No Need to Reinvent the Proverbial Wheel: Why Hotel SOP’s Are Crucial
By Donna Lewis, Vice President of Sales & Revenue Management at HMG Hospitality
Three words can make or a break a hotel - Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
The point here is short and sweet - have an SOP in your hotel for literally everything.
If this isn't already the case, start implementing them now to ensure your hotel is set-up for success.
Similar to how children need structure in their daily lives in order to mature into grounded, stable adults, hotels require structure in order to function at maximum efficiency. SOP's affect not only the procedures, but also the team.
A lack of structure results in chaos, which results in stressed out team members who are unhappy at work, and will therefore perform at suboptimal levels. It's a new year, which means you have an opportunity to improve. The work is never completely finished in the hospitality industry, improvements can always be made, and trends are always changing. All we can do is try our best, keep up-to-date, and constantly implement and refresh SOP's. The following bullet points demonstrate the different ways SOP's enhance hotel operations.
Why waste time and energy re-teaching, or even re-inventing, the proverbial wheel? Consistency is a hotel's best friend, allowing the management to relay simply, easy-to-follow instructions on procedures already known to work.
Hotel's who join brands or become part of a portfolio, understand the benefits of consistency really well. Even if your hotel isn't part of a brand, there are still known SOP's within the industry that you can adopt and implement within your property to save resources and a headache.
For this to work best, ensure the SOPs are well written, available in all languages spoken by the majority of your team members , and provide a clear visual flowchart or illustrations.
If everyone is cleaning, inspecting, and generally operating with the same procedures, then the level of quality desired can be controlled. Errors and variations occur when there isn't a standard procedure, and that's when customer service issues will arise.
Additionally, when a quality control issue does arise, you can then determine what the issue stemmed from. For example, if the issue at hand is that the shower does not meet a guest's expectations , is it
- Because the room attendant did a poor job based on the SOP?
- Because the SOP is outdated, and there are better methods for cleaning a shower now?
Now it's a simple solution of either chatting with the team member, or instating a new and improved SOP. This same idea can be applied to all areas of the hotel.
When team members know specifically what is asked of them, they have the opportunity to shine. Standard routines allow predictability, when a procedure is laid out step-by-step, there is no reason why a competent and ambitious team member can't become an expert at the task.
You may even discover which team members are full of innovation and creativity, because they will come to management with suggestions on how to enhance SOP's in their departments.
When the team isn't clear on exactly what is being asked of them, some will falter and deliver sub-par results. When the team has every available tool to perform their duties flawlessly, there will be more than a few that learn each skill and perform it with excellence. Those that don't have no excuses, and you can then replace them.
Productivity and Performance Management
SOP's make conducting employee appraisals nice and simple. Have each employees job description written out in detail, and keep them as your collection of key SOPs. Give each team member a target level of outputs for the SOPs in his or her job description.
Now it's simple and quick to determine the level of productivity on each SOP per team member. Naturally take into consideration which SOPs are most important, and asses the team member based on his or her abilities to do the most important aspects of the job, and then move down to the lesser prominent tasks.
This can also be used as a benchmark to encourage improvement over time. Perhaps team members are only expected to meet a minimum output per SOP, but then over time that expectation increases, along with the skills of the individual. This can also help when decided who to promote and when.
Growth ties in with consistency . When your hotel has reached maximum efficiency utilizing SOPs, you can then assess your growth, and duplicate the entire process on the next property opened.
If every single SOP is detailed and written out somewhere, then all of those materials can be gathered and then replicated for the new property, saving an incredible amount of resources.
Similar to how you can compare team members to one another, you can use SOPs to compare properties against one another.
When your hotel runs smoothly internally, it shows and the guests can feel it. The energy of a calm, well-organized hotel is enjoyable and relaxing for the guests. The energy of a chaotic, fly-by-the-seat hotel is frenzied, rushed, and not relaxing in the slightest.
Sit down with the management team and develop or adopt SOPs for every little procedure. There's no time to waste if this isn't already the case for your hotel.