TOP 10: How to be the best hotel GM

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By Xavier Icardo

Recently, I have been given
the opportunity to experience the “field” side of hotel operations
versus the “corporate” side of things. While I have been in the
hospitality industry for a few years, I had limited property management
experience, besides several training stints, while joining new brands (West
Texas, anyone?) focusing rather on supporting, training and coaching teams of general managers. 

This experience as a hotel general manager, together with
years of collaborative work with great team members, gave me a renewed sense
of perspective on what makes one successful in this very challenging, yet
rewarding position. 

So here are a few relevant
thoughts on that topic:

Remember profitability:
ultimately, the position's ultimate focus should be the profitability of the
operation to ensure the sustainability of the business.

You are nothing without
your team: one needs to surround one self with the right people and while
retention should be the main focus of any manager, turnover is necessary.

Be your own CEVO (Chief
Executive Vision Officer): have a marketing and sales vision for your hotel,
a strategy that can be developed in conjunction with your brand's requirements.
How do you want to be recognized in your market?

Promote a better work
environment for all to enjoy and thrive. Yet, also learn how to say
“no”. Be the positive element in that environment, celebrate small
victories and be the one that ultimately brings it together.

Develop a team member's
succession plan: the future — short term or long term — must be prepared. Be
pro-active and forward thinking.

Mix up your talent pool
with some internal promotions but also “new blood.”

Promote accountability
and performance no matter how challenging your market is in terms of
recruitment. Do not settle for “warm bodies.” Hire the right people
and invest in them.

Communicate with your
guests: don't get stuck in some ivory tower but remain close to the operation
whatever the size of your hotel might be.

Get involved with your
team, be present, active and accessible while promoting empowerment, sense of
pride and ownership.

Make a strong business
case for your needs, when it comes to your relations with owners or management
companies. Nobody wants you to fail.

Any other thoughts? Xavier Icardo is director of operations, Eastern Canada for MasterBUILT Canada and a bilingual operations leader with a consistent track record of improving profit and developing revenue in the hotel industry. He can be reached at: Xicardo@masterbuilthotels.com