Top Challenges Hotel Managers Face

30 Aug, 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

Running a hotel is one of the most difficult jobs yet one of the most rewarding in these times. Loaded with a variety of responsibilities, a hotel manager is supposed to look after the entire management staff. Hotel managers need to have a friendly personality, excellent organizational and time management skills to manage numerous responsibilities, such as, financial management to commercial accountability for budgeting, organizing, planning and directing all hotel services.

Managerial duties of a hotel manager include the following:

⦁ planning and organising catering, accommodation other hotel services on a daily basis
⦁ promoting and marketing the hotel business;
⦁ managing budgets and creating financial plans
⦁ controlling overall expenditure;
⦁ maintaining financial and statistical records;
⦁ carrying out detailed inspections of services and property
⦁ achieving monthly sales and profit targets;
⦁ proposing and analysing revenue management strategies;
⦁ training, recruiting and monitoring staff;
⦁ planning work schedules for individuals and teams;
⦁ greeting and meeting customers;
⦁ dealing regularly with customer and client complaints and comments;
⦁ ensuring smooth running of events and conferences;
⦁ supervising maintenance, supplies, renovations and furnishings;
⦁ dealing regularly with suppliers and contractors
⦁ ensuring effective security;
⦁ ensuring full compliance with licensing health and safety, law and other statutory regulations

Running and managing a hotel is a grueling task. There are three types of people that a hotel manager must please at all time, and they are the guests arriving at the hotel, employees / staff, and hotel’s corporate management. A hotel manager is expected to face up to his responsibilities and challenges with those people and simultaneously keep the hotel afloat.

Hotel managers usually have a tough and an unpredictable schedule. If a customer is facing an issue with such as a toilet overflow or a power outage in the room. hotel manager is summoned, since he is the man who is in charge and responsible for smooth functioning of the hotel. Below are some of the challenges that hotel managers have to confront on a regular basis:

1. Operational Challenges: A hotel manager has to ensure that the housekeeping is up to date on all the floors and room occupancy details, bookkeeping are all updated timely. He is also responsible for ensuring that the staff is well trained to handle and manage all kinds of customers and clients.

2. Technical Challenges: A hotel manager is responsible for creating occupancy reports and forecasts and also managing overbooking. He is also responsible for fixing the right price for all kinds of rooms at the hotel. He is supposed to look after the overall expenditures at the hotel.

3. Security Challenges: Hotel manager is responsible for maintaining optimal safety and security at the hotel. Having a proper surveillance system throughout the hotel property as well as automatic door-locking system in the hotel rooms that can immediately change codes when a customer or guest loses a door key are some of the measures the hotel manager must take to ensure proper security for guests.

4. Revenue Challenges: In this digital age of internet bookings, room prices vary from one website or hotel to another. It has been noted that hotel managers who carry on with fixed rates tend to miss out on opportunities that can bring them huge profits if they raise prices during holiday and peak seasons, and subsequently lowering the rates during off-peak season to encourage occupancy. Hotel managers must experiment with pricing in order to ensure and maintain a steady flow of guests as well as revenue.

5. Leadership Challenges: Hotel managers face leadership challenges in the form of industry corporatization. In this era, company structures are rapidly changing and growing more complex, which makes it difficult to ensure consistency in customer service.

A hotel manager must create and maintain team unity, establish open communication policies and make an effective information management system that can help in smooth functioning of the hotel.

6. Amenity Challenges: Hotels now provide amenities such as a coffeemaker, TV and radio as essentials in guest rooms, but not so long ago, they were considered luxury items for a hotel room. It has been noted that vacant rooms consume electricity with an average of 12 hours a day and the cooling and heating in the room costs takes up half of a hotel’s operating costs. A hotel manager is faced with increasing costs which he must encounter by devising strategies to make amenity-usage sustainable.

7. Cost Challenges: A hotel manager has to look after the increases in renovation and construction costs that often result in escalating capital reinvestment and increased capital requirements for new construction which takes time. Many clients and companies demand improvements and upgrades in the hotel’s physical condition and press for more stringent adherence to world class standards for the hotel to compete with the international hotels worldwide, which often result in escalating capital reinvestment that a hotel manager must deal with.

8. Technological Challenges: Due to the advancement in technology, hotels worldwide are adopting digital interfaces and integrating all of their workflow onto information systems, that are dramatically easier than conventional workflow systems. Many hotel managers today are taking full advantage of the new technology and streamlining their operations. This upgrade requires significant investment but there are unlimited benefits of using a dedicated information system. It also requires proper training and understanding of the interface. Most current information systems installed at various hotels have been found to be under-utilized, the main reason is hospitality industry’s reluctance to invest in refresher courses and training of their staff. To fully benefit from digital technology, hotel managers must support integration and adoption of new technology that can help streamline the workflow.

9. Customer Expectations: Hotel manager is also responsible for addressing and satisfying the ever evolving needs of his customer needs to fulfill which is his main priority. In this day and age, customers are increasingly aware and sophisticated in their use of technology and expect the same from the hotel they are staying in. Technology gives hotels an opportunity to reach out to their customers effectively and efficiently.

Hotel managers can successfully manage a hotel if they learn to confront these numerous challenges with determination and their brilliant management skills.


How to face hospital staffing challenges?

30 Aug, 2016 | Tags: , ,

Hospitals are a busy place — they are also the place where every single task is important and urgent. And hence, scheduling of manual labor becomes extremely important. There are so many challenges that hospital administrators face when it comes to hospital staffing.

Every patient needs to be constantly looked after. There should always be doctors present within the hospital premises to take care of an emergency or a new patient. Every team should be equally balanced and have equal number of people. Also, there should not be too many open shifts. This will ensure that the hospital staff is not overburdened with work each day. Open shifts do not only drain the hospital staff of its energy, they also lead to increased labor costs. There are many such tasks around scheduling the onus of which fall upon hospital administrators and staff persons. The hospital can run into great trouble if the staff scheduling is not properly done.

While most hospitals employ the services of expert administrators to do scheduling, sometimes even the experts fail. It is difficult to manage a system as big and as unpredictable as hospitals. There are certain strategies that hospital administrators can employ to reduce hospital staffing challenges. Here are a few of them:

1. Centralize the resource management system: In most of the hospitals, each unit has a separate scheduling manager. While this is a good idea as far as team or unit communication is concerned, it can also lead to scheduling issues. If staffing managers of different unit work together, staff paucity can be taken care of by moving staffs across teams. One of the best ways to manage resources in a hospital is to create a centralized system where people become a part of a single large team instead of small segregated teams. The impact of this should also be noted and analysed from time to time so that an efficient system can be put into place.

2. Induce self – scheduling:   Self-scheduling is a good idea if you do not suffer from paucity of hospital staff in general. Self-scheduling also creates an environment of co-ordination and personal management. It empowers hospital staff and allows them to work according to their own comfort. This is especially good if your hospital staff is made mostly of nurses and attendants who are parents to young kids and who need to devote time to their family on a daily basis. However, self-scheduling system will not work well if the hospital staff is not wholly committed to their job.

3. Do predictive analysis:   Most businesses employ this technique to get an idea of future staff demand. Based on data analysis, business intelligence and predictive modelling, resource managers can plan well in advance. Though predictive analysis will not give exact numbers, it will still gave a fair idea of the number of staff members that will be needed in the months to come. If the charts show rigorous demands, administrators can actually begin to train the hospital staff in advance. Management based on predictive analysis is known to have reduced costs and created very effective systems. If you are managing a hospital with a big work force, you can benefit greatly from predictive analysis.

4. Get rid of recurring open shifts: Open shifts can create an imbalance in the scheduling chart. An open shift means that someone from the staff who already has a full-time duty will have to cover up for the absence of another person or a last-minute opening. Recurring open shifts can make the hospital staff feel exhausted. They can also lead to job satisfaction. Hence, open shifts should be taken care of. One of the best ways to reduce open shifts and minimize staff dissatisfaction is to induce incentives. Hospitals should introduce a rule under which every person doing an open shift should be given an incentive.

Taking care of hospital staffing challenges will not only reduce the total cost, it will also create a better working environment for the hospital staff. Not just that, it will lead to an efficient system in which every patient is taken care of properly. An inefficient management system can cause chaos and negligence, and there is no place for either of the two in a hospital.


Social Media Tips for Restaurants

24 Aug, 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

Social Media Tips for Restaurants

The importance and power of social media has grown exponentially in the last decade, and its potential for making a business successful is a widely accepted fact. Restaurants are no exception. Traditional advertising certainly still has its place, and no amount of social media marketing will make up for poor food or service, but it is crucial for restaurants to use the influence of social media for their benefit; if they don’t, their business may be left out in the cold.

The best place to start is to figure out where to focus your social media efforts based on which demographics frequent which platforms; this matters because of how many sites have gained momentum in the years since Facebook was the only game in town. Your target clientele can give you all the information you need.

For example, according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center, urban residents between 18-29 most often use Twitter and Instagram while women under 50 can mostly be found on Pinterest and Facebook. Not surprisingly, since this survey was conducted, many more social media sites have popped up and become even more popular (i.e. Tumblr, Snapchat). Decide on a couple of sites that will work for your restaurant’s particular clientele, and make yourself visible there with interesting content.

So what content is interesting anyway? There are few basics that you should definitely make a part of your social media protocol, and everything else should come from what makes your business unique. Here are some basic ideas for interesting content that will make social media work for you:

  • Menu – Don’t limit your menu just to your website; providing it on social media sites will allow you to reach a far greater audience. Potential new customers want to have a basic idea of what kind of food is served, price points, variety, and signature dishes to try.
  • Mouth-watering food pics – Pictures featuring what your cuisine truly looks like when presented will give customers a more accurate idea of what their experience will be like and will entice them to give it a try. Combined with a fun hashtag, food pics are most effective and shareable on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Provide specials for followers – Starbucks has mastered this concept, mainly by offering time-sensitive deals, such as any size frappucino for $1 between noon and 4:00. Unless you are following them on social media, you’re likely to miss out on such promotions. Offer these kinds of incentives frequently enough that people follow you AND share with friends to follow you as well.
  • Offer incentives to share – There are several different ways to get your customers to share content about your restaurant on social media, which translates into cheap or free advertising. Create a simple but effective hashtag for customers to use when sharing so you and others can easily find all relevant posts. Provide exclusive discounts or a small item for free for customers that share content using your hashtag and/or user name. Random giveaways are effective as well; use an online random winner generator like Sweepjudge or Rafflecopter to choose a winner.
  • Get the staff involved – People like to see what it’s like “behind the scenes” of their favorite movies and television shows; restaurants are no different. Share photos of your staff before opening hours prepping fresh ingredients for the day ahead, send out a sneak preview directly from the head chef about a new dish happening soon, or simply take pictures with customers to share with their permission.

Aside from the quality and taste of food served at a restaurant, service is possibly just as important. Use social media to engage with your customers. Ask for feedback on a daily special, respond to individual comments on a Facebook thread, reply to tweets that mention your username or hashtag, and rectify customer complaints if necessary. Customers will know you care about them even after they walk out the door and will therefore be more likely to return and spread the word about your business.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of Facebook. Even if you have a niche type of clientele, your Facebook reach could help grow your business beyond what you thought was possible. A few basic tips for using Facebook to drive your sales as recommended by the National Restaurant Association are as follows:

  • Perfect your Facebook page – Your business page on Facebook should be just as effective as your website. Include an email tab, your full menu, hours, directions, and content posts.
  • Put your regular menu in a tab – This makes it easily accessible and visible.
  • Provide a Facebook offer for checking in – Encourage customers to check in to your location by offering exclusive deals. Facebook gives information about how to do this here.
  • Link to your mobile app – Make this link prominent in its display and be sure it is functioning properly. More people are likely to visit your page from a mobile device and would prefer to use an app or mobile site for quicker access.

Using social media to your advantage will help you reach a wider audience and learn about how to keep them satisfied, interested, and wanting more. Get creative, avoid the oversell, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.


How To Get Online Reviews for Restaurants and More

24 Aug, 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

How to Elicit Online Reviews

Because social media is such a significant part of everyday life, online reviews of your business play a large role in how that business is perceived and defined. Entrepreneurs of all types once relied heavily on word-of-mouth, but now most potential customers want to learn about an establishment or company directly from those who have already experienced it; furthermore, they want opinions from a larger number of people, not just one or two folks they might know in real life who can vouch for the business.

Consequently (depending on the size and type of business), a four or five-star rating holds more weight with a business that has a higher number of individual reviews than with one that only has a handful. For this reason, getting your customers to take some time out of their busy lives to leave a review online should be an important part of your business process. It is worth noting that you should encourage customers to be honest in their reviews, so as not to appear discriminating to someone who may have had a bad experience. The best way to overcome a bad review is to counteract it with several good ones.

The following list offers a variety of ways for you to elicit (but not buy) online reviews.

  • Just ask! This may seem too simple or obvious, but customers already know how important online reviews are. When finishing up a transaction, many business owners and their employees ask customers how their experience was that day; if you get a positive answer, follow that up by asking them to take a minute to leave online feedback. You might be surprised by how many people are happy to do so, especially if they are satisfied customers.
  • Aim for big third-party sites, not just the ones relevant to your particular industry. In addition to customer testimonials, go for the bigger sites to help your SEO. TrustLink is a general review site which shows up on Google, so you’ll have plenty of online visibility.
  • Make it easy. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds for people to navigate from their mobile device or computer where to leave a review, and you’re best bet is to make your business easy to find and rate on several different sites. Place working hyperlinks on your business website to your review profiles (Facebook, Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.). If possible, hand out small cards with your request for a review that includes links or a QR code to scan. Many companies even have this information printed on the bottom of receipts.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your customers with too many places to leave reviews. Guide them to landing pages for sites on which your business may need some extra attention; change this periodically on an as-needed basis. In addition, focus on sites that allow users to login with Facebook or Google because most people will not take the extra time to create a new account just for that review website.
  • Gamify the review process. Who doesn’t love a good contest? While it’s important that you should only be soliciting reviews as opposed to good reviews, an effective way to encourage people to review your business is to turn it into a game, no matter how simple. It could be a weekly or monthly giveaway in which a random reviewer is chosen to receive an exclusive coupon or free sample. By making the review process fun, you will attract more customers to leave feedback.
  • Don’t forget to say “thank you.” If not in person, find unique ways to thank those customers who have left reviews. If on Facebook for example, reply to each review or comment on your page with a brief word of gratitude. Your patrons will be assured that they are appreciated and in turn will create loyal customers. It may even behoove you to ask for feedback on the spot if your business is conducive to that kind of service; just set up an avenue in which a customer can pull out his or her cell phone and leave a quick rating. Provide a sincere thank you before they leave, and perhaps distribute an exclusive coupon or discount code good for a future visit given only to instant reviewers.

Finally, don’t be afraid of negative reviews. It’s always a good idea to provide a place for customers to leave negative feedback privately. Respond professionally, appropriately, and if possible, rectify the situation as quickly as you can.

Online reviews can have a wonderfully positive influence on your business, so continue finding creative and unique ways to elicit them from your customers. You will be able to reach a wider market and grow your business.


Hospital Worker Schedule Information

23 Aug, 2016 | Tags: , ,

Things You Didn’t Know about a Hospital Worker’s Schedule

For both clinical and non-clinical hospital workers, a typical schedule can be anything but regular. Because hospitals see an ongoing and frequent turnover of patients whose needs are always changing, it is quite the challenge to make sure the facility is properly staffed at all times.

Most people know that doctors and nurses work long and varied hours, but the general public may not realize just what is involved in the typical schedule of a hospital employee. For instance, did you know that many hospital employees build time into their day not only for travel, but for parking as well? Very few hospitals have designated parking just for employees (doctors excluded), so workers have to either compete for spaces with visitors in a parking garage or possibly park a distance away from the building itself.

Here is a list of hospital workers’ challenges and how our hospital employee scheduling software can help overcome these obstacles.

Many, if not most, work longer than their scheduled shifts. Much of what is involved in the job needs to get done, whether it takes 10 hours or 12 hours. It simply cannot be put off until the next shift. Furthermore, this may or may not count as overtime depending on the job and the hospital itself. Adding up all that extra time put in over the course of a week, month, or year really demonstrates just how difficult hospital work can be. One of the most useful features of What Time Do I Work software is that employers can set up automatic alerts to notify them of any overtime. This can help manage employee hours and control payroll budgets.

They work potentially inconsistent and/or overnight hours. This applies mostly to clinical employees, especially doctors and nurses. For example, obstetricians can be called in any time for a delivery, emergency room staff can suddenly find themselves working extra shifts or called in during the night to assist with an influx of victims of a multi-vehicle accident, or simply working unexpectedly to cover for a colleague’s sick day. The reasons for inconsistent hours are virtually endless, but our software is up to the task of handling this problem in a user-friendly way. Easily create on-call schedules and also view past hospital schedules that are logged into the system for help with staffing future shifts. This will help prevent understaffing situations and will make the most of employees’ availability and skill sets for overall staffing needs.

If time off is needed, it is up to the employee to switch shifts with a coworker. It is really not feasible for a department to be short one or several employees on any given shift, so if an employee needs time off for any reason when he or she is originally scheduled to work, that person is responsible for finding coverage. This can be difficult, especially if the employee does not have contact with everyone in the department. This difficulty is increased if the employee needs multiple shifts covered. With our software, employees can view schedules anytime and swap shifts with colleagues within the program. This makes for possible and effective communication within departments without having to involve management in shift changes.

For many hospital workers, especially nurses, there is no typical schedule. Shifts rotate, they are not permanent (day/night rotation), and employees must rotate holidays and weekends depending on the hospital. This type of work can be an added burden on an already stressful job. Imagine if an employee has to take an unplanned sick day because his or her child needs to stay home from school due to illness. Needing to find coverage in a pinch can be challenging and stressful. This comes with the job, but effective scheduling software can make it much easier to handle. This constantly changing work environment requires a proactive scheduling system, one in which employers can easily access employees’ contact information, communicate posted schedules, and organize time-off requests. WhatTimeDoIWork software does all this and more; it is even sufficient for large hospitals who need to manage staff with different availabilities.

Only someone who has worked in a hospital can truly understand the pros and cons of doing so, especially when it comes to a typical schedule. Our software is user-friendly and can meet all the challenges that hospital workers and employers face on a daily basis. I

t can be nearly impossible to anticipate all the obstacles that are part of managing a hospital staff, but WhatTimeDoIWork takes the guesswork out of the equation.