5 Tips for Creating an In-House Hospitality Training Program

iStock_85820359_SMALL.jpgCreating exceptional experiences for your guests starts with having a skilled and well-trained staff, and that means that the quality of your hospitality training program is crucial.

General training programs cover the basics, but you can elevate the experience at your property by creating an in-house training program that instills in your staff your unique approach to customer satisfaction and sets clear expectations for how you like things done.

You want everyone from the front desk agents, to housekeeping staff, to the poolside restaurant servers to be committed to ensuring guests have a great stay with you. That means creating a comprehensive and creative training program that paints a detailed picture of the experience you want to create for guests.

As you’re building your in-house training program, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

1. Start Your Training Program by Making a Good First Impression on Your Employees.

Employees’ interviews and the first few days are golden opportunities to set the right tone by treating them the way you want them to treat your guests. Make it a priority that all new hires are given a warm welcome and a personal interaction with leadership before the training officially begins. Set clear expectations for the training program and encourage dialogue.

If you’re a large property with lots of new staff at a time, consider preparing a short video to show at new hire orientation that’s specifically about working at your site, the value you place on customer satisfaction and why you’re glad they’re there.

2. Make a Training Manual That Sings

In addition to the hands-on training you provide, you’ll want to give staff something to refer back to as they take in all of the information for their new roles. Your manual should be engaging as well as informative, with both basic information about the property as well as fun facts about its history or your location. The manual is a good place to include information such as your org chart, employee directory and customized checklists and quick reference guides.

3. Simplify Training with Checklists

Detailed checklists for things like making up a room can simplify the training process and take the pressure off of staff to remember how you want things done. Illustrations of rooms that show where things go and how you’d like furniture positioned is an excellent way to create familiarity and establish routines. Having a housekeeping manager spot-check rooms against the lists can give a sense of accountability and ensure consistent quality, right from the beginning.

4. Create Scripts for Guest Interactions to Ensure Consistency

Think through every direct or indirect guest interaction that staff may have, and give them standards for how to handle each one, from the way guests are greeted when they call the front desk to the condition of their room when they return from a day of meetings, outings or the pool.

What do you want customer service agents to say when guests call to complain? At check-in, do you want the people at reception to walk the keys and site map around the counter to hand them to guests? Are there any special instructions for families or guests with children? A set of firm guidelines can ensure employees are clear on how best to handle all kinds of situations.

5. Make Training an Ongoing Activity.

New hires aren’t the only ones who will benefit from training and learning new skills. Keeping employees engaged with new challenges and responsibilities will help them grow and, in turn, better prepare them to help your business grow as well.

An in-house hospitality training program is an opportunity to augment other basic trainings. By tailoring your training for your property, you can allow its unique hospitality culture shine through, delighting your guests so that they look forward to coming back again.