6 ways limited-service hotels can improve operations, increase ratings

Maintaining high review scores is integral to your hotel's success, regardless of chain scale. Photo credit: Getty Images/marchmeena29

With the current economy strong and travel increasing, there are more hotel options than ever before. To be competitive, it is crucial that your property is ranked above your competition and operating smoothly. Limited service hotels are typically smaller than most full service properties, and therefore have fewer managers and supervisors. With a reduced management team, it is even more important that certain steps are taken to enhance operations and capture excellent ratings from your guests.

Here are six tips to help limited-service hotels to earn high ratings: 

1. Great Reviews

The best way to improve your property's rating is to receive five-star reviews on popular websites. One of the easiest ways to obtain these reviews is to ask your repeat customers to write a glowing recommendation and tell how they were happy and impressed with your property and service. Most hotels have regular guests that visit weekly or monthly. They can even use the hotel's business center computer to write the review right then.

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Bonus tip: Bookmark your hotel's TripAdvisor page to save it for easy access! Since TripAdvisor is one of the most trusted sources for travel planning, guests should be directed to write reviews on that site.

2. Quality Training

Spend extra time training new Front Desk agents. Make sure they really understand the Property Management System as well as your hotel’s policies and procedures. An extra week or two of training will be an additional up front labor cost. But, it will be worth it to have new agents ready to work independently and not make mistakes due to lack of training that could lose revenue or customers.  

3. Professional Appearance

Your staff is the face of the operation and gives the first impression of your hotel. All employees should wear a professional name tag and uniform. The uniform does not have to be very fancy or expensive. Khakis or dark pants with a solid collared shirt will be fine as long as it is consistent with all staff. Staff with a clean and well groomed appearance are as important as clean lobbies and rooms. No jeans, no tattered clothing, keep tattoos covered, and no sunglasses or extreme hair styles.

4. Cleanliness

For all housekeeping room attendants, don’t just let them know your expectations—show them! As an owner or manager, demonstrate what is acceptable cleanliness and what is not. Setting a good example is critical. A concern for cleanliness starts from the top. Whether you operate a luxury or economy hotel, the rooms should be exceptionally clean.    

5. Franchise Contacts

It may be frustrating when trying to get assistance from the brand (franchisor) regarding questions or issues with guests, tech support, operations support, loyalty program or anything else. It is always smart to build a relationship with a supervisor or manager in each of these departments to get things done quickly and correctly the next time you need assistance. Having these close contacts will pay off when you might not expect it and could turn a big problem into an easy solution. Knowing the right people at the right time can make these situations much easier. 

6. Security

Since most limited service hotels do not have on-site security guards, it is important to be acquainted with your local police department. In order to gain extra surveillance, invite them to enjoy a cup of coffee in the evenings or even grab breakfast when they are patrolling the area in the mornings. It never hurts to have extra police presence around the hotel and parking lot.
 
Your limited service hotel might not have the most trendy design, high-end furniture, or over the top finishes. However, offering a clean, friendly, and professional environment can easily improve your customer ratings and raise you above the competition. Higher customer satisfaction ratings will lead to increased occupancy and revenue, which is the goal of all owners and managers.
 
Alex Kramer is president of Elite Hotel Group, a Management & Consulting company helping limited service hotels. He can be contacted at [email protected].