staff will work at its maximum capacity. Other than this, you might also employ some seasonal workers, which will require more supervision than your own in-house staff. This is all the more reason why you need to be able to handle several tasks, at the same time and perform admirably under pressure.
6. Emotional resilience
As a leader, you’ll be responsible for every success and every failure of your business. However, you need to understand that you can’t allow either of these two sensations to overwhelm you. Receiving a positive review or comment might help motivate you but becoming overconfident is a negative thing and could potentially set your back, professionally. Receiving a negative piece of feedback might demoralize you and make you start doubting yourself even wanting to quit for good. Keep in mind that different people have different requirements and expectations. This subjective standpoint that every visitor has is the main reason why you’ll never be able to please (or disappoint) everyone.
The very last thing you need to understand is the fact that the field of hospitality is an umbrella term that consists of many different business options. Needless to say, each of these adds another variable to the set of skills that you need to possess for success. Nonetheless, the top six factors are universally important and contribute to the overall level of your organization. Put together, they make you a great host and take your hospitality to a next level.