The Connection Between the Hospitality Industry and Property Management
You might be surprised to learn that many people working in property management didn’t start their careers with the apartment industry in mind. In fact, we have many people who came from the hospitality industry.
When you think about it though, the hospitality and apartment industries have a lot in common. As a manager in either industry, you must develop and supervise staff, maintain the building(s), monitor income and expenses, take care of the customer and market your facility. Both also have to manage the reputation of their properties. That’s not new to the hospitality industry, which has years of experience managing those issues, but it is becoming a major focus for the property management industry.
Susan Sherfield now works as national director of education for Mercy Housing. Before she transitioned to the apartment industry, she spent four years working at hotels—first as general manager for a small hotel chain and later as a sales manager for a full-service hotel.
“All of the skills in the hospitality industry carry over to property management,” she said. “The skills are essentially the same—the setting is just different.”
Sherfield said one of the biggest differences between the hospitality and apartment industries is the short amount of time hotel staffs have to make good impressions on customers. Hopefully, in that short window of time, there also won’t be any complaints to handle.
That’s not the case for the apartment industry. In the apartment industry, you must spend time cultivating long-term relationships with residents, so they will renew their leases and refer friends to your property. You also need to spend time building a foundation of trust and confidence because you want residents to have faith that you will promptly resolve any concerns that arise.
Susan offers advice for people transferring to careers in property management:
- Tip #1—Develop Your Team. Hire smart, train your team well and hold them accountable. Take care of your team, and they will take care of your customers.
- Tip #2—Be Visible. Don’t fall into the habit of never leaving your office.
- Tip #3—Be Proactive. Learn to look for signs of potential trouble, and develop plans for addressing concerns before they grow into full-blown crises.
- Tip #4—Prioritize. Focus on the most important items first, and delegate when possible.
- Tip #5—Be Solutions-Oriented. Don’t get bogged down by conflicts or problems, get creative and find solutions that satisfy all parties.
- Tip #6—Be Flexible. Be willing and able to step in to a variety of roles as needed.
- Tip #7—Always Be Learning. Find a mentor, network with others and prepare yourself for the next opportunity.
- Tip #8—Take Care of Yourself! The better you take care of yourself, the more valuable you are in all of your other roles.
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