Surviving the Holidays: Hospitality Style


It’s official, the Holiday season has arrived! This time of year generally brings about a spirit of excitement and sense of goodwill towards our fellow humans, unless of course, you work in hospitality.  All kidding aside, the month of December can be a challenging, albeit rewarding month, for those of us lucky to have been chosen for a life in hospitality. In the spirit of the season, we’ve compiled a list of survival tactics to get you through to January!

Take good care of yourself.  Between juggling extended shifts, Holiday parties, over-stressed guests, and family obligations, you’re likely to find yourself hitting the snooze button more frequently than usual. It does not go without saying: eat a good meal, drink a lot of water (coffee doesn’t count), get a little rest, get a little exercise, and turn it off at the end of the day.

Take good care of your team.  Now is the best time to show your appreciation. Your team is likely having to sacrifice time with family, a trip home, or fun festivities to be there for you. Plan ahead and ensure your operations are covered through the madness. On relentlessly heavy volume days, try to stagger breaks to give everyone periods of respite. Let’s face it, treats don’t hurt.

Modify your expectation for celebration.   Who said Christmas presents need to be opened on Christmas day? During my time in operations for a busy luxury resort, business needs over the holidays were truly 24/7. This meant that I generally left for work early on Christmas eve day and came home late on Christmas day night. We decided to shift our celebration to the day after Christmas, and my son was none the wiser. We tell him that Santa makes a special stop and saves our house for last, since he likes our cookies so much.

I know a colleague who used to host a large New Year’s Eve party in the middle of January for all of his industry friends. A full on black tie, countdown, champagne-filled bash. It was always well attended as January is typically a slower time in the industry, and most of the party-goers had been working when the new year actually ushered in. Make the most of your celebrations, whenever they occur.

Be sensitive to other’s celebrations.  Many of us are lucky enough to work with colleagues who come from diverse backgrounds with varying traditions. How others celebrate (or don’t celebrate) the Holidays may become a point of contention and cause some to feel left out. So, if you bleed holiday cheer, you might need to slow down, little Santa’s helper. Encourage inclusion but resist the urge to force the holiday on anyone.

Be sensitive to your guests.   Just as this is a time of heightened emotion and anxiety for many of us in the service segment, it can be a challenging time for those visiting us. Be a steward of hospitality, just as you are the other 11 months of the year. The Holidays are ripe for opportunity in creating amazing guest experiences.

Don’t. Be. A. Grinch. This December, like all others before, will soon pass. Embrace the chaos, the insanity, the grind, and look forward to that end of year bonus and well-deserved vacation!