Your quarterly performance audit is here

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Aside from the customary green attire and perhaps a celebratory pint or two, this vogue holiday should also be on your calendar to highlight a turning point in the annual cycle.

March, as a month, indicates the denouement of winter and the traditional low season for non-business and non-tropical travel (this coming from a North American perspective). Many of us also have our taxes to file around this time of year. And then, of course, spring break is upon us, and once the snows give way to soggy grass, it’s hard not to start yearning for summer. 

Alongside that craving for warmer pastures often comes a returned sense of planning and goals, both personal and organizational. For the former, many of you may be looking to shed a few pounds in time for beach season or even begin the undertaking of a lifelong milestone like running a marathon. To use this as a metaphor for any corporate goals you might have: a marathon is comprised of many, many sprints, and you can’t simply wake up in late June and train for a competition the following week.

The point being: Good planning takes time. This is why mid-March is the ideal time for a performance review.

Key to any good planning, though, is knowing what direction to head. Hence, melding several established concepts together, I present to you the Quarterly Performance Audit, designed to be a straightforward questionnaire to keep you on track through the summer, autumn and all the way to next March.

As this is a quarterly appraisal, there are four essential areas to check. Limiting ourselves to four is intentional as to keep any produced report brief — one or two pages, tops. This brevity ensures that it is actually read by decision-makers and that there is a readily palpable call to action.

First up is the asset. You will want to lens your property through the owners’ perspective and assess how the asset has changed in value versus previous quarters or years. Moreover, this entails a surface-level evaluation of the competition and any new entrants that have emerged since your last audit. How do you compare? Are you keeping up with trends or are you falling behind on renovations?

Next comes human resources. That is, in essence, answering the question as to whether or not employees like working at your company. Is it a happy office environment? And do people like working with you personally?

The third aspect relates to guest performance. Nowadays, this often starts by recruiting a social media aggregate software service to review the power of your online presence, word of mouse (that is, digital word of mouth) and the overall consensus amongst your electronic commentators. The key here is to look for recurring problems and any websites where managers could take a more active role in placating reviewers. Guest performance also means doing your own hands-on assessments of essential service features like housekeeping, F&B, front desk, concierge, valet, security and so on. Look for small, uncomplicated ways to improve, not grand overarching changes that are too daunting for the short run.

Fourth and last relates back to finances. Yes, looking at a property as an asset is mainly the concern of the owners, but the brand and management have slightly different goals. They might want to know more in depth about ADR, RevPAR, occupancy and where the key costs are. Again, like what you might recommend as part of your guest performance audit, seek out the simple corrections that you can implement promptly upon their approval.

And just as you should be perusing the remarks left by guests about your hotel, I now ask you for comments on this proposed system. Anything you would add? Is one of the four mentioned not as important as it may seem? I look forward to reading your thoughts!