Standard operating procedures in a hotel - a hit or a myth?

For many a salvation, for others a bane. What makes operating procedures in hotels a topic treated like a stone in the shoe?

You manage a hotel and have everything you potentially need – a cool property in a good location, unique product features, a well-thought-out marketing strategy, and most importantly, a dedicated team with whom you strive to provide the highest quality service. 

One might say everything is in place to build a strong market position and achieve business success. 

However, there is something that bothers you every time you browse and analyze guest reviews – why is there a lack of consistency in the services provided?

 Sometimes the check in is great, the rooms are perfectly clean, the restaurant service is top-notch, and the flagship burger on the menu tastes amazing, but other times, guests express negative opinions about the same services.

And you ask yourself: Why are we so “uneven” in the level of services provided? 

Over the course of 20 years, I have worked in 7 hotels – long enough to observe that in each of them, regardless of whether it was a chain or an independent brand, the development, approval, distribution, and effective implementation of operational procedures, i.e., basic instructions that define the principles and methods of implementing processes, were approached with hesitation. 

Often, there was not enough time to sit down at a desk and in a burst of editorial inspiration, write another script describing each process step by step, leaving no room for interpretation of what, for example, a “neatly” arranged breakfast buffet or a “carefully” vacuumed carpet in a room means. Moreover, unfortunately, writing a well-constructed procedure does not yet guarantee success. Effective implementation and updating of the procedure is the real challenge.

Why do so few hotels have, regularly update, and effectively implement operational standards, even though it is a key roadmap that guarantees consistency and repeatability of work processes? 

Perhaps this is because the process of developing and implementing them is time-consuming and difficult, and the form of communication, i.e., often a dry several-page text, does not fit the current trend in employee communication.

However, when I show hoteliers technological solutions that allow them to create operational standards and procedures in the form of video tutorials, in the process and together with the team, I hear enormous enthusiasm. 

The ability to use video training materials on a mobile platform gives employees easy access to uniform standards that are effective and easy to absorb.

Imagine that your chef – the one who makes the best burger, tells and shows in a short video how to create that flagship dish step by step, and a few minutes later, all kitchen staff receive a notification that a new training material has just landed on their phone platform, which they can reproduce anywhere, anytime, and as many times as they want. The same applies to check in, bed making in rooms, or guest service during breakfast.

What if all your employees could draw from exactly the same mobile source of knowledge about how to perform their job correctly to ensure its repeatability for every guest?

Effectively implemented standard operating procedures are an essential foundation for the coherence of processes and thus the consistency of services provided. It is not a myth but a milestone on the road to satisfaction for both guests, employees, and the business success of every hospitality industry establishment.

More information about the technology that was created to transfer old-school binders with procedures to the mobile platform can be found at SOPit15

Author Izabela Plucińska – Danodar