By Manoj Verghese | August 11th, 2016 The Hotel Checklist You Need To Gain the Edge in Brand Standards Industry Trends | Hospitality & Leisure | Quality Reading Time: 4 minutes Hospitality is seeing drastic changes in the market thanks to companies like Airbnb developing the sharing economy. The quick surge in this market is only strengthened by their ability to scale quickly. Airbnb uses spaces that already exist but are under-utilized. They’re able to increase the supply of their rooms with little overhead and a quick turnaround time. How does a hotel checklist help solve this problem? Hotels are keeping their competitive edge with one of the strongest tools they have: guest services. What this really means is sticking to brand management standards. Staying in a stranger’s home through Airbnb offers something new and exciting (fancy staying in an adult-sized treehouse?). However, smart brand managers are re-focusing on the importance of brand standards in the form of a hotel checklist. A hotel checklist ensures guests have a delightful experience every time in every location. Airbnb has little overhead cost because they don’t rely on trained hotel staff or establishing brand standards. This is where strong brand management can be the differentiator for hotels. Here are the key areas to measure in your brand management guidelines. The following hotel checklist is a mix from some of the industry leaders in luxury hotel brands. Creating and maintaining checklists all the way from the first guest touch (reservations) through to amenities and checkout procedures will keep your hotel running smoothly and guests racking up the repeat visits. Hotel Checklist for Employee Interactions This is likely the most important aspect of your hotel’s brand and how it is communicated to customers. Five-star hotels put painstaking care and effort into recruiting, training and retaining outstanding service professionals. this is where all that care is best reflected. Employee interactions with guests can be anything from the reservation service call, to arrival greeting, departure service, and specific guest requests. Observe interaction specifics like does the staff member: Avoid the use of slang and maintain clear articulation? Exhibit a genuine sense of interest and concern with the guest? Capably answer questions about the entire hotel or if unable to, request assistance from another team member? Effectively but discreetly use the guest’s name as a signal of recognition? Personalize the interaction as much as possible? Provide thoughtful and intuitive suggestions that anticipate the guest’s needs? Maintain proper uniform, posture, and a gracious tone throughout interactions? The above questions are some general guidelines. However, truly world-class hotel brands break these questions down further into hotel inspection checklists that cover each interaction a guest might have with hotel staff. This might mean baggage handling, transportation, activity scheduling, etc. Amenities Amenities vary by hotel chain and hotel location, but these can include departments such as a fitness center, pool or beach area, spa, etc. Be sure to track: Cleanliness and working order of equipment provided Overall appearance of fitness room/pool/beach/spa Availability of current reading material that will appeal to a variety of interests Operable TV sets if applicable Presence of bottled water/fresh fruit/towels/sun products Discrete disposal/storage of towels, cups, bottled water, etc. Again, you can break down the amenities offers by very specific services your hotel provides, right down to the poolside drink service, sun umbrellas or requisite and ever-present cucumber water in spas. Housekeeping Break down housekeeping duties by traditional daily housekeeping, turndown services, any deep-cleaning services your hotel provides, and specific guest rooms that may have extra amenities. A hotel checklist provides a way to track housekeeping standards. Monitor aspects of housekeeping such as: Removal of debris in all areas of the room Cleaning of all bathroom and bedroom fixtures Replacement of bathroom/bedroom linens and bathroom toiletries/cosmetics Addition of complementary food, ice, beverages, minibar, etc. For specific services like a turndown service or guest rooms, be sure to be as specific as possible. The idea is for staff to have a quick housekeeping checklist reference. It should include everything required to make the room inviting and comfortable for guests. Housekeeping checklists ensure that nothing gets missed and are an easy reminder to keep constant attention on brand standards. Dining Facilities Many luxury hotels are known just as much for their accommodations as they are for their 5-star dining. That makes the execution of a fine dining experience very important to your hotel’s success. Here are some suggested questions to help get you started thinking about your own hotel’s dining, bar, and lounge standards: If there is a wait for a table, a table is honored within five minutes of the time quoted Is a comfortable waiting area available for guests? Does a guest have to repeat a request? Is the staff wearing professional, clean and well-fitted uniforms? Is the staff discreet but attentive without hovering or appearing to rush the guest? Can the server helpfully discuss details of the menu? Is the pace of the serving of the meal consistent? Does the menu offer items that are nutritionally diverse for allergies, food restrictions, etc? Are portions generous and appropriate? Are dishes removed quickly and conveniently? Is the bill accurate? Dining environment comfortable and is the temperature appropriate? A Hotel Checklist for Each Area of a Hotel The questions above can spark ideas for brand managers to form a complete hotel checklist for each part of a guest’s experience. Of course, hotels have individual experiences so the idea of any hotel checklist is to make it specific to your needs. These small parts of a guest’s experience add up to the overall perception of the hotel and service. Attention to detail is the best way to make a guest feel that they are receiving a personal welcome. Also, it’s the main tool that hotels can use to set themselves apart from the Airbnb experience. What many guests want is to escape their everyday lives and have a welcoming hotel experience. The best hotels anticipate their guests’ needs and pamper them. Airbnb cannot provide that experience. The checklist items listed above can help form the details that add up to that welcoming and pampering experience that hotel guests crave. See how world-class hotel chain, Waldorf Astoria, maintains consistently high brand standards in their Boca Raton Resort using hotel inspections in the video: Related Posts A Checklist for a Checklist Tweetable Facts About Hospitality Brand Standards Using Checklists For Your Hotel's Customer Service Editor's Pick: ISO 9001:2008 Checklist Checklist Manifesto Book Review Important Notice The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your specific needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are based on our interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. We are not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article. 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