Thursday, February 2, 2017

How many staff is needed for a 60 room hotel?

You need as many as you need. It's not a Navy ship: you don't have a "compliment" (I'm not a believer in organizational charts), but you've got a lot of work to do, and you need a number of people there who can get it all done.

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Some people try to run a hotel without a 24-hour front desk, but with over 30 rooms (and anything smaller is a bed-and-breakfast, or a Mom and Pop), I wouldn't try anything like that. So the front desk has to be attended 24–7 -- 168 hours per week. Four full-time equivalent employees could get it done, with one odd shift left over for the general manager to take a turn at driving the desk each week (which is a practice I'd encourage anyway, especially in a property that small).
You're probably going to need more than four people. Between the inevitable scheduling issues, people calling off, occasional turnover, and some people who just don't want to work more than four days a week; if you try to get by with just four bodies, you're going to be vulnerable to incurring overtime pay. But on the front desk, you're still going to have the equivalent of four people working 40 hours a week, plus the extra eight hour shift.

At least two of those front desk employees are going to be night auditors -- at seven, eight-hour shifts per week for a total of 56 hours, you're going to need at least one full-time night auditor, and at least one other employee who can be scheduled to do it on the nights that your full-time auditor is off. (Here again, your vulnerability to incurring overtime pay is decreased if you don't let your employees accumulate more than 40 hours a week.) I'd have two full-time night auditors and rotate them on day or evening shifts when I don't need them on third shift doing the audit.
One of those night auditors is going to be my assistant general manager. In a Beechmont-operated hotel that size, the night audit accountability is the entry level management accountability; and frankly, a hotel that small is too small to need a dedicated, full-time, assistant general manager "position". I'm already using someone that I have to trust with it overnight, every night, anyway. It shouldn't take that much more by way of training and formation so that I can leave it with them maybe a week or more at a time. Or even move them to another hotel, as general manager of that property (another reason why, you always have two), if the opportunity arises.
If you want to use more part-timers instead, you can do that (news flash --- you don't "have" to if you don't want, Obamacare is being repealed, ready or not), but you need as many people as you need to get all the shifts covered.
I think you're better off with committed full-time help. You won't be able to regard them as expendable and interchangeable quite as much as people who prefer part-time help do, but for employees who have it only as a part-time job that they could more easily afford to lose, then to them, you and your hotel is expendable and interchangeable. If the job that you give them is their bread and butter, their primary source of livelihood; then they tend to be just a little more committed, and you can do a great deal more with them.
The existential question around it is, do you regard your payroll as an expense item to be cut as much as you can, or do you see people as an investment that can provide tremendous, often unique and personal, benefits to you if you're a bit more generous and invest just a little more in them?
Someone's got to do all the cleaning. For housekeepers, the magic number is fourteen: that's how many rooms it usually works to plan on having each of them clean each day. In a 60-room property, I'd plan on five. You shouldn't need one doing laundry full-time for a property that small: you should be able to put one of them doing the laundry each day, and giving her some nice easy stayover rooms to service on the same floor as the laundry room.
One way or another you're going to need a maintenance guy who's going to be pretty much full-time --- either that or you're going to have a lot of expense calling in repairmen or contractors to fix things that break, and making do, however, until they send someone out. The more you try to skimp in this area, the more it's going to happen. You can have one guy doing it for eight bucks an hour, but that's going to get you eight bucks an hour worth of maintenance guy. Plan on paying twelve to fourteen bucks an hour, and demanding in return a high skill level in a variety of trades, and enough flexibility to show up in the middle of the night if the need arises and you have to call.
At the equivalent of a Red Roof Inn or a Motel 6, you can dispense with the complimentary breakfast. But if you're going to run something nice enough to have a complimentary breakfast (and a franchised cheap hotel can be pretty shabby and still be that "nice", so that's what you'll have to compete with); and you're going to do more than make some coffee, toss out some Sam's Club pastries, and fill a bin dispenser full of breakfast cereal, you're going to want a breakfast hostess. It's at minimum a five hour a day, seven-day-a-week a week job; so you'll probably need a second one part-time, unless it's something you can assign another employee to do. (Be forewarned, the night auditor and the 7-to-3 desk clerk aren't going to like it, if it gets to be too much for them, or if they're asked to do it too frequently, and will likely rebel . . .)
If you’re going to make it a full breakfast, you’ll need a cook and dishwasher (the same person to do both, if you’re fortunate) in addition to the hostess.
Okay, now, the basics are covered. We're up to ten full-time people including the general manager (unless you're going to jump in and run it yourself); plus one almost full-time person (the breakfast hostess), plus one or two more if your breakfast operation becomes really involved, and you're still going to need a few part-timers to fill in a few five- to eight-hour gaps.
Now, what kind of hotel do you want to run?
Up until this point, I've been anticipating a nice little limited-service, 60-room property, with no meeting space, and no food and beverage (other than that complimentary breakfast); but even if you're running a completely stripped down, cheap, Motel 6 or equivalent, the requirements don't get any lower.
In a property that small, that had no meeting or banquet space to book, I wouldn't bother with a sales manager. Hotel sales and marketing is a specialty, and you can find people that are very good at it who will bring a much higher level of skill and experience than the average manager of a property that size can bring to it themselves. But 60 rooms shouldn't be that difficult to keep pretty full, and I require any manager that I'm willing to consider keeping to have enough sales and marketing skill to get it done -- or at least to identify any employee with the talent and the willingness to do it, and to encourage and support them in getting it done.
If you have food and beverage service, you’ll have to staff that separately, and the rules on how to staff a restaurant or a lounge will apply — it’ll all depend on what sort of establishment that you want to run. This will include any complimentary managers’ reception or wine and cheese reception that occurs in addition to the complimentary breakfast.
If you have meeting and banquet space, you’ll have to staff that separately. You’ll more likely need a dedicated salesperson, and you’ll need some utility workers to set up the room and do any required cleaning afterward.
If you have meeting space and food and beverage, you’ll have to achieve some synergy if your meeting space includes banquet business: you’ll need banquet servers. This can often be worked out between the restaurant and the sales department, but temporary help will often be required.
If you have a service department, all the staff for that — bellmen, concierge, van drivers, etc. — is extra. Even if you have a van and offer shuttle service to and from the airport, if it stays busy enough to justify having it, you will need a guy whose primary responsibility is to drive the shuttle. You can use him as a houseman, or to help out your maintenance guy, when he isn’t occupied doing that.
But if all you have is a 60-key, limited service, rooms-only operation, then you’re off on your way with what I’ve given you.

Originally appeared on Quora

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