Small guide for hotel management


May 6, 2009

Take a hotel from a touristic guide or from the internet. Dial the telephone number, listen to the more or less nice voice of the receptionist, request a piece of information and maybe even book a room. So far, so good. Everything is done by the book, or should I say by the guide? Now for the concrete part of the problem, the ”unexpected” events that take place on the spot: from the prices to the mismatch of the services with the offered promise or to the lack of hospitality shown by the waiters and so on.

In the past years, tourism specialists appreciated that Romania is one of the hotel markets with the highest growth rates in Europe, both in terms of new hotel investments and in terms of average occupancy and average rate obtained – hopes, optimism, resting on their laurels. So far so good.

The problem is, however, that the study relied mainly on business tourism, meetings and corporate events of all kinds which, according to evaluations, were the main point of support of Romanian hospitality. This segment registered significant growth and generated an additional volume of specific, required services – a demand that was immediately absorbed by the inauguration of new hotel capacities in the country. But times have changed and business has stagnated, the market is blocked and the money for hotel business ”entertainment” has been reduced.

Logically, we ask ourselves what happens to the expected profit that only comes from business tourism now, when the part of the marketing budgets allocated for various conferences, team buildings and business meetings is invested in other activities or it is not invested at all. The time has come for hotel managers to come out of their comfortable offices and their fancy websites that present a brilliant offer. They now have to face the reality of Romanian hospitality. Where are the ordinary tourists, those who ensured an average level of security for the hotel’s income ?! They were neglected and they were received with a lack of interest if by chance they booked a reservation at the same time with tourists from the business area who were welcomed with open arms.

A hotel, as a service provider, must attract the tourists’ interest by offering complex and satisfactory services, in line with the promises made and the prices requested. Going beyond the discussions about the staff’s competence, let’s deal with the money’s share, without throwing the responsibility on the people that do not have that much decisional power. The management team, those who have the decision-making capacity should change their comfortable vision according to which things go by themselves, and the money comes from the companies that call their hotel to ask them to prepare a meeting for them. The passivity in the way they approach their business must be replaced by implementing a mix that takes into account the services offered and the prices together with branding and repositioning strategies, which would ensure the traffic of a more diverse clientele and which would generate constant and satisfactory occupancy rates.

The same thing happened in both the hospitality industry and in the construction industry. It was important to have a plot of land, to build quickly and then, by taking advantage of the fake El Dorado, to wait for business tourists to bring you money quickly. We need managers to awaken and become aware of the reality that they live in – the ones who believe that these aspects can be overlooked because things happen by themselves. Let’s get back on our feet: the hotel industry lives on tourism in general, not just business tourism.