The hotel business is quite different from other types of service businesses, as it is a more complex business model, which encompasses more than providing accommodation. A starred-hotel usually also offers food and beverage services —in the form of restaurants, cafes, catering, and room service— and other related services, like meeting facility, spa, salon, and fitness club. Such complexity requires a comprehensive understanding of how things work and an advanced level of synchronizing project tasks, especially when it comes to opening a new hotel site.
Customarily, a new hotel venture is driven by corporate operations, which is supported by local task-based teams. Thus, according to Project Management Institute (PMI), this type of project is considered a “functional organization structure” project, where each member of the team has a supervisor and they are grouped by area of expertise. The project manager’s position is in between the team members and the functional managers.
For instance, a large group of hotel is being set up a hotel in a new city. The corporate office sends their functional managers, such as finance, sales and marketing, food and beverage, and human resources to the local site. These managers are accountable for the project team’s tasks, whereas the project manager merely serves as a coordinator of sorts. The functional managers’ specific expertise allow them to effectively supervise and determine which areas need improvements. In other words, these managers are already experienced and can provide valuable inputs to the local teams. This would place them in at a dominant position over team members, while the project manager is more in charge of ensuring the smooth execution of the project.
The advantage of a functional organizational structure is obvious, which is a clear chain of command and communication. However, in a hotel project, things can be quite chaotic and can require improvements. There at least five things that a project manager can do and should do to facilitate, coordinate, and expedite.
Choose the right team
Group people based on their skill and experience levels. Every team must comprise of individuals who can work together and follow a single leadership. Ideally, every team member has a sufficient level of skills and knowledge required for completing the tasks. However, sometimes inexperienced members must be included. When this is the case, make sure that at least several of them are experienced so they can serve as “role models” for the new members.
Ensuring the sizes of the teams are manageable
The project manager should serve as an advisor to functional managers and team leaders when it comes to choosing the number of team members. The larger the team, the harder it is to manage and communicate. It also requires a more complex logistics. Thus, depending on the task, a project manager should have a good understanding of grouping a task into smaller tasks for efficiency.
Ensure no duplication of tasks
In a large and complex hotel project, communication lines often get blurred and tasks get duplicated. When duplication of tasks occurs, it not only affects the overall schedule but also results in wastage of resources and often increased costs. Thus, it is a project manager’s job to carefully review each team member’s tasks and responsibilities from time to time.
Ensuring good and reliable channels for horizontal and vertical communication
Communication is the key to a successful project of any size. In a busy opening of a 500-room hotel project, for instance, the sizes of teams can be quite large, thus communicating can be a real challenge, because, the functional manager often at times must reach all team members simultaneously. Communicating with managers is also crucial as it would ensure the same pace among departments. The project manager should strive to keep up with the pace of the communication and maintain open communication channels.
Ensuring the organizational goal is attained, instead of only focusing on the functional goals
Sometimes, when a department’s tasks are completed, the functional manager thinks his job is done. No, it isn’t. A project is considered successful when all teams are successful. While it is a project manager’s job to remind the functional manager and the team members that there are team milestones to accomplish, the project milestones should be the top priority.
Opening a new hotel can be quite complex and takes a village to finish. However, with solid teams led by functional managers who are committed to achieving the project milestones and an accommodating project manager, it can be done with minimal distraction. The key is synchronizing multiple teams to work in harmony.
By Nikhil Daddikar, Co-Founder, Celoxis Technologies
About Celoxis: Celoxis is world’s leading online PPM software, rated among 3 best project management software tools in the world and is deployed by more than 2000+ customers globally, from mid-sized enterprises to Fortune 100 companies, across industry verticals. To know more visit www.celoxis.com.