EP #10 – A Day in the Life of the Frontline Staff with Kelly Long

Kelly LongTraining should be based on reality, not just theory.

Have you ever sat through a training and been bored to tears? Or maybe it felt like the training just wasn’t relevant to your work.

Someone who is committed to changing that is Kelly Long. Kelly is a senior training consultant with a background in teaching, instructional design, and technology.

She takes her work so seriously she recently spent a week working in a hotel in various roles including housekeeper, a front desk attendant, and a breakfast attendant.

Kelly joins me in this episode to share what she learned while working in those roles at the Holiday Inn Express in Montgomery, Alabama.

We talk about her biggest challenges, what surprised her the most and some of the insights she gained. You’ll hear all of that and more on episode 10 of Hospitality Academy!

Essential Learning Points From This Episode:

  • Which department was the most challenging for Kelly to work in and why?
  • Why cross-training is so helpful to anyone in any department.
  • How has this experience changed the way she approaches her trainings?
  • How to help your staff anticipate needs in other departments, and why it’s important to do so.
  • Why finding a balance between wowing guests and handling tasks is crucial.
  • Much, much more!

Kelly Long loves to teach, train and help people learn. Before coming to work in the hospitality industry she spent 25 years in education. She worked with students in every grade from K4 to freshman year of college; she has learned to adjust to her learners!

So when she began training people in hospitality she decided it would be a good idea to go to work in a hotel for a week. She wanted to try on various roles and actually spend a day doing what the staff does in that role. She worked in housekeeping, front desk, and the breakfast bar. And what she learned opened her eyes to new perspectives, and solidified some existing beliefs.

While she expected housekeeping to be the most difficult she actually found every department had its challenges. Housekeeping was of course physically demanding but the number of detailed tasks she had to remember was also challenging!

The front desk role had its challenges too: there were a lot of systems and processes to remember while also greeting guests, welcoming them and engaging them. Trying to accomplish everything with a smile on your face was more effort than she anticipated! Plus standing on her feet for the entire day took a lot out of her.

As a breakfast bar attendant, Kelly recalls getting up earlier than anyone else in town! She didn’t see a soul on her drive into work that day. Once she was working it was also difficult to keep the areas clean, keep the food hot and back-ups ready while still greeting and engaging with the guests.

A few of the suggestions she came away from those experiences she shares on this episode. The first is to have a checklist or cheat sheet for the details of each role. This is especially helpful for housekeeping because there are so many tasks to remember, but it can be beneficial in other departments.

Her second suggestion is to make sure you have enough support in every department or that other departments know to watch for signs that the other staff could use a bit of help. If you want your team to engage with and help the guests it could be helpful to have another person available who can pitch in with other tasks that need attention. Looking for ways to help your staff help your guests is critical, and something we emphasize on this episode.

An additional recommendation she has is based on some leadership advice she received earlier in her career: love people, value the people around you and enjoy them. It’s always important to get things done and take care of your responsibilities but people matter too. Listening to the people around you will help both you and them, and you’ll find your tasks will still get finished!

Also on today’s episode, Kelly shares her favorite tools, a habit of hers that has contributed to her success and why people matter the most from your guests to your staff! Listen in to hear Kelly’s wise words on that and more in episode 10 of Hospitality Academy!

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