10 quick ways to make the most of summer

Ah, the long, hot days of summer. Plenty of sunshine, plenty of heat. While many properties are hoping for their best few months, here are 10 ideas to consider as ways to step it up a notch and invigorate your team.

1. Set a personal goal for yourself. It starts with rumination. Then, write it down and commit to having it completed by Christmas. My top one for this season was learning how to welcome a guest perfectly in Mandarin. As another example, if you are one of those few who have not embraced a tablet computer, buy an iPad and learn everything you can about where technology is headed.

2. Take exterior photographs. Unless you’re in the throes of renovation, late summer brings with it magnificent lighting conditions. Now is your chance to get those great exterior pictures you’ve been meaning to take, but have somehow forgotten.

3. Reward your best group. Everyone needs a vacation, even if it’s a mid-week night or two with their loved ones. And once your corporate customers arrive, give them some peace and quiet. No sales pitches or business breakfasts — just a welcome amenity and a personal thank-you letter.

4. Throw stuff out. This one’s great for GMs. Walk into the sales office and ask to see the store room. Is it tidy? Or, does it look like a high school locker? Strongly encourage your sales team to use the quieter summer months to throw everything out that’s outdated, outmoded or never used.

5. Seek departmental input. Ask each department head for the single task they feel is most valuable that they just didn’t get a chance to tackle, but if the opportunity came about, they would pounce. Review them all. Authorize them all — within reason, of course. In doing so, make the individual who introduced the idea responsible for implementation and reporting the results.

6. Host a spectacular summer party. Have the chef prepare new menu items and give everyone a chance to test the menu and write their notes. It’s also a good time to improve your children’s menu, as you have an incredible focus group out of school and available.

7. Walk the grounds. As a biweekly routine, wake up one morning before sunrise and walk your property. Shake hands with all your night staff. Reward them with small gifts ($25 or less for tax reasons) and personally thank them for their work under these often difficult-for-the-family conditions.

8. Streamline your 2013 planning process. With over half the year done, it’s already time to start thinking of the next one. So, make vows. Vow never to produce those redundant, and somewhat useless, 100-page plans no one looks at. Vow to make your planning process better so your results truly shine.

9. Hire a student. If you don’t have an intern program, consider hiring a student part-time. Don’t advertise. Use word of mouth; your planning committee, department heads and team leaders can get the word out quickly. A little youthful vitality will go a long way.

10. Give that student a meaningful task. This is not just clean-out-the-storeroom time. Rather, it’s an opportunity to imbue your life-long passion for hospitality into a new generation of hoteliers. For example, have them look at your website in comparison to your competition’s site on a page-by-page basis with an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses. Get them thinking critically — a crucial step towards passionate resolve and action.

And, above all, spend some well-deserved time with your family. If you have children, devote time to them without staring at your smartphone every 15 minutes. You will find that your corporate manager and owners can indeed live without you for 48 hours.