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10 Habits of a Successful Hotel General Manager


1. Make decisions quickly

Successful leaders are expert decision makers. A General Manager's day is filled around the clock with meetings and exchanges with staff, guests, vendors, suppliers and new recruits, etc. The goal of each meeting and encounter is to make decisions. Successful hoteliers either empower their employees to reach a desirable outcome or they do it themselves. They focus on “making things happen” at all times – encouraging progress and keeping their hotel above par.

2. Get out of the office

Years of hands-on experience in the trenches have finally led to a nice, large office, but don't get too comfortable. With so many meeting, emails, and administrative tasks to attend to, it's easy to get trapped. Spend too much time in the office and you may lose track of what is happening in the "front of house." So make it a practice to spend a little time each day walking around the hotel, helping the front desk, directing and motivating employees, inspecting rooms, interacting with a guest or two. This will help you understand your employees, guests and hotel better and also leads us into our next point:

3. Lead by example

People truly follow only those they trust. If you want to gain the trust and confidence of your employees (and believe us, that's something you definitely want to do), you must set an example for them. This may sound easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one. Successful leaders practice what they preach and are attentive of their actions.

4. Surround yourself with the right people

This is easier said than done as high employee turnover continue to plague the hospitality industry - wreaking havoc on productivity, morale and the hotel's bottom line. Reports show that 54% of organizations see greater new hire productivity and 50% higher retention rates for new hires when they have a well-planned onboarding process in place. You already know that first impressions are so important when it comes to hotel guests, well the same goes for new recruits: Give them an exceptional first experience; so you can both know you made the right choice. Claim your free copy of our Ebook: Five Steps to a Successful Onboarding Process.

5. Motivate your employees

The ball is in your court. According to a recent study by Dale Carnegie Training, less than 20% of non-management employees are fully engaged (aka, fully motivated and productive) and the single most important factor influencing engagement is an employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager. For ten easy ways to motivate your hotel staff, download a copy of our infographic: 10 Ways to Help Your Team Perform Better.

6. Delegate

Don't try to do everything yourself and don't micromanage! Communicate the hotel's mission, vision, values, and goals, etc., then step back and let your staff take it from there. Setting this example will encourage your department heads and managers to do the same.

7. Measure and reward performance

Studies show that a lack of praise and recognition is a top reason that employees are unhappy at their jobs. Successful managers (hotel GMs included) are active in recognizing and acknowledging hard work and are mindful of rewarding top performers. These employees and their efforts should not be taken for granted - they are the ones who will help you achieve your company goals and, potentially, motivate others to become more engaged. They are also the examples other employees look to when trying to improve themselves professionally.

8. Implement the right technologies

Technology is the key to running a hotel in this modern day and age, from managing a guest's experience, to property management, to employee training. While rolling out new technologies can be daunting, the benefits are worthwhile and often necessary to remain competitive. Also read: Is Your PMS Actually Harming Your Hotel's Profitability?

9. Take Responsibility

Great leaders know when to accept that mistakes have been made and take it upon themselves to fix them. It doesn’t help to point a finger or place blame, if you are the leader, you need to take responsibility, attend to the matter, learn from the situation and then move on.

10. Love your job

Successful hoteliers love being leaders, after all, making a difference in other people's lives is why you chose the hospitality industry in the first place. Being a successful hotel General Manger is all about your ability to serve others and this can’t be accomplished unless you genuinely enjoy what you do.


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