Hospitality Management: A Guide

Everything you need to know about hospitality management: the key aspects to focus on, the difference between hotel management and restaurant management, and additional tools you can use to help run daily operations more efficiently

gestión hotelera

What is Hospitality Management?

Hospitality management is the supervision and coordination of a hotel or restaurant’s functions so that the entire guest experience is comfortable, positive, and review-worthy. These functions include reception, housekeeping, and food service. As a profession, hospitality management requires the ability to work well under pressure and multitask effectively.

While the hospitality industry is primarily focused on front-of-house (FOH) or customer-facing activities, the reality is that delivering exceptional services to large groups of people involves an incredible amount of back-of-house (BOH) or behind-the-scenes work. 

Since hotels and restaurants require successful FOH and BOH operations, hospitality managers have to know the ins and outs of both fields or specialties. They have to be aware of how housekeeping details like how to acquire sufficient toiletries for the needs of the guests. They also need to ensure that servers are always polite and remain professional as well as figure out systems for keeping ingredients fresh and maintaining overall food safety.

What Makes a Great Hotel or Restaurant?

Since the full list of hospitality management duties and responsibilities can be overwhelming, it can be helpful for hospitality managers to focus on three key aspects when running the day-to-day operations of a hotel or restaurant:


This is the bare minimum, as dirty establishments are quickly panned by online reviewers and are thus not even considered by consumers when choosing a place to stay or dine in. Another reason to take cleanliness seriously is that it’s a legal requirement in most places around the world, since the lack of it can adversely affect public health and safety.


This is the turning point where guests are most likely to change their opinion of the establishment, based on their experience. While restaurants and hotels must constantly strive to provide good or even excellent service, the most important thing to keep in mind is to never treat a guest poorly. While this can mean a lot of different things, a simple rule to follow is to pay attention to the needs of each guest. Don’t ever ignore or sideline a guest.


More often than not, quality is what differentiates luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants from regular ones. While quality is sometimes exhibited as the finishing touches, such as decadent furnishings or exquisitely plated food, the best hotels and restaurants incorporate quality in all aspects, usually through the embodiment of a business philosophy centered on quality. For hotels, this can mean soft, fluffy pillows and nicely designed amenities. For restaurants, the level of quality is shown through the cooking processes or training of the chefs and the freshness of ingredients used.

Operations: The Backbone of Hospitality Management

Though extensive communication skills and high empathy are extremely valuable qualities to have as a hospitality manager, an essential component of the job is organization. One can argue that it is vital for anyone to have in any profession. While this may be true, for hospitality managers and other administrative-heavy careers, the consequences of not being organized are almost immediately felt. One mistake such as getting the time wrong for an airport pick-up or a dinner reservation creates a bad first impression or worse, a domino effect that results in successive delays for all other guests and services.

To ensure that everything necessary is recorded and communicated to other staff members, use a digital checklist for common hotel procedures. This way, everyone is kept up to date on changes in arrival or event times, deficiencies in supplies, or malfunctioning equipment.

What is a Hotel Checklist?

A hotel checklist is a digital operations tool hotel managers can use as they oversee the different areas and departments of a hotel. Since it is a relatively low-cost addition that’s easy to implement, using a hotel checklist on a mobile device is a convenient way for hotel managers to improve their own efficiency and that of their team.

To run a hotel successfully means being adept in the fulfillment of operations and ensuring that all procedures are accomplished according to legal, industry, and brand standards. Additionally, providing hotel staff with digital checklists helps them perform their tasks better by acting as references they can follow when they are unsure of something and you’re not around. 

Comprehensive Hotel Checklist

Use this digital checklist to assess the cleanliness, organization, and condition of hotel facilities. Inspect guest rooms and check if mattresses are still firm and bedspreads are free from rips and stains. Evaluate how hotel staff approach and deal with guest concerns and complaints. Create corrective actions immediately for problem areas you’ve identified. Add recommendations on how the hotel can improve.

Hotel Maintenance Checklist

Use this digital checklist to keep track of hotel maintenance schedules such as the deep cleaning of beddings and linens, the repainting of walls, and electrical repairs. Select a ✔or to indicate whether or not the maintenance has been completed. Conduct spot inspections of grouting and caulking. Check if the security, emergency, and fire protection systems are working.

Hotel Check-in

The hotel check-in is the beginning of the guest-staff interaction. For first time visitors, it is the hotel’s introduction. Most of the time guests instinctively assess the quality of their room and service based on the friendliness of reception staff and the appearance of the lobby. Though nowadays, guests will often preview their experience through the hotel’s website, there is still a certain element of surprise whenever a guest arrives and finds that the lobby is rather delightful and the staff, friendly and accommodating.

Hotel Check-in Forms

A hotel check-in form is a formal agreement between the guest/s and the hotel which verifies their stay. It clearly indicates the number of guests for that booking, the type of room/s booked, and the number of nights the guest/s will be staying at the hotel. Hotel check-in forms may also include the hotel’s check-out policy as well as when specific hotel services, such as a breakfast buffet, are available.

Hotel Check-in Form

Use this digital form to obtain the necessary information from guests. Ask guests to fill out their name and contact details. Deliver a pleasant and quick check-in procedure so that guests can get to their rooms, unpack, and relax. This form also has a section for check-out personnel to sign as a confirmation that the said guests have checked out, with no damages to the rooms or missing items.

Hotel Check-in Inspection Checklist

Use this digital checklist to assess the check-in procedure in place. Ensure that front desk personnel are following standard operating procedures. These can include greeting the guest by name and with a smile, eye contact, and a welcome beverage. Check if the clerk or bellhop offered to assist the guest with bringing up their luggage to their rooms. Evaluate the clerk’s tone, body language, and demeanor while interacting with the guest.

Hotel Housekeeping

Housekeeping is the act of maintaining the cleanliness, order, and condition of the hotel. It is primarily done by the hotel’s in-house cleaners, otherwise known as the housekeeping staff.It is of vital importance that the hotel manager keep these staff members accountable, motivated, and on schedule. However, the hotel manager must also remember to treat housekeeping staff with respect and to not minimize the role they play in the hotel’s success.

Housekeeping SOPs

A housekeeping standard operating procedure is a step-by-step breakdown on how to correctly perform a certain housekeeping procedure such as cleaning a room. It is often documented, regulated, and actively enforced by the hotel manager to comply with the hotel brand’s service standards. Creating and distributing a single housekeeping SOP can be especially difficult for hotel chains, as they have to maintain brand consistency across a large number of guests, staff, and locations.

Hotel Duty Manager Checklist

Use this digital checklist to observe the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of housekeeper duties, specifically their adherence to housekeeping SOPs. Verify that hotel staff and amenities are fully compliant with safety regulations and industry housekeeping standards. This hotel duty manager checklist also utilizes a dynamic field feature that allows you to label individual rooms and conduct multiple inspections with specific recurring questions.

Housekeeping SOP Checklist

Use this digital checklist as a guide to ensure that the standard cleaning protocols set by the hotel are being followed by housekeeping staff. Confirm that rooms are clean and adequately prepared before allowing guests to enter or check-in. Check if the lights, temperature control system, toilet, and shower are working. Inspect room amenities such as toiletries, towels, and tissue. Ask housekeeping to affix their digital signature on the checklist as a form of accountability, acceptance, and recordkeeping.

Hospitality Management: Hotels vs. Restaurants

Though both hotels and restaurants are major players in the hospitality industry and have overlapping characteristics and concerns, there is a specific context attached to each establishment. Going to a hotel and going to a restaurant are treated differently by consumers since they involve different considerations. For example, while tourists are the primary market of hotels, the same cannot be said for restaurants. Locals are not likely to visit hotels, but they are likely to eat around the area. 

Hotels also require greater commitment from consumers than restaurants. Hotels usually need a guest’s credit card information or any kind of guarantee that they will actually stay at the hotel for the number of nights and on the dates they have booked. While very exclusive restaurants require their guests to make reservations in advance, a majority of restaurants allow their guests to walk in, get a table, and only pay after they’ve finished eating.

What Makes Managing a Restaurant Different?

Unlike a hotel, which is tasked with providing a 360-degree experience, a restaurant’s main focus is on food and the dining experience. With food being a major factor in a restaurant’s success, its preparation should be of the utmost importance to a restaurant manager. 

Restaurant Audits

A restaurant audit is the formal evaluation of a restaurant’s practices against regulatory and industry standards for food safety, hygiene, housekeeping, and maintenance. Restaurant managers conduct internal restaurant audits to prepare for scheduled or unannounced health inspector visits. These visits should not be taken lightly as the discovery of health code violations can lead to the imposition of fines, temporary or indefinite suspension, or the permanent closure of the establishment. 

Restaurant Audit Checklists

A restaurant audit checklist is a convenient tool both health inspectors and restaurant managers use to assess performance, identify issues, and assign actions to address them. While paper checklists may be sufficient for one-time audits, the reality is that health inspectors are likely to visit an establishment more than once. As such, it’s important to form an internal auditing program to proactively prevent issues from arising during these official audits.

Restaurant Audit Checklist

Use this digital checklist to audit all areas of the restaurant. Check if supplies are properly stored and organized. Inspect the electrical system and various types of equipment. Confirm that floors and aisles are clean and free of clutter. Verify that safe working practices are being followed and that previous hazards have been corrected.

Management Restaurant Visit Checklist

Use this digital checklist to ensure that standards are being actively maintained. Assess the level of professionalism exhibited by service staff and food handlers. Carefully inspect the cleanliness of tables, floors, and counters. Attach photos of the interior and exterior to validate your observations. Evaluate overall restaurant safety and finish by signing off.

Restaurant SOPs

A restaurant standard operating procedure is a set of rules staff and managers need to follow for the optimal performance of the restaurant. Similar to other hospitality SOPs such as housekeeping, restaurant SOPs can be based on the specific business objectives of a restaurant or industry best practices. A non-negotiable component, however, is an action plan for complying with legal regulations on food safety.

Restaurant managers can also use general restaurant checklists to assist them in running the day-to-day operations of the establishment. These can include opening and closing procedures, staff evaluations, and quick equipment inspections. One of the benefits of using a digital template for restaurant checklists is that it’s easy to customize to fit your needs.

For example, if the weak point of your food service business is the quality of the food served, you can create a checklist focusing on the food preparation steps being performed and their alignment with the restaurant’s recipes and signature flavor profile.

With just one digital template, you can create countless checklists that cater to specific aspects of restaurant management. Get started with these featured checklists:

Restaurant Food Safety Checklist

Use this digital checklist to ensure that proper food handling is observed. Check staff personal hygiene, food preparation methods, food storage protocols, cleanliness of utensils and dishes, waste disposal, and pest control. Include detailed comments on problem areas as well as commendations on best practices followed.

Restaurant Opening Checklist

Use this digital checklist to prepare the restaurant for opening. Check if the tables, chairs, and dinnerware are clean and acceptable for use. Ensure that equipment, such as air conditioning, water cooler, ice machine, telephone, and POS system, is fully functioning. Hold a staff meeting regarding their operational responsibilities before opening.

Ensure Compliance with Restaurant SOPs

See how managers can ensure compliance using their mobile.

Download SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture as Audit Management Software

SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is a digital operations platform businesses of all sizes can use to streamline workflows and deliver higher quality service as a result. Conduct offline inspection audits of rooms, facilities, kitchens, and restaurants with SafetyCulture as audit management software. It has the following features for hospitality management:

  • Analyze the performance of different branches using the analytics dashboard
  • Address and solve customer complaints as a team with collaborative actions
  • Empower staff to raise issues immediately so that they get resolved faster
SafetyCulture Content Team
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SafetyCulture Content Team
The SafetyCulture content team is dedicated to providing high-quality, easy-to-understand information to help readers understand complex topics and improve workplace safety and quality. Our team of writers have extensive experience at producing articles for different fields such as safety, quality, health, and compliance.