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Hotel Standard Operating Procedures: A Definitive Guide! 

By Mahmuda Akter Isha Last Updated -- Wednesday, 2024-01-10
Hotel Standard Operating Procedures

Are you a hotelier? Want to start a hotel business? Do you know about hotel standard operating procedures? Don’t worry! To manage your hotel business successfully, you need to learn about the hotel reservation standard operating procedures. Before starting any business, it is very obvious to create a business plan that will describe your business goal and motive to reach growth. 

In this regard, this article can eliminate the darkness and explore the details of the hotel's standard operating procedure. You will get a comprehensive guide that assists to understand the definition, types, and importance of standard operating procedures. Also, you can easily observe the writing of standard operating procedures for the hotel industry.

So, you can drive the core section in this article to ensure the accuracy, safety, consistency, and efficiency of your business hotel business.

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What Is a Hotel Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

A hotel standard operating procedure (SOP)  refers to a set of written instructions that describes routine and repetitive activities which are followed by a hotel. The SOP is mainly a structural framework that will document how you can complete a specific task to conduct the overall operation of your hotel business.

Moreover, the standard operating procedure in the hotel industry includes emergency situations, regulatory issues, legal liabilities, and so on. Thus, the SOP is categorized into two main categories. These are: 

  • Operational Standard Operating Procedures: Those tasks and procedures are associated with the daily operations such as interaction with guests, some local regulations, and maintenance, which are included in the operational standard operating procedures.     
  • Emergency Standard Operating Procedures: Those tasks and procedures are associated with unique and extraordinary situations which have rarely occurred, which are included in the emergency standard operating procedures. 

Types of Standard Operating Procedures for the Hotel Industry

Types of Standard Operating Procedures for the Hotel Industry

The standard operating procedure is designed to ensure the best working activities of an organization. To improve the working flow of your hotel business, you can develop a standard operating procedure. Moreover, you can write several types of standard operating procedures. But you need to choose the best one according to the compatibility of your hotel business. 

Step-by-Step Format

You can write a standard operating procedure by using a simple numbered or bulleted list of steps which is considered a step-by-step format. In this process, you have to include the following aspects. 

  • Setup cleanup instruction 
  • Login procedures 
  • Instruction to use all equipment 

In this process, you have to write the entire working procedure sequentially. It will be applicable for that purposes where the process in question is straightforward and the vast majority in circumstances.        

Hierarchical Format

The hierarchical format allows the operators to design the SOP by listing the steps of the process. However, you can provide more details of each step by using the hierarchical format. For example, a step-by-step process will list steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. On the other hand, a hierarchical format allows you to include 1a and 1b; 2a, 2b, 2c; 3a, 3b.  

Flowchart Format

Flowchart format is a sequential process and you can illustrate SOPs for your hotel business when multiple outcomes are possible at certain points. Also, this format can allow you to visualize a step-by-step process at a high level. You can explore more details by adding layers. So, you can create standard operating procedures for your hotel business by documenting the overall process and required steps.

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How to Write a Hotel Standard Operating Procedure?

How to Write a Hotel Standard Operating Procedure

For all businesses, you need to write a well-defined SOP document. Moreover, a hotel standard operating procedure can be able to generate a complete framework that will ensure a seamless routine job.

To write a well-defined SOP, you have to follow some essential steps. Without following these processes, you can not handle the entire activities of your hotel business. Here, you will be informed about the step-by-step process of writing a hotel reservation standard operating procedure.    

Step 1: Identify Specific Areas to Benefit from Your Standardized Procedure

In the beginning, you have to identify the specific areas to write SOP documents. If you have smaller properties or hotels, you may face less distinction between departments. On the other hand, when you run a bigger hotel, you have to create your standard operating procedure by the department.

Moreover, you can break down the process based on the role or function. Thus, the SOP document could be divided by front-of-house and back-of-house. In this regard, you have to clearly define the check-in procedures, guest reservation process, lost & found items, guest etiquette, and concierge services are included in the front-of-house.  

Step 2: Identify Tasks to Specify Operating Procedures

After identifying the specific area, you have to identify the tasks that will be beneficial for all departments to specify their tasks. To complete this step, you have to conduct the following tasks.  

Ask Staff for Their Input: Your employees are one of the significant resources because they know every single aspect better than anyone. So, this process could be more beneficial to ensure clarity and consistency.        

Make a List of Their Common Routines: You can make a list of all repetitive tasks that are required precision and safety or legal processes as well as need to follow a set step-by-step procedure.  

Prioritize by Impact: You can prioritize your areas based on high-visibility and high-impact. These areas can assist you to directly impact your guest experience as well as you can overlook your staff safety, crisis communications, and disaster preparedness.  

Step 3: Identify Target Audience

Now, you can identify your target audience that will help to specify your tasks. Moreover, you can end up with a list of at least 2 or 3 key processes for each department. It will assist to reflect the most often-repeated and highest-visibility tasks. You can consider the following factors to write a complete SOP document. 

Who is the audience?

You have to mark out the end-user that will make your SOP document accurate, relevant, and easy to use. To ensure safety-related SOPs, you can include such kinds of aspects. Moreover, you can provide all safety issues that allow the user to use them under difficult circumstances. For example, an injury or natural disaster.   

Determine Your Language Barrier

You can consider images and texts to determine if you have any language barriers. In this circumstance, you have to use a map with arrows pointing that will assist to exits for fire escape routes. So, your SOP should be clear and concise so that the end-user can easily understand it.       

Is it allowed to add a new way to work or simply document an existing process?

If you introduce new work procedures or tasks, you can schedule additional training and implementation time.

Step 4: Choose a Format & Write the SOP

You need to choose a format to write a complete SOP document. In this step, you can write down the specific steps as well as you can modify them. There are mainly three types of format that will allow you to write your SOP document perfectly. 

According to my previous discussion, you have already been informed about three types of format and you can choose any of them to write your hotel standard operating procedures. 

Moreover, you can write your hotel SOP document by using a simple checklists format. Also, it is allowed to use numbered steps or bulleted lists, as well as it could be made up of multiple components and paragraphs of instructions.

You have to make your SOP document as much as easy to read, as well as, try to avoid the use of too heavy words, and build a visual SOP document as much as possible. If you maintain all of the criteria, your SOP document will be easy to read and use. Besides, you can use the flowchart format to make intricate SOPs that will help your staff to quickly assess the right path to take any action.

Thus, your hotel standard operating procedures will depend on the complexity of the operational procedures of your hotel business. 

After writing your SOPs documents, you need to be concerned about how your staff will access the entire SOP document. For example, you can provide your SOP documents to your staff for accessing through paper, tablet, or mobile. In this circumstance, you can provide digital copies of SOPs that will be more effective to ensure widespread accessibility. 

On the other hand, you can print out your hotel’s SOP document and laminate it to use that will ensure a continuous flow to access the SOPs of your staff.            

Step 5: Review, Test, Modify, and Repeat the SOP

This one is the final step to build your hotel's standard operating procedures. In this step, you can review your SOP document, and test the entire document. If any modification is required, you can do it and repeat the overall SOP document. You have to conduct the following process to review and test your SOP document. 

  • You can send a draft of your hotel standard operating procedures to the team members for review, then they will find out the grammatical and technical errors. 
  • To get your desired outcome, you can test the entire document yourself. 
  • You have to ensure that the language is clear, easy, and all processes will be expressed successfully.
  • You can conduct required edits or modifications to improve your SOP document. 

Remember, you need to review your hotel standard operating procedures every six to twelve months which will ensure a better outcome and you will easily reflect any changes to your current procedures.       

Which Factors Should be Included in Standard Operating Procedures for Hotel Security?

All of the hotels are not the same in style and service. Every hotel has a unique style to decorate and servicing process to serve. But the main mechanism and general procedures are similar for all. 

Moreover, the hotel standard operating procedures help to keep a continuous establishment that runs your hotel business smoothly. Also, the SOP document can increase the odds that will enhance your guest experience as well. As a result, the guest wants to come back for another stay and checkout with a positive experience.

In this regard, you should include the following factors in your hotel standard operating procedures that will make your SOP more effective. 

Check-In Procedures

For all hotels, the front desk is a crucial hub because the guest comes first at the front corner of your hotel. At first, the guest enters the lobby and approaches the front desk to secure a room. Moreover, you need to clearly define the check-in time in your hotel's standard operating procedures. 

In your hotel standard operating procedures, you have to mention that the guest should provide all identification documents. The guest needs to show such kinds of documents to the front desk clerk to confirm the patron’s identity and assign him to a specific room with a room key. Then, you can set the check-in time when rooms will be ready for the new guest.        

Check-Out Procedures

You should clearly mention the required check-out procedures in your hotel’s standard operating procedures. Moreover, you have to define the check-out time on the back of the hotel room door.

If the guest wants to leave the room, they need to approach the front desk and complete all required formalities. The guests need to request to complete their itemized bill and pay their balance. 

In this regard, you can adopt an automated mechanism to ensure a seamless check-in and check-out process. Moreover, the guest can join the hotel’s loyalty program which will create a breeze through check-ins too.    

Hotel Amenities

To consider the flexibility and refreshment of your guest, you have to offer some additional amenities which will make your guests’ stay more enjoyable. For instance, you can offer swimming pools, workout facilities, exercise rooms, free WiFi, child daycare, bike racks, lobby reception, covered parking, building signage, and so on.

Moreover, you can provide such kinds of amenities on a 24-hour basis or at the demand of your guest. Most significantly, if you provide various room amenities, it will create a positive impression on your customers. For example, kitchen facilities, television, computer, internet access, washer and dryer, personal items, hairdryer, and so on.      

Housekeeping Services

You need to provide various housekeeping services that will enhance your guest’s experience. By providing such kind of service, you can not only increase your guest’s experiences but also enhance your hotel’s reputation. It is very obvious thing is that your guest will expect and demand clean rooms.

In this case, you should assign some housekeeping employees, they will check all rooms for cleaning purposes. For consideration of your guest’s privacy, you can provide a card that sign is displayed “DO NOT DISTURB”. Your guest can hang on this card outside of the room’s door. 

So, you have to make the beds, empty the trash, replace the towels and washcloths, vacuum the carpets, and replenish used hotel soaps, shampoos, and toilet paper to ensure a better service to your guest.   

Guest Services and Assistance

This factor allows you to communicate with your guest to make or cancel your hotel reservation activities. You can assign a guest service representative who can handle several kinds of activities such as check-in & check-out processes, hotel services information, greeting and assisting guests, accommodating requests, answering calls, issuing keys, processing payments, and so on. 

Moreover, a guest service representative or assistant can facilitate interdepartmental communication which will ensure an efficient day-to-day operation. 

Concierge’s Extra Services

You can provide several concierge services to your guest that will enhance a positive impression of your hotel. In this regard, you need to enlist the concierge services which you will serve to your guest. Moreover, you can include such kinds of concierge services like restaurant reservations, booking hotels, spa services, booking transportations, babysitting services, porter services, and so on. 

In your hotel standard operating procedures, you have to include some additional concierge services that will ensure efficient, friendly, and accommodating assistance to guests.

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Why Standard Operating Procedures Are Important for the Hotel Industry?

Why Standard Operating Procedures Are Important for the Hotel Industry

The hotel’s operations are not the same for all hotels, it will be varied as well as, it seems to be complicated for the new employees. Moreover, the standard operating procedures provide a shorter learning curve to the new employees. 

Most significantly, hotel standard operating procedures are the key component to reaching the desired goal of your business. In your hotel business, you have to implement the SOPs to increase employee turnover and protect your staff, guest, and business by ensuring efficiency, accuracy, safety, and consistency.

Also, there are some significant advantages of standard operating procedures for your hotel business. Here, you can explore such kinds of remarkable benefits.  

SOPs Protect Your Hotel Business, Staff, & Guest

The SOP provides a written document of standard operating procedures which will protect all activities of your business, staff, and guest. You can provide a structural way to manage every single aspect of your hotel business. This process can assist to conduct all activities or business operations easily and efficiently. 

Moreover, it will ensure an organized way to maintain your employees, and guests as well. As a result, you can easily enhance your guest experience. So,     

Ensure an Efficient and High-Quality Services

By implementing SOPs in your hotel business, you can ensure efficient and high-quality services to your guests. The working mechanism can affect the quality and work efficiency. In this circumstance, you can resolve this kind of difficulty by implementing SOPs in your hotel business which will prevent this scenario by providing all standard processes. 

Moreover, the standard operating procedures can be able to reduce work variations. As a consequence, you can easily improve your Quality Management System (QMS) which will assist you to pass relevant ISO certification with regulatory requirements.  

SOPs Increase Productivity & Manage Performance

Hotel standard operating procedure provides a structural way to manage the overall activities of your hotel business. It can be able to ensure a systematic approach to operate every single operation of your hotel business. In your hotel reservation standard operating procedures, you write the job details of your employees so that they can easily understand their duties and responsibilities. As a result, you can save time and resources. 

Moreover, complete SOPs facilitate employee training so that they can conduct all operations easily and smoothly. All in all, you can enhance your business productivity and build better teamwork at a low cost by implementing hotel standard operating procedures.     

Increase Profitability with a healthy and safe environment

You can provide a systematic way to organize every operation of your hotel business. In this case, you can provide a written document, namely hotel SOPs. A hotel reservation standard operating procedure can be able to describe the details of how you can perform all work. 

Here, it has involved all processes, materials, conditions, and pieces of equipment which will assist to reinforce strict compliance with safety protocols. So, the hotel standard operating procedures can be able to prevent unforeseen accidents and fatalities. 

SOP Builds a Consistent & High-Quality Culture

You can create a high-quality working environment and consistent service by implementing hotel standard operating procedures. Moreover, the hotel reservation standard operating procedures can provide a standard way to deal with your client’s queries, refunds, follow-up, promotion, etc. It will provide a secure and safe working environment so that the employees can deliver high-quality products or services. 

Example of Hotel Standard Operating Procedures

From the previous section, you have already understood the writing format of SOPs. But I think it will be very effective if you observe a complete example of an SOP. In this case, I would like to illustrate the writing structure and crucial factors which you should include in your SOP document. 

Most significantly, the SOPs should be related to emergencies, regulations, legal liability, and guest experience. Thus, you need to focus on the following aspects that will assist to write perfect hotel standard operating procedures. 

Write an Emergency SOPs

To write your hotel reservation standard operating procedures, you have to include emergency SOPs where you can enlist the emergency aspects of your hotel. 

  • What will you do in case of any injury?
  • What will you do in case of fire?
  • Considering the intoxicated guest
  • What will you handle if a guest damages a room? 
  • Thinking about natural disasters and power outage 
  • What will you do in case of sickness? 
  • What will you do in case of death?

Write Your Operational SOPs

Your day-to-day activities will be included in this section. So, you can highlight your guest interactions, needs of individual properties, and local regulations. If you properly maintain such kinds of operating procedures, you need not face any harassment or police case.

 In Spain and Peru, the hoteliers may have to handle police reports every night because of listing all the guests staying in the hotel. It would be very hazardous for all hoteliers because it will create a negative impact on their hotel. To resolve such kinds of difficulties, you can maintain the following aspects.

  • Considering the late check-out procedures 
  • Enlisting the early check-in procedures 
  • Ensure to provide an extra cost in a room 
  • What will you do when any guest complains about noise? 
  • Thinking about overbooking, angry guest, guest review
  • What will you do when a guest does not pay or charge a payment twice? 

Highlight Maintenance or Housekeeping SOPs

You have to ensure to keep your property clean as well as you can maintain the quality of your rooms and common areas. You can conduct the maintenance or housekeeping activities by maintaining the following aspects. 

  • Considering the situation of when the elevator stops working
  • Thinking about the plumbing issue, window/door problem, electronic problem, and lighting issue 
  • Considering preventive maintenance 
  • Enlist the matter of WiFi drops, room cleaning aspects like Bed, Trash bin, Bathroom, MiniBar, etc.
  • Considering towel and sheet procedure, VIP guest housekeeping, Room Inspection Special request room revision, Pest control,
  • Thinking about bed bug outbreak and signs of a possible pest issue 

HR or Staff SOPs

You can conduct one of the crucial activities such as overall management, guest, and staff interaction. Moreover, you can protect your business from a liability standpoint. Also, you can enlist the following aspects in your hotel's standard operating procedures. 

  • New recruiting process
  • Employee terminating process 
  • Proper terms and conditions 
  • Strong privacy policies 
  • Employee complaints policy (verbal abuse, sexual harassment)
  • Considering when an employee is accused of stealing

So, you can write your hotel standard operating procedures by following this example and maintaining such kinds of rules and regulations.

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Reform Your Hotel’s Operating Procedures by Implementing Hotel SOPs and Make Your Tourism Business Flexible & Adaptable!!!

To adopt the latest trend and culture, you need to rewrite the operating procedures of your hotel business. Also, the tourism industry has to maintain some additional aspects to ensure safety and hygiene issues. In this regard, you can write effective hotel standard operating procedures to improve the service of your hotel business. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the hotel operators introduced massive changes in the overall operating procedures. According to the market research, 

“Around 79% of hoteliers reported changes in standard operating procedures for cleaning rooms.” Source 

Moreover, you can easily integrate such kinds of facilities if you maintain your hotel's standard operating procedures properly. To ensure the safety of your guest, you can space tables and chairs in dining venues at least 1.5 meters apart and frequently disinfected public areas. Most significantly, you can enlist all of these aspects in your hotel’s SOPs document which will be easy and effective to maintain. 

A statistic shows that, 

“Almost 93% of hoteliers maintain these safety issues and space tables and chairs in dining venues at least 1.5 meters apart and frequently disinfect public areas.” Source   

Integrate an Automated Solution to Shape Your Hotel Business with a Proper SOPs Document!!!

A hotel's standard operating procedures can be able to shape and organize the operating procedures of your hotel business. But you need to integrate a dynamic solution to manage the overall activities automatically. 

To meet such kinds of requirements, you can adopt a hotel management software that will be the perfect solution to handle every aspect such as online and offline booking, guest management, room reservation, housekeeping, HRM system, and so on.

As a result, you can save time and effort by maintaining your SOPs document as well as managing through the hotel management software. Though a hotel standard operating procedure is a fundamental component, it will be more efficient when you integrate a hotel management system with your hotel business. 

Xain - Hotel Management System

Closing Thoughts

It is not easy to start and run a hotel business successfully. You should maintain some primary requirements to start and operate your hotel business. In this case, a hotel's standard operating procedures are the basement, and you need to write a complete SOP document. 

Otherwise, you can not maintain properly, and you will not make your employees productive and effective. Moreover, you have to implement a new SOP to ensure a centralized internal knowledge base system. 

So, you can write a hotel standard operating procedures to build an efficient workforce and put their talents to maximum usage. 

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