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Hotel Management - Are you running on empty?

Jon Sholter


Today, in less than 5 minutes, we are going to cover the following: Understanding why you may be burnt out.

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I can almost bet every hotel leader out there has experienced burnout. In fact, I am sure people who have worked with me might even find this article to be a bit hypocritical on my part.

Let's be honest, burnout is going to happen from time to time.

I am not sure where it starts. Does it start from the owner/operator putting hours into their property as their livelihoods depend on it? Does it start with the General Manager remembering how hard they had to work to get where they are? Or perhaps the hotel management company trying to hit labour budgets at all costs?

Truthfully, the expectation is that being a hotel manager means working long hours weekly.

Let's look at some common pitfalls many hotels fall into:

Hotel Management Urgent VS Important

Roll Up Your Sleeves Culture:

Perhaps it is expected you cover front-line shifts during slow times at your hotel. There are realities to this situation, hotels do not operate in a utopian world. This being said, keep an eye out for your balance. In most cases, hotel managers should be the insurance policy, short staffed, they're there to help. However, what happens when you start spreading the Team too thin and picking up all the shifts yourself? Your insurance policy is gone. This is where 60-hour weeks come in, with your hotel running mediocre numbers. The short-term labour savings look good, but the income statement does not tell the whole story.

Groundhog Day Culture:

Do you work at a hotel where you can almost predict your next two months will be a disaster? Year after year, you find ways to make your life difficult. Year after year you do not find enough staff in time. Year after year, people start quitting just when you need them the most. If this is you, realize that you have more control over your environment than you believe and it may not be an external problem.

I Had To Do It Culture:

When we rise up the ranks in our careers, we cannot help but compare our path to others. We remember how hard we had to work to get to where we are and although we may not say it out loud, we may not want anyone else's track to be easier.

Did any of these resonate with you? If so, what can we do at our hotels to help minimize their detrimental impacts?

Realize it is not all bad:

First, if you thought you would work in the hotel industry and never put in extended hours or have busy periods, then accept your new reality. The point is not to never have stressful periods of operation but to have the energy to embrace those periods when they come.

Don't keep yourself in a constant state of stress:

If you're going through seasons of status quo at your hotel, utilize these work hours to investigate and improve your operations. There is never a shortage of ways to improve your bottom line, either through top-line revenue generation or expense efficiencies. Use your shoulder periods to level up your property instead of thinking the only way you can save money is to pick up front-line work. To be frank, you're not doing your job properly if you cannot save/make more money through initiatives you instigate in the back office compared to the hours you spend on the front lines.

Don't keep your team in a constant state of stress:

What goes for you also applies to the rest of your leadership team. Don't keep them in a continuous state of paranoia where they feel they're expected to work more than you expect them to.

Manage Expectations:

Explain your expectations to your Leadership Teams. Upon hiring, let them know what a week/month/year feels like working in your property. During the year, communicate clearly when you expect your leaders to roll up their sleeves and when you expect them to be working on higher level initiatives. You have only yourself to blame if you have expectations that are not communicated clearly.

Be Proactive:

Ensure you are going into your day/week/month/year with a plan. Understand what you want to accomplish and when you want to accomplish it. Get ahead of the busy times, hire right and hire early. Don't fly by the seat of your pants.

All this is not to say you and your team should not be working hard and leading by example. On the contrary, managing your energy means having something in the tank when you actually need it. Managing your energy means refuelling the tank when you get a chance. Managing your energy means having a destination in mind before getting into the driver's seat.

I understand that some of you may have gotten a sense of burnout just reading this whole article. So thank you.


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