It isn’t easy to run a hotel, and operational expertise has become more vital to bottom lines than ever before. With all the technology requirements and systems, the human resources demands, and the strategic capabilities necessary to remain competitive, professional management companies have become a required point of entry for many properties. Before putting your property in the hands of a professional manager, consider these five tips from the top:
When shopping for a new management firm, try to determine if you will have access to the top leaders of the management company. “An operational VP will be most involved with your hotel on a day-to-day basis, but you want to be sure you can reach the company’s most seasoned executives, too,” says Mike Marshall, president and CEO of Marshall Hotels and Resorts. “You’re hiring for the company’s breadth of experience, and you should have access to all of that talent when you need it.”
When evaluating a management company, ask for successful case studies that are relevant to your hotel. “There are major differences between hotels, even if they fly the same flag. Make sure that the management company candidate has a track record with hotels that are comparable to yours in every meaningful way,” says Nick Kellock, CEO of Concord Hospitality Enterprises. “The operating environment for a downtown Marriott in a major city is completely unlike the operating environment faced by a Marriott at the local mall.”
One of the things you should ask a new firm is how much input you will have when it comes to selecting key hotel personnel. “Some owners are more hands on than others,” Marshall explains. “If it’s important to you that you have a good working relationship with the people who are handling the day-to-day operations of your asset, clarify ahead of time the role you want to play in their selection.”
Check the references of the company that’s going to manage your hotel to clarify if expectations were met. “Speaking to references is commonplace when we consider job applicants,” Kellock says, “and the same goes for hiring a management company.”
Carefully dissect your management contract before you sign it. “Contracts vary substantially, especially when it comes to fees,” says Carlos Rodriguez, EVP of Driftwood Hospitality. “It is important for a management company to have transparency when it comes to a fee structure, with no travel charges, back charges, hidden fees, or other allocations. If you run into issues when negotiating the contract and don’t feel good chemistry, it’s time to move on.”
I liked reading your advice about the importance of checking with a potential hotel management firm to see how much input you would have in selecting key personnel. I can definitely see how it would be hard to step back completely and give the control of your motel to someone else completely. As a customer, I think would like to know that the lodgings I am staying in are being run by a concerned owner who is open to my suggestions about ways to improve.
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