Five Habits of a Successful Hotelier

Whether you’ve been running a hotel for decades or are brand new to the game, reflecting on your practices as a hotelier is always a valuable exercise. Nobody’s perfect, but taking the time to consider your methods and improve where you can points you in that direction. Curious if you’re doing everything in your power to make your lodging operation prosper? Read on to discover five habits of a successful hotelier.

Focuses on Communication

Hospitality is an industry about serving people, which makes communication especially important. However, it’s not only about being professional and engaging with your guests but also being approachable with your employees. A hotel staff is a team, so everyone is (and should feel) valuable. Great hoteliers have safe, open lines of communication with their employees, offer regular feedback, and involve staff in decision-making. A healthy company culture—or lack thereof—directly affects your guest experience. Grumpy, miserable employees do not make great hosts. 

Nurturing a thriving company culture starts by hiring the right people. Spread a wide net when you advertise openings and use employee referral programs to help with vetting and prevent mismatches. Throughout the interview process, be clear and honest about what the job entails and what your company culture is like. 

However, the right people can quickly turn into the wrong people without proper training. You need to show your staff what to do before they can do it, particularly when it involves technology. Have SOPs (standard operating procedures) ready and waiting when new hires walk in the door, and make sure they have the support they need to gain confidence in their role quickly (safe, open lines of communication are especially important during training!). 

Lastly, good employee communication includes recognition. Let people know what they’re doing well in addition to what they need to improve. Consider this rule: If someone does 90 percent of their job excellently, 90 percent of their feedback should be excellent.

A front desk supervisor showing a new employee the ropes.
Successful hoteliers give their team the tools and training they need to succeed.

Knows Their Customers

It’ll surprise no one that prioritizing customer relations is essential to finding success in the hospitality industry. But it’s not just about having genuine in-person interactions with your guests (although that’s certainly important!). Great hoteliers go above and beyond by learning about and keeping track of who their customers are. 

They do this with the help of a powerful PMS or CRM, in which customers’ interests and preferences can be recorded in guest profiles to surprise and delight. Is a guest consistently traveling for business? Offer recommendations for comfortable workspaces. Is a customer’s birthday coming up? Send them a discount at your restaurant to celebrate. Personalized experiences make guests feel appreciated and go a long way toward nurturing loyalty.

In addition to recognizing individuals, successful hoteliers know who their customers are as a whole. What kinds of travelers frequent your hotel? Do you appeal more to business guests or honeymoon couples? Dig into the booking data in your PMS to find out. Knowing your most profitable segments enables you to focus on the right amenities, services, and upsells. 

Assesses the Competition

Lodging operators have a lot of competition, but successful hoteliers see this as an opportunity to make their accommodation the best! Establish a routine of checking competitors’ websites, social media platforms, and physical property. What are they doing well? Where could they improve? Noticing patterns across successful operations (or similarities between unsuccessful ones for that matter) offers critical insights that can prove beneficial to your business.

Automated solutions, including benchmarking tools and competitor rate shoppers, make tracking the competition and determining your own strategy much easier.

A hotel guest unlocks their room with their mobile key
Successful hoteliers keep up with the latest trends in hotel tech and guest expectations.

Keeps Their Head in the Game

Even when their property is running smoothly, great hoteliers don’t get complacent. Hospitality is an ever-changing arena, and it isn’t good enough to play defense. Read articles and network with other professionals to stay on top of new trends, changes in the market, and emerging technology. It’s important to set long-term goals and construct a step-by-step action plan to realize them. The most successful people (and businesses) are never satisfied merely resting on their laurels. 

First, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you currently are. Keep track of your property’s KPIs (key performance indicators), such as occupancy rate, RevPAR, and gross operating profit. RevPAR alone isn’t enough. Successful revenue management strategies take a holistic approach to maximize total revenue (not just money that comes from heads in beds). WebRezPro equips you with reports for all aspects of your business, from reservations to accounting to housekeeping. 

Looking forward, the whole world around us is changing. Climate change is on the rise, and hoteliers need to prepare for that. From travel trends to safety procedures to evolving SOPs, make sure you have a plan. Successful hoteliers are ready for anything and prepared to adapt.

Recognizes the Role of Technology

Technology can do a lot for your property, and a good hotelier embraces that. Property management systems, guest engagement platforms, and revenue management software are only a few examples of automated solutions available to streamline operations and maximize revenue. 

Start by asking your current tech providers if they can provide what you want. They may offer applicable features or integrations you don’t know about, which would save you the hassle of seeking something new. 

When you do need something new, consider the whole picture—how new systems will fit into your guest journey, workflows, and existing tech stack. Be aware of barriers to technology adoption and how to overcome them. Hint: It helps if your employees receive effective training (see above). Research systems thoroughly before buying (reviews are your friend here as is word of mouth). Not every shiny, new tech solution is right for every property. What makes a hotelier successful is their open, yet discerning, consideration of new technology. 

It’s never a waste of time to reflect on your qualities as a lodging operator. If you’re looking to improve your leadership (or are just starting out and need a few tips), hone these five habits of successful hoteliers and watch your business take off!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published December 2017 and updated December 2023.