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7 Important Business Lessons From The Hotel Industry

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Working in hospitality comes with its own set of challenges and issues.

Plus, there are many unique problems to working in a hotel, hostel, motel, etc., which you can’t really find anywhere else. However, as different as this particular industry can be, other businesses can still extract valuable lessons from it.

This article will cover some of the most important hotel-related points that entrepreneurs can use when running their own businesses.

Keep in mind, the list can apply to quite literally any enterprise, from retail to construction. Furthermore, this article will only contain the most basic lessons.

7 Business Lessons From The Hotel Industry

Once you’ve learned these seven lessons, we highly encourage all of our readers to explore the hotel industry more and try to apply as many good business tactics from it as possible.

Lesson #1: Hire the Right People

It sounds simple enough, but it’s anything but — if you want your business to succeed, hire the people who are best suited for it. And indeed, it not only sounds simple but downright redundant. Of course, you’re going to hire the best professionals to do the job, right?

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. You can hire a professional who has the right academic background or employment history, but ask yourself this:

  • Are they genuinely passionate about what they do?
  • Do they plan on honestly giving their 100% simply because they love doing their job?

WETCO Approach

To learn more about how to adequately assess an applicant’s suitability for a role, we look back to 2014. Customer service expert Micah Solomon wrote an article about his own approach to hiring the best people for the hotel industry, and he called it the WETCO approach, an acronym that stands for the following:

  • Warmth (simple, old-fashioned kindness towards customers)
  • Empathy(sensing what the other person feels, both positive and negative)
  • Teamwork (self-explanatory)
  • Conscientiousness(ability to follow through with an order or a promise to customers)
  • Optimism (ability to shake off bad experiences and bounce back fresh)

Each of these points works wonders in the industry, but you can easily apply it anywhere else. You might consider WETCO as an extension to soft skills like leadership, adaptability, and communication.

Lesson #2: Safety First

An establishment simply cannot run if it isn’t safe. Proper hotel security procedures are a must, even with spots that rank 2 stars and below. After all, you want your guests to feel safe. They are spending the night in your hotel, so if they lose their valuables or get hurt in the process, your enterprise will suffer in more ways than one.

Some of the best-rated hotels ever invest millions of dollars in state-of-the-art security systems. Furthermore, they make sure that each and every guest feels comfortable and secure in their rooms. And while many other companies don’t have that big of a safety risk, it’s still a good idea to keep your eye on things.

Lesson #3: Think Both Globally and Locally

You might have heard of the term Glocalization. Yes, it does indeed sound a little too corporate and artificial, but it’s an essential part of hundreds of thousands of businesses out there.


For instance, you should provide a cosmopolitan feel with your room selection, catering choices, and even amenities if you own a hotel. Your guest from Canada will not feel at home to the same extent as your guest from Cambodia might or from Cameroon.

So, for the sake of attracting more outside guests, globalize your brand a bit by following the latest trends.

However, never, under any circumstance, forget your local customers or your local customs.

A small, local economy is what will maintain your enterprise on a day-to-day basis. So, always provide that local touch, even with your more globalized choices.

Lesson #4: Communication is Key

Can you imagine how running a hotel with poor communication flow between staff and also with management?

Proper communication can make or break a business. In fact, an entrepreneur can grow and expand their brand tenfold simply by having above-average communication skills.

Business owners should make sure to maintain the following communication is forth fold, i.e. there is adequate information flowing across various channels between:

  • management and employees
  • management and consumers
  • employees and employees
  • employees and consumers

Lesson #5: Stay Observant

Two hotels might both offer a massage parlor and a spa. However, real flowers and potted plants will draw more guests in than plastic flowers. It’s a small detail, but it can definitely affect how successful you are.

Entrepreneurs who pay attention to the little things know that the extra effort can pay off. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be a material thing.

A small gesture like remembering the customer’s name (or nickname) will show them just how invested you are in providing them with a great service. And indeed, it’s the little things that customers remember most that play perfectly into our next section.

Lesson #6: User Reviews

Never be afraid to read user reviews, both online and in print. A negative review might hurt, but it will provide valuable info about upgrading your service.

What’s more, you can respond to the negative review positively and thank the person for letting you know what to change. This tactic is incredibly effective, as it shows the disgruntled customer that you are willing to take their advice and change. Hotel owners do it all the time, and some of the best owners have very few negative reviews to go through.

Lesson #7: Innovate

A typical hotel will offer expected services, such as food, lodging, A/C, Wi-Fi, room service, etc.

However, hotel owners tend to provide their customers with innovative, new services to stay ahead of the game. That’s why hotels started hosting spas, gyms, restaurants, and so on. Moreover, lots of these establishments have deals with other businesses in the city.

Guests can know in advance if there’s an event like a concert or a movie playing, and the hotel itself can provide transportation there.

Obviously, other businesses will not have the same types of innovation. Still, if you put your mind to it, you can provide something creative and new that no other similar establishment will offer.

Final Thoughts

Most people think that the hotel industry has not changed in the last few centuries. However, nothing can be further from the truth.

Just like any other business, the hotel industry is constantly innovating. And the more it succeeds, the more other businesses can learn from it and improve their own situation in the global marketplace.