Operating procedures are the systems that are in place when you open your bed and breakfast. They include business procedures, steps you take to welcome guests, and plan for maintenance. You have these procedures written down, you have trained your staff, and you have verified that the staff understands them all fully. The manual should at least include:
- schedule of payments and due dates for insurance, fixed expenses, mortgage, payroll taxes, payroll, …
- inventory order dates
- staff meeting and work schedules
- phone list
- phone-side information (answers to the most frequently asked inn questions) [This tool again assists in showing a united front — consistency — regardless of who’s answering the phone. It sure is helpful when your brain is tired from the day or some specific activity.]
- special events calendar and procedures
- repair and maintenance log (good for insurance, sale, etc.) — shows your good faith effort to guest safety
- mail sorting policy
- message book [I loved our message book. It was a convenient place to take notes while talking to someone on the phone so you could keep track of details, like their name or needs, so you could stay focused. It became a central clearing house for notes passed among employees and a way for someone who hadn’t been to work in several days to catch up on the happenings and be part of the flow of the inn’s energy. It was an organizational tool in the sense that the evening innkeeper left instructions for the breakfast person about how many breakfasts to expect to serve in the dinning room, breakfast in bed and what time; it also reviewed for the housekeeper how many “check-outs” and “stay overs” they would tend to that day. We used this tool effectively. Warning: Don’t write notes about guests that you don’t want them seeing, unless this notebook is away from guests’ eyes.]
- tip handling
- emergency procedures, icluding where the gas, electric, and water controls are, where fire extinguishers are and their recharge schedule, and who to call in case of emergency.
- reservation and confirmation procedures (Be sure to check with your state’s requirements on record keeping so that you can take advantage of laws geared to protect innkeepers and limit their liability in some situations. In Colorado, for instance, “Accommodations and Rates Posted” refers to the conspicuous placement of signs in the guest rooms and either the office or registration area that state facts — like number of units, daily rate, dates the rates are effective, the maximum rate charged for a specific room, and how the number of people in the room affects that rate — about your property. “Room Rental Contracts” result from the reservation process and having a paper trail is a good idea to substantiate your contract — like confirmations, guest letters, and registration)
- registration procedures (“Required Records” means documenting all autos parked at your property by your guests and keeping the records for three years)
- job descriptions and check sheets (forms)
Forms are great! They help you maintain a consistency throughout the day and week, regardless of who’s working; they cover “memory loss” which can come from having too many things to do; and they spread responsibility because everyone can pitch in, based on what they see needs doing on the duty form. I think forms free your time and energy for creative and service endeavors. I like that!
Prepare an Organizational Structure to show employee’s who is in charge of what duty, where each employee fits into the organization, scheme, and plan, and who they report to. This is your chance to impress on employees that you have an “open door” policy and stress the importance of them using it.
The next several pages are sample job descriptions and duty checklists. Feel free to use these in your inn, in your fashion. You won’t have the same duties I had, you won’t have the same staffing schedule I had. I created these as a way of making my staff training more consistent and easier. You should do the same.
This is a sample from the eBook “Daily Operations: The 8-Ring Circus”. Click here to order this eBook and others in the Series.