According to PCS Group Knowing Your Market Is The First Step To Running A Successful Hospitality Business

Say the words ‘Gordon Ramsay’ to anyone within the hospitality sector and they strike fear into even the most buoyant businesses. Mr Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares sees him bark, curse and boss struggling businesses back to life in just one week, whereas Scottish based PCS Group are on hand year round to aid ailing companies in the hospitality industry.

Derek Thomson, of PCS Group, says, “Our business consultants are experts in their field and offer advice combined with hands on support. They work with ailing businesses to identify problem areas and suggest solutions to overcome these. Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ shows what experience and a fresh pair of eyes can do, sometimes managing to turn businesses round in one week, but it also shows a quick fix can sometimes just not be an option. You need to get to the heart of the issues, not just looking at what is happening inside the business but also at the market it is operating in.”

Derek advises on how to avoid common pitfalls that can occur within the hospitality industry:

Know your market

One of the most common problems is not knowing what your customers want. Some hoteliers make the mistake of assuming that they are providing all of the things that their guests want, but this is often not the case. The needs and wants of your market will dictate everything that you do, from the food served in the restaurant to the hotel pricing structure. To give your customers what they want it is important to listen to them. Making time to talk to your guests will give an insight into what your guests are thinking and flag up any areas for improvement. Listening to your customers helps ensure that they are satisfied but it won’t make a difference if you don’t take action on what they say. For the feedback to have real value, it is important that hoteliers act on it and rectify any problems.

Lack of commitment from staff

Your staff are the ‘face’ of the organisation and are a guests first experience of the hotel. Being greeted by a discourteous concierge or unhelpful reception staff instantly leaves the business playing catch up throughout the rest of the guests stay. It is imperative that all levels of staff in each department are giving guests the same high quality service from check in through to departure.

Get the right team

Teamwork is very important in the hospitality business, employees need to work together to ensure that guests’ needs and requirements are fulfilled; getting a group of employees who work well together as a team is key to running a successful and efficient business.

If a member of the team leaves it is important not to rush the recruitment process and employ someone quickly to bridge the gap. Hoteliers need to be patient and wait for the right person who has all of the required experience and skills and will fit in well with the existing team. It is important during the recruitment process to ensure candidates are team players while also able to work to their own initiative. Non-team players can have a detrimental effect on the organisation.

Staffing levels

People who are paying for a service do not like to be left waiting; if the hotel is understaffed during typically busy times, guests are not going to be impressed. However, having too many staff on during quieter times does not look good either.

Good managers will have an excellent understanding of their local market and the season trends; adapting their business to reflect what is going on in the environment around them. If there is a large event happening in the area that will impact on the flow of business, they will have the right amount of staff to cope if things get busy. Knowing what is happening in the local market will ensure that hoteliers don’t get caught on the hop.

Training

The management team are the most experienced people working in the business and the junior employees can learn from them, but if they are not passing on their knowledge or providing training they are not doing their job properly. Procedures should be put in place to ensure that staff are given adequate training sessions with management to ensure employees are given sufficient time with them to address any issues or skills gaps they have.

Open communication between junior employees and management is also vital. Front line staff are the people who have the most contact with guests and are aware of any issues they have. If staff find management unapproachable or unwilling to listen, the management team will be unaware of any areas that require attention. Management should always be approachable and should adopt an ‘open door policy’ towards their staff; Ensuring the team is happy helps lead to guest satisfaction and is one of the key responsibilities of management and will help to resolve any potential problems. It is important that staff feel they are a significant and valued part of the company as this can help with staff retention and job satisfaction.

Quality of produce

Your customers want quality food and they are often willing to pay a little extra to get it, if you get it right. It’s undisputed that price can be a factor in getting consumers through the door, but the quality of the food you serve is what will get you repeat custom. If you are offering a poor quality product then its irrelevant how cheap you sell it, your customers will ultimately spend elsewhere. If you are buying your produce from local suppliers then tell your guests where the food is sourced from. People like to support local businesses and if they know you are supporting local suppliers it will encourage more support for you in return. Local produce tells your customers your food is fresh, high quality and true value for money.

Discount deals

During quieter periods it is common for hoteliers to try to boost business by running last minute deals. If these are created without much thought or organisation the results can be detrimental to the business. Discount offers can attract a high turnover of customers, many of whom may not have visited the hotel or business before; therefore it is important the business is shown in the best light. However, if the promotion has been rushed and not executed properly the hotel can be left with lots of unhappy customers. If the deal can only be organised at the last minute, it is best not done at all.

Derek continues, “Many hoteliers have worked long and hard to build their business and we want to ensure that it continues to flourish, identifying the problems can take time but it is worth it to ensure that all avenues are explored and resolved. The result is a better, more efficient business.”

PCS Group Consultancy, part of the PCS Group, provides consultancy and crisis management services to the hospitality, commercial and healthcare sectors. Experienced industry professionals work with ailing business and provide information and advice as and when necessary. This trouble shooting service helps businesses to overcome compliance and regulatory issues as well as encompassing a host of other business issues including staffing, marketing and business development. For more information visit www.pcsgroup-uk.com or call 01330 826508.

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