Maintain Quality Hotel Service Through Lean and Agile Hospitality Management

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 shortage. 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,a 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. 

What is a Lean Hotel Operation?

A lean hotel operation is a restructuring of 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 shortage. Several adjustments are made to provide quality service to guests without overextending employee capabilities. 

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 adopting a more flexible business planning strategy that’s heavily dependent on guest feedback. Rather than having a top-down approach, hotels are relying on hospitality market trends and customer response to dictate operations. 

Adopting an agile hotel management style frees up 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. 

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. 

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 miniscule 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. 

Frequently Asked Questions About A Lean and Agile Hotel Operation

Q: What is a lean hotel operation? 

A lean hotel operation is one that maximizes limited hotel resources to produce the same level of service and profitability. It usually features a restrictive budget, limited manpower, and an all-around, hands-on staff. 

Q: What is an agile hotel management style?

An agile hotel management style has cross-functional hotel teams that work together to come up with quick decisions and solutions to problems. This hotel management style prioritizes flexibility and adaptability in an uncertain environment. 

Q: 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. 

Q: 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 ZEN Hospitality 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. 

Article by Ayna Gonzales