In any business, it is generally accepted that Cash is King. This is because without a positive cash flow no business can sustain operations for very long. This is especially true for the hotel industry.
Negative Impacts on Hotel Cash Flow
Without a positive cash stream, hotels are forced to cut back on services and maintenance. Once this begins, recovery is difficult as these are two things hotel operations must have in order to compete and attract guests.
Like most service businesses, hotel management has control over a significant amount of cash flow. This is because how a hotel is managed has a direct impact on revenues. The keys are avoiding things that can negatively impact hotel revenues such as poor customer service and neglecting maintenance.
What kinds of things can effect hotel cash flow
From shows like Hotel Impossible to surveys to online reviews, hotel guests demand two crucial things. These are a hotel in good condition (clean rooms, working equipment, exterior looks sharp, no bad smells etc.) and outstanding customer service.
When guests do not feel they are at a hotel that offers both they do not return, give negative online reviews and thanks to the internet can severely damage a hotel’s reputation using FaceBook, Pinterest or other social media.
The end result is fewer guests, lower revenues and cash issues. Fortunately, hotel management can mitigate both problems by adopting a positive can do attitude as well as making use of maintenance management systems.
What is Outstanding Hotel Customer Service
There are many articles on customer service (I know I have written many for a variety of industries) that extol the virtues of properly handling guest complaints/problems. Some hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton have legendary customer service but unfortunately, others still can’t figure out that customer service is an attitude that starts at the top.
“…go the extra mile for clients because the ripple effects of terrific customer service extend beyond mere satisfaction and retention. Exemplary customer service distinguishes your brand, builds repeat business, combats price competition, and even improves employee morale.”
In a nutshell, outstanding customer service is the exceeding of guest expectations. Just meeting guest expectations is not good enough to distinguish yourself or build a great reputation. It is also not enough to have guests rave about your hotel or overlook maintenance issues.
Achieving Outstanding Customer Service
As I mentioned before customer service is an attitude that starts with senior hotel management. Basic programs can be put in place for problem resolution training, professionalizing staff and a variety of employee incentive programs that reward guest satisfaction results.
However, to make these programs successful, it is critical that everyone in the hotel understands that if Cash is King, then the Guest are Royalty and must be treated as such.
Why Treat Guest as Royalty
R: Returning guests have a lower cost of sales. It costs 5-10 times as much to attract new guests than to get a guest to return.
O: Outstanding customer service results in priceless free press on travel sites, social media accounts, testimonials and so on.
Y: Yesterday is to late. Hotel guest want to know what you are going to do for them today.
A: Angry guests can destroy a hotel’s reputation/image. Months or years of hard work can go to waste.
L: Loyal customers are less price sensitive meaning less price specials during downturns in the economy.
T: Transform happy guests into opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell.
Y: Yield means to slow down and remember that guests come first.
Using a CMMS for Hotel Maintenance and Customer Service
Every hotel has maintenance issues that need to be addressed. Ongoing hotel maintenance can be classified as guest related or facilities related. Each time a guest request maintenance is an opportunity to show them how important they are.
With this in mind, response time is critical. The faster you respond to a guest’s concern about the HVAC, door key or plumbing issue the happier they will be. The ability to respond on a timely basis is a matter of organization. Hence hotels that respond quickly have a maintenance system to track work orders, repairs and asset condition.
In most cases this is a CMMS system designed to also handle non-client maintenance issues. A CMMS system has benefits beyond helping provide outstanding customer service because it will help ensure that the hotels facilities are also being kept up and looking good.
Tell us about your favorite example of hotel customer service.