The Best 9 Hospitality Training Tips
By Jud Travis
Hospitality is an industry that’s all about the customer. While your team should naturally be motivated to serve the needs of customers, they will need diligent hospitality industry training to maximize both the reputation of your business and customer satisfaction. Here are the best nine hospitality training tips to turn your employees into the most hospitable workers on the planet.
1) Implement an Effective Orientation
Like all industries, hospitality training starts on day one—orientation. It’s crucial to have a constructive orientation session to ensure that new hires fully understand the company’s culture and direction. Orientation establishes a solid foundation and should teach the new hires the following:
-About the brand: What’s the story on how the company was founded? What are the main objectives of the brand? What separates it from other brands? Teach the employees to be brand ambassadors.
-HR: Get the paperwork out of the way and make sure the new hires know their benefits.
-Provide the resources: Review job duties, staff guidelines, dress code, etc. An effective orientation will ensure your hospitality industry training takes off with everybody on the same page.
The first few days on the job are great opportunities to set the correct tone by treating employees similarly to how you want them to treat customers. Give all your new hires a warm greeting and have one-on-one interactions with each of them before the training officially starts. Establish clear expectations for what you want the training program to accomplish and encourage open communication. If you have a large company with lots of new hires, consider preparing a video to unveil at orientation that explains what your company is about, the importance of customer satisfaction, and the main objectives that the new hires must accomplish each day.
2) Provide an Employee Handbook
New staff should be given an employee handbook at orientation. The handbook must be thorough and feature instructions for every position and situation so that your new hires can cross-train or fill in at someone else’s role if an employee can’t make it to work. The handbook serves as both a training tool and a reference guide, so make sure it’s easy for employees to understand by:
-Having physical copies available in the office at all times.
-Emailing an electronic version to all current staff.
-Storing the electronic version online on a secure website such as Google or Dropbox.
-Routinely updating the handbook whenever there’s a policy change.
Your staff will be much more likely to live up to your expectations and follow company guidelines by reading the handbook. The handbook should be both engaging and instructional and is a great place to include helpful information such as an organizational chat, employee directory, main objectives, and reference guides.
3) Implement Checklists
Thorough, concise checklists concerning responsibilities such as making up a hotel room or how to clean the hallways will simplify training and make it easier for your staff to remember how you want the tasks done. For example, the checklist can include illustrations of rooms that exemplify where things must go, such as where furniture should be placed. Utilize a housekeeping manager to spot-check rooms based on the checklists to ensure accountability and high quality each and every day.
4) Create Scripts for Staff Interaction with Guests
Ownership must use their imagination to create a list of every hypothetical (direct or indirect) interactions that employees will have with guests; then, ownership must create scripts that exemplify standards for how to handle each interaction. Leave no stone unturned and provide a script for all likely situations, such as how guests should be greeted when they walk up to the front desk or how to interact with a dissatisfied guest that’s called to complain. Details matter when it comes to the hospitality industry and the scripts must be as detail-oriented as possible. For example, when a guest checks in, should the receptionist hand the keys over to the guest or walk around the desk to do it in a more personal fashion? Detailed scripts will ensure that your staff is educated on how to handle any situation.
4) Utilize Technology
Technology plays a vital part role in the hospitality industry by keeping operations running smoothly. You must train your employees to utilize technology well so that they understand how to operate it to serve the needs of customers. Even seasoned new hires may not know about the latest hospitality technologies such as touchpad systems, app-based team communication tools, and tools for scheduling. Implement the following procedures to so that that your employees know how to work with your company’s technology:
-Have a live training meeting that uses the software.
-Give employees training materials and resources from your technology provider.
-Provide detailed instructions and a troubleshooting guide in the employee handbook.
-Store all technology training material on your company’s cloud or a reputable site such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
5) Have Employees Do Shadowing
Don’t set up your new employees for failure by quickly throwing them into their roles. Have them shadow your experienced employees first. Though a checklist, manual, and handbook are all important, reading about how to be a front desk manager and actually being a front desk manager are entirely different experience. Shadowing allows your new hires to put their hospitality training to use in a low-pressure circumstance. Shadowing requirements must be based on both the skills that must be mastered and the employee’s experience. For example, someone who’s never been a front desk manager may need to shadow a seasoned front desk manager for fifteen hours; however, an experienced front desk manager may only need three hours to get the hang of his/her new company. The shadowing process should conclude with managers giving assessments so that the new staff can prove they have mastered what they learned. If they fail to exhibit all of the skills it takes to do excellent work, they will need to spend more hours shadowing until their skill level is exceptional.
6) Make Sure Your Managers are Coaches
Thinking of managers as a coaches is a relatively new concept in most industries. It allows a workplace where the staff sees managers as their coaches who make observations about staff performance to ensure improvement takes place; thus, morale stays much higher than it would with an overly critical, inaccessible boss. Managers should be able to shift the mindset of hospitality workers to keep them focused on providing excellent customer service. Like the coach of a sports team, a manager keeps an eye on team members to evaluate how each person is performing individually while also ensuring the team as a whole is interacting exceptionally with each other, and particularly, with customers.
7) Continue Training Your Veteran Employees
Continuing to learn is an important way to ensure that your hospitality workers are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. Investing in your team’s professional development is worth every cent, plus, you will make your employees feel valued, which decreases turnover. Ownership should implement a professional development budget and allow the staff to use it for courses and conferences that will broaden their skills. The budget should also pay for employees to access online hospitality training courses that allow them to improve their expertise. The courses should be tailor-made for the particular employee’s role. For example, don’t waste time and money having a waiter learn how to be a better front desk manager. Keep your eye out and observe which staff members are performing the worst so you know who is in need of hospitality training the most.
8) Consider Hiring a Consultant
You should consider hiring a consultant that can come in and offer new techniques and strategies that management may have overlooked. Once the consultant has taken time to observe your employees, he/she will provide valuable feedback that can help make your company even more efficient and hospitable. Don’t listen to those that tell you that a consultant is not worth the money. Consultants are invaluable and seeking their expertise is well worth it. Once the consultant has provided feedback, update the company handbooks, scripts, and training programs accordingly.
(9) Keep Track of Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is key not only to improving your company, but to improving the performance of your employees. Always train your employees to create a documented dialogue with customers so that management is always aware of recent strengths and weaknesses when it comes to customer service. That documentation should occur both online and in-person. If your company website doesn’t have a review section, add one immediately. If there are no review cards in your hotel rooms or there are no front desk logs, add them immediately. These are tools that are extremely beneficial for staff meetings and training sessions. Train your employees to aim for five star reviews every singe time they interact with customers. Four stars is never good enough—let them know that it’s five stars or bust.
Utilize these nine hospitality training tips as soon as possible. Not only will your organization run more smoothly, but your customers will notice a difference in the demeanor and efficiency of your employees. You will start getting more positive reviews and that will lead to more money in your pocket.