Critical Thinking in the Hospitality Industry
An individual who has a high level of critical thinking can recognize the problem, analyze the problem, develop potential solutions and choose the solution that has the highest probability for success. Critical thinking is "reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking," according to distance educator Steve Rubin, a California specialist in critical thinking. In the hospitality industry, critical thinking is a fundamental characteristic of a successful hotel manager or owner.
Revenue in the lodging industry is based on how many rooms are occupied in a given time period and the average rate charged for the rooms. Some hotel owners believe in getting the highest rates while others want to keep the hotel filled even if the rates are substantially discounted. Critical thinking leads the hotel owner to realize that the key factor is neither occupancy nor average daily rate but a combination of both. This factor is called RevPAR -- revenue per available room. Optimizing RevPAR maximizes total room revenue for the hotel.
A hotel manager adept at critical thinking doesn't rely only on the tried and true methods of hotel promotion and marketing. She reviews and analyzes new marketing methods and adapts those she believes will be most effective into the hotel's marketing strategies. For example, she takes advantage of social media sites to promote the hotel by posting not only room specials but what's going on at the hotel's location. She also uses visual sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to show off the hotel. A hotel blog allows her to interact on a personal basis with potential guests. Video platform sites give a much more in-depth look at the hotel in action than would a brochure or a static website.
Hotel workers are divided into front of the house and back of the house. Front-of-the-house employees -- front desk personal for example -- have contact with the guests while back-of-the-house employees -- departments such as accounting and housekeeping usually do not. Critical thinking leads the hotel manager to realize that both front and back of the house employees are vital to the hotel's overall success. Job satisfaction is important in keeping employee turnover to a minimum and maintaining productivity. Ask each employee through anonymous surveys or interviews with an independent human resources firm, what she wants from her job in order for it to be satisfying, and what she likes and dislikes about the work experience.
A critically-thinking hotel manager knows the guest perceives the hotel experience as a whole. Each department -- food and beverage, lounge, check-in, reservations and housekeeping -- impacts the guest. The guest's entire stay can be marred by a bad meal in the restaurant or a surly clerk at checkout. The critically-thinking manager is constantly seeking ways to improve the performance of each department. His guiding management principle is "What can we do better?"