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The Firefighter Syndrome in Hospitality: How to Solve It Before It Ruins Your Hotel

If your managers are always running around putting out fires, they’re not able to be creative, proactive or productive.
Firefighter with water hose
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Firefighters are called to action during emergencies. They put out the fire and then you don’t see them again until something similar happens. Sadly, some hoteliers spend their day-to-day rushing around putting out a variety of small and large “fires.” This constant need to solve emergencies can actually cause hotel brands to suffer without even realizing it.

What happens with your brand?

When a manager’s time is consumed by emergencies, they don’t have time to plan for or reflect on preventive measures for the future. It also prevents staff members from getting to know their guests, why those guests choose to stay with your brand, or what the hotel can do to make their experience better.

In other words, the firefighter syndrome locks you into the present and prevents you from thinking about the future, strategizing how to grow your business, trying new things, and more.

Plus, running every day to put out fires is exhausting and it shifts your manager’s mentality from a proactive one to a reactive one. This means that when you are constantly working to solve disasters, there is not time to be creative, think about growth and start new initiatives.

What to do to deal with the firefighter syndrome?

First, identify which emergencies take up most of your time. What are common situations that constantly need to be fixed? Then, determine why these situations keep happening. Where is the failure in the process?

Let’s say most of the days you have a line of guests complaining about how long it takes to check in and enter the room. Which part is failing? Is it getting their data or putting it into the system? Handing them their key? This level of detail might be annoying, but it will help you to understand what are the concrete problems that need to be addressed. Once you have identified the failure, you can begin to find tech solutions that will resolve the issue.

According to a recent Deloitte survey, 75 percent of respondents would go back to a hotel that provided them with a good guest experience. If hoteliers are constantly putting out fires, they don’t have much time to deliver a superior guest experience. But with technology’s help, you can get rid of the firefighter syndrome.

The results will be that you’ll have more time to plan for the future, put together creative campaigns and initiatives to increase your bookings or connect with your guests, provide them with a better experience, and overall, enhance the power of your brand.




Johanna is the Marketing Manager at Bookboost AB. She is responsible for building the brand and all marketing initiatives deployed. Bookboost is a customer experience platform that helps hospitality brands around the world to increase guest satisfaction and operational efficiency through their different solutions.

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