Managing the Seasons: How to Keep Your In-House Staff Busy During Low Season
This is a guest post by Operto Teams (formerly VRScheduler) an operations task management tool designed for vacation rentals.
Low season is the only time in hospitality to tackle what’s going wrong and consolidate what’s going right. As soon as peak season kicks in again, if you haven’t addressed your pain points, expect to see the same issues pop back up again.
Hotels and vacation rental managers need a solid low-season plan in place to keep staff busy with improvement and team-building programs, which will pay dividends when high season comes ’round again.
Read on to learn more about constructively keeping staff busy throughout low season and maximizing your opportunity to prepare for the next major influx of guests.
4 Ways to Keep Your Staff Motivated and Busy During Low Season
With a structured approach to managing staff during this period, you can use the low season to address performance across all your teams by proactively:
- Expanding employee roles
- Conducting performance reviews
- Providing opportunities for professional development
- Rewarding the peak season’s hard work
Let’s take a closer look at these solutions.
- Expand employee roles
Maximize the value of each staff member by adapting their roles during low season.
When the demand of peak season wanes, you need to be sure employees have meaningful tasks in their schedules. So, instead of overseeing empty units where there are few to no bookings over the coming days, have employees review processes and carry out property inspections.
Giving your team useful tasks, special projects, and additional responsibility helps them develop a stronger sense of ownership. This is important for team morale and takes advantage of people’s extra available bandwidth.
Also, expanding roles in low season allows your teams to be more flexible and provide additional support when staffing issues arise in high season.
- Conduct performance reviews and guest satisfaction surveys
Another way to make use of the available time in low season is to provide performance assessments.
Give employees individual and team feedback, highlighting where operations run smoothly and where they can improve. During this process, also be sure to invite staff to provide insight on where they experience difficulties and their suggestions on handling those issues.
Another way to gain insight during low season is for employees to carry out customer satisfaction surveys, which are essential to understanding and improving the guest experience.
Formalize this process to turn guest feedback into actionable insights with follow-up steps and further reviews. Now, you can use that information to help decide which areas of your service need attention and, in response, implement a program of training and professional development.
- Provide opportunities for professional development
Make sure your training programs aren’t simply restricted to going over the core responsibilities of an employee’s role. Instead, give staff the chance to develop their skills and knowledge across other areas of your service, too.
An effective staff training program improves efficiency and productivity, helps staff appreciate the challenges other team members face, and improves morale and motivation.
Some areas where your staff could train are:
- Customer service
- Health and safety
- Housekeeping duties
- Managerial training
- Language learning
Implementing training programs isn’t a small undertaking, but, as this study shows, good training leads to better guest experiences and overall business performance.
4. Reward the peak season’s hard work
Your employees need to feel valued to perform at their best. So rewarding the high season’s hard work is a great way to show your appreciation and boost team morale. You can plan fun team-building exercises (think quizzes, games, and sports), group dinners, or even an awards night.
With two-thirds of employees citing recognition as an important factor in their level of job motivation, you won’t just be showing your gratitude—you’ll be proactively working towards reducing staff turnover and improving your quality of service.
So How Can You Make the Most of Low Season?
Low season is your only chance to deal with areas of weakness across your teams’ performance before the intensity of high season gets going again.
So it’s essential to have a clear plan in place to:
- Make your team more agile
- Gather insights on customer satisfaction and provide feedback to staff
- Carry out training and professional development programs
- Celebrate your teams’ hard work
By constructively utilizing the time and space low season provides, you can approach the high season with confidence and sustainably improve your services and operations.