In the hospitality industry, we are trained to build these personal connections with our guests. A great way to instill this with your staff is to use hotel management games. This will give them a memorable experience to draw from when they are in front of guests. In these games, you are trying to build employees that are “charismatic connectors“. These are individuals who feel comfortable speaking and working with peers and guests. They engage in impactful short conversations that build a bridge between them and those around them. A study from Alex (Sandy) Pentland showcased how “charismatic connectors” would lead to better results from a team.
These people circulated in the crowd, practiced intense listening, had fluid speaking styles and tended to drive conversations with questions. The more charismatic connectors a given team had among its members, the better the team was judged during the business-plan pitch. The reason seemed to be that the members worked together better. – Sandy Pentland Study (MIT Study PDF)
Successful Hotel Team Characteristics
In an article from the Harvard Business Review, they highlighted very interesting characteristics of successful teams.
- Talking and listening are done in equal parts.
- When speaking they directly face the other person with energetic gestures and conversations.
- They engage with all members of the team.
- Back-channel and side conversations can happen in tandem with the direct discussion.
- Breaks in which team members explore and report back is common.
Looking into this we decided to bring you hotel management games that could help you bring forth the best out of your teams. We focused on team-building, communication, and customer service.
Team Building Hotel Management Games
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great icebreaker. Very simple to accomplish and it builds a more intimate connection. In this game you have each member introduce themselves with their name, two truths about themselves, and one lie. You might be familiar with this game played on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Dr. Phil (See episode below). You could also add and more lies or truths to increase the difficulty.
Competition can build unity. In this game, you hand our a pack of playing cards and scissors to each group of 2-5 members. The point is for each group to build the tallest tower of cards. Give them a set time limit to abide by and watch their creativity flourish. There is a variety of ways this task can be accomplished and teams can be very innovative with their solutions. You could introduce other items to increase difficulty or creativeness. Such items could be pieces of paper or a stapler. Take pictures of each team with their tower and highlight them in a bulletin board or company newsletter. Team reminders of their success together can solidify their support of each other.
This game is a fun way to highlight the importance of cooperation. It required a long thin stick, it could be a meter stick. Your team needs to be 4 or more, the larger the better. Separate your team into two and have them stand in two parallel lines. Tell them to point at the other person. I usually tell a story about how we are often pointing fingers to other people, blaming them when we can’t do things correctly. Then announce you are going to put the “Helium Stick” on their index fingers. Commonly people will raise their index fingers up when the stick is introduced. The point of the game is to have them lay the stick on the ground without anyone losing contact with the stick. Fun game and is a quick reminder to work with each other.
Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces
We sometimes focus our efforts on building our department or team. A restaurant and a hotel are comprised of everyone working together. It is a weak-link team (See Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Podcast where he discussed weak and strong link theory). We are only as strong as our weakest link, not our strongest team mate. With that in mind, this game brings forth cross-departmental cooperation. You take a very large jigsaw puzzle. You separate the pieces into bags. The number of bags depends on the number of departments you have. Announce to the employees that “The goal of this activity is to assemble the jigsaw puzzle as fast as possible. All teams have the same puzzle and they will not receive any additional information”. Initially, they will try to assemble their piece but quickly realize they need the other teams to complete the task. If you want to make it more difficult, have your teams separate in farther distances from each other. You could even put them in different rooms.
This short post series will be part of three-part series where we will cover Communication and Customer Service. You can let us know what you think about the posts in our comments below. Did you learn anything new? Have you done any of these games? We’d love to hear from you.