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The hospitality industry is one of the world’s longest established industries, and also one of the most ever-changing. The need to be cutting edge – but also comforting and consistent – proves to be a constant challenge. As a General Manager, the friction between managing your hotel on a daily basis and staying on top of industry trends can be a true balancing act.

Read on to discover the top ten major challenges facing General Managers in hospitality. In order to effectively navigate the challenges, it’s best to be aware of them and address them head-on. By doing so, you will ensure that your hotel stays ahead of the curve and at the top of the industry.

Common Management Issues in the Hospitality Industry

The primary hospitality challenges have to do with the rapid advancements in technology over the last several decades. Falling behind the innovation curve can seriously challenge your business, and the problem becomes exponentially worse the longer you wait and watch the trends take shape around you while taking no action to implement them. That is why we have laid out these hotel industry problems and solutions to help you evaluate, catch up, and even surpass your competition.

1. Continued Technological Changes

Today, most hotel guests are tech-savvy, which makes keeping pace with technological trends one of the most significant hospitality challenges. Remember that your guests expect technology to be integrated into their hotel experience at even the most basic of levels, and keeping up with customer expectations is an important part of providing the best customer experience. They expect to find USB ports in their rooms, anticipate smart televisions, and demand free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Making the active decision not to provide any one of these things is majorly influential to your continued booking or and customer loyalty, likely in a negative way.

2. Reputation Management

Very little information is spread purely by word of mouth anymore. Someone might relay a positive experience with your hotel to a friend, but if that friend goes online and reads a contrasting review that invalidates those positive words, a potential new customer is lost. Reputation management in the tech world has reached utmost importance.

If your business is getting negative reviews, consider what people are saying and reflect. Perhaps there is merit and room for growth in what the reviews share. After determining the best way to overcome any issues that are detailed, consider responding to these reviews with your solutions to best move forward. Over time, the experience should become a 5-star one, encouraging the 81% of travelers that read reviews before booking a hotel to visit yours.

3. Personalizing the Guest Experience

As B&Bs lose some popularity because of emerging companies like AirBnB, personalizing the guest experience to keep them coming back is more important than ever. Continued booking is another significant management issue in the hospitality industry. Making people feel welcome and acknowledged helps to foster the perspective of loyalty in their minds. As long as they enjoy the rest of the experience, making them feel recognized is a great way to encourage return customers.

4. Changing Expectations of Guests

The constantly changing expectations of guests and visitors are one of the biggest management issues in the tourism industry overall, and not just isolated to hospitality. Guests no longer want the perception of decadence or experience. They are looking for someone to “wow” them, someone to bring them a piece of joy. They want to be considered beyond working hours and have profile data like customer behavior taken into account to provide the most personalized experience possible. In other words, your experience needs to be a memorable one to make people interested in coming back.

This means that even in a straightforward hotel business situation, you need to find your hook. To get that, think about your target audience. Do you try to attract singles, families, or a broad mixture of travelers? With your target audience locked in, think of an idea that delivers an excellent first impression so the wow factor starts at the very beginning of their interaction with you. A strong campaign of this unique selling point will get people excited and help maintain that pulse of excitement throughout their entire stay.

5. Security Challenges

Security isn’t a challenge unique to the hospitality industry. It is also a challenge that applies to any industry that uses online resources. With new realms of booking and hotel management come new ways to be taken advantage of. Ensure that every time you put up a listing on your website, you check its security requirements. It is also important that any time you use an app you check the security as well. If you decide to build your own app, hire a reliable company to double-check security.

You are only as strong as your weakest link in the security network, and one false move can end up compromising your entire business. So be thorough as you establish yourself online, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Keep in mind that security is ever-changing as technology continues to innovate and shift. Keeping things secure isn’t only a one-time job. It is important to invest in your infrastructure early and often. 

6. Booking Challenges

One of the primary managerial issues facing the hospitality industry is the amount of paperwork that needs to be digitized. The rapid changes in the realm of booking can be hard to keep up with, but the digitization process is an essential factor when it comes to keeping your booking numbers high. 

The saying “there’s an app for that” is popular for a reason. If you don’t already have a booking app for your hotel chain, you should. If you are just getting into the world of technology, try working with online booking systems, such as Booking.com. Secure a listing here and on other popular booking sites to establish yourself in the technological scene.

7. Hiring and Retaining Staff

One of the most common issues for General Managers is finding and keeping staff members that are a good fit for both the company and the current staff. This is an issue that extends beyond hospitality and tourism but is especially important when hiring for roles that work with the public – especially when it comes to providing an exceptional experience for guests. Hospitality and tourism require the highest quality staff members at all levels, whether it be front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, tour guides, waitstaff, or even in the kitchen. Staff members must have not only certain skills, but also need to possess certain qualities like integrity, compassion, and empathy in order to provide guests with the best possible service.

Training new hires on a regular basis is essential to ensure all new staff members are aligned with the vision and mission of your hospitality business. Retaining those staff members who go above and beyond for guests requires General Managers to cultivate a strong team culture for staff. This will help make them feel like they are more than part of the team, but part of the hospitality family.

8. Changes in Marketing Trends

Advances in technology have created significant changes in the way the hospitality industry approaches advertising and marketing. What worked well 10 years ago is not as effective today, so it is more important than ever for General Managers to stay current on marketing and advertising trends like social media, messaging apps, online booking platforms, and display advertising.

Keeping websites up to date, staying active on social media platforms, actively replying to online reviews, and creating strong advertising campaigns are essential to the success of marketing in hospitality. General Managers can work closely with either an internal marketing team or a marketing agency to ensure their brand voice and mission are being accurately communicated and represented across all social platforms. Consistency, accuracy, and responsiveness are key when it comes to marketing.

9. Housekeeping Challenges

Keeping rooms clean and sanitary has always been important in hospitality. When facing challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure rooms and public spaces are sanitized is more important than ever. An untidy room has always been a common guest complaint, but that complaint could turn into a much bigger problem during a global health crisis.

Highlighting housekeeping and sanitizing measures on social media and on your website is an effective way to gain the trust of your guests. Be transparent and upfront about the measures you are taking to keep guests safe and explain the steps you are taking to clean and sanitize rooms and public spaces.

10. Seasonality of Hospitality

The last of our hospitality challenges is dealing with the seasonality of the hospitality and tourism industry. Peak seasons in your area bring booming business, but they also cause more stress. During these seasons, it is good practice to put in extra stress management measures and care for your staff so that they continue to provide the best possible experience for a high volume of guests. During the off-peak season, take advantage of extra time by harnessing your team’s talents to advance your social media platforms, bring your website up to speed, check over security measures, host staff training, and keep up with the ever-innovating world around you.

Face Managerial Issues Head-On With Powerful Strategies

When General Managers in hospitality are faced with challenges, taking the proper steps to overcome them demonstrates resilience, strength, and competence in your position. Issues in hospitality management can be easily overcome by having a solid strategy in place.

By following these suggestions, General Managers can overcome the most pressing challenges in the hospitality industry while demonstrating incredible leadership skills, continuing to delight guests, and keeping staff happy and aligned with the vision and goals of your business.

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