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Hiring at your hotel: The six best traits of successful hotel staff  

  Posted in Hotel Management  Last updated 30/11/2023

A positive brand image and reputation is vital for the success of your hotel, and for your personal integrity as a manager and hospitality professional. This means you need staff that can represent your values fully, helping you make a great impression and keep guests coming back again and again.

It’s easier said than done. Hotel employment can be a real thorn in your side, given the specific skill set needed for successful service. The fact that hospitality has a whopping 70% turnover rate, according to the National Restaurant Association (which also looks at accommodation during its reporting), is proof enough of this.

So what’s a human resources manager or owner to do? Simple: Look for the right traits from the outset. While hotel staff positions are often entry-level, and therefore draw in a huge range of candidates, you should hold out only for those that meet your exact qualifications.

Here are six of the most important traits to look for.

1. Hotel staff…that have a guest-first attitude

Sometimes life gets busy. This is true across all industries and business models, but in the hospitality industry especially, where rushes and high seasons can sometimes create a frenetic to-do list.

Despite everything your staff will be required to do on the backend, they still need to respond to guests first. If they can’t set aside their own list in favour of your guests, they won’t be a good fit.

2. Hotel staff…that can tolerate stress

Following the first point, your employees will need patience and resilience in the face of stress. Choosing between two equally important tasks can be difficult, but forward momentum is key. You need employees who take a calm and measured approach, and can be decisive getting tasks done.

Another factor is how they handle feedback from guests. If a guest complains, it’s imperative your staff don’t get into a heated debate with the guest, but do everything they can to defuse any bad experience and provide lasting solutions. In this instance, they may even be able to turn a pending negative review into a positive one by the end of the stay.

3. Hotel staff…that are technically savvy

Digital technology rules the roost in the modern day, and those who are stuck in the past will only drag your business down. Look for candidates who aren’t intimidated by inventory management, property management or point-of-sale systems, who have a way with numbers and are comfortable taking guest’s details and data.

This doesn’t automatically mean they will be of a younger generation. Take the time to understand their credentials, experience, willingness to learn.

4. Hotel staff…that can collaborate well with colleagues

Hospitality is no place for the lone wolf. Working together is paramount to a successful business, helping ensure that your team can rely on one another to meet the needs of other departments – all to the benefit of the guest.

Knowing the right questions to ask during interviews is important to draw out the true character of applicants. You should be able to get an impression of those who are ‘people persons’, and those who are not.

5. Hotel staff…that can keep on top of the rules

The hospitality industry is governed by an array of rules, regulations and laws. New hires can’t be expected to know everything, and obviously training is always required. However, if the candidate doesn’t have a strong general knowledge about these parameters or haven’t done any research, they could get your establishment into major trouble. Be sure to ask at the outset and know if the they are going to take the position seriously.

6. Hotel staff…that have good listening and interpersonal skills

Lastly, when engaged in the hotel hiring process, look for people who can truly listen and absorb instructions and feedback. That means people who don’t talk while you’re talking, who answer questions completely but succinctly, and who truly care what others are saying.

Without these traits, your staff risk offending customers and not getting along with their workmates. With them though, your staff will prove to be kind and responsive, earning you the reputation your hotel deserves.

One caveat: Even knowing you should be looking for these characteristics, it may take you a while to hone in on the right kinds of employees for your hotel business. Give yourself time. Soon enough, you’ll be able to target candidates with the ideal experience, skills and personality, who will stick around to represent your brand for the long haul.

Until then, keep this hotel hiring list near at hand and you’ll do fine.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.


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