As the hotel industry continues to evolve and become more competitive, consider this: The depth and quality of your property’s hospitality training could be what ultimately sets you apart from your ever-growing competition.
Because as new properties and industry disrupters appear, customer service is the key differentiator. To ensure outstanding customer service, you must not only select the right staff, you need to train them appropriately and consistently.
Every brand, property and management team has different standards and expectations for staff development, and you may feel as if you have more questions than answers. With that in mind, we’re offering 10 answers to your questions about hotel hospitality training.
Do We Really Need Orientation?
YES. Sorry, didn’t mean to yell there. But it can’t be overstated how important it is to have a formal onboarding process for new hires that includes an orientation.
Too many players in the industry are skipping this step and missing out on the chance to set the right tone with staff as soon as they walk in the door. You want to give your new teammates as warm a welcome as possible to model how you want them to welcome your guests.
Is a Training Manual Necessary?
Again, yes. In-person training and shadowing is crucial, and a manual will help reinforce your hospitality training for people who learn by reading and doing.
Your hospitality training manual is also a written guide that staff can refer back to when they have questions without feeling like they’re bothering the people training them.
Great – We’ll Use the Same Manual for Everyone, OK?
Not OK. Your training manual should have some sections that everyone receives – general information about your property, your employee handbook, directions to the employee parking lot – but each kind of staffer should get a tailored guidebook.
You’ll want to develop an illustrated hotel housekeeping checklist, for instance, and give special instructions for staff who interact with your laundry outsourcing provider.
What Else Should We Tell Laundry-related Staff?
If you have commercial laundry equipment on-site, remember that it’s only as effective as the people using it. Staff should be trained on proper use and maintenance, storage tips for hotel cleaning supplies, as well as chemical make-up tips.
If you outsource your laundry with a linen service, staff need hotel housekeeping tips and training on how to use the scale that was provided by your vendor, as well as the right way to load and unload the laundry transports.
Can Training Help Protect Our Hotel Sheets and Towels?
Absolutely. In fact, adequate training can be one of the most important steps you take in reducing linen losses and lengthening the life of your valuable hotel sheets and towels. Developing the training may also give you insight into your staff’s day-to-day hotel cleaning routine you didn’t already know.
To protect your linens, staff should be trained how to:
- Store linens the right way
- Spot stains that need to be processed separately
- Identify when it’s time for sheets and towels to be pulled out of circulation
- Let management know when they’re running low on cleaning cloths – so they don’t turn to your linens to get the job done
Is a Designated Training Staffer a Waste of Resources?
Not at all. The vast majority of properties rely on existing management and front line staff to train new hires. Which is one part of a great training strategy, but it shouldn’t be the entire plan. Having someone dedicated to training is a good idea for a few reasons, including:
- You’ll share the love. New hires will have a designated person to bring questions to, meaning that your existing staff won’t bear the entire burden of doing their jobs and training their new coworkers.
- You’ll make it easier to address issues early. When performance or training issues arise, you’ll have a go-to person whose duties include addressing them quickly.
Can’t New Staff Just Learn as They Go?
Yes. And no. Most of us absorb new information best through practice and hands-on learning. But throwing new staff in and leaving them to figure things out as they go is a disservice to them, to your existing staff and to guests.
In addition to providing information on the tactical parts of the job, training is the opportunity to lay out your property’s priorities and unique approach to customer service.
But Customer Service is Common Sense, Right?
Wrong. Mainly because there aren’t universal standards for what makes good customer service – unless you define them for your staff.
At some properties, it’s enough for staff to hand guests their keys and a map of the property and send them on their way. At others, team members at reception are directed to not only walk around the desk to hand guests their keys, they mark points of interest on the map, give directions to commonly visited places and offer recommendations for meals or attractions. It all depends on what you want your staff to be known for.
And if you want these behaviors to be consistent, you’ll need to make it a part of your hotel customer service training.
I’m Pumped. Now How Can I Get Staff Excited About Training?
Training shouldn’t be a one-time event, and while it’s a given for new staff, existing staff may view it as unnecessary time away from the countless tasks that are awaiting their attention.
But hospitality training doesn’t have to be tedious if you’re willing to focus on ways to make it fun. Experiment with different methods of sharing the information, including how-to videos or role-playing.
Let staff know there will be quizzes at the end of training with prizes for correct answers. Set aside time for staff members – not just management – to share tips and best practices to give them a sense of ownership over the professional development of the team.
What Unique Hospitality Training Resources Are Available?
Any vendors you work with have sales and service representatives who are walking encyclopedias about their products or services. To access their knowledge – and mix things up – have the reps come in and present to your staff and answer questions.
If you make continuing education part of your culture, staff will come to appreciate the chance to enhance their skills or learn something new.
Time to Transform Your Training
With the right approach, hospitality training can not only position your staff to create exceptional guest experiences, it can even protect your linens and commercial laundry equipment. Customer service is an important element of a guests’ overall stay and training is a way to help your staff shine.