With 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Phil Tufano, partner and COO at San Francisco-based management company Kokua Hospitality, is an expert in operating and managing hotels. He has renovated, reengineered, and repositioned properties branded under Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood and he currently manages and advises 13 properties under Kokua. Tufano shares five tips for operating a hotel effectively and efficiently.
Assess Your Assets: Every manager needs to analyze the strengths of the individual members in each of a hotel’s departments, such as housekeeping, F&B, or sales. Based on team member experience and skills, positions could be expanded or created beyond the traditional hotel team. No hotel employees should be placed in a limiting position based on a title. “It’s important to leverage the skill sets among all team members, from the front desk to the CFO,” Tufano emphasizes.
Keep an Eye on the Small Stuff: With the busy day-to-day life of a general manager, it’s easy to allow contracts to remain untouched for years. “Review contracts, like extermination and electricity, semi-annually or annually to make sure the vendor is still the best fit for a hotel,” Tufano recommends. “Managers should not hesitate to open up contracts to new vendors, as a newer price or plan may benefit the hotel’s future goals.”
Tap Into Tech: Tufano notes that a hotel can fall behind on the latest hospitality technology quite easily when a property becomes too content with present systems. Operators must stay up to date on the technology that can consolidate reporting for a hotel. Investing in a quality information systems can simplify benchmarking and identifying best practices for a hotel. Mobile devices like tablets are frequently used to communicate between hotel teams and assist with booking processes.
The Guest Is Always Right: It’s important for each property to have a way of recording and reporting on guest comments, complaints, and praise—in a way that goes beyond reading TripAdvisor. From a conversation with a housekeeping staff member to a Facebook review, guest reactions, and commentary need to be taken into consideration when changing consumer-facing operations. There are always ways that a hotel can be more reliable and accommodating to its guests.
Streamline Roles Across Hotels: Consolidating processes and positions is vital to a hotel’s efficiency, especially when operating many hotels. “Hiring one highly-skilled person to spearhead one area across two properties saves money and also strengthens the connection between the many hotels under our one Kokua Hospitality brand,” says Tufano. Properties need individual care and attention, but brands and hotel groups that can streamline responsibilities across hotels can create a more unified, organized management team.