The key to roam

In a recent department head meeting I gave my managers a special key. No, not the master key — it was a more significant one. It was the key, and a challenge, to roam the hotel for 30 minutes each day and go into a department where they don’t normally work. This means the front desk manager will walk the restaurant, the head of engineering might help a guest during the checkout process and the restaurant manager can inspect rooms prior to guest arrival. Notice I said each day; this won’t work if it is a one-trick pony. Doing this five days a week is a true challenge — not an idea that sounds good. It might not happen every day, but why not set the bar high and see how close you can get?

Here are a few reasons why the key to roam can pay off:

  • All too often we are behind a desk. It’s when we walk the hotel, and interact with guests, that we learn the most and have the biggest impact. 
  • Fresh eyes can be the best eyes. When looking at something repeatedly it can become blurred. A fresh perspective can add so much value to the equation. 
  • Conversations lead to connections. When you are engaged in conversations, both with guests and colleagues, you are making connections. Connections are the building blocks of successful relationships. This won’t happen when you are alone in your office.
  • When you experience what your coworkers go through in their daily lives, you might find something you are doing in your own department that could be translated into something that helps another, or vice versa.

Stop rolling your eyes … it could be fun! Break up your daily routine, run on someone else’s hamster wheel for a little while and swim in someone else’s pool.  

Lastly and most importantly: We are a family, and families help each other out. There is no sight that is better than a colleague coming to assist when you are in the weeds — it immediately lessens the stress and anxiety of a line at the front desk that is getting bigger not smaller, the stress of inspecting 25 VIP rooms by 1 p.m. or the sight of 15 tables that need to be bussed and reset because you are going to do a record number of breakfasts in the dining room. 

One more: You will definitely improve customer service; guests will leave your hotel happier because you thought outside of the box.

So go ahead and break the ball-and-desk chain. I’ll bet you’ll be happy to see the results.