At first glance, this charming group makes an impression that close friends have met for half an hour to drink coffee together. And the conversation will be the same as their second Breakfast — light and ... feminine. But some people know that gorgeous girls have already launched more than one successful object in Ukraine and abroad, and manage to turn any coffee time into a mini-meeting to improve working processes at their facilities.
Meet Ksenia Dronga, Manager of the Wall Street business hotel, Svetlana Ivanova, Manager of the Bless Resort hotel, and Maria Ostapenko, Manager of the Ark Palace hotel. They claim that they got into the hotel business, and then into the management company Ribas Hotels Group by a happy accident.
Having extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant business, the girls clearly indicate the difference in the management of an independent hotel and a hotel under a management company.
— The distinctive feature of the Wall Street hotel is that since its opening, it has been operated by the Ribas Hotels Group. We initially wrote all the processes and adapted them for the hotel. Over time, we only improve them. I think this has had a positive impact on team cohesion, as many employees have been working with us since the opening of the hotel. Staff turnover is up to 20 %.
Working in a hotel under the management of a network allows the manager to optimize its functionality: pay more attention to the specifics of the development of line staff, communication with guests and issues of quality changes in the hotel. Our staff, from the doorman to the maid, are as polite and helpful as possible with guests. They know regular guests by name, and administrators even recognize them by their voice in a telephone conversation. This attitude translates into positive reviews, in which guests note the friendliness of our employees, willingness to help in any situation, as well as a high score on booking.com. By the way, now our rating on this resource is 9.4.
— Managing an independent hotel means monitoring all its departments around the clock. This often happens at the expense of full communication with guests and the boundaries of the working day. Close cooperation with the management company's departments makes it possible to successfully fill out the hotel, provide assistance in conducting competent marketing campaigns and PR campaigns. The manager can accumulate energy on administrative work, error analysis, and service improvement.
Girls are sure that to become a successful manager, it is not enough to know the algorithm of different departments. You must have a certain set of qualities.
— In the resume of applicants, words such as stress tolerance began to appear. Each person puts their own meaning in this word and, because of its "fashion", tries to enter it in their CV. It is necessary to understand that the stress tolerance factor is a signal moment for the staff. The Manager is the ship's captain. And if the captain starts to give verbal or non-verbal signs of confusion or slight panic, this should not be seen by the staff in any case. Stress tolerance is the ability to see the situation from the outside, make the right decision and make it clear to subordinates that this is the only correct way out in this situation.
The manager must be a professional in his field. I understand that I didn't open America with this statement. However, relatively recently I had a conversation with an accountant who did not know how the cash register works. She's great at preparing reports, settling accounts, making charts, and everything else. But does not understand the principle of operation of the cash register. I am genuinely surprised with this, since the person who is supposed to teach a new employee to use it does not understand the process himself. The accountant asked a rhetorical question: "Why do I need this?". This "why do I need this" should not be either the hotel manager or his subordinates.
— The Manager is a charismatic, patient, smart leader that people are drawn to. It doesn't just give instructions, delegate authority, or control the work of others. He is only effective with his team. Only a strong tandem "managing the team" is making progress.
The Manager should also be a little bit of a crisis Manager, a coach for the staff and a generator of a favorable aura in the hotel.
As professional "ship captains", Svetlana, Maria and Ksenia follow the trends of the Ukrainian hotel market. And at the meeting, they do not miss the opportunity to exchange views on this issue.
— All managers follow the trends. It's not a secret. But not all trends can be applied to a particular object. This is not always in the manager's authority. It depends on the owner's decision.
I divide modern guests who come to our hotels into two categories: a young guest and a mature guest. In fact, they can be differentiated into many groups, but this requires a separate conversation.
So, young guests are people who enter the student age and start traveling. They are most often referred to as Millennials. This category of guests most often stays in budget hospitality facilities. They value first of all the advanced forms of payment for accommodation, the system of electronic payments. Such a guest wants to pay for the hotel while at home, and modern hotels are obliged to provide him with this opportunity. Millennials are brought up on electronic means of communication, so they limit their communication with staff as much as possible. For such guests, we fill the site as much as possible so that they do not have any questions left. Because the probability that a young guest will call and clarify something is negligible. We must assume that he may still need to introduce these features to the site in order to avoid uncomfortable communication for him.
As for the more mature guests, they are people with diametrically opposite perceptions. We see individuals with already established financial wealth, a stereotype of how the universe and, accordingly, the hotel should treat them. They are just very fond of communication and sometimes throw the staff into confusion. The line staff mainly consists of young guys and girls who do not always feel the fine line of communication with them. After all, some guests talk about topics that the twenty-year-old administrator does not even suspect. I always work closely with all the staff and in unusual situations I help with advice, tell stories from my experience so that they understand what they can expect in the work.
— Automation of all processes is more relevant than ever. This is very beneficial for business owners, as they can keep their finger on the pulse of the entire hotel’s life without being at it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is also necessary to understand that today's guest pays special attention to those hotels that will give him not only an overnight stay, but also new positive emotions. Therefore, everything in the hotel: from the design to the compliment should bring a smile and a good mood.
Staff training is a trend not only today. This initiative should be on an ongoing basis in any hotel or chain.
— The market is gradually moving away from 5* hotels and developing 3* and 4* facilities. The interiors of hotels will be dominated by calm, non-aggressive tones, no pretentiousness and "Royal" decor.
Special attention will be paid to the standardization of hotels.
There is an opinion that the manager's work is not very similar to what is described in magazines. And as soon as the camera turns off, the smile disappears from the face, the heels are pushed into the back drawer and "honest work" begins: in work clothes, comfortable slippers or sneakers. In short, the carriage turns into a pumpkin.
— I can just come to work in sneakers." But in the beginning of the working day, I always change into high-heeled shoes. I believe that the Manager should always look presentable, because he represents his hotel and the people who stand behind him. No matter what they say, today they are everywhere met by clothes.
Of course, there are situations that require different forms of clothing.
However, I can assure you that you can make a bed in heels if the maid suddenly went on sick leave and even monitor the progress of repair work on the construction site.
— Let me tell you a secret: I have a pair of hotel slippers in my office. And on particularly stressful days, I allow myself to take off my shoes, put on these slippers, and have a cup of coffee. And then back into battle…to the lobby, restaurant, terrace, boiler room and other places familiar to the manager. In heels and in the appropriate form.
Managers believe that the guest is one of the most competent teachers.
I'll give you a fun example of how a guest can teach a lesson and how to respond to it in a way that maximizes the benefits for the hotel. We went for a weekend with Ksenia Dronga and arrived at the hotel late at night. When checking in, it turned out that the room is very dusty and dirty. I'm allergic to dust. We asked to be moved to another room. To do this, I had to disturb security, the manager, and the administrator — with a request to prepare another room for check-in. We were offered the third room in a row. We spent the night there. In the morning, I was woken up by a knock on the door. We were invited to the General Manager of the hotel. He noted that so far they have not had such guests and asked them to conduct a small training session for the hotel staff, tell them about all their comments. Three months later, I went to the same hotel, but as a coach for the staff. Later, the General Manager of this hotel recommended me to another owner. He was preparing a small boutique hotel with 27 rooms for opening and he also needed help.
The guest teaches us a lot. We have citizens of different countries. Some guests can teach you the ease of perception of positive and negative in life, some teach you how not to behave with others. We are currently hosting a 53-year-old guest who came by bike from Italy and is going to China. He shares with us and guests his view of sports and life in all its manifestations.
— No one can tell you about the hotel's work better than the guests.
I emphasize a clear gradation: there are guests who are always happy with everything. Even if there are some shortcomings in the work of the hotel, they treat them leniently. There are guests — the exact opposite - endlessly dissatisfied. And there is a category of guests whose reaction cannot be predicted. They can:
а) don't react at all;
б) react unexpectedly badly;
в) react unexpectedly well, even though they expressed dissatisfaction all the time.
In terms of reviews, foreign tourists are very indicative. Especially the French. 99.9% of them must leave a review. They have some kind of internal obligation - to visit the hotel and tell about it. And this is not necessarily a laudatory or critical review. They write honestly: they do not embellish the situation and do not criticize unnecessarily.
Ukrainian guests are never in a hurry to do this. The authors of reviews on the Internet are either those who were delighted with the hotel, or were very dissatisfied. But I met very few neutral reviews from Ukrainian guests. The Ukrainian guest finds an excuse for himself why he doesn't write a review or do something else.
Rare individuals have the courage to talk about their mistakes. Even rarer are people who transform these mistakes into new experiences of crisis management.
— A few years ago, a foreign guest came to us. When checking in, he asked to wash his clothes. The new maid unknowingly cleaned it, after passing it through the washing machine at the wrong temperature. The clothes were reduced by a size. Of course, the guest was indignant. As compensation for moral and material damage, we offered him to stay with us for a week for free. He agreed. This was the end of the conflict and the beginning of friendship. After this incident, he recommended all his friends to stay with us and we still host his business partners, family members and acquaintances. This is an example of how a staff error with the right response can turn people into good acquaintances with a further prospect of cooperation.
— I am sure that the manager is the person who should see the mistakes of his subordinates and be able to convert them into useful information. Imagine, at the reception, the guest is met by the administrator with a sad look. Finding out what's wrong. It turns out that the girl from the reception the day before was dumped by a young man. Of course, this person’s emotion instantly passes on to the guest, who has nothing to do with this personal drama. Error? Definitely.
In situations like this, I say to employees: "We are in the theater. Let's play this piece for an encore!" And then, during the phase "on stage", the person leaves their experiences behind the conventional scenes and "puts on" a smile. A simple psychological trick works immediately: when the face smiles, the person's mood also improves.
That's how we play the part. Every day — a new one.