Last week we celebrated the summer solstice and officially entered a new season, and my personal favorite, SUMMER. Summer is here which means frozen cocktails with little umbrellas, backyard bbqs, and the dreaded SUMMER SLIDE.
I first heard this terminology from educational professionals. It essentially means that a majority of learning that students consumed over the previous school year is lost during summer. Summer slide is a term used to describe the academic recession experienced by students over the summer.
However, we similarly see a pattern in most businesses, especially in the hospitality industry in the summer months. We see this happening because two major contributing factors:
parents, your colleagues and employees, are taking extra time off with those beloved children meaning there are gaps in work and decrease in productivity with less people in the office.
More people are traveling and there is an influx in demand.
So here is how it becomes a slide based on this supply and demand conflict
More people traveling
Less people available to work
More people working longer hours
More travelers with bigger requests (Business travelers are traveling solo v families presumably with 2 parents and 2.5 children)
Burn out from the above means people get sick and call out more frequently
Less staff means more complaints
More complaints means poor reputation and more refunds
More responsibilities for manager and a tougher day for the entire team
You can see how it goes from here. :(
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Here is a strategy for you to use to overcome the summer slide, keep your team and customers happy.
Proactive Scheduling. Have your staff coordinate their time off with each other so you have enough staff in the office.
Strong Communication of expectations.
Communicate with your team and encourage them to spend the much needed time with their loved ones and work is still a priority. Identify top requested dates off and address that not everyone can take the same days.
Communicate exactly what your customers should expect. Do not overpromise and under deliver. If you expect long wait times, be honest about the wait.
Anticipate customer needs in advance. If you're a hotelier this could mean including extra shampoos and conditioners to your room to eliminate extra requests to a room.
Make a contingency plan. Have a plan B, Plan C, and Plan D in place. And incorporate buffers on timelines.
Check in with your customers before their experience is over so you have a chance to recover in the moment rather than having a disappointed customer or worse someone leaving a poor review. In restaurants this means extra table touches! Managers should be talking to your customers every step of the way to gain feedback.
Take these strategies into consideration as you head into summertime and remember to collect data on your results so that you can improve during other slumps during the year. The summer slide is only something to worry about if you don’t get ahead of it and aren’t flexible.
Need support putting together a strategy that is customized to the needs of your business? Reach out to us here to set up your complimentary strategy session with us.