If you’re invested in the well-being of the hotel and hospitality industry, then quality hospitality training is something you need to get up to speed with, pronto.
Whether you are a hotel manager wanting to improve your education with a hospitality training course, or if you are a hotel owner looking to improve your business in the tourism sector that is heavily reliant on customer satisfaction, then hospitality training should be a part of your business DNA.
In the ever-smaller global village that we live in, hotels sit at the coalface of human movement and industry.
Hotel staff that are ‘guest facing’ (front of house) are the ones that can make or break a hotel’s reputation with a smooth check-in and a reassuring smile
Nowadays, almost the first question an arriving guest will ask is “What’s the WiFi password?”
After burning their personal data in transit, they’re looking to check in with the world – on your tab. But what if they’re not a guest?
What if they’re a hacker trying to get onto your network so that they can steal the personal information database of your existing clientele?
This is just one example of where hospitality training comes to the fore.
Knowing where to draw the line between ensuring customer satisfaction and not being so obliging that you end up making your hotel susceptible to an online data security breach.
From ensuring food safety to empowering middle management to develop their career with you as they seek solutions to the changing demands of life in the hotel and hospitality industry, there’s a lot to unpack if you’re serious about helping your hotel business with its professional development.
If you do this, guaranteed you’ll not only see a return on investment in terms of increased staff expertise and returning hotel customers, but you’ll also be preempting any fallout that could occur from a bad customer experience that results in a bad Google review that lives forever online and you can do nothing about.
So without further ado, here are our:
Top 3 Hospitality Training Ideas For Ever Hotel
1) Security Awareness Training
Sticking with the example of a guest-facing hotel receptionist dealing with a potential con, the biggest gamechanger in an information-reliant global village is the increased need for security awareness training.
We’re not talking about the bellboy remembering your guests’ names, or the valet service taking good care of guests’ cars.
Rather, we’re concerning ourselves here with the digital security and privacy of the hotel’s customer – which means ensuring that your business has a solid IT infrastructure and modus operandi for how to employ best practice methods when it comes to managing the ebb and flow of customer data.
We are talking about firewalls.
We are talking about crypto viruses, ransomware, and an assortment of cyber-criminal activities that has been targeting top-end hotels for years now and are now increasingly targeting smaller, more boutique hotels that are more vulnerable.
Sbit is a company that offers security awareness training, as they assess your network, provide valuable data recovery, and train hotel and hospitality staff on how to be on top of their game at all times and be able to spot any derogations.
Security awareness training sits at the cutting edge of what the tourism and hospitality industry is dealing with to placate anxious guests worried that their credit card details and ‘digital valuables’ (info on where they live to their contact number and email address) are safe with you.
This is headline news for hotel owners wanting to improve their services.
2) Orientation and Organizational Structure Hospitality Training
While this isn’t something that you necessarily need a training course for, how your business functions, how you then communicate that to new staff in training, as well as what that looks like to your current and future guests, is crucial.
Efficient processes for your entire business operation are key to increasing turnover in the hospitality industry.
Here you are tasked with providing education on the knowledge of your hotel and restaurant to staff.
And then understanding how that can translate into finding the best way to ensure clear communication regarding your management and operational systems to your paying guests.
Articulating your hotel’s brand – the exact way that you like your employees to conduct themselves – is an opportunity for your managers to seize.
They can regularly gather the entire team of staff together and assess what skill sets need improving and encourage personal development.
Creating a culture of excellence, where you are all open to learning and improving, and aren’t afraid of the introduction of new tools to take your hospitality venture to the next level, is key to your combined success.
Support from co-workers and an enthusiasm to learn will lead to staff having fun on the job, which will then reflect in their smiles and the communication with your guests.
Rainer Lagemann is a communication trainer for the hotel and hospitality industry, who aptly asks the question, “Why should employees run faster if they don’t even know the direction?”
His seminars are world-renowned in the business hotel industry, as he tackles the tricky issues of complaint management and the handling of difficult onsite situations, while also providing upselling training and developing an authentic, individual approach for your hotel to communicate with guests in an engaging manner that is both steadfast and empathetic.
3) Crucial Hospitality Industry Courses
This isn’t so much a hospitality industry idea as it is a professional imperative.
Education on the ‘dos and don’ts’ when it comes to matters such as food safety and government compliance is something that all hospitality businesses need to stay abreast of.
Particularly in America, where state laws are being passed that extends ‘safe serving’ to alcohol as well as food.
Increasingly, restaurants and hotels that serve alcohol are coming under pressure to ensure that they do so responsibly (known in the US as the ‘dram shop law’.
Globally too, there are protocols for how to prevent food contamination as well as deal with drunken guests, check for ID at your hotel’s bar, and, more recently, ensure that your premises have been decontaminated in the event of a COVID outbreak.
Certification can most often be completed online, via a video linkup.
Training courses take a few hours to complete, and there is usually a multiple-choice exam that can be repeated until your hotel employees are certified.
Your staff should complete training not just because they have to, but also to gain an overview of how your hotel operates in the world.
The content is often dry, but the certification is another small accolade in the career of a young employee who didn’t have the chance to go to university.
This isn’t to be underestimated, and celebrating individual professional development is part of what makes a hotel team shine.
Print and display your online certification in a prominent, visible position – either above the bar or at the entrance to your hotel restaurant – to ensure your guests that you are fully compliant with local safety protocol.
These can go alongside your 5-star reviews and tourism awards.
Having covered three of the broadest themes regarding why hospitality training is so important to engrain in the culture of your hotel business, let’s offer up some tips on how to go about handling said training yourself.
Or, if you’re calling in an outside expert, be wise to what works for you and your business so that you can get the most value out of the training course.
Tips For Your Own Hotel Hospitality Training Course
Frame your training as employee development.
Turnover in the hotel industry is high. Investing in staff is a way to reduce this.
As long as your employees feel as though they’re being stimulated and learning new things on the job, they’re more likely to stay.
This is the time to create aspirational goals for employees and your business.
Articulate scenarios that happen when guests interact with staff employees and role-play these in training, searching for better solutions as to how best you can handle customer complaints.
Taking the focus away from the ‘boss/employee’ dynamic shifts things more towards the hotel’s brand that needs to be upheld.
Separate theory from practical training.
Learning how the software works can be done at a desk online, whereas shadowing a cleaner for a few days will take several hours.
Divide what needs to be learned by heart (a menu, for example), from what needs to be learned on the job. All hotels have a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly rhythm to them. Some of this training thus requires patience to give the employee the best chance at figuring out your hotel flows.
Create a Hospitality Bible.
This is an employee handbook that is also an operating manual that is also the cornerstone of how you like to do things.
This is where the hard-earned experience of lessons learned from past mistakes gets translated into tools and methodology that your staff can employ in any given situation.
Shifting from a ‘word of mouth’ approach to a written guide that staff can access at all times is a smart move.
Know your team.
Training courses provide the chance for more experienced members of staff to engage with newer employees.
Make it fun by having staff drinks after the training, and pair veterans with new hires to best ensure a healthy integration of operational knowledge.
Training also provides an opportunity to deal with office stress and unpack any recent difficult situations or address any developing office politics.
Stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry by keeping tabs on your competition as well as encouraging staff to bring their ideas on how to improve things to the table.
A simple exercise for new hires is setting them a task to study the local area.
They should be able to hold a conversation with a guest at reception regarding where best to eat, or what beach or local tourist spot to visit.
Trends regarding offsetting one’s carbon footprint and going green are increasingly topical, so it’s wise to ensure that your hotel is doing its bit when it comes to saving the planet.
Measure results – and reward achievement.
Set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals that staff can aim for.
Reward good behavior by offering dinner to nearby restaurants that your staff can then more authentically recommend.
Training courses can also be a celebration of the culture of excellence that you are creating.
Beware information overload.
Recap what is learned in a training course at the end of each session, and avoid letting staff be overwhelmed with, or bombarded by, too much information.
The onus is on everyone to remember that your guests are always watching. They can spot a stressful staff member, and this isn’t good for anyone.
Use the courses to alleviate stress, not create more.
Shape your course to suit your situation.
If it’s compliance and safety training, you need to offer a distraction-free venue that allows staff to focus and complete their certification expediently.
Appreciate that training is a process and that employees are people with busy lives on the go.
Break down your training into appropriate chapters and themes, allowing for learning to take place at home and online when possible.
Be technologically savvy.
Your hotel’s software must be able to interact with the web browsers that the guests are using, so there is a constant dualistic approach to dealing with a guest’s tech-related requests and seeing things from their perspective, and then offering the right support.
Employee etiquette needs to extend to being able to assist with computer-related inquiries, WiFi logins, card payments, and the like.
Google is your friend.
Encourage staff assistance with posting positive Google reviews, assessing your ranking, and ensuring that how you are represented online is a fair reflection of how your business functions daily.
Your hotel is a safe space for guests to unwind after a long day’s travel. Hotel security goes beyond ensuring that a guest’s key card is working.
Staff needs to remain alert to potential scammers in the lobby, cyber-criminals that are taking a chance accessing the local network, and any perceived threat to their guests’ wellbeing.
Hospitality Training Courses Conclusion
Some training courses in the hospitality industry are mandatory. Improving your business is, of course, optional.
What hospitality training courses do offer – whether they are externally run, or internally created by management – is the opportunity to take your service industry business to the next level by turning managers into leaders and by giving new employees a sense of vocational purpose.
All this while articulating your hotel’s brand values under the banner of development and education means that it makes smart business sense as a way to go about reducing staff turnover while increasing revenue.