Trendsetters build communities at work

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JAGRUTI PANWALA
AAHOA Chairwoman (2019-2020)

Many of us started our careers with little to no idea what the industry was really like. Much of my own learning curve started out with trial and error until I figured out what worked and what didn’t. This process took years, and to this day I am still learning. Throughout my career, I consistently looked to my peers, other hoteliers who were just starting out, and those who had more experience under their belts to help shape my own business endeavors. To me, having role models was a key aspect of my success, and it’s important to always remember that you are never too experienced to take lessons from others.

One of the lessons I learned early on was the importance of creating a community between staff members. When your employees feel valued, seen, and part of a team, they are more eager to go to work each day and put their all in. Having committed and passionate employees makes managing your businesses easier and more efficient. Your employees are responsible for everything that keeps your property running, from housekeeping to maintenance to front desk service, their dedication makes all hotel duties run smoother. Fostering a workplace environment that supports and encourages your staff is essential to your business and can truly set your property apart from the competition.

It’s also a great draw for guests. Think of when you travel: The hotels you remember fondly are the ones where the front desk service was personal, you always received a smile, and it was obvious the staff enjoyed their work. This makes a hotel stand out and become a true trendsetter. This may not seem like revolutionary advice, but too often, hotel staff become complacent in their work when they don’t feel a sense of community. This leads to subpar performance, high turnover rates, and eventually the suffering of a property.

Now, this is only one piece of guidance I offer today. But as AAHOA Members, we have an arsenal of information at our disposal that we can and should all take advantage of. From our online learning resources that touch on every aspect of hotel management to the industry events that take place around the country, this is where you can take part in new educational sessions that are built specifically to enhance your businesses and meet other hoteliers who are on this journey, too.

It is my sincere hope that all AAHOA Members keep the drive to advance themselves and keep their businesses alive. Getting too comfortable in certain business practices can inhibit growth and reduce your ability to keep up with the industry. I want to specifically urge our young professionals who are just joining this industry to stay motivated, and don’t shy away from a learning curve because you think it’s too hard. I promise you it’s not. As the next generation of AAHOA Members rises through the ranks, it is up to us to instill in them the importance of lifelong learning and to do that, we all must continue our own educational journeys.

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