September 7, 2021
During the pandemic, agility was a key factor in the success of your vacation rental business. Many companies were forced to reshape old business models, adopt new technologies and shift their processes to adapt to the new norm. Essential technology had to be implemented swiftly to ensure a contactless and socially distanced stay, internal processes upgraded as staff worked from home and the front office became remote, and many property managers had to lay off team members to make ends meet.
The fast rebound of the travel industry, the spike in travel demand, and the increased appreciation for a private vacation home over a hotel is all good news for the vacation rental industry, but making sure your company is prepared to ensure interaction with your brand at all touchpoints provides a positive experience for the guest.
The Frontline is the Bottom Line
The traditional front desk is a thing of the past and while we search for the right balance between technology and human interaction (each market will be different!), we need to be investing in both innovative solutions and human capital. A carefully selected team can influence guest satisfaction, build your brand and drive your business forward for growth.
Your frontline team are the face and backbone of your business, they execute the business plan, deliver the service, and interact with guests directly.
From the reservationist creating the booking and guest service agents customizing the vacation to cleaning staff and maintenance crew, your frontline team includes each and every member that interacts with your guest along the way and has the power to make or break the guest experience.
Hiring for Personality & Skill
We need to shelve old human resource and hiring models and shift our mindsets! Your candidate may have the technical skills and experience to do the job, but more importantly, do they have the cognitive ability, personality, and soft skills to add value to your team and guest experience. They may be able to carry out the job effectively, but are they right for the position and your brand?
Our personalities influence our approach to work, how we communicate and interact, manage stress, and make decisions. The most important soft skills for customer-facing positions include emotional intelligence, self-motivation, communication, empathy, flexibility, resilience, and core values that match your company culture.
Personality profiling and cognitive testing are modern and advanced tools that are quick to complete, exceptionally accurate, identify the key behavioral attributes of the candidate, and match the right person to the right role, based on both skill and personality.
These tools can be used in the workplace not only to attract new talent and make smart hiring decisions but to identify existing high-potential employees for leadership, match employees to the right roles, increase productivity, help employees better understand each other (and themselves!), build a high-performing, united team and create a workplace culture where your team, guest satisfaction, and bottom line thrives!
How to Treat & Train Your Front Line
Now you’ve found the perfect employee that matches the ethos and brand of your business, don’t take a sink or swim approach and throw them in the deep end! Your frontline team are the face of your brand and has a huge impact on the success story and overall reputation of your company.
Employee Onboarding: Your onboarding process will depend on the structure and culture of your company. Whether you use an informal or formal approach, employee onboarding should be a thorough process that prepares new team members for the day-to-day processes and the challenges that arise from guest interactions, demands, and expectations.
Tools & Training: Train your team on the technical aspects of the role, to understand the guest journey, your brand, and your expectations when interacting with guests. Every guest interaction is unique, and your frontline team are part of the guest experience in real-time! Research shows that 59% of customers feel that brands have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. Your team needs to think from the guest perspective, be proactive, not reactive in their decision making and guest engagement, and understand healthy conflict resolution. Provide continual learning opportunities to improve hard and soft skills, cross-train, upskill and empower your team with the tools and technology they need to get the job done effectively. From the front desk to cleaning and maintenance, each role is as important.
Actively Engage: One of the strongest human needs is the need to be appreciated. Interactive leadership, employee engagement, and gratitude to your team creates a culture of appreciation in the workplace, increases performance, and directly impacts productivity. Assign a mentor to new team members, create performance appreciation programs and encourage, recognize, appreciate and empower your employees with positive engagement.
It is estimated that up to 75% of all hiring decisions result in a mis-hire, which can be costly and frustrating, especially in an industry with a high employee turnover. A successful long-term talent acquisition strategy is essential to attract the right people, screen out the mismatches and hire the right talent to build a team that aligns with your company goals, core values, and unique culture.