In recent years, the hospitality industry has transformed. There's more competition than ever, including from vacation rental and home sharing platforms. Yet there are also incredible opportunities for novice hotel entrepreneurs who can target their offering to travelers. Here are the skills you need to stand out in the hospitality industry today and make your new business a success.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is one of the most important skills for an aspiring hotelier, because precision and detail orientation tie into so many elements of the guest experience. When you have attention to detail, you can make sure that everything is perfect on a consistent basis.
Guests have different needs, which they are all looking for you to fulfill. So you can meet the requirements of a variety of guests, you will need a flexible mindset. When you maintain a flexible mindset, you can focus on the outcome that will make guests happy and find creative solutions where others might lean on Hhtel policies because "that's the way we do it here." Needless to say, this approach will not win you fans. Because hotel guests have so many choices of where to stay, you must be flexible and focus on meeting their needs are all times to win over customers.
Most inspiring hotel entrepreneurs can create a great environment or deliver a positive experience. The skill that separates those that make it from those who flop is consistency. In the hospitality industry, it's all about repeating what you've done well while finding ways to improve.
For any customer-facing business, which includes the hotel industry, strong communication skills will take you far. Hotel entrepreneurs will need to communicate with investors who they approaching for fundraising, with employees who they're leading, and with guests.
You'll need to communicate clearly verbally as well as in writing. Public speaking skills are a plus if you are seeking financing. Additionally, the best communicators know how and when to listen.
Empathy is another important and often overlooked aspect of communication. Hospitality can be a high-stress industry. When you have empathy, you can handle angry customers with flexibility and grace -- and, critically, without losing your cool.
Marketing skills are essential if you want to stand out among the pack of new hotels. Fortunately, this is an area where you can outsource, so if you are not a savvy digital marquetry you are better off hiring a marketing service or bringing on a full-time staff member to perform this essential function.
Guest experience is a form of customer service. When you understand customer service principles, you can provide impeccable service. Better yet, you can train your entire team, so every member of the hotel staff provides the highest possible level of customer service to all guests. Getting customer service right may help your new hotel stand out and win repeat patronage from guests who are impressed with the personalized treatment they receive.
A hotel is a business, and to run it well you need to understand financial management, from budgeting to bookkeeping. It's wise to have your own grounding and financial management, so you can understand reports put together by key hires, like a CFO. You should not be managing your own finances as a hotel entrepreneur, but you should know how to do it, so you can be self-sufficient.
In today's interconnected worlds, language skills are increasingly important. Travelers, employees, and even investors come from all over the world. Having a second or third language in your pocket will take you far.
Knowing languages will help you speak to guest from other countries. Cultural competence will help you connect (and, perhaps critically, avoid missteps, such as assigning an employee to work on a day that's a holiday in their culture or faith). International hospitality education programs offer a natural grounding and cultural competence because they draw candidates from all over the world. By studying alongside international students, you will learn so much about the world -- and draw on that knowledge every day as you serve guests in your hotel.
Leadership skills top the list for hotel entrepreneurs, because you will be building a team that looks to you to provide decision-making and inspired leadership. Good leaders cultivate a team, communicate clearly, delegate tasks, and empower their employees to succeed. Good leaders know how to defuse an argument and resolve conflict. They are self-aware and manage their own emotional responses.
Mentorships are among the best ways to cultivate leadership skills, so seek out a program that offers opportunities to intern with top ranking hotels.
While you need to be a leader, don't forget that as a hotel owner you're a member of the team. Maintain a positive, can-do attitude and pitch in when you see something that needs to be done.
Looking over the list of key skills for hotel entrepreneurs, you might be surprised that it's centered around soft skills. That's because at heart hospitality is a people business, and the skills that will take you the furthest are those that deal with managing, motivating, and connecting to people. Hard skills, like finance or marketing, can be learned in classroom education or outsourced to new hires.
By attending a hospitality program tailored to the needs and soft skill development of aspiring hotel entrepreneurs, you can emerge from school with a solid grounding in the skills you will rely on day in and day out as you take your hotel business to new heights.