5 Traits of a Successful Property Owner

By Alex Gaggioli, August 3, 2016


Working in hospitality requires a unique skill set, and running a property requires yet another skill set. Whether you run a hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel, inn, or other accommodation type, there’s a basic personality framework that everyone should have. Every type of property will require a diversified skill set, but here we’ll describe what we’ve seen work best for those whose lives revolve around hospitality.

1. Leader and Team Mentality

As the main operator of any customer-facing business, it’s important that property owners are team players. Knowing how to lead a team, as well as how to be a part of one, is essential to the success of a good property. The qualities that make up a good leader include the ability to delegate, communicate effectively, instill confidence, and show commitment according to Forbes.

Property owners and managers need to know how to build a team that they can effectively lead. Each property has their own culture that will work well for some and not for others. But, most importantly, knowing how to work as a team it is arguably the most important factor.

2. Empathetic


Disgruntled employees or guests are an everyday part of operating a property. In a high-traffic, customer-facing role, it’s important for owners and managers to put themselves in their patrons’ shoes. Missed flights, long-travel times, and other common travel problems can put a kink in any guest’s day. It’s important for property owners to understand their guests’ needs and act accordingly.

Empathy is important because it helps you understand the feelings and motivations of those around you. It’s taking yourself out of your shoes and changing your point of view. Whether you’re trying to better understand your employees, guests, or business partners, it almost always helps to see a situation from multiple angles.

3. Decisive

In a fast-paced environment, it’s important to have quick-thinking decision makers to run a property of any kind. Operators need to always be on their A-game when it comes to dealing with guest requests or unexpected problems.

This is also where property owners have the opportunity to delegate power. Many properties give their staff the ability to make decisions without having to go to upper management for every request. While it’s more common with upscale hotels like the Ritz-Carlton or the Four Seasons, we’ve started to see a trend where employees have more power.

Decisive leaders help give guests a better experience because it takes less time to resolve a potentially sensitive situation. The ability to take all the information available and come up with a solution on the fly is a valuable skill.  No one likes to be left waiting, especially when there’s a problem.

4. Self-Aware


Part of being a good leader and leading a team is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. You can’t be good at everything or be everywhere at once. Good leaders hire and build teams around them that are well-rounded and play to each other’s strengths. For example, if revenue and reports aren’t your strong suit, it’s likely in your best interest to find a team member with experience managing hospitality KPIs.

Personality types and personal strengths are also the key to success. There are many different types of personality tests available, and they double as great team-building exercises. Here are a few of my favorite strength-finding tests:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test categorizes people into 16 different personality types. The test asks a series of questions that help determine if you’re an introvert or extrovert, whether you make decisions based on thinking or feeling, whether you interpret the world through judging or perceiving, and how you perceive information through sensing or intuition. If you’ve never taken the test before, I highly encourage it.
  • Gallup Strengthsfinder uses an assessment to determine the order of your unique strengths. After you take the test, you’ll receive what your top 5 strengths are and offer insight into how you work best. As a leader or team member, knowing what you’re good at is extremely helpful.  
  • Colour Savvy distinguishes people with four different colors: Blue, orange, gold, and green. The colors help categorize people into working styles. Orange individuals tend to be more go with the flow and open minded, while golds are super focused and like to have a plan. You can read more about the different colors here.

No personality or strength test is perfect, but they do give good insight into how people operate, and at the very least, they’re fun to do.

5. Resilient

Every day hoteliers, inn operators, hostel and bed and breakfast owners have to manage an endless number of tasks. It takes a lot of time and energy to complete their duties, and so resilience and a flexible attitude go a long way. Managing all your day-to-day tasks while maintaining an enthusiastic attitude towards your guests and team takes a lot of work.

Consider the advantage current properties have when they effectively maneuver current market conditions. The travel world has seen a massive shift in the past few decades as booking patterns shifted online and away from direct bookings and travel agencies to OTAs and sites like Airbnb. Resilient owners who are willing and able to adapt to changes survive and emerge better than before.


There are countless personality traits that make for a successful property owner. These five represent some of the most important traits we see from clients running small to medium-sized independent properties.

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