Greek Hotel Owners vs General Managers
University of West Attice, Athens, Greece
University of West Attice, Athens, Greece
University of West Attice, Athens, Greece
University of West Attice, Athens, Greece
Hotel owner is the entrepreneur that concentrates the productive factors of the hotel, combines and provides them, by payment while he undertakes the responsibility of the monetary transactions. The combination of the productive factors deals with the concentration of the capitals, choice of the facilities, employment of the necessary human resources, as well as products that the hotel is selling. The fee of the productive factors concerns all the expenses and the costs of the entrepreneurship.
Key words: Hotel, General manager, Hotel owner, relationships
If the hotel entrepreneurship is a company, the hotel owner can be more than one person. Hotels that their legal form is capital companies, there is a board of directors to administrate the entrepreneurship. We will use the word hotel owner as the final component power of the partial forces acting, meaning that we take as hotel owner the one and only owner of a small hotel or the main representative of the board of directors that decides for the procedures of a big hotel or even a chain.
Initially, the theorists of administration influenced by the economic sciences, assumed that profit should be the main incentive for the businessman. Later a larger scheme of incentives was identified as responsible for leading the person to business activity. The hotel businessman can anticipate a number of benefits for the business, such as social recognition, power, security for his children etc. By no means does he ignore the profit that eventually it is necessary to succeed in everything else.
In some hotel businesses, the targets are realized, recorded, analysed and performed as ways of action. In personal or family entrepreneurships confusion appears as far as the targets are concerned. Non profitable behaviours are monitored that commonly act as personal goals of social status achievements. For example there is a number of family and friends as guests contrary to the profit of the hotel.
Profit has two dimensions. Direct one, that comes as means of money and the indirect one that comes with the increasing demand, fame and the perspective of future customers.
Globally it has been proved that hotels fail to succeed easy money. In Greece as well as in other countries, the vast majority of the hotels succumb to the debts created from unlimited ineffectiveness. Hotels on the other hand can result in substantial profits experienced within a pleasant lifestyle when administrating in a professional way from experienced people.
General manager is the person responsible for the administration and therefore the effectiveness of his moves. He is an expert in administrating hotels and has an educational background that supports it as law obliges.
The general manager has training, expertise, public relations knows how to handle and sell that hotel and has experience from other ones in many regions.
The administrative role of the manager is the role of the leader. This role puts him on an undoubtful place as far as his commands are concerned. This role is rather difficult to last. For this reason the general manager has to deposit his prestige into this role on a daily basis. The manager-leader, is a role that hides two others in it. The manager with the good judgement and the manager-father. The manager with the good judgement gives realistic orders, focus on productivity and the personnel faces these orders as the only solution. The manager-father cares for his personnel, giving his orders a protective cover to his staff’s rights.
The general manager has to be familiar with what is happening in and out of the entrepreneurship. This makes him the best informed person of the entrepreneurship.
The role of the general manager is often a role of an energetic person who will give the initiative, organise and plan, taking for granted that he suffers the consequences.
The general manager has also the responsibility to transfer to other parties the image of the entrepreneurship helping creating the image that others want to have of it.
It is really important for the manager to support the image of a person who has the contacts, and the relationships that last in the market of tourist operators and agencies. The ability to secure the highest fullness rates of the hotel’s capacity gives him an extra advantage through the market of general managers as well as in the hotel he runs.
Aims and targets of the research
The present research was executed in Greece. Its aim is the study of the administrative relation between hotel owners and the general managers.
The research’ aims are:
- the definition of hotel owners’ profile
- the definition of hotel managers’ profile
- the definition of the problems of the between relationship
- treatment between the hotel owner and the manager and vice versa
- differences between ways of dealing through procedures
According to the aims and targets of the research the quantitative method has been selected. The targets of the research show two different levels of research. The hotel owner and the general manager. For this reason two different researches have taken place, having both a common field of action, they seek for the same data and aim to accomplish parallel analysis so that comparison between the two researches can offer useful conclusions . These two researches are based on questionnaires.
Both questionnaires were composed and structured (Hague, 1993) with close type questions(Chisnal, 1986) in three categories (Christou, 1999). Specifically the questions are simple, alternatives, multiple choices and of differential importance. The sequence of the questions serves the aim of the research. The questionnaires due to their structure has been of important help in presentation procedure of the two different researches.
Trying to succeed in realistic results, the scientific team has been led to drastic decrease of potential population. Theoretically the population should have been composed from every hospitality entrepreneurship in Greece. However, an important part of these entrepreneurships such as renting rooms and small hotels are run by a system which the hotel owner is the manager as well. This parameter makes them inappropriate to collect data for this research. One or two-stars hotels(some exceptions included) don’t meet the organisational, functional and administrating standards required so as to be included in the population.
In Greece there are 9.111 active hospitality units with 693.252 beds. 43% of these are family size ones (1-20beds), 37% small size ones (1-50beds), 13% medium size(51-100beds) and a 7% big ones more than 100 beds. The research was orientated to a 5,000 city hotels sample, three, four, and five star resorts. Both researches include an answer to exceptions.
The sampling has been done under the circumstances that all the selected categories have to be included to the collected data. For this reason a levelled sample has been selected (Yates, 1953) conducted from three categories that include two types of hotels, (city hotel and resort). The sample was divided to three sections each for a different category. The approach of the hotel in each section has been done randomly. Given the fact that the sample field is common certain variations has been observed (Barnet, 1991) which show different facts at first glance. The hotels included in the sample has been given two questionnaires. The one for the manager and the other for the owner. In some cases we received both answers but in others we received just one. This fact makes a small differentiation to the number of received answers.
As far as the population is concerned according to the theoretical abilities that a researcher has and the general opinions for what a representative sample is like (Spiegel, 1975) a demanded response of a sample has been concluded to be up to 2-4% of the total population. Given the fact that the sample is about 5000 hotels accepted that the average representative sample should be 3%, 150 units is a satisfying number of a sample. The questionnaires were sent to every hotel at random order.
A pilot research in two sections, was conducted so as to confirm the internal consistency of the questionnaire. At the first one the questionnaires were send to a limited number of entrepreneurships that weren’t included in the sample. A majority returned the questionnaires answered. These results gathered and grouped. At the second section questionnaires were send to the same majority with the questions in different order and some rephrasing of the questions. The questionnaires answered were analysed, grouped and the answers were compared to the first section ones. The comparison showed no major differences with the first section ones. Thus, the questionnaire became valid and reliable in its final form for application to the basic study sample.
The distribution of the questionnaires took place to the corresponding entrepreneurships via e-mail. Two questionnaires were send to every unit-entrepreneurship that was included in the study. One for the manager and the other for the hotel owner. The response rate was really encouraging. The questionnaires answered reached 146 of hotel owners and 163 of the managers.
Analysis of the gathered data used the software Microsoft Excel 2010. The findings from the research were gathered, developed in percentages and presented with descriptive statistics tables. The final form of the gathered data was such that the comparison between the two researches was made possible. The researching team has given a special notice to the easiest approach from the analysis to reaching results.
Specifically to the research
The hotel owners support (in 92%) that the manager of the hotel is a useful partner and not a compulsory expense (8%). This point becomes clear from the fact that the majority of collaborations (54%) between them lasts more than 5 years. This point becomes clearer from the answers of the managers that 45% of them work more than 6 years at the same entrepreneurship.
According to the hotel owners the major targets for the managers should be the securing of quality of the product (61%) and the increase of the profit (61%) undertaking functional responsibilities (56%) and dealing with personnel (45%).
While administrating personnel is considered one of the major duties of the manager (45%), hotel owners (96%) lead themselves the personnel matters, while in 33% persons from the family or close relation to the hotel owner, get involved in administrating the personnel. It becomes obvious that then we come into the phenomenon of the informal hierarchy.
The employers problems as for the managers, are identified mostly to high salaries(35%). The majority of the managers (33%) considers that the low payment is the third in priority problem of their relationship with the employer. This can lead us to the conclusion that the hotel manager occupation is satisfiably paid but the hotel owners are worried for the value for money of this occupation’ salary. The arbitrariness of the managers (19%) is a second importance problem and no other important problems are met between them and the managers. The efficiency of the managers isn’t conceived as an important cause of problems between them and the hotel owners.
However, hotel owners consider that managers show inefficiency in managing skills (31%), organizing skills (22%) and knowledge (22%). Given this thought we are not able to accept that hotel owners are satisfied with the results of their managers. Only a few hotel owners present truancy of their managers (11%) as problem. The result coming from this consideration is that managers want to but find it impossible to make it happen. So the reward of the managers is thought to be high according to the hotel owners. On the other hand they are thought to be useful partners who support actively income increase, quality of products and services, undertaking the management of different sections and the personnel with the respect at the manager coming at first priority(68%) having the managers agree at 91%.
More or less hotel owners and managers agree that cost control is a responsibility of the manager, payments a responsibility of the hotel owner, while personnel policy and policy of the market approach as well as price policy are planned commonly.
Hotel owners (39%) consider that relations with the tourist operators is work only for the manager while 43% is in collaboration with the hotel owner and the manager. This is secured from the fact that 42% of the contracts between tour operators are signed by the manager. The opinion of the managers is partially different though, as they support that 65% of the relations with the tourist operators are handled by the managers while the contracts are signed by them at 62%. The role of the hotel owners while contacting tourist operators according to the managers is significantly lower.
At this subject, it is known that mobility of the managerial occupation in hotel section broadens the professional acquaintances and relations with the tour operators and the specific features and particularities of the occupation that increase the tension of the relations involved. In many circumstances managers are basic factors of customer gain from tour operators.
According to the research of employer a confusion becomes obvious among the requirements of the manager. This is the main reason of dismay 19%. The managers believe that the major problems of to their relationship with the hotel owners is the ignorance of orthologistic way of hotel management from the hotel owner aspect(44%), the difficulty of defining the responsibilities of the manager(36%) the lack of respect in the manager’s work(32%). The mix up of the hotel owner is of minor importance (34%) and his family (36%) while operating the hotel management, given the inability of defining goals (35%).
At this point there is a major misunderstanding. The hotel owner involved as he is, he considers that he is covering his business while completing any weaknesses of the manager, while the manager considers that the administrating control has been taking over with consequences he is not responsible for.
It is obvious that unless the exact responsibilities of the manager has been clearly stated the relation with the employer would be problematic. The 37% of the hotel owners support that it should be a differentiation between the responsibilities of the both. If this do not occur, complex situation may arise that make the work of each difficult. In many circumstances this troubled situation lead in loss of mutual appreciation. At this point the hotel owners state that the best corrective movement would be the mutual respect.
Correspondingly the managers respond that the between relation would be better when the definition of responsibilities take place (52%), and 42% when a secured level of respect is a fact to each role.
Generalising the results
Generally, hotel owners and managers agree to a large amount of subjects, like the work that each side has to deal with. The payments are on the hotel owners, the cost control and the transactions with the tour operators is on the manager but the policy management and planning is on both.
At the same time hotel owner do not consider the manager as rude, incapable, truant and ineffective. This leads to a situation of respect to the place of the manager from the employer.
The managers from the other hand, state a satisfactory level of reward and locating problems to the ignorance of specifications of the occupation from the hotel owners. We should take into consideration that the major cause of dismiss is the contact loss with the employer. At this point it is necessary to refer that the hotel owners are not ignorant with the occupation since 43% has received touristic knowledge.
The occupation of the hotel manager is not only an occupation requiring knowledge but rather an occupation based on experience with great mobility. The hotel managers constantly change hotels through their career, work in different areas and experience the differences between hotel entrepreneurships and touristic markets. This occupation has its own rules, codes and specialties. It is a difficult occupation that manages difficult entrepreneurships.
On the other hand, the manager is paid by month while the business danger lies on the hotel owner. Given the fact of the insecurity that Greece is facing and the serious negative economic specialties of the hotels (high risk environment, sensitivity on external factors, low rate of profit, seasonality) it is more than common sense that the hotel owner feels the need to check and control his entrepreneurship.
The second problem that managers are facing is the interference of the hotel owner and his family in guiding the personnel. As the hotel owners accept the phenomenon takes a high percentage of 96% from them and 33% from their family.
The conclusion comes without question that the two major problems requiring solution is the defining responsibilities and the mutual respect to each other role.
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 Management as a subject is really complex and vast, specially through our time that technological, economic and social changes are rapid and constantly changing the administration owes to show a strong character. This means that business has to have a perfect information system to and fro the market so as to update and adapt its policy.
 The informal hierarchy has been a major problem through entrepreneurships. Often the schedule is violated in such a degree that has no reason to exist anymore. When an employee is given orders from more than one person it is unavoidable to receive opposite ones. Then confusion is happening or truancy due to lack of managerial control.
Other times the informal coordination comes from personal relations, likes, friendships or preferences or common interests of employees’ group. These groups(cliques) are taking action usually for the benefit of the group and not the business.
In a hotel entrepreneurship, the highest steps plan the hotel action needed and give orders and instructions to guide the employees’ act. Only when there isn’t any informal hierarchy these orders and instructions get to the point without any mistakes or delays. Then we face united management that shows a healthy entrepreneurship.