What are hotel staff?

The staff at your bed and breakfast or hotel are the backbone of your establishment. They are the people who ensure your guests have a memorable stay, manage the daily operations, and create a welcoming atmosphere. From the front desk personnel to the housekeeping team, the kitchen crew, and management, each person plays a vital role in the smooth running of your hotel.

Working in a hotel often fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. You and your team must rely on each other to ensure each day runs smoothly, guests’ needs are met, and your establishment continues to attract future bookings. In many ways, a well-coordinated hotel staff can feel like a close-knit family, each member contributing their unique skills and efforts towards a common goal.

However, one of the challenges you may face as a hotel manager is high employee turnover. The hospitality industry can be demanding, with long hours, weekend and holiday work, and the need for impeccable customer service. These factors can sometimes lead to a high rate of staff turnover, which can disrupt operations and impact guest satisfaction.

Finding dedicated, long-term employees is critical to your success. These individuals bring stability to your team and develop a deep understanding of your hotel’s operations, guests, and standards of service. However, finding the right individuals who are not only qualified but also committed to the hospitality industry can be a challenging task.

Therefore, it’s essential for you to invest in your staff, providing competitive compensation, opportunities for growth and development, and a positive work environment. Recognising and rewarding staff efforts, fostering a supportive team culture, and providing clear career progression paths can help you attract and retain high-quality staff. After all, a motivated, satisfied, and dedicated hotel staff is the key to delivering exceptional guest experiences and ensuring the overall success of your hotel.

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Types of hotel staff positions and responsibilities

The hospitality industry thrives on the collective efforts of a diverse range of staff members, each playing a pivotal role in shaping the guest experience. From the moment a guest steps into a hotel, every interaction they have with the staff contributes to their overall impression of the establishment. 

Whether it’s the warm welcome from the front desk, the impeccably clean rooms maintained by housekeeping, or the delectable meals served by the food and beverage team, each staff member’s role is integral to the hotel’s operation and guest satisfaction. Let’s delve into the key hotel staff positions and their responsibilities:

Front Desk Staff

Front desk staff are often the first point of contact for guests, making them instrumental in shaping the guest’s first impression. Their responsibilities include checking guests in and out, handling reservations, answering queries, and resolving any issues that may arise. They also provide information about the hotel’s services and local attractions, ensuring guests have everything they need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Hotel Cleaning Staff

The hotel cleaning staff, often referred to as housekeeping, are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the hotel. This includes cleaning guest rooms, public areas, and other facilities within the hotel. Their role is vital in ensuring a pleasant and comfortable environment for guests.

Food and Beverage Staff

The food and beverage staff play a key role in enhancing the guest experience through culinary delights and exceptional service. This team includes chefs, waitstaff, bartenders, and kitchen assistants. They are responsible for preparing and serving meals and drinks, catering to special dietary needs, and ensuring food safety standards are met.

Maintenance Staff

Maintenance staff ensure the hotel’s physical environment is in top condition. They handle a variety of tasks, from routine maintenance and repairs to addressing urgent issues like plumbing or electrical problems. Their role is crucial in maintaining the hotel’s appearance and functionality, contributing to guest comfort and satisfaction.

Security Staff

Security staff are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of guests, staff, and the hotel property. Their duties include monitoring security cameras, patrolling the property, managing access control, and responding to security incidents. They play a vital role in providing a safe and secure environment for everyone in the hotel.

Marketing Coordinator

The Marketing Coordinator is responsible for promoting the hotel and its services to potential guests. They develop and implement marketing strategies, manage social media platforms, coordinate advertising campaigns, and analyse market trends. Their role is crucial in attracting new guests, retaining existing ones, and enhancing the hotel’s brand image.

Each of these roles contributes to the overall success of a hotel. By understanding the responsibilities of each position, hoteliers can ensure their team works together effectively to deliver an exceptional guest experience.

Hotel staff positions chart

The chart below gives a visual representation of the hierarchy in a small hotel. At the top, we have the Hotel Manager, who oversees all operations. Directly under the manager are several key roles, including the Front Desk Staff, Marketing Coordinator, Maintenance Supervisor, Head of Security, Food and Beverage Manager, and Housekeeping Supervisor. 

Each of these roles has staff reporting to them, forming a hierarchy that enables efficient management and operation of the hotel.

  • Hotel Manager: At the top of the hierarchy is the Hotel Manager who oversees all operations.
  • Front Desk Staff: Reports directly to the Hotel Manager. They handle reservations, check-ins, and customer service.
  • Marketing Coordinator: Also reports directly to the Hotel Manager. They are responsible for advertising, customer outreach, and promotional campaigns.
  • Maintenance Supervisor: Reporting to the Hotel Manager, they are responsible for the overall maintenance and upkeep of the hotel. They supervise the Maintenance Staff.
    • Maintenance Staff: They report to the Maintenance Supervisor and handle various maintenance tasks around the hotel.
  • Head of Security: Reporting to the Hotel Manager, they supervise the Security Staff and ensure the safety and security of the hotel.
    • Security Staff: They report to the Head of Security and are responsible for ensuring the security of the hotel.
  • Food and Beverage Manager: They report to the Hotel Manager and oversee the Food and Beverage Staff.
    • Food and Beverage Staff: They report to the Food and Beverage Manager and are responsible for the operation of the hotel’s restaurant and bar, if one exists.
  • Housekeeping Supervisor: Reporting to the Hotel Manager, they oversee the Hotel Cleaning Staff.
    • Hotel Cleaning Staff: They report to the Housekeeping Supervisor and are responsible for cleaning rooms and public areas.

Hotel staff positions list of best characteristics

If you want motivated staff at your hotel or B&B, it certainly helps to hire motivated people in the first place. Not everyone is suitable to work in the hospitality industry, given how customer focused it is, so you need to look out for certain characteristics.

Here are some traits that will help you hire staff who can hit the ground running:

  • They’re extroverted – Dealing with guests day in, day out, will become draining for an introvert. You need extroverted staff who gain energy and fulfilment from social interactions.
  • They have attention to detail – This is a key requirement for anyone dealing with customers and it’s a positive trait that indicates a worker is highly engaged.
  • They’re confident and independent – Being able to work autonomously and solve problems for guests without leaning on support all the time will be extremely helpful for your business.
  • They’re agreeable – What this means is that your staff won’t be confrontational or inclined to argue with guests – which could be a disaster for your reputation. You need workers who are generally positive and are able to get along with anyone.
  • They’re open minded – Given there are guests coming from all over the world, bringing new cultures and looking to enjoy new experiences, having staff on board who are open to new experiences themselves will make it easier for guests to warm up to them.
  • They’re passionate – For a staff member to be successful in hospitality, they have to live and breathe hospitality. The need to genuinely enjoy serving and pleasing people, because guests can see right through inauthentic experiences.

What are the characteristics of a highly motivated staff member?

Finding, hiring and retaining motivated staff is key to the success of your hotel. When a staff member is highly motivated, the quality of their work and therefore the satisfaction of your guests improves. But it can be hard to find motivated staff – especially staff with the right motivations for the position you’re hiring them in. Some ideal characteristics that you should look for in your hotel staff include:

  • A friendly demeanour – Your staff should always be greeting guests with a smile, and be happy to engage in conversation, answer questions, or offer assistance.
  • Doing things without prompting – Taking initiative and doing a job now that they could easily treat as a ‘tomorrow problem’ is a good sign that someone cares a lot about their job.
  • Going above and beyond to problem solve – The best staff know how important guest experience is for a hotel business, so they will make sure any issues that guests have are solved to the best of their ability.
  • Asking questions and seeking to learn – Only those who are motivated will continue to strive to improve and upskill themselves.
  • Suggesting ideas – Contributing ideas is a strong indication that your staff want to see your business succeed and are invested in growing the business.

Staff with these characteristics are priceless, since it will increase the level of personalisation and care your guests receive. This will increase loyalty and also turn your customers into ambassadors for your business.

How to hire the best staff for your hotel

This process is not just about filling vacancies; it’s about finding individuals who will contribute positively to your hotel’s operations and guest experience. Here are some key steps to ensure you hire the right people for your hotel:

1. Promote your job openings in the right spaces 

Rather than advertising open positions at your hotel on general job sites that are available to everyone, you can target your job opening listing to a specific audience. Use social media to reach out to those who have experience and background in the hospitality industry. LinkedIn, in particular, is a powerful social networking platform for posting job openings.

You should also reach out to hospitality industry associations in order to promote your open position, and you can even consider working with local universities and colleges in order to provide recent graduates with more information about the opportunities at your hotel.

2. Screen candidates prior to inviting them to interview with your hotel 

When you design your application, make sure that the document completes the screening process for you. Formulate questions that encourage applicants to showcase their talent, their education, and their experience within the hospitality industry.

This allows you to receive responses from candidates who are qualified for the position that you have available, and gives you the best chances at selecting the right final candidate for the position.

3. Ask the right questions during the interview process

The time that you spend interviewing candidates for your position is valuable. You will want to make sure to discuss topics and pose questions that provide you with the insight you need to make the best decision for your hotel. Make sure the process is consistent so that you can compare all candidates equally.

  • Ask open ended questions to reveal their true character
  • Conduct practical tests (eg. cooking, if this is part of their job)
  • Get references from past employers

Instead of simply asking a candidate to reiterate their resume to you, ask them about what they have learned during their time spent in other positions. Ask them why they want to work at your hotel and what they plan to bring to the available position. Ask them to talk about guest relations and how they treat guests, particularly when those guests are dissatisfied.

Hiring hotel staff can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you are dedicated to finding the right people to help you run your hotel. You are likely looking for a hotel employee who will care about your guests as much as you do, all while working their hardest to ensure that the hotel runs properly at all times. It’s also important to consider cultural compatibility! Get other employees to interview them, and/or ask someone you trust to join you in the interview. You should only hire people you feel you can trust.

These tips can help you filter through the many applicants who are simply looking for any kind of job, and discover the hotel staff members who truly have potential.

4. Decide what skills you need

Entrepreneur reports that 30-40% of all innkeepers don’t employ any sort of staff.

But if you have more than five rooms, doing it all by yourself just isn’t sustainable in the long run. While you may be extremely talented, hiring others is better than trying (and failing) to do everything at once, all by yourself.

And let’s be honest: you simply can’t do it all. There are some areas that you enjoy and are naturally good at, and vice versa.

Find those skill sets that you do need – is it bookkeeping, cleaning, or cooking? Or do you require a multitasker who can do a little bit of everything? Remember that your time is better spent on servicing guests and figuring out how to market your property.

Create a detailed job description once you’re sure you know what you need.

5. Get the word out

The next step is getting your job description out to a talented pool of individuals:

  • Social media (Faceboo, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Family and friends
  • Association job boards
  • Inn keeping website forums
  • Regular job boards

You may have to pay a fee to post the job online, but it will be well worth it. After all, your accommodation business is your baby!

Each hiring decision will affect your guests’ experience. The job posting fee will pay off when you find that it brings you only the best candidates.

6. Create an ongoing positive working relationship

It’s not over yet – now you need to maintain a good working relationship amongst all staff members.

To keep staff happy, make sure you:

  • Are fair in compensation. Without this, it’s impossible to start off on the right foot.
  • Try to help them do their jobs. Ask them what frustrates them and how you can help.
  • Schedule regular meetings to find out how things are going. Be open and honest in your communication about their performance (without being a bully).
  • Involve them in big and small decisions. Whether it’s choosing the wallpaper or changing up the breakfast menu, make them feel like their input is valuable.
  • Challenge them to have pride in their performance. Say thank you. Notice the little things they’ve done.

Here’s an idea: why not treat your staff to lunch or dinner at the nearby restaurants that you have them recommending to your guests?

They will be able to give a first-hand review, thus enhancing the guest experience – and they will also really appreciate it.

Remember, happy staff make happy guests!

Hotel staff training and management

You can’t be the face of your business all the time. In fact, being able to effectively delegate is one of the biggest skills you can learn as a business owner.

This is why the staff at your bed and breakfast are critical to your success. You offer your guests an authentic and intimate experience – and this is why they choose to stay with you. Your staff will play a significant role in the stay of each guest, and need to be able to provide the same level of service that you would.

The problem? High turnover – which can make it difficult for you to run your property efficiently and effectively. So it’s important that your staff feel that they are a part of the overall mission and growth of your accommodation business.

Here’s a few steps you can take to better train and manage your hotel staff:

1. Compensate them fairly

Offering your staff members fair and competitive compensation will keep them loyal to your hotel.

You may even want to create a reward program or bonus system that allows them to earn additional income when they exceed performance expectations. Some hotels reward employees who secure upsell opportunities (such as giving commission on every spa booking or other special extra), while others prefer a team-oriented reward system that gives everyone a reward when everybody meets their targets. Remember that these bonuses have to be enticing – gift cards can sometimes work (and are a popular choice due to the tax advantages they may have), but you may find that cash bonuses have better results.

Staff members are more likely to stay at your property when they receive a fair wage and they recognise that there are opportunities for advancement. 

2. Empower staff to grow existing or new unique skills

Consider each individual employee that you have, and try to create opportunities for them to use their unique skills and apply their passions to their job.

For example, if you have an employee that is particularly passionate about photography, ask them to take the photographs of your property in order to display it on your website and social media accounts.

This shows that you recognise the individual skill-sets of your employees, and that you want them to grow with your hotel. The employee will take pride in their work, and will feel like a valued member of your team. Just make sure that they are fairly recognised for the extra work if it’s outside of their regular job description!

If you find that you need skills not yet represented in your existing staff, don’t be afraid to open the floor to those who want to learn before you hire new people or work with contractors. Here are some examples:

  • Want to offer a shuttle bus from the airport? Offer to sponsor a staff member’s training to get the appropriate licence.
  • Want to upgrade your social media to the next level? Offer to send a motivated staff member to a short course to teach them the ropes.
  • Want to invest in new technology or equipment for housekeeping but don’t have an expert on staff yet? Offer to send a staff member to a training course so they can learn.

This method doesn’t have to be formal training courses. Simply offering staff members the opportunity to take a more active role in an aspect of the job they are interested in can be motivating enough, and you may even find that they suit the new role even better than their old one.

The reality is that nearly everybody wants the chance to learn something new or improve their skillsets. Find out what your staff wants to learn or improve, let them know what skills you need and can reward, find the overlap, and everybody wins!

3. Use small hotel technology to free up their time

Each person on staff probably has to wear several hats in order to ensure that your bed and breakfast runs smoothly at all times.

By investing in small hotel technology, such as a front desk management system and online booking system with a channel manager, you can minimise their administrative work.

This allows them to focus on other high-priority tasks, such as those that directly impact the guest experience at your hotel.

If you are on the hunt for the right hotel technology suite for your small hotel or bed and breakfast, your search may end as soon as you discover Little Hotelier.

This is the only all-in-one business solution designed specifically for your niche business. Begin your free demo today, and learn about all the features that will help you and your staff run the best property possible!

How to motivate your hotel staff

As a small accommodation owner and/or operator, your business is more than just a way to earn income — it’s your life. You might eat, breathe and sleep at your B&B. However you still can’t be everywhere at once. This is why you rely on your staff to be the face of your brand. 

Knowing that your staff will have a direct impact on the guest experience, you need to make staff motivation a top priority.

Staff motivation relates to the energy, commitment, and initiative your employees show while performing their duties each day. 

It’s important to maintain high staff motivation to ensure your property is a positive work environment, and to increase guest satisfaction. Staff interactions often have a huge impact on whether guests leave a positive or negative review, regardless of the quality of your rooms or amenities.

Your brand reputation relies on your entire team being highly engaged, happy to be at work, and proud to work at your establishment.

If staff are going to be motivated to come to work everyday and make your property’s guests happy, they need to be satisfied first. There has to be a culture in place that makes them feel valued at their workplace.

Here are some ideas that can motivate them the most:

1. Being heard

People appreciate having someone to listen to them, and that’s particularly true among staff members at small hotels and B&Bs. Your staff spends a significant amount of time interacting with the people who stay at your property, and they often have valuable input to share with you. When you provide them with opportunities to speak up, and you implement changes based on their feedback, you will find your staff are far more motivated to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

2. Being recognised

Naturally, everyone wants to be commended for their good efforts. If the front desk manager goes the extra mile for a guest, take a moment to thank them for it and let that staff member know you noticed. If your kitchen staff pulls together to create an allergy-friendly menu for a last-minute booking, be sure to praise them for this extra effort. 

It doesn’t take much for you to praise them, but the acknowledgement will mean a lot to them.

3. Being rewarded

Of course, rewarding your staff members for their efforts is going to continue to motivate them to do well. The best way to do this is to establish small, realistic goals for each of your staff members. Make sure that they are aware of what their goals are, and provide them with any resources necessary to accomplish their individual goals. When they reach those goals, reward them with an appropriate small bonus or an extra day off from work. 

As you continue to set goals and reward your staff, you will find that the entire team will work together to improve your B&B or small property.

4. Being offered opportunities to improve

Your employees are investing a lot of their own time and energy into improving your business, so it’s important that you make the same investment in them. Show your staff that you value them by offering training opportunities throughout the year. Training opportunities may include webinars that introduce new technology, conferences that provide skills-based training, or hands-on instruction with an industry leader who can help them grow both personally and professionally.

Staff members who feel appreciated and who are motivated to do their jobs well will in turn reward you with their loyalty. Through these motivational efforts, you will be able to retain the top staff members in the industry and your guests will benefit as a result.

5. Being supported

It’s vital that you train your staff comprehensively, and equip them with everything they need to do their job properly. Nothing feels more demoralising than making a mistake or disappointing a guest because they simply didn’t have knowledge of something.

Before you throw staff in the deep end, make sure they’re clear on the processes and policies at your property, and that they are trained to use any technology systems you may be using to manage your business.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).