I think I have a goldfish

It’s just occurred to me that taking on a new hotel, full of employees that I didn’t hire, is a little like being given a bowl full of goldfish. Whilst they all look good from the outside, and some of them will flourish and do great things, there are some that ultimately are going to get flushed.

I’m getting close to flushing one now.

This fish has had an easy run without anyone checking their work for a long time. They are in a supervisory role, and think that it is beneath them to do the same work as their team. How dare they have to get in and actually DO the work. I changed things up at work to put them out with the rest of the team, telling them that they can’t understand what is going on in their department unless they get involved.

It didn’t go down very well.

I am a firm believer in people in supervisory or management positions getting in and DOING rather than just TELLING. As a GM, it would be very easy for me to say that I’m too busy, and just hide in my office all day. But I don’t – because I believe in what I say. I get out at lunch service in the restaurant and help clear tables, pour beers and wipe tables. I get into the hotel laundry and fold sheets and towels. I help on the reception desk. Hey, I even helped chef in the kitchen the other day. This is because I genuinely believe the only way to see how a department is really operating is to get involved in it, immerse yourself in the environment, and do the job. Not only does it help your understanding, but it let’s the team know you are in it with them, and willing to work.

So what do I do about my fish? Do I flush it?

No. I bring in a cat.

The fish decided to step down from a supervisory role. Fine. I’ll hire a cat who is not afraid of hard work, and who shares my approach and work ethic. And if the fish is eaten – so be it.

Maybe hotels is wrong for me – maybe I need to be running a pet shop.

Can someone wash the dishes?

My dishwasher broke down.

More specifically, it flooded my restaurant kitchen. Great start to the day. The maintenance guy couldn’t fix it, I certainly couldn’t fix it and no one in town specializes in that make and model of dishwasher.

Or do they….

I was in the middle of processing payroll with my new bookkeeper (on a side note, a good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold. I got lucky with this one – she’s fantastic. But that’s a story for another day) My maintenance guy told me that he “had no idea, it’s stuffed”. Suddenly my bookkeeper pipes up. “What brand is it?” I told her and without another word, she disappeared into the kitchen and came back with the make and model written down. She jumped on the phone and called her now-retired husband, who just happened to have spent his life fixing this type of dishwasher.

In he came, and within 30 minutes, he had identified the problem, and resolved it. Didn’t want any payment for his time or effort, said it was just “part of the service”. Not sure what that means, but hey, my dishwasher now works.

I insisted that he let me buy them dinner on a night of their choosing in our restaurant as a thank you if he wouldn’t accept payment. That was agreed to, and now we’re set for dinner service tonight.

Disaster averted, and I’ve got a very useful contact moving forward.

Back with a vengence – and a new hotel

Wow. I didn’t quite realize how long I’d been away. Where have I been you might ask? Finalising the purchase and setting up of a hotel would be my answer.

The company I work for has just bought a hotel. I have been put in as GM of this property to set it up the way we want it, bring it up to standard, provide some fantastic service, get some great reviews – and make a little bit of a profit if we can elbow that in amongst everything else. How has it ben going?

As well as you might expect.

Don’t get me wrong – the hotel is great. There is a solid F&B outlet, some nice rooms and a good mix of local and FIT business frequenting the place. As a guest, you wouldn’t know there were any issues. It’s the back of house scenario that is the problem. You see, there is absolutely no systems in place. The reports don’t balance (not even to themselves). The staff are ok, but need some polish. The product is good, but could be improved. At first, I thought it would be like setting up a new-build. But it turns out it’s harder than a fresh opening, because there are a lot of bad habits to break, systems to be put in place – all while operating and ensuring our guests don’t see any problems.

But – I’m into it now, and on track. I’ll be back to regular blog postings, and looking forward to sharing my thoughts as I navigate this new challenge ahead of me.

Lights, Camera – you clearly have a script

OK, so I know I’ve ranted on and on about inadequate customer service, but I had to share this with you.

As I may have mentioned previously, the company I work for is in the process of purchasing a new hotel, and I’m working on the transition with a small team. I received a call on Friday at around 18:00, from the phone company. Apparently they had the existing owner on the phone, and he was trying to transfer the phone account to us. Continue reading

Lost property is a Buzz!

It’s amazing what people will leave behind in a hotel.

I know that whenever I leave a hotel room, I do a thorough check to make sure I haven’t left anything behind. Apparently, not everyone does this.

I have found all manner of things in hotels. Everything from Drugs, to weapons, to clothing, to adult toys. And as mature as we all pretend to be, we all giggle when we find an adult toy left in a hotel room. Continue reading