Who has time for books these days? Well, if you want to be successful, you should make time. The most successful people in any industry are voracious readers, and hotel management is no different.
Warren Buffett once said the key to his success was reading 500 pages per day.
“That’s how knowledge works,” he said. “It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, reads an eye-popping three hours per day. Bill Gates says he reads 50 books per year. Elon Musk claims he learned how to build rockets just from his reading habit.
You get the idea. Reading is more than a hobby to the ultra-successful: it’s a way to absorb the acquired knowledge of humanity and get an advantage over the average person who doesn’t bother reading regularly.
And it matters what kind of books you read. A 2014 survey showed that people with an annual income of $160,000 or more read primarily educational books for self-improvement, while people with an annual income of $35,000 or less read primarily for entertainment.
Hotel management may seem straightforward, but as you well know, it’s tough to master. Even the best hotel management software can’t replace possessing the know-how to please your customers. Sure, you can attend conferences or dive into your own hotel’s data. But there’s no better place to get good training in a short amount of time than to crack open a book written by someone who has mastered the art of running a hotel.
We’ve compiled five top hotel management books (in no particular order) that are must-haves for any hotel manager hoping to take their skills to the next level.
There’s one surefire way to improve if you’re in any industry, and it’s ridiculously simple: find out what successful people are doing, and then copy their example.
That’s why The Heart of Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets is such a great book. It gives you insight into what successful hotel managers are doing that you may not be doing.
With this book, you can learn from leaders at Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, and Virgin Hotels — brands that have certainly made their mark on the hotel industry.
The Heart of Hospitality is an essential guide for figuring out customer service and consumer trends in the hotel industry. It’s a readable volume that can help you serve any guest and appeals to Millennials specifically by using first-hand stories to share secrets from top hospitality professionals.
“As a single location spa owner from Ann Arbor, it’s very easy to think, ‘I could never get my business to function at the level of the Ritz Carlton or one of the other five star companies profiled in The Heart of Hospitality.’ But that’s not at all the feeling I got from the book. I felt the author was gently yet firmly (and often, humorously) showing me and any reader that it can be done—and how to do it.” — Melissa Mueller”
Solomon’s book opened my eyes to these seeming ‘unscripted and effortless’ actions and how they can be quantified and measured to ensure an amazing customer experience.” — Jason Erickson
Your customers are the lifeblood of your hotel, so treat them right. Customer service is an art, and Be Our Guest promises to get you focused on the right things as you turn your hotel into a more guest-centric place.
This book gives you a peek at Disney’s approach to customer service, which involves “exceeding expectations” rather than just seeking to meet them. Be Our Guest tells you how to go above and beyond, and what kind of impact that can have on your business.
Be Our Guest is all about exceeding expectations, and not just simply satisfying them. That principle is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service, and this book will help professionals find new ways to serve their guests that you won’t see in the standard workplace, helping you experience the magic of quality customer service.
“So what of the Disney philosophy can be applied to other businesses? Easy. Whatever you do must be of the highest quality–and always with the customers’ needs in mind. You ‘plus’ it—giving more than is expected. Every contact made with your customer must be memorable.” — Paul T. Smith
“I could not stop reading this book. If every CEO, manager, owner and employee of every company read it and lived by Disney’s rules, they would have happier employees and more customers. Well written, concise and excellent advice for everyone who is in any kind of business.” — L. K. Larson
Customers may be your lifeblood, but you need a tight-knit team of loyal and happy employees to make those customers happy. Having a rock-solid team behind you is vital in any industry, but this book delves into the unique challenges facing hotel managers who have to run a staff with diverse responsibilities, ranging from checking people in to changing sheets to cooking meals.
As this book mentions, the No. 1 reason why employees leave their job isn’t because they’re not getting paid enough or don’t like what they do, but rather because they feel unappreciated.
This book goes into detail on how you can connect with your staff and show them that their wellbeing is paramount to you.
Employees are vital to the success of any business, but feeling unappreciated is the biggest reason why employees bolt. Recruitment costs are rising and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future, so you need to learn how to care for your employees as a manager. This book will teach you how to connect with your team and exhibit thoughtfulness and compassion in seven easy ways based on real-life experiences.
“This book highlights basic and simply methods to show your employees that you care and how this approach increases work satisfaction and employee productivity. These methods are extremely easy, inexpensive, and practical.” — Emily Barnes”
An easy read but quite insightful! This book is an excellent resource for managers across all industries. Employee retention is something managers grapple with and the insights in this book can help in that regard by offering ways to ensure employees feel valued and appreciated so they can bring the best of themselves to work each day.” — Crystal S.
4. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
You’re not in the hotel business, you’re in the customer service business. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit is one of the top books when it comes to customer service, so you’d be well advised to set aside an hour or so to gobble up this concise business tome.
Much like Be Our Guest, it focuses on anticipatory customer service, using the Ritz-Carlton and the technology company Oasis as case studies to help you understand what the big dogs do.
At only 150 pages or so, it’s a quick read, and a good pamphlet to refer back to frequently for inspiration.
The market is competitive and ever-changing, and the best way to protect yourself is put everything you have into customer loyalty. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit features advice from insiders Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon on how you can improve both online and offline customer service in a way that will make your customers beg for more. This “anticipatory customer service” approach was developed by the Ritz-Carlton and the technology company Oasis, and is now being used around the globe. This book will help you adopt those techniques and make them work for your brand.
“The authors threw me a couple of curveballs and now have me reevaluating every interaction I have with my customers. If you want to build an organization that is successful because of the way you treat your customers, you must read this book.” — TRW
“From the moment I opened (or slid over as I’m reading the Kindle version) the first part of this book, which was the table of contents, I was excited about what I might be able to learn from this book. As I read from page to page, reading their substantiated reasons for doing what they suggest with stories and experiences that clearly supported and elucidated their points, I knew this would be a constant resource for me, my staff, and my superiors.” — Pamela F. Stanley
For hoteliers looking for a little more depth and detail on the ins and outs of hotel management, this comprehensive book will give you plenty to think about.
And it’s more than just tips: the author takes the reader on a journey from the hotel’s inception to its opening and day-to-day operations, allowing you to visualize what you could change at your hotel right this moment to make it better.
Some readers noted that the book is meant more for beginners in hotel management, so if you’re looking for more advanced techniques, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Peter Venison spent several weeks in five-star hotels while tackling a complicated business deal, and he came to the realization that the industry falls short of perfection when it comes to pleasing guests in several areas. So he decided to write 100 Tips for Hoteliers, a handy catalog of suggestions for those in the hospitality business. It’s based on his personal experiences as a hotelier, and as a hotel guest.
“He talks about considerations like which way rooms face (east/west, etc), and how to get guests to forgive construction mess and when not to push their buttons. It is obvious that the author has traveled extensively, and has taken note of everything he thinks would be helpful. He includes countless stories and personal observations. It’s easy to read and is broken down into small chapters. It’s the perfect book to keep in your car or bag for quick reads.” — S.A.
“This Book is so good that while borrowing it from a friend (because I was opening a hotel), I decided to buy it because I was taking so many detailed notes and getting so much pertinent information. This book provides a wealth of knowledge and is very easy to read. I highly recommend this for anyone in the Hotel/Hospitality industry.” — Chantel L. Figueroa
Tell us what books changed you
We know there are other fantastic books out there that hotel managers would find useful, so we want to hear about any you’ve read that had a lasting impact. And it doesn’t just have to be about hotel management. Effective books about business or even running your life can have a huge impact on how one runs a hotel. We’d love to keep adding to this list, so please, help us out in the comments below.
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