Doing More with Less: Ideas to Supercharge Efficiency and Productivity

By Christian Boerger, CRME, CHBA, CHDM, Vice President of Revenue Strategy at Oxford Collection

The past two years have given new meaning to the phrase “doing more with less.” Across all commercial sectors of hospitality, we’ve had to navigate how to get things done with fewer people and resources and less time. While challenging, many of us have gained new tools and processes that can be used as we start to emerge and move away from this mindset of doing more with less. This list, compiled by members of the HSMAI Rising Revenue Optimization Leader Council, offers ideas on how to maximize and prioritize your time, increase productivity, and refocus on what’s important.

Tips for Increasing Personal Efficiency

  • Cut back on meetings. “A good third of my week was committed to a variety of meetings and many of them were not valuable to my own time. I’ve really used the last three years to evaluate those and cut back and block time to focus on key projects.”
  • Take a few minutes to reset. “I take five minutes out of every hour and make that my reading time, where I can catch up on an industry article, etc. It helps reset your productivity outside of your normal scope of duties, while still being a learning opportunity for you.”
  • Create boundaries. “I started to block my schedule [to have focus time], and initially I was told I wasn’t as accessible anymore. But I think that was part of a precedent I had set for myself to always respond within 15 to 20 minutes. That expectation is unrealistic. So [blocking the schedule] was more of a change to say, ‘Hey, I’m here, but I can’t always instantly reply to things.’”
  • Train yourself on helpful tools. “I put an emphasis on learning new Excel tasks and creating documents that would help me evaluate and analyze data and be able to share documents using IF statements, macros, etc., as opposed to doing it manually. I used YouTube, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning to learn these new skills.”
  • Gain insights via podcasts. “During my commute, podcasts became a resource for new learning. My absolute favorites are ‘After Hours’ by HBR and Adam Grant’s podcast ‘WorkLife.’”
  • Use a daily to-do list. “[On top of my full to-do list], I spend two minutes at the beginning of my day writing out one sticky note to help me decide the most important things that must get done that day. It lessens the number of decisions you have to make throughout the day and helps you determine what’s most important with your supervisor when priorities may seem unclear.”
  • Focus on team training. “I took the time to really focus on retraining my team. By investing in their development and helping them take on more, it’s allowed the whole team to be more efficient.”

Challenges and Obstacles

  • “As the last person left on our team during the pandemic, I figured out ways to do things efficiently for myself. With team members coming back, the challenge is finding that those processes that worked for me may not work for everyone else. I needed to take a step back, talk to my team, retrain them on different things, as we’re growing rapidly, and find processes that work — not just for our team but for the sales team as well.”
  • “The staffing issue from other departments is also a big obstacle to overcome. There have been multiple times in the past two years that I’ve cleaned rooms, worked the front desk, served food in the restaurant. I’ve done dishes; at one point, I cooked breakfast. Having to take on all these additional duties hinders your ability to become more efficient and more productive personally because you do get interrupted due to the short staffing in the operation as a whole.”

Resources to Help Increase Productivity

  • Mentorship: “One thing that’s helped me this past year is having a mentor come into my work life and being able to talk through problems and have a sounding board of ways to be more efficient in my daily role and outside of work as well.”
  • Automation: “Leveraging automation tools has helped on a much broader scale beyond my personal effectiveness. Organizationally, it’s made a big difference by freeing up time people are spending [on smaller tasks] and allowing them to work on other things.”
  • Communication technology: “As a remote company, one tool we’ve used a lot is Loom. It allows you to send quick screen shares via a link to your team. When dealing with team members you’re training and everyone is busy, sometimes it’s easier to talk it through by sending brief videos to each other, instead of having to match up schedules.”
  • Online learning: “ONLC has a lot of different courses from a wide spectrum of different educational backgrounds, from beginners to advanced lessons.”
  • Personality assessments: “We retook the StrengthsFinder assessment within our leadership committee, which has been helpful for creating efficiencies and developing protocols for communicating with one another. Understanding the different ways people absorb information helps cut down on some of the confusion that can happen.”
  • Communication preference forms: “When a new project or team member starts, we have a standard worksheet people fill out. The form includes a picture of the person as well as a list of preferences: Do you prefer text or phone call? Do you want to review together on Zoom, or do you prefer to do it alone and then regroup afterwards? It outlines everything you would want to know that we sometimes assume about a person. It also includes questions about personality traits, hobbies, etc. It’s context that may get missed, especially in a virtual world because sometimes small talk gets deprioritized.”

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles