In an effort to help our peers compete, we at ALICE sat down with a roundtable of New York City’s leading hotel General Managers to learn how they are leveraging data to run their hotels. We share our findings in our report, “The Data-Driven Hotelier.”
With all the resources spent on personnel, it’s no surprise hotel management is always seeking to better understand how their employees spend their time. But interestingly, almost all of the hoteliers we spoke with relied entirely on trusting their management and maintaining strong communication channels as ways of staying informed of what their employees are doing all day.
One of our GMs depends mostly on guest reviews as way to keep a pulse on how his staff is doing. “I’d say you get somewhat of a sense by reading reviews,” the GM told us. “If you see the same problems coming up, there might be a larger trend.” Another GM only made adjustments when his employees were falling short of their weekly tasks. “Ultimately, it all comes down to trial and error,” he said. “The sad truth is that we determine workloads based on when things don’t get done. It allows us to readjust our goals.” Of course, the biggest problem with such a reactionary strategy is that it relies on guests’ complaints as the main way of improving.
In a perfect world, hoteliers would find ways of correcting poor experiences before they turn into negative reviews. However, with much of the guest’s experience unknown to a manager before the review is written today, most hotels focus on “hiring good management, and trusting each department manager to get his or her tasks done on a daily basis.” Beyond that, a hotelier told us, “it’s mostly based on trust. ‘Here’s your checklist, now I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing when you’re here.’”
As this time management becomes increasingly important to staying competitive, hotels are beginning to seek out technology systems with powerful reporting functions to help remove the guesswork from these important decisions.
Another problem that all managers we spoke to struggled with was how to allocate workload to reduce downtime while making sure their employees are available to help a guest at a moment’s notice. The ALICE solution is to automate some of the more mundane tasks like integrating with both the PMS and department systems to make it easier to update the status of a guest request or automatically dispatching requests to the right department, or even the right employee. Because they’re spending less time dealing with this “double work,” employees have more time for the “high touch” guest-related functions.
This is an excerpt from “The Data-Driven Hotelier” – a series of interviews we conducted with New York City’s leading hotel General Managers. Download the report to learn how you can best leverage data at your hotel.