How Lean and Agile Hotel Management Shapes Your Hotel Service
March 24, 2022
Article by Ayna Gonzales
The travel and hospitality industry has been on a slow path of recovery after being severely damaged by the ongoing pandemic. Many hotel managers have been dealing with low hotel bookings, travel restrictions, limited resources, and staff shortages. To address these changes, many have been opting for leaner operations and a more agile hotel management style.
In alignment with the most popular hospitality industry trends of 2022, lean and agile management allows hoteliers to maintain or even increase profitability despite limited financial and manpower resources. Hospitality experts are advising hotels to restructure operations and focus their remaining assets on operations and departments that provide the most value to guests.
In this blog, we discuss what it means to have lean and agile hotel management, and how it impacts your hotel service as a whole.
What is a Lean Hotel Operation?
A lean hotel operation is a restructuring of the traditional hotel hierarchy based on maximizing each resource to its full capacity. It cuts out unnecessary costs, services, inventory, and hotel staff. Everyone is expected to only focus on the most profitable and valuable tasks and put the rest on the back burner.
With a lean hotel operation, both hotel management and staff duties can often crossover to pick up the slack caused by staff shortages. Several adjustments are made to provide quality service to guests without overextending employee capabilities.
The Essentials of Hotel Operations
Hotels should be laser-focused on forward-thinking practices to thrive in the hotel industry. Hence, certain essential processes in hotel operations must be prioritized.
Hotel operations refer to the day-to-day management of the hotel. Excellent hotel management involves different departments working and communicating to ensure customer satisfaction.
This includes housekeeping, front desk operations and tasks, hotel staff training, managing bookings, finance, restaurant management, and even sales and marketing. With different departments involved, the best way to streamline hotel operations is through reliable technology.
Ideally, hotels should look for a working software that can do all these processes in a single platform — from front-office to back-office operations.
Take zenrooms solutions, for example. Our cloud-based hospitality software enables different teams to work seamlessly, from asset management to feedback collation. This eliminates manual processes, ultimately saving time and money.
What is an Agile Hotel Management Style?
Compared to the more traditional hotel management styles, an agile hotel management approach leans towards cross-functional teams collaborating on projects, and upper hotel management adopts a more flexible business planning strategy that's heavily dependent on guest feedback. Rather than having a top-down approach, hotels rely on hospitality market trends and customer response to dictate operations.
Adopting an agile hotel management style frees hoteliers to be more experimental and creative in their decision-making. Changes in the hospitality industry, hotel booking processes, or guest preferences can be addressed faster when plans aren't set in stone. Continuous tweaks are made to suit the current needs of the market.
The Importance of Flexible and Adaptable Hotel Management in the Hotel Industry
As COVID-19 proves it, we live in volatile times. In this new normal comes new expectations, new preferences, new products, new competition, new processes, and so on. Thus, the industry can’t rely on old-school guidelines, rigid operations, and pre-pandemic strategies any longer.
In this ever-changing future, hotel owners will have to adopt agile principles -- that is more innovative ways of managing the hotel employees, products and services, hotel technology, and most importantly, systems, to meet their desired business goals.
When the travel industry gets back up on its feet again, the hotel brands that are quickest to adapt to customer needs will emerge stronger.
Hotel managers should prioritize increasing hotel bookings and guest services to maximize resources.
Because of limited resources, hotel managers are faced with allocating finances and hotel staff to the most valuable and profitable tasks: increasing hotel bookings and providing quality service to checked-in guests.
Consider closing other hotel facilities like pools and gyms, and temporarily discontinuing extra services (laundry, 24/7 room service, etc.) that don't directly generate revenue. Divert funds and staff instead to popular and paid services.
Furthermore, refocus hotel marketing efforts to channels that have proven to drive hotel bookings and room reservations. Highlight limited-time promotions, long-stay packages, and other deals that will increase hotel occupancy.
Integrate hotel management systems to automate tasks, improve efficiency, and ease the workload.
Hotel management systems and hospitality software are increasingly becoming more common in the hospitality industry. Not only do they save time and collect data, they also increase competitiveness, provide a better guest experience, and require little maintenance.
Property management systems can help with limited resources by automating repetitive tasks, streamlining hotel operations, and managing all aspects of the hotel business. And it doesn't even need a person managing it 24/7 to produce results.
Revenue management software, on the other hand, helps hoteliers generate more sales, produce the most attractive room rates, and maximize hotel revenue to meet customized parameters and goals. It's a great investment that will give back the highest ROI in the long run.
Must-read: Automation in Hotel Revenue Management
Be flexible and adaptable with hotel plans in case of sudden changes in the hospitality industry and travel protocols.
While the pandemic has proven to be largely unpredictable, government restrictions tend to follow the same patterns in case of health hazards. Be sure that when making hotel business plans, there's enough flexibility and countermeasures in case of new travel and hospitality restrictions.
Give different hotel departments the authority to make quick decisions and quicken response to new trends or demands. Don't waste time deliberating over minuscule details, and don't look too far ahead. It's better to plan with a 2–3-month timeframe to allow for space for experimentation and quick adjustments.
Apply the same flexible hotel management style to guest requests and bookings. Be open to rescheduling bookings, health and sanitation requests, or other small suggestions that will make their stay more comfortable. It's better to accommodate requests than to recapture lost hotel bookings.
Be patient with hotel management and staff's adjustment to limited resources and manpower.
The huge change in hotel management can be quite a shock to your staff. Be patient in handling their concerns and questions. After all, these are the people that will be running your hotel operations. It's best to be honest with changes and transparent with plans and keep them in the loop.
Dedicate enough time and training for them to adjust and be open to their feedback and suggestions. The likelihood of a successful transition is higher when everyone feels heard and all concerns are addressed. Find common ground and work towards a solution that benefits the majority.
Similarly, don't be so quick to implement new hard and fast rules. The transition will need many tweaks and adjustments before a solid strategy is achieved. Regularly check-in with hotel management and your staff to know what needs to be improved or removed.
Related article: Hotel Management Systems for Limited Staff
Interested to know more about hotel management systems? Check out Hotel Management System by zenrooms.
It is an all-in-one hotel software that is affordable, making it ideal for independent (and even large) hotels. This software solution is loaded with all the features that you need to streamline your business operations, including:
- Having complete control over your hotel distribution channels
- Monitoring your properties on-the-go, and
- Processing bookings with your very own hotel reservation system
Upgrade the way you run your hotel business today.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Lean and Agile Hotel Operation
Why should hotels opt for lean and agile operations?
Transitioning to a lean and agile operation is a great solution to the uncertainties of working in the hospitality industry. This approach allows hoteliers and staff to act fast and address changes in the market without wasting limited resources.
How can hotel management systems help in lean hotel operations?
Hotel management systems automate recurring tasks, streamline hotel operations, and improve overall efficiency of staff. They handle the bulk of deep work in property management and revenue management, which frees up hotel employees to focus on guest satisfaction.
Adopting a lean and agile hotel management approach is a huge undertaking for any hotel. While it seems to be the most promising solution to common hospitality woes, it will still need a lot of time and work to perfect. Be patient with the changes and slowly work towards an improved hotel operation.
Interested in learning more about adapting to the new travel and hospitality landscape? Check out zenrooms solutions. Our digital products are designed to help hoteliers set a new standard in the hospitality industry with advanced hotel revenue, property, and management systems. Talk to an expert today.
What is the Difference Between Hospitality and Hotel Management?
Hotel management covers all areas of managing a hotel, while hospitality management is a term that's associated with people management not only in the hotel sector, but also in nightclubs, casinos, restaurants, and transportation.
How Difficult Is Hotel Management?
If you have a passion for the service and hotel industry, pursuing a bachelor's degree in one of the hotel management courses is best suited for you. While a career in this industry includes a wide variety of soft and hard skills, it is a rewarding one that enables you to meet all kinds of people from all over the world, and create special, personalized experiences for guests.