6 Ways to ruin your motel.
Whether you own a motel or are managing one, it is easy to fall into bad habits. Find out 6 things that you could be doing and what to do to change.
Being unprofessional or rude
Being unprofessional or rude as a manager or be it an owner is the best way to ruin the guest’s experience. At the end of the day sometimes it is hard to be pleasant to everyone. There are times when you have no choice and a tough stance is needed.
Don’t let your reputation precede you with any potential guests by continuing to be rude or unprofessional.
If you need to be reminded of the name of the industry you are working in perhaps it’s time to pack up and leave. An owner of a large motel in Queensland told me once that your guests arrive as strangers and should leave as friends.
Try it! It works!
Watching staff interact with a guest is always an eye-opening exercise. All staff should be friendly and interested in what guests have to say. Happy staff at work will portray to everyone that it is a great place to work. Acknowledging guests as staff see them in hallways, carparks, around pools or outdoor areas is like gold to a guest.
Ask your staff to take an interest in the guest perhaps ask how their day has been?
Staff need to know the boundaries with guests and know that if they chat with guests and guests mention eg. say the air conditioning in the room doesn’t work! Staff have to be aware of the correct procedure and know exactly who to refer the guest’s problem too!
However, if the guest makes a simple request like extra soap then your staff should supply it happily and professionally.
Not maintaining your rooms and facilities
Let’s face it there is a lot of old motels here in Australia and across the world. I should know, I own one myself! There is not a day goes by that we don’t do any maintenance to the motel. There is always some maintenance or improvement.
Now I don’t mean just changing a light bulb here and there or a clock battery. You want guests to enjoy their stay and not have anything that can or has the potential to spoil it.
Providing the guest with an experience is important. Guests comfort and feeling they have got value for their money. Make it a good one. Sure, a light globe can blow at any time. Change it, even if its 11 pm. If the guest has told you about it, then it must be a problem for them. Fix it, without question and a smile on your face.
I would suggest checking each room prior to every guest’s arrival. Alleviate any potential problems prior to guests arrival. it is already done, if not then move the guests to another room if needed and note in your planner/diary
Walk around your own motel, not just the rooms, check out the car-park, the gardens, even your street frontage. Become familiar with the building, facilities and gardens. See it as a guest would see it. Create a list. Plan and prioritise a maintenance schedule.
Bad online reviews
Everybody is online nowadays and people take notice – you can have 200 great reviews and 8 bad reviews, trust me the people will always read the bad reviews. Great reviews are becoming harder to get as guests expectations are now higher than years ago. Now you have to work harder than ever to get them.
As a professional, the first thing you want to do when you get a bad review is to go online and reply. My advice – Don’t do it! – this is a complete knee-jerk reaction often ending in you berating your guest or making every other excuse why you and only you have failed with the guest.
I have never read any management reply that hasn’t berated the guest or in some way blamed the guest. If you need to, bang out your reply on the keyboard and send it to yourself only. Never post it online.
I follow a couple of motels and resorts, just out of interest, one of those motels comes to mind. I have read the reviews going right back for 2 years. A re-occurring comment kept rearing its head in probably 80% of reviews. It was becoming a regular comment in the reviews as time went on.
It seemed the beds were uncomfortable and hard. The manager at the time replied about how they are in the process of buying pillow tops for all the beds on the property to every review it was mentioned in.
Sadly, 2 years on, the guest’s comments continue about the beds and the manager continues to make the same replies.
Only providing “lip service” to guests. If I was going to book at that property I would have taken notice of the comments by the manager and booked somewhere else.
Why? Because if you are continuing to take the time to reply to similar comments in reviews instead of fixing the issue, then you are not concerned about my comfort as a potential guest. This leads me to think that you were schooled at the “Sucker Born Every Minute School of Hospitality.
My suggestion is Don’t Answer the Reviews! Let them speak for themselves. By answering them you run the risk of it coming across as an excuse, and more than likely offending the guest that wrote the review.
Certainly not the impression you need to give a potential guest.
Let your reviews stand on their own merit. Yes! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! Always read reviews. Enjoy the good reviews and take notice of bad ones. Fix the issues if possible. Of course, you are never going to please everyone.
You can then eliminate repetition of the same comments on your reviews.
Not being seen!
Do you check people in and go and hide? Fair enough if it is a late check-in, but when you have people check in after 2 pm, is that the last they see of you? Sadly, so many managers/owners hide away from guests.
You would be amazed if you are seen around the property doing things what that tells a guest. Guest’s often making comments to me saying how busy we are and that we don’t stop. It’s all part of a plan. Guests like to see staff around.
It relays to the guest a few things.
1. You care about the presentation of the property.
2. Guests can see improvements being made.
3 Women solo travellers (especially those who are nervous about travelling alone) feel more at ease and comfortable if they see staff around.
4. By being noticed out and about even just in the garden, gives you another opportunity to chat with guests. Elderly guests and keen gardeners alike often come over, telling us about their gardens, giving garden hints, asking advice.
5. Any troublesome guests (and you do get a few) tend to behave themselves, so it works two ways.
Get out and pick rubbish up on the nature strip of your property if you need too, check the car park for cigarette butts, leaves, rubbish etc. perhaps clean ashtrays in the outdoor areas a couple of times. Water the garden, plant a plant. There is always something to do so use it to your own advantage.
You should always walk around with a magic sponge, take notice of marks on walls, doors, Wipe them off on your way around.
Remember guests arrive as strangers and should leave as friends.
This is your chance to spark a conversation with them, this is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and let the guests remember you and your motel for the right reasons. Make a good lasting impression.
Word of mouth is the best advertising.
I mentioned previously about doing a simple check of rooms prior to a guest’s arrival. Housekeepers are great and if you have a housekeeper that takes ownership of the rooms they clean, I would advise you to hold on to them with both hands and treat them like gold.
Let’s face it, some housekeepers aren’t that great and are just their working for the money and no other reason. If it is not personal to them, they won’t care if the motel gets a bad review or two? They will still get paid.
Someone needs to take some responsibility and if you don’t check the rooms then give someone you trust to take on the responsibility for checking the standards are met.
Check out your cleaning score with online reviews. Compare it to other motels of similar standard. Is there a problem? Housekeepers tend to be either on the ball or dropping it completely. Everyone forgets things. If it’s on a consistent basis I suggest re-training your housekeepers or finding new ones.
Hire staff for pride rather than experience.
If the housekeeper takes pride in their own appearance and how they portray themselves that’s the housekeeper you want to be working for you.
Set a standard with the housekeeping and be strict about it.
It’s their livelihood just as much as it is yours. Remind them that if rooms are not cleaned to that standard then guests just don’t come back. When guests no longer make bookings then they (housekeepers) no longer have employment. It is that simple!
If you a running a small motel then do the checks yourself, if you are running a larger concern ensure that your head of housekeeping is taking on the responsibility and that the housekeeping team are all on the same page. Offer a bonus for raising the cleaning score and a bonus for keeping it as an incentive to them.