The hotel under this study is five star-rated facility strategically located in a city with high tourists’ turnover. It has varied facilities, which includes 250 unsuited guests rooms, two dining rooms serving approximately 400 guests per seat and providing both standard menu and a la carte. In addition, the hotel has two bars, which supply the restaurants with drinks, as well as, entertainment to the public. Other amenities includes 3 conference rooms which caters for various events, a vast car park which can accommodate up to 150 cars and leisure facilities including a gym, a swimming pool and a suite of sauna. Despite these exclusive amenities, the hotel’s operations have been on a steady decline for the past five years. This trend was remarkable after the rise of budget and boutique hotels. The reason for the decline is largely attributed to poor services offered by the hotel. Thus, this study will focus on unearthing the problems that bedevil the hotel and suggest remedy measures. The study aims at applying various concepts of operations management with the aim of improving service delivery and, consequently, bolsters the hotels revenue. The study will use a descriptive method of data analysis in which focus will drawn on identifying the layout of the business and the various themes applied in their operations, which, in turn, will assist in unraveling any faults, as well as, possible ways of solving them.
In order to understand the concept of any business operations particularly in the service industry, one needs to appreciate the concept of how the services are provided to satisfy the needs of customers, as well as, underscore the core objective of the business. Hotel industry is one of these service providers and it requires keen observation in relation to the way guests are handled. According to Brotherton & Bob, this is the key determinant for the success or failure of any hotel establishment (26). It is not always about the type of facilities a hotel can offer to the potential market, but the manner in which services are offered that is equally important. Operations management comes in at this point and it focuses mainly on the efficiency and effectiveness of operations methodology in relation to the organizations strategic goals. Therefore, this means that it is incumbent upon strategic managers (top level managers) to come up with a concrete strategy that will help in imparting direction in business. The strategy should be achievable and in tandem with the business unit, operational strategies of middle levels and operational levels of the business. Most businesses fail to achieve their objectives because their different levels of strategies do not work simultaneously resulting in ineffectiveness in combating the issue of competition.
In finding out the reasons behind the decline in performance of the hotel, it is important to clear out how the business is operating in order to establish ways in which they can change their operations. This should also help improve performance and attract more customers than their competitors i.e. the budget and boutique hotels (Brotherton 76). The analysis in this study involves collecting secondary data from written materials such as the hotel’s books of accounts and front office record books. This will be crucial in ascertaining the profitability and guests’ turnover. Direct observation will be applied to evaluate service delivery systems and use of interactions with management of different levels to evaluate the flow of command within the organization. Collection of information from hotel employees and customers through the use of questionnaires (Brotherton 60) is the best way to find out how customers feel about hotel services. Hotel employees will be crucial in determining areas that need improvements. Data collected will be analyzed quantitatively.
The first concept that one needs to know is the organizations chart. This will help one in understanding how the flow of command takes place within the hotel’s hierarchy. A flow of command determines how fast implementation of plans takes place depending on the length of the system. Determining the possible changes that can be made in the flow will help ensure efficient service delivery to the customers. This can be achieved perfectly through creating a lean and flexible communication from the top to the lowest management.
The flow of command at this hotel runs from the directors (top management) through the heads of departments to the operational team. As such, they usually follow a hierarchy of command which might take some time to implement important corporate strategies. This in turn may interfere with efficient service management which is the key point in ensuring the hotel’s efficiency. In every business, operations are administered through three levels of management (Boxall, 23). These include the corporate level or the top management, business unit or middle level and operational or the lower level of management (figure 3). It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that these levels of management are all working towards achieving the common corporate strategy.
Operational unit in the hotel can be used mostly in improving the productivity of the hotel through the Human Resource department. This is because it is through this department that the business is able to empower the staff in providing effective services to the customers (Boxall 45). This is due to the fact that the hotel’s operations are declining, as a result, of ineffective service. Therefore, understanding the work of human resource will aid in finding the solutions to the hotels problems and improve service quality and efficiency.
The role of human resource is crucial in such that, it improves the competitiveness of the business through creating an efficient and informed staff that are able to deliver efficient services through training.
Themes Applicable In Improving the Operations of the Hotel
In relation to the performance of the hotel, various themes can help achieve strategic goals if applied correctly. Operational practice or structure is a main theme that can ease the operation of a business. From the analysis of the hotel, their operational practice is tedious and this can hinder effective decision making (Rutherford and O’Fallon 43). Adopting a ‘lean’ operational strategy in this case would help in promoting a shorter system of management which will promote interactions and eventually result in team work towards achieving the hotel goals.
The technological capabilities are important factors in a modern hotel services as they will boost the hotel’s operations, thus, creating productivity as it is an emerging factor in success of any business. The use of CRS (central reservation system) eases the operations of the hotel by linking the hotel to the outside market, thus, making it competitive. This also includes online services such as bookings, reservations and other purchase. Independent website is needed to help potential customers access information concerning the hotel and its services. Provision of entertainment and internet facilities within the hotel are important factors in ensuring customer satisfaction. Employing more information technology specialists will help in advancing technology use and boost service delivery.
The planning of the hotel is an important theme that will aid in improving the performance of this facility. This involves coming up with objectives and strategies under which the operations of the hotel are based upon. According to the hotel setup, it can be market oriented or customer oriented. Planning is based on these two factors and, therefore, if the hotel management knows what they want to achieve, they can define the ways of achieving it through detailed planning.
Possible Difficulties in Implementation
Bringing change or introducing new policies within the operations of an organization can be challenging in some cases. There are various aspects that may encounter challenges ranging from staff unwillingness to change as well as the impacts it may have on the customers (Rutherford and O’Fallon 52). Changing customer tastes and preferences is one of the challenges that are likely to affect implementation. Thus, this will require market research in order to identify trends in customer preferences and aid in delivering what they want. Professionalism is another factor; since the hotel industry has a high employee turnover both skilled and unskilled. Chances are that some employees may resist changes regarding professionalism. Therefore, it is the duty of the human resource manager to ensure that employees have adequate training regarding service etiquette. The manger must further ensure that appropriate employee-guest relations are upheld as this is the key factor in improving business performance. Competition is the main challenge as seen from the analysis of the hotel. This, therefore, means that competitor analysis is crucial to find out the strategies that the competitors are using in order to fight competition.
Applying Operation Management Concepts
The operations management concepts help in improving the performance of the business from its current situation (Davis, Nicholas, and Richard 99). Looking at the nature of this hotel, its operations have slowed down and, therefore, it is up to the strategic mangers to find a way of improving the operations through the application of the concepts of operation management. These include planning, quality service management, implementation and evaluation. Most business operations are good at formulating strategies but implementing it becomes a major problem mostly because of the system of flow of the command used in the establishment.
The first thing that the management needs to do is to come up with or review their service strategic plan in relation to their objectives. This will be attained in terms of the returns they want to achieve within a specific time. In formulating the plan, the management should involve all levels of management especially the front office, food service and housekeeping departments. These are the main drivers of revenue in this facility. The way of implementing the strategy will be influenced by the level at which employees understands it, therefore, it is the role of the management through the Human resource Department to ensure effective training on the core values of the hotel. This involves quality service to the customers, as well as, improving the profits and, thus, creating customer service experience which is likely to result in repeated buying together with marketing the hotel to friends and families.
Apart from this, the hotel has a high competitive advantage over the budget and boutique hotels that have been established already. This is seen in the fact that it has all the facilities to provide customer satisfaction such as adequate luxury rooms, leisure facilities, conference rooms and adequate food and beverage outlets. Furthermore, the hotel is strategically located in a city with high market potential customers (international tourists and publics) as well as employee with IT potential. Therefore, it is the duty of the management to find out ways of making use of these potentialities to make the hotel to be the best hotel of choice by the tourists.
The nature of service provision is a key factor in business success (Stauss and Mang 19). Therefore, motivating and empowering the employees particularly in food and beverage, room service and leisure staff will also enable efficient operations and success of the business. Coming up with incentive plans for the employees as well as training and awards is likely to improve their attitude at work creating an efficient service delivery. Friendly working environment with democracy and room for innovation is a motivation factor to the staff of a hotel.
Apart from service quality, cost can also be a factor contributing to loss of customers. This is whereby the cost of services provided is higher than the quality of service. According to a study done by Raturi, Amitabh, and James, Evans, high charges for a low quality product is a major cause of a service failure leading to loss of customers (34). Therefore, it is the duty of management to ensure that the quality of their products and services is relative to the price that is being charged. For instance, providing quality meals as per the customer specification, efficient room service systems as well as avoiding delays in customer service.
The location of this hotel makes it a top destination for business, tourists, and other high profile individuals. From the outset and going by the cost of products in this facility, it is worth noting that this hotel will be a destination for middle class people both locally and internationally. The hotels position and its proximity to the beach make it a preferred choice for wealth class of people who want to indulge, relax, and have fun. The hotel also intends to cash in on the burgeoning middle class within its neighborhood and adjacent towns. Physical features found within the hotel’s vicinity will make this hotel as a destination for people who want fun with their families while on vacations. Hospitality terrain is rapidly changing with many industry players coming up with innovations and new trends to match the changing consumer demands. Most old hotels have not lacked behind either; they have been renovated their designs. However, of extreme importance is the location. The region where the hotel facility is situated matters greatly. Location will determine the kind of sales the business will make. Location also determines the nature and kind of customers the hotel will be dealing with. It is imperative a person wishing to invest in the hospitality industry contracts the right personnel to do a background survey on the preferred location.