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Hotel productivity: How to improve efficiency in hotels

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 3/06/2024

What is hotel productivity? 

Hotel productivity is a measure of how much a hotel does (in terms of selling rooms, products and services) with the resources it has (such as money, labour and materials). The ultimate goal is to simply do more with less.

Maximising productivity is something all businesses strive for. Measuring it and finding ways to improve it, however, isn’t always a simple task, depending on the industry.

In hospitality there are many variables to track, many theories for improvement, and many ways to measure results. So it’s a difficult task for hospitality businesses, hotels in particular, to tackle with any degree of confidence.

In this blog, we’ll discuss exactly how you might increase your hotel’s efficiency and productivity, and offer up some hotel productivity formulas that can get you heading in the right direction.

Table of contents

Why is hotel productivity important?

Hotel productivity is a critical measure of the success of a hotel business. By increasing your output, you increase your ability to make money. And by working to be more efficient, you can lower costs at the same time.

The meaning of productivity changes across different areas of a hotel business. For the sales department, it will be the number of rooms booked. 

For housekeeping, it might be the number of rooms cleaned. For the on-site restaurant or bar, the number of meals or drinks served. In each of these cases, maximising productivity is a critical part of ensuring your hotel is as successful and profitable as it can be.

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How to measure hotel productivity

In simple terms, productivity is measured by how many outputs are generated from how many inputs. So productivity can be increased in a number of ways such as:

  • Maintaining input but increasing output
  • Increasing input and increasing output
  • Decreasing input but increasing output

The challenge in the hospitality industry is deciding how to define outputs. 

What’s the best value to accurately gauge how productive a business is? It could be a number of customers, average spend per conversion, how much return business is gained, customer satisfaction, etc.

Factors that can cause low productivity in hotel industry

Hospitality is an industry that’s built on people-to-people interaction, and it also involves a huge variety of tasks and skills within one business, especially in hotels. 

Understanding what needs to change is one thing, and predicting how customers might react to certain changes is another. Reducing authenticity in such a service-based industry could be dire.

With this in mind, factors that can negatively impact hotel productivity include:

  • Rising labour costs: It’s always been true that if you want the best, you have to pay for the best. But economic pressures like inflation can see you paying more for the same labour, with a predictable impact on your productivity.
  • Recruitment difficulties: Hospitality and tourism has one of the highest levels of skills gaps of any sector. Around 18% of hospitality and tourism businesses reported their staff lacked the necessary skills to meet their business needs, either because they hadn’t completed adequate training or were new in their position. The seasonal nature of the industry is a big factor here. Currently, 35% of the hospitality and tourism workforce is under 25, while 16% are full-time students.
  • Changing employee attitudes: All modern workers will naturally compare their work situation to that of other workers, and that can sometimes lead them to feel overworked and/or undervalued, which can result in a hit to your hotel’s productivity.

Stressful work with low levels of flexibility and autonomy is a critical factor leading to hundreds of thousands of workers dropping out of employment every year.

Figures suggest that 37% of workers were stressed always or often in 2012, compared to 28% in 1989. On top of this 51% of hospitality businesses make use of zero-hour contracts, meaning the employer is not obliged to provide a guaranteed minimum number of working hours for the employee.

If a hotel is to become more productive, it must first recognise the importance of good recruiting and training, and of treating and paying workers well.

Image representing Hotel Productivity

How to improve productivity in the hotel industry

The ultimate goal of every hotel business is to produce more and consume less by optimising time and budget to achieve a greater level of efficiency.

Here are five quick tips to help tackle productivity at your hotel:

1. Have a clear goal to work towards

From the simplest to the most complex tasks, make sure you have set goals with realistic deadlines for each of them. This will enable you to put every action and decision into perspective, focusing on the final objective.

From something as minor as the two hours needed to produce a report to five weeks needed to produce an event, organise your agenda and create a workflow to complete all your short, medium and long-term goals.

2. Prioritise your tasks carefully

If you are overwhelmed by your daily workload and under the impression that your plate is too full, a helpful technique to relieve the tension is to work on your prioritisation.

You need to understand what strategies will work best for you and what exactly it means for you to be productive.

Should you think more about converting guests to upgrades and promotions? Do you want to create a legacy of return business and stellar customer satisfaction? Or are you more focused on staff being as efficient and skilful as possible?

Figure out where your greatest benefit is coming from and conversely where you seem to be lagging, and make plans around how to make the most of each.

The first step to successfully scheduling your day is to understand at what times you perform certain tasks better.

For example, you may be particularly creative early in the morning. Knowing this will allow you to optimise your time. In this case, you may not want to spend your creative time answering emails when you could focus on creating content for your website.

When organising your day, understand that not everything is urgent. Focus on your predetermined goals and analyse which tasks are critical to achieve them. Some are important but not critical, and some may be optional on a given day – focus on what is necessary.

3. Use technology

Technology is, arguably, always the way forward. While there are debates around how much technology and automation is a good thing within places like hotels, it’s important to look at it from multiple perspectives. 

Think carefully about what technology may suit your hotel and where it can be best employed.

Clear examples of where it might increase your productivity is using a property management system, channel manager, or point-of-sale system to reduce the amount of man hours you have to spend on overseeing these processes manually.

This doesn’t have to affect the amount of staff you hire, instead it might mean you can distribute more of their time on the guests themselves. For customer-obsessed businesses like hotels, this is ideal.

4 Learn how to say “no”

Overbooking is a dreaded word in the hospitality industry and should also be feared when it comes to time management – don’t overbook your daily schedule!

Even though you may believe you can focus on multiple activities at the same time, the human brain was not designed to multitask efficiently, and you are simply shifting your focus rapidly without much result.

Dividing attention among different activities increases the time to complete each task and predisposition to errors.

Multitasking can ultimately be a setback on your productivity and efficiency levels, try to focus on one thing at a time.

5. Eliminate distractions

We live in a world surrounded by distractions competing for our attention. 

To work more efficiently and deliver greater results, make sure you remove every possible procrastination trigger, such as social media, news websites, phones, and other outside interruptions.

How many times have you been working productively and were interrupted by an email that took your attention away?

Instead of reactively responding to emails, try to allocate time in your day to your inbox management. If you are not able to totally disconnect from your email, check if your email system allows you to use the snooze option for a short period.

6. Restructure your work

Sometimes all it takes to increase productivity at your hotel is a simple restructuring of the way you work. This might mean looking at staff scheduling to make sure there is sufficient staff to meet demand.

This is equally relevant to ensuring there are enough staff to deliver customer satisfaction as it is to reduce costs by not having too many staff on duty.

Of course, any changes you make need to be rolled out easily, quickly, and at low cost, or at least be cost-effective in the long-run. A vital fact to realise is that these days there is technology created in every segment, specifically designed to make things easier; scary as it may seem at first.

7. Give yourself a well-deserved break

Think of your brain as a muscle that you spend hours exercising. For athletes, training sessions are as important as the resting periods – in fact it is during these periods that the body and muscles recover, adapting to embrace the next challenge. The same applies to the brain.

Breaks from work are fundamental to keep you safe from fatigue. A strategic five-minute break will boost your productivity and help you to deal with creativity blockages.

Remember, breaks do not need to take long, but they must give you reprieve from what you were focusing on, so consider taking breaks away from your desk.

It is easy to fall into the habit of working more and more, harder and harder. Review your approach so you can work more efficiently by working smarter, using your own energy and abilities to your advantage.

Share these tips with your team and thrive together.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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