Principles of time management
We live in a hyper-productive society – we are busy all the time. “Staying busy” means we are working hard and are going to be more successful. But there is difference between getting a lot of things done (efficiency) and getting the right stuff done (effectiveness). We need to focus on effectiveness, on the important things that need to be done well and in time. For this, we need to start with planning our time well and to plan it in advance.
Stephen Covey, author of a best-seller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (listed as one of 25 most influential business management books), suggests the use of the time-management matrix consisting of four quadrants based on importance and urgency. We need to focus on those thing that are important but not urgent, as these are things leading to fulfillment of our goals, and be most weary of time wasters such as unproductive conversations, Internet surfing, trivia, escape activities.
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Decision making principles
In running your accommodation, you need to make a number of important decisions, some long some short term. Daily, there are decisions to be made in interaction with guests, staff, suppliers, advertisers and others. They are usually predictable. Then there are more complex decisions, such as deciding which of the two groups to book – regulars paying lower rate or new groups paying higher rates. Yet there are even more complex such as:
Should I invest in expanding or should I upgrade the quality? Should I build an outside pool or set up a small wellness? Should I hand over my booking to an agency or manage it myself? Should I hire more people or get my family members more involved? Should I offer full board or just a breakfast?
We need to make choices. This is what decisions are all about. Ability to make quality decision is considered a generic leadership skills that can be learned.
These are the steps:
- Think of your goal – what do you want to achieve or what problem do you want to solve, or what is the reason for doing it
- Gather information that you need to make decision with a list of every possible alternative from friends, experts, associations, Internet, financial advisers. You do not need to be an expert about everything, but you need to know whom to ask and where to get the source of expertise
- Think about consequences – what will be results of your decision; who is going to be affected and how; what are pros and cons of different options
- Make decision – a step involving some level of anxiety, but has to be done. A simple rule is that after making a decision, you need to feel good about it
- Evaluate decision as you go to see if you need to make some changes along the way, anticipate eventual problem and elevate stress.
One of the important decision relates to the number of people that you need to run your accommodation business. Firstly, you need to decide whether you can run the entire business by yourselves, with help of family members or hired staff, depends on how many beds/rooms you have, your physical abilities and your occupancy rate. As a rule of thumb, help is required when there are more than five rooms.
If you are going to hire people, you need to decide what kind of help you need the most. It is wise to start thinking of all the tasks that need to be done in a day (24 hours). Divide all the task in groups: housekeeping, food and beverages, front-office/reception (check-ins/outs, information provision, and handling guest requests), back office (reservation, book-keeping, supplies, cash-flow), maintenance (rooms, facilities and equipment, outdoor area).
Then think of what you do the best – if you are your best in communication with guests, building trust and loyalty, then dedicate your time to guest-relationship and hire a cleaner. However, if your guests are foreigners and you do not have language skills, it is better to spend hiring a skilled front-office staff and do the cleaning yourself.
Some of your staff might come from extended family, recommended by friends or relatives, or from job-advertisements. If you need to hire new staff, interview them. Ask them to give you reference of their previous employers or others (i.e. teachers, counselors) and talk to them.
If you will operate seasonally, then you need to think of your staff needs well in advance. Good and trustworthy seasonal workers are in high demand. Be prepared that your seasonal worker/s might not have the skills needed and allow some time for training.
If you offer additional services (restaurants, equipment hire, excursions), inform your staff – remember that guests can ask for information and assistance any of you and your staff – all of you are in the business of making guests happy and improving business revenue.
Some tips on conducting an interview: https://es.pinterest.com/pin/216172850837545586/
If you have more than one or two persons working in your accommodation business, it is wise to introduce daily briefing. This will help in running daily tasks smoothly, avoid staff conflicts and deliver quality service to the guests. Keep it short and to the point. Daily briefings are usually held earlier in the morning, before the start of everyday activities.
During the briefings, you should inform your staff on:
● Expected arrivals and departures, early check-ins and late check-outs for the day;
● Any special guest requests, fussy guests, guests with special needs;
● Technical problems in your accommodation that require maintenance (availability of parking, air conditioning, hot/warm water, Wi-Fi coverage, showering facilities, elevators etc…)
● Any other problems /unresolved issues
● Ensure the staff is truly aware of important issues, matters related to daily operations.
Use daily briefings to:
● Remind staff of operational standards, importance of service and guest satisfaction
● Allow staff to express themselves and communicate briefly.