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Important Vs Urgent for Hotel Management

Jon Sholter


Today, in less than 5 minutes, we are going to cover the following: Understand where you are spending your time.

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It's been said before, but we will say it again, a lot of what separates mediocre managers from great ones is their ability to manage their time and focus on what is important.

Many hotel Leaders have been trained to be busybodies. In the past, they got the job done no matter the cost and were promoted to management-level positions through this determination.

However, when front line workers make it to management roles and mid managers make it to executive leadership roles, they need to learn different skills. One of the foundational skills to master is the understanding of urgent vs important tasks, a timeless time management principle.

Let's take a look at the Eisenhower Matrix below:

Hotel Management Urgent VS Important

Many of your duties fall under the urgent category when you're a frontline team member. However, as you crawl up the chain, more time should lean toward important, non-urgent tasks.

Let's look at some hotel manager examples that fall into the abovementioned categories.

Quadrant 1 - Urgent/Important - Do Right Away

  • The fire alarm goes off at your hotel.

  • You find out there's an emergency at home.

  • You have a full house to clean and three housekeepers call in sick.

Quadrant 2 - Not Urgent/Important - Schedule To Be Done

  • Develop and analyze a new credit system for housekeepers.

  • Initiate training to empower Guest Service Agents to deal with 95% of problems.

  • Create a GM checklist to keep you on track throughout the year.

Quadrant 3 - Urgent/Not Important - Delegate

  • Your cell phone rings, and you are not expecting a call.

  • Someone comes into your office unscheduled with questions.

  • You are finding ways to do other people's work instead of your own. IE helping at the front desk when there is no need.

Quadrant 4 - Not Urgent/Not Important - Discard

  • Checking social media notifications for the 3rd time today

  • Pointless meeting with whoever

  • Reading every industry report or review email notification that comes to your email inbox

What Should I Do with this information?

Realize where you spend your time: When you are in a leadership role, you want to spend more of your time in quadrant 2. Is this to say you will never spend time in other quadrants or that everything not within quadrant 2 is beneath you? Of course not. This tool is meant to help you identify where you spend your time and realize how or if it can be better utilized.

Understand the difference between improving your hotel and sustaining it: Put another way, are you working in your hotel or on your hotel? As a leader, you want to spend more time working 'on' your hotel and less time working 'in' it. Getting into the trenches as a Leader is valuable, but you want to ensure you take care of root causes and not always come to the rescue. If you have a day where you are short in housekeeping and you help your team get through it, that is perfect. However, if this is a regular occurrence, you should be in quadrant 2, finding a solution.

Understand what is important to you and to other members of your team: If you are the General Manager of a hotel, you will want to limit how much time you spend at the front desk. For you, this can be labelled as Urgent/Non Important. However, for your Front Office Manager, this can sometimes be labelled as Urgent/Important and for your Guest Service Agent, this is always Urgent/Important. Going further, don't get caught in the trap of thinking everything is 'important', realize that there are varying degrees and your job is to decide if it is your important task to handle or someone else's.

Delegate does not always mean getting someone else to do it: In theory, delegating all our work to someone else would be great, but we all know that's not the reality in our industry. Sometimes automating with technology, scheduling or batching your tasks to all be done at a particular time of week can be alternate forms of delegating.

There are intricacies and nuances to the above framework we did not go into. The important thing is realizing where you and your team spend most of your day/week. Once identified, you need to start building yourself a system to ensure you focus on the important tasks at hand and keep yourself accountable. As a hotel, finding time to work on what is important and not necessarily urgent will differentiate you from your competition.


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