What do you think should be the most important quality of a hotel manager? If someone were to ask me, I’d say it would be the capability to communicate effectively with the staff, colleagues and guests. In this new age of electronic communication, one should not forget that effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills should be emphasized and well-executed in the hospitality industry.
Compelling communication skills are important in a hotel regardless of some staff members not being guest-facing. A few hotels spend considerable amount of money on training their staff to interact with the guests. Good communication skills are a learned art and not a natural skill so one should consider training to enhance staff skills. Excellent communication skills enhance guest experience as it conveys that you are listening to your guests, valuing their feedback and conveying clear messages. Apart from communicating with the guests, your staff ought to know how to write emails. Good communication skills will impress your guests which will further prove beneficial to your hotel business.
Not only does the staff need to communicate successfully with the guests but also with other department employees. Few of the staff members might be able to speak in manageable English but those who don’t have English as their first language suffer due to their inability and fail to understand simple instructions and information. Department heads often face problems such as:
– Failing to communicate well with guests which may result in lack of confidence among the staff members
– Failing to process written documents such as emails, reports and other collaterals
– Failing to understand the hotel management software hotels use these days
Being the department head, if you are often facing such challenges then there is a problem and you need to look into it sooner. Here are some suggestions:
Conduct Staff Training
Arrange for a communication skills program that will be helpful for your employees to communicate effectively with the guests in crucial circumstances like dealing with complaints, co-ordinating between departments, attending to guests at the front desk and helping in documentation like menus, bills, reports and other hotel procedures. The training should be conducted once a month so that they get a chance to improve their communication skills. Also, encourage your hotel staff to communicate with each other in English.
Listen to your Employees
Successful communication is a two-way process which requires the management to periodically listen to their staff member’s views and ideas. If the management head does all the talking, employees tend to become lethargic. You need to listen to your employees as they are the ones dealing with the guests on a direct, day-to-day basis. For all you know, they might have ideas to better customer service or improvising of hotel functions if they encounter problems. The best way to listen to your employees is to hold feedback sessions on a weekly basis, take their inputs seriously and reward them. Motivate your hotel staff to help you in taking the hotel business forward.
Train your Staff on Attending to Guests
Your employees should know how to communicate well with your guests. There may be instances where your hotel might receive a complaint from guests in verbal or written form through reviews. The person in-charge to solve these matters must be well-trained in order to handle the issue wisely and subtly rather than ignoring it or dismissing it. Urgent matters can be handled with ease if your staff has good communication and behavioral skills.
The Mirror Technique
The best way to successful communication is to observe your guest’s own communication style and to respond accordingly. For instance, when you are dealing with a guest, you may notice that some guests make small conversations and others may be interested in the issue to be dealt with quickly and spontaneously. So observe your guests and act accordingly as it is important to think how you address your guest or deal with complaints (use humor for light-hearted guests).
Results of Great Communication Skills
– Improved customer service
– Better understanding of the instructions from supervisors among the staff members
– Great understanding of the latest technology used by hotels
– Boosted confidence to approach guests
– Positive attitude towards the workplace and higher level of understanding between the department heads
As stated above, effective communication skills is a learned art and not a natural skill so it doesn’t mean that the relevant skills cannot be developed. Hotels should emphasize on providing communication skills training courses which cover everything from basic communication techniques to advanced empathy skills program.