Resort management has become a vital part of the hospitality and tourism industry. Guests who visit resort settings pay significant fees and have reasonably lofty expectations.
Leaders in resort management services understand the value of creating an unforgettable experience that keeps guests happy and ready to tell friends, family, and others who might consider visiting.
However, as you might expect, resort property management is complex, featuring many moving parts and people. It is more than a concept. The best resort management practices feature a complex system and set of processes that everyone must understand and commit to fulfilling daily.
Do you know everything resort management entails? If not, join us for a deep dive into this crucial and exciting segment of the hospitality industry.
What Is Resort Management?
Resort management is an integral part of the hospitality and tourism industry. It involves overseeing and taking care of a lodging facility’s operations, accommodations, recreation, entertainment, and food services.
You’ll find more than one presiding manager within this discipline since, as noted, resort management covers many smaller areas. Resort management serves as the umbrella scheme of operations that helps bring together a cohesive guest experience.
For each hotel resort, you’ll find a specific hotel accommodation manager, restaurant manager, recreational director, and food services manager. But in resort management, they all work under a coordinated set of plans and operations.
Visiting a resort that has a strong resort management reputation represents the best vacation experience for couples, families, or groups of friends.
It’s a dynamic area and well worth a look at all the exciting aspects of it.
Past, Present, and Future
There are many reasons people have loved the resort experience throughout the ages, which go back farther than many might realize. Consider the Roman Baths in 2nd Century BC. These original resorts were small and modest, creating separate spaces for women and men. However, they eventually became more extensive and elaborate, featuring larger buildings and hosting wealthy emperors. However, these spaces were also open to the public for free or with a small fee. Like modern resorts, there was more to the space than the baths. Once finished in the bath facilities, guests could visit libraries, gyms, restaurants, and many other social areas.
The tradition carried on throughout European cultures. In Europe, over the past thousand years, the resort experience focused more on health and medical alternatives. They were places for rest and recovery with added social and health-focused activities, such as fitness areas, dancing, and healthy dining options. You might have found a combination of dancing and gambling in English resorts for more of a social focus.
North America began adopting this concept in the 19th century, focusing mainly on the seaside or water-adjacent experience. The outdoors were and remain a powerful lure of North American resorts. These resort management companies focus on guest health and well-being, offering a bounty of beach, boardwalk, and boating activities to try during a stay.
Today, the resort tradition stands firm in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Resort management representatives commit to providing all-inclusive experiences, providing anything a vacationer might want at their convenience on the premises. Amenities include food, lodging, swimming, shopping, entertainment, tennis, water sports, spa services, recreation, room cleaning, and tourism consultation. Top resorts in the U.S. include Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas, The Lodge at Woodlock in Hawley, Pennsylvania, The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana, and many more.
The future of resorts and resort management focuses on continuing to create highly specialized guest experiences. You’ll see an ongoing trend of destination, luxury, timeshare, recreational resorts, and mega-chains needing highly trained, hospitality-educated resort management team members.
It is no exaggeration to say that technology will play a critical part in ensuring the success of resort management companies worldwide. Given the expansion of the idea of the monumental resort, the ability to communicate and operate seamlessly via technology is critical in a resort’s quest to become a mega-chain.
The need to stay at the cutting edge of technology has been vital for decades. But now more than ever, resort managers and staff must understand and use technology to their advantage to keep customers happy and their competition at bay.
Here are some exciting technologies hotels and resorts are adopting:
- Predictive maintenance
- Smart energy management
- Big data and cybersecurity
- Remote check-in and check-out
- Mobile room keys
- Smart reserved parking and room service
- Online reputation management solutions
- Smart marketing practices
Aspects of Resort Management
You’ll find that resort management starts with ownership and an executive team. This group will develop and define the resort’s vision, laying out the mission and standards everyone in the organization will follow.
Resort leadership will go on to define the measures necessary to bring their vision to reality and create a comfortable and memorable stay for everyone who visits. Like any operation, they understand that in order to manage budgets, ensure the highest quality ingredients, and maintain high standards in presentation and service, they must delegate tasks to highly specialized professionals in areas such as food and beverage services.
However, there is much more to resort management.
Oversight of lodging operations might be one of the most critical areas of hospitality management. The manager in this role oversees the facilities and property management in general. More specifically, they monitor guest satisfaction during overnight stays to ensure customer satisfaction with food service, landscaping, interior maintenance, and much more.
Duties might include:
- Handling guest check-ins and check-outs.
- Providing concierge services.
- Managing housekeeping and front desk staff.
Anyone heading off for a resort wants plenty of recreational opportunities. Therefore, resorts need managers in this area at the top of their game to help develop suitable recreational activities based on anticipated enjoyment and participation, the cost versus potential participation, and how much the activities can attract future guests.
Duties might include:
- Hiring and training staff.
- Developing and implementing activities and events.
- Maintaining equipment and facilities
- Ensuring all safety standards are met.
As noted above, resorts need experts in food service management to ensure top-quality food ingredients, preparation, presentation, and customer satisfaction. If you pursue this role, you’ll be responsible for your hotel resort’s restaurant, catering, and room service operations.
The primary duties in this role include:
- Creating a budget for the kitchen according to the number of upcoming guests compared to previous records with similar details.
- Ensuring you have the necessary kitchen, hosting, and waitstaff coverage, managing the hiring process, and scheduling accordingly throughout the season.
- Providing staff with a policy manual to avoid misunderstandings and confusion that could lead to unsatisfactory guest experiences.
- Performing regular staff appraisals.
- Maintaining food safety standards and quality.
- Maintaining consistent stock, and regularly conducting an inventory of food ingredients and kitchen supplies.
- Interacting with guests to obtain feedback and let them know you care about their enjoyment.
While certain administrators, such as food and beverage managers, handle specific aspects of the hiring and employee management process, human resources also play a role. Since a hotel resort has so many areas to cover, it makes sense to have a professional human resources (HR) team on duty.
HR professionals can help your team by:
- Reviewing resumes to pinpoint the strongest candidates per departmental job descriptions.
- Conducting the first round of interviews to vet candidates.
- Facilitating employee development by coordinating special training for their roles and those seeking promotions.
- Helping promote the resort’s values to applicants as candidates, during onboarding, and throughout their employment.
Guest service professionals serve as the face of the resort, assisting customers in helping them have an enjoyable and comfortable experience. You usually find these professionals stationed at the hotel desk or a kiosk in the resort lobby.
These professionals must be highly visible and easily accessible to hotel guests in the spa industry, sports facilities, and luxury resorts.
Duties might include:
- Checking guests in and out of the resort.
- Assisting guests in navigating the resort, city, activities, and events.
- Alerting baggage staff for assistance.
- Accommodating special requests.
- Answering phone calls and emails.
- Providing recommendations based on study or personal experience.
- Processing payments and issuing room keys.
Dos and Don’ts of Resort Management
Owners and managers in resort management services continually try to find ways to improve their offerings. They can look back at situations to see if there are things they would do differently. Experience is a great teacher, but it’s better to learn some essential “dos and don’ts” before you ever have to encounter them, especially those that negatively impact your guests.
Here are some top dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do Encourage and Listen to Guest Feedback
As a member of resort management services, you need to seek and listen to guest feedback. Your guests are goldmines of crucial information about your services, good, bad, or otherwise. If they had a wonderful time and wouldn’t change anything, that’s a feather in your cap. However, if you miss an opportunity to hear their feedback, they might decide to write a negative online review or warn friends and family away from your establishment.
Asking for guest feedback allows you to defray the damage of anything they didn’t like by offering an apology and a discount.
Don’t Skimp on Hiring Quality Employees
You want to hire the best employees for every position to maintain your resort’s standards and public reputation. Work with your HR team and respective managers to ensure that employees have all the necessary qualifications, a positive attitude, and a clean record.
Do Keep Things Clean and Maintain Standards
You never want to get feedback that your resort’s cleaning standards are subpar. Work with your resort property management and cleaning teams to ensure the highest standards are met and kept in the kitchen, dining area, guest rooms, recreational areas, and beyond.
Don’t Fall Behind on Financial Reporting
Your financial records are crucial to your profits and overall success, so be sure to stay caught up. Make sure you hire an accountant and an accounting team that understands the resort hotel management industry. Create a team that never misses an income statement or balance sheet.
Do Stay Consistent with Your Brand Identity
The hospitality industry is competitive, so creating and maintaining a consistent brand identity has become invaluable. Hire a marketing team to:
- Develop and promote your resort’s brand name.
- Design a style, including a logo, brand color scheme, and imagery.
- Decide on, commit to, and advertise your brand theme, such as luxury, eco-friendly, or adventure.
- Define your brand philosophy and corporate mission.
Don’t Ignore Team Morale
It’s vital to keep your resort staff as satisfied as your guests. You count on your employees to promote your brand and serve your guests every day. Offer benefits, compensation, and plenty of extras to keep high-quality employees on your payroll.
- Some benefits and team morale-building ideas include:
- Create and foster a positive work environment where employees feel seen and heard.
- Offer benefits that fit employees’ wishes and lifestyles as much as possible.
- Host events to celebrate successful quarters or years.
- Give employees bonuses when possible and as appropriate.
Examples of Industry Leaders
It always helps to understand an industry by looking at its leaders to gain insights and inspiration. Here are some of today’s best resort industry leaders.
Marriott International is a name most of us have heard throughout the years. This multinational hotel resort leader serves as the largest hotel chain in the world when accounting for the total number of rooms. The company also features 30 unique brands and 7,642 hotels.
Marriott’s overriding principles focus on hiring the best and ensuring employees know their value.
Despite being the third largest hotel chain worldwide, you will probably also know the Hilton brand. Hilton owns 7,000 properties in 122 countries and territories. The company’s success relies on its strong branding and commitment to hiring the best and most talented employees for every role.
InterContinental Hotel Groups (IHG)
While IHG might not have the household name recognition of other hospitality brands, you might recognize some of its partners and subsidiaries, such as Holiday Inn, Regent, Crowne Plaza, Atwell Suites, Even Hotels, and Staybridge Suites. The hotel conglomerate understands how to create niche stay experiences for a broad range of guests with varying needs and goals, which is a major reason for IHG’s success. It puts its guests’ needs first and ensures accommodation for them no matter where they travel.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Inc.
With 9,280 locations, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts touts itself as the largest hotel franchisor in the world. Like IHG, the American Wyndham chain has an impressive and highly recognizable portfolio, including many ‘everyday stay’ spots for automotive travelers like Super 8, Travelodge, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, and La Quinta. While these short-stay motels and hotels are a core part of Wyndham’s success, the company also features many resorts in the U.S. and worldwide.
Learn More About Resort Management to Launch Your Career in the Hospitality Industry with Confidence
Johnson & Wales University’s Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management prepares students for rewarding careers in hospitality. Additionally, students may choose to customize their degree with specializations in Food and Beverage, Hotels and Resorts, and Sustainable Tourism.