Having explored the benefits and potential pitfalls of outsourcing in prior posts, it is important to use these criteria for assessing when it makes sense to outsource a particular task and when a hotel is best served by keeping it in house.
Front-of-House responsibilities require the ability to react quickly to guest demands; therefore, it is crucial that staff be empowered by the management’s support to do so. Communication needs to be instantaneous with as few hurdles as possible – not always the case with outsourced services managed by others. In order to maintain control over the quality of the face-to-face interactions guests have with staff, it’s a good idea to manage in-house employees who provide the hotel’s core services, i.e. front desk clerks, doormen, car valets, bellhop, concierge, etc…
Tangential functions of the hotel can be grey areas when assessing the suitability of outsourcing. Since increasingly more restaurants, clubs, spas, and fitness centers are co-branded, the hotel’s responsibility for these services are diminished. But when they are in fact brand extensions of the hotel, it again necessitates in-house management to maintain quality-control. Conference Facilities are an aspect where some, but not all, of the duties could be contracted out. While staff which interface with meeting inquiries and scheduling should remain under direct hotel management, outsourcing on an as-needed basis the supply, maintenance and support of the associated technologies could be best satisfied by an outside specialist.
Some Back-of-House and Administration functions are more likely candidates for successful outsourcing, Housekeeping and Facilities Management are examples where an outside contractor could either be cost-effective if the workforce remains consistent and knows the physical nuances of the property – or a financial loss if money is spent reeducating a quick turnover of staff.
Sales and Marketing roles are also instances where outsourcing makes sense for many, but not all, of the job responsibilities. Having an onsite Sales Director is of course crucial, but the majority of marketing duties can be successfully performed by an outside expert. Hotel marketing efforts are shifting exponentially towards online strategies as research and bookings are increasingly web-dominated. Remaining competitive requires a team of professionals with specialized knowledge of online interfacing. Partnering with the right marketing consultants is a terrific example of how outsourcing can make and save money.