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Staff Training Procedures by Hotel in Taipei

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Staff and their level of service can make or break a hotel. It doesn’t matter if you have the best amenities, the biggest swimming pool and even the latest celebrity chef cooking your guests’ breakfasts every morning, if you don’t have good service then you won’t get good reviews, and if you don’t get good reviews then you won’t make it in the hospitality industry. It could be argued that impeccable service is not altogether necessary, that doing the basics should be enough to get you through providing that you get everything else right, but that’s simply not the case in this industry. If you want to achieve a 5 star rating, for instance, then everything needs to be perfect. The staff need to be friendly and attentive, they should be prepared to cater for all of the needs of the guests (within reason).

Cleaners should understand how to prepare a room for a new guests, making the bed, leaving out complementary teas, coffees and more. Room service should be on hand at all hours, ready to offer good food quickly. The front desk should be kind, courteous, ready to deal with issues, to provide wake-up calls and assistance where needed. These things may be overlooked by some guests, but not by all of them, and you can guarantee that no star rating provider will overlook anything, no matter how small.

If you run a small bed and breakfast, then you can get away with avoiding the small stuff. It’s a novelty after all, and that’s why many people venture into this industry and succeed, even with no prior experience. Guests still expect a certain level of service, but they tend to forgive boutique B&Bs more than they do big hotels, especially those hotels that have a name to live up to. Unlike in the restaurant industry, and many other industries for that matter, they don’t just hire anyone off the street and then thrust them into the job hoping they will learn as they go along. They have to train, they have to learn, and only when they have reached a certain level can they begin work, and even then it will be supervised. So, what sort of training do new staff in the hotel industry have to go through? Well, it all depends on where they are working in the hotel, as there are different standards, different tasks and different requirements, but there are a few universal laws that apply across the entire hotel industry, as we shall discover.

Front Desk

The front desk is a crucial part of any hotel, as this is where the guests will form their first opinions of the staff. The level of service here should always be very high and in the best hotels it is. Hotel owners like the staff behind the front desk to be standing up, looking smart at all times and with a smile on their faces. In fact, many 5-star hotels are known to not put any chairs behind the front desk, discouraging their staff from sitting down and ensuring they are standing to attention and looking professional at all times.

Staff working behind the front desk are required to greet all guests politely. They are also required to answer the phones, although they should never answer the phone when serving a guest, or when dealing with a queue (although 4 and 5 star hotels do their best to ensure there is never a queue). This part of the job is important, but typically new workers work under brief supervision from someone who is more experienced, receiving pointers from them during and after a day’s work.

Cleaners

Cleaners in a premium hotel should never be seen, as far as the hotel owners are concerned. The cleaners should do their work when the guests are out or are at breakfast, turning dirty rooms into immaculately clean ones so that guests return to see the room exactly like it was when they first booked into the hotel. They are required to fulfill over a hundred “targets” in a single room, which can range from how the toilet paper is folded and presented, to how the mirrors are shined, the bed made and the complementary slippers and bathrobe laid out. Cleaners must memorize all of these targets and they must meet them in every single room without fail. They are often overseen by one or more supervisors who make it their job to check-up on the cleaners.

This is one of the hardest jobs in the hotel, because not only does it have to be exact, but it also has to be done quickly. It is not unusual for single cleaners or pairs of cleaners to be set the target of cleaning over 50 rooms in just a couple of hours. This is a job that will be done once a day, but one that needs to be done everyday of the week. They may also be called to do other jobs in the hotel, but typically they are tasked with turning over the rooms everyday. To get a job as a cleaner in a top hotel you need to have plenty of experience and you also need to show that you can do the job efficiently and quickly, or at least learn how to do so.

Cooks and Servers

Although it is a very specialized job, one in which applicants will need to learn how to cook, those working in the kitchen tend to have it easier and are often thrust into the job immediately. Of course, they need to have some prior restaurant experience to get a job in a major hotel kitchen, but in this job the best way to learn is to do. Trainee chefs tend to work under a head chef, with their job revolving around being shouted at as they prepare food and perform other simple duties, learning the craft as they go along. Eventually they may climb further up the chain, with the potential to become head chef themselves one day.

The reason the kitchen works a little differently is because they are heavily supervised and there is no direct contact with any of the guests. Trainee chefs do not cook or plate-up the food in the beginning, with that job going to those with experience. As for the people who serve the food, they require a little more training. In the higher-end hotels, such as the 5-star hotels that have a luxury name to live up to, customers expect a certain level of service. Servers will need to learn how to approach a table, how to talk to the customer, how to offer them wine, how to serve them wine and how to take orders and serve food. It may seem obvious, but at this level there is a very particular way of doing things, and although many guests might not notice the difference, some of them will, and the maître d’ definitely will.

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