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Leadership and the independent hotelier

An integral component of the hospitality industry is its robust system of vastly different options for guests and properties alike. Despite this wide array of possibilities, as the industry grows and the day-to-day grind continues, it can be challenging for hoteliers to break out of the day-to-day grind, step back, and identify areas of improvement where the overall experience – for staff and guest – is elevated.

Within the independent sector, however, taking stock of operational challenges and then implementing new procedures might feel less onerous without the strings that come with brand ownership. Ultimately, independent operators are leaders at heart, choosing to take the path less traveled, and they often are already looking for the next solution even before a new challenge is presented.

At the core of every successful independent operator, you’ll find a passionate leader guiding the ship, navigating operational complexities, and ensuring guests feel seen and valued. This approach is part of the reason why independent properties have stayed so resilient even in the face of extreme market challenges.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Effective leadership in this segment of the industry goes beyond just managing finances and schedules. It’s about creating a culture of hospitality that values every interaction, from the friendly front desk welcomes to the spotless room cleaning. Leading an independent isn’t just about managing room inventory; there’s a deeper knowledge of managing guests and their experiences involved. By prioritizing empathy, empowerment, adaptability, data-driven decisions, and continuous learning, leaders can cultivate a thriving business that delivers exceptional guest experiences and secures long-term success in a competitive market.

Leaders in the independent market understand that guests are at the core of their business. They cultivate empathy by actively listening to guest needs, proactively addressing concerns, and going the extra mile to create a comfortable and memorable stay. This personal touch builds loyalty and positive online reviews, crucial for success in today’s digital landscape. This approach at the surface seems simple; it has its complexities as returning customers are a key achievable metric for this industry.

raise a handOperations rely on a diverse team, from housekeeping staff to maintenance workers. Successful leaders foster a collaborative environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute. This involves clear communication, delegation of tasks, and recognition of individual and team achievements.

The independent industry is dynamic, facing changing guest preferences, economic fluctuations, and evolving technologies. Leaders need to be nimble and adaptable, embracing new trends while staying true to the unique value proposition. This might involve implementing tech solutions for contactless check-in, diversifying amenities to cater to specific traveler needs, or exploring sustainable practices to attract eco-conscious guests.

The best leaders are lifelong learners. They invest in their own growth by participating in industry conferences, workshops, and leadership development programs. This knowledge is then channeled into improving team skills, implementing best practices, and staying ahead of industry trends. A business is only as good as its leader and by fostering a culture of hospitality and embracing continuous improvement, leaders can transform their properties into havens of comfort, creating memorable experiences that keep guests coming back for more.


ravi b. patel

Ravi B. Patel is an AAHOA Member having served as the 2022 Independent Hotelier Committee Chair, leading strategic industry partnerships for AAHOA Platinum Industry Partner Bookit N Go.


KATSIARYNA KASHTALYAN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

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