Standard Operating Procedure for Hotels

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In the hotel industry where excellent, consistent service is a key factor in success, standard operating procedures, or SOPs, play an important role.

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A hotel's standard operating procedure sets out the policies and protocols of a hotel in a written format that's easily accessible to hotel employees. A typical standard operating procedure has three parts: a purpose, or the clearly stated task the SOP details and what its expected results should be; a procedure, or step-by-step guide to tackling the task; and resources, including hotel staff, other employees or management and databases or other references.

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A hotel standard operating procedure's purpose is to improve guest experience. Standard operating procedures do this by educating hotel staff on the best way to deal with a given situation, from fielding guest complaints to handling fire drills. By creating a guest service structure that's consistent and clearly thought out by top management, hotels can ensure a positive guest experience.

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Hotels might use several different types of standard operating procedures.

Tool procedures focus on specific tasks that hotel staffers might have to deal with. Tool procedures may cover tasks that hotel staff is likely to run into every day, such as late check-out or temperature concerns, as well as rare circumstances, such as fire alarms sounding or elevator malfunctions.

Rule procedures help hotel staffers deal with potentially tricky situations. Rule procedures may cover acceptable employee conduct, such as whether an employee can accept a cash tip from a hotel guest. Rule procedures also may cover guests in sensitive areas such as signs of smoking in a nonsmoking room or a declined credit card.

Job procedures clearly outline an employee's role and responsibilities within the hotel so that expectations are clear.

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According to HVS, a consulting and service organization that focuses on the hotel and leisure industry, standard operating procedures benefit hotels in a number of ways.

In the competitive hotel industry, a standard operating procedure ensures that a hotel keeps the promises made in its marketing materials and advertisements. Standard operating procedures also ensure that guests get the same treatment each time they visit the hotel. A thorough SOP can help employers with posting future job openings because each employee's role is clearly outlined. Having SOPs also provides a foundation for hotel employees' performance evaluations.

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Standard operating procedures may take as long as three months to complete, since in order to be successful they must be tested and evaluated extensively. Hotel standard operating procedures are most successful when employees participate in their creation.

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