5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business.

“CEOs who don’t use outside advice run the risk to internalizing too much.
They never realize their full potential, and they miss a lot of opportunities.”

George Clement, CEO Clement Communication, Inc.

There are CEOs of many descriptions and the weak economy reinforced that fact to me in a current assignment. I am in the middle of a four city series of programs for Meetings Quest 2010 where I am leading discussions and sharing ideas on optimizing meetings success. Attendees include professional meeting planners from corporations and associations of all sizes, hotel managers and sales teams, representatives from convention and visitors’ bureaus, suppliers that serve all of the previous groups and independent professionals in the hospitality business.

When I say I am “sharing ideas” and facilitating the general session, that role does not mean I am doing all of the talking. As a career hotelier and educator, I am leading discussions on ways to optimize meeting success from various perspectives of professional meeting planners and hotels. In each of the sessions to date, there has been almost 50% of the time for the program devoted to smaller group discussions on problems facing all of these professionals in the same industry, but that have slightly different roles and responsibilities.

Those discussions have included certain elements of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and #5 in particular – Seek First to Understand, and then to be Understood. The process is highly interactive and the groups are divided into smaller teams for active and inclusive discussions that involve literally everyone in the 100+ attendee audiences. Within the discussions, attendees first define the components of what may or may not be outside of their area of expertise and then defend or refine those definitions when challenged or questioned by others in the audience.

This format requires guidance and a steady pace by the moderator with invigorating results for the group. The interactive discussions among the attendees appear to create a desire for continued dialogue.

This leads me to the title of this short column – the use of qualified consultants as a means of acting as a change agent or a stimulant to progress through dialogue, thought, and discussion of alternatives and the creation of action plans.

Many of us have heard that “A consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time, and then keeps the watch. ” While the downside potential is clearly present when using external resources or consultants, there is also the upside of being able to address serious challenges and solve problems before they evolve into full-blown crises.

Five Reasons Using a Qualified Consultant include:

1. Making Time Count
No one can re-create “time”, but using the right resource can make a difference in how at least some time is spent. A challenge facing many hospitality businesses is answered by using another of Covey’s Seven Habits with his #7, Sharpen the Saw, that addresses the need to be able to renew one’s sense of value and awareness. When dealing with daily operations of staffing, marketing, purchasing, planning and meeting guest expectations, operators are likely aware of the problem centers and the areas where one could maximize results. The predicament often faced is that in dealing with the day-to-day business needs, one cannot and does not focus on them long enough to take action and generate results. A Qualified Consultant can tackle the time issue with a specific plan that uses time effectively and can generate results.

2. Finding True Impartiality
In most segments of the hospitality industry, it is very likely to become “People and Process” focused, due to volume and the 24 hours per day pressure of operations. Familiarity can become comfortable and we run the real risk of losing objectivity needed to assess our approaches to consider change needed to make improvements. A Qualified Consultant can bring a balance of professionalism and objectivity and share both proven best practices and their experience where and when one needs it.

3. Considering Different Perspectives and Approaches
As mentioned in the introduction, there are many different perspectives in business today and they do not need to be perceived as confrontational. A Qualified Consultant can help identify those perspectives from several angles and then offer a number of alternatives on how to proceed.

4. Understanding The Needs
Needs differ from perspectives, in that the business has certain legal, ethical and financial obligations to meet in order for the business to succeed on an ongoing basis. A Qualified Consultant is an excellent “listener” who will take the time to hear and assess you and your team’s thoughts. They can use their expertise and interaction with other organizations and operating businesses to work with you in addressing your situations, be they solving people or process issues, to launching new campaigns or effectively monitoring capital improvement programs.

5. Exploring and Recommending Cost Effective Solutions
In many organizations, the answers have “always” been to add a new position, increase the advertising or lower the prices to solve a particular problem. A Qualified Consultant will likely consider those approaches as possible solutions, but will more often include a range of researched options that offer likely outcomes.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Focus on Continuous Learning
Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #13
“Continuous Education is a must. We all need to be replenished. Study other winners, but NOT those in your profession.”
Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

part of the 15 Timeless Philosophies In Hospitality, A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010-2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

http://www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
1. Sales Management and training
2. Turn-around and revenue management
3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
4. Customer Service
5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
7. Medical Lodging Consultants

http://www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

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20 Steps for Success or Approaching Success Can Come from more than One Direction Part 2

At the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management at the University of Memphis , there is a small museum type setting that includes some of Wilson’s memorabilia. I was never employed at Holiday Inns, but living in Tennessee (then global headquarters for the brand) for more than 15 years certainly brought me into substantial contact with many people who had been. While Wilson was not a traditional hotelier by schooling or experience, he definitely influenced many business practices in franchising, brand support, standards and values.

Displayed in the lobby of the Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management at the University of Memphis are what he called his Steps for Success.

#10 included the title of his book: Remember that success requires “Half Luck and Half Brains” . He uses his 20 Steps as episodes and illustrations. I found the content of this book to be quite interesting and not the frequent “bragging” that some biographies lean towards. Written by Wilson at age 83, he shares his “better way” of offering affordable lodging in understandable and practical lessons. The book also includes more than 100 photographs of family, business partners and unique scenes in the evolution of Holiday Inns in the days before the industry became involved in heavy mergers and the danger of the industry becoming viewed as a commodity.

Kemmons Wilson (founder of Holiday Inns) 20 Steps for Success
1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half – it can either be the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours.

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity.

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one-step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree. One way is to sit on an acorn and wait; the other way is to climb it.

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is right at least twice a day.

7. The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute, “I know I can.”

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

11. A person has to take risks to achieve.

12. People who take pains to never do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.

13. No job is too hard, as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.

14. Opportunity knocks often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to hear it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it and a head trained to use it.

15. You cannot procrastinate. In two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

16. Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.

17. A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself, because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.

18. Do not worry. You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying over the future. Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway. So, why worry?

19. It is not how much you have, but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.

20. Believe in God and obey the 10 commandments.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #13
“Manage Systems. Lead People. Coach your Team. Be a Real Mentor”
Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

Part of the Fifteen Timeless Philosophies in Hospitality
A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. http://www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
1. Sales Management and training
2. Turn-around and revenue management
3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
4. Customer Service
5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
7. Medical Lodging Consultants

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjohnhoganchache

Approaching Success Can Come from more than One Direction

My background is what academia refers to as “clinical” in nature and several years ago, I addressed several classes at the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Having taught as an adjunct professor for 20 years at three different colleges, I have always been comfortable as both an academic and corporate educator. I estimate that I have taught an estimated 3,400 classes and programs to date and always enjoy interacting with people from around the world in those venues.

The classes were interesting and as I was leaving, I spent a few minutes in the small museum type setting that includes some of Wilson’s memorabilia. I was never employed at Holiday Inns, but living in Tennessee (then global headquarters for the brand) for more than 15 years certainly brought me into substantial contact with many people who had been. While Wilson was not a traditional hotelier by schooling or experience, he definitely influenced many business practices in franchising, brand support, standards and values.

Displayed in the lobby of the Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management at the University of Memphis are what he called his Steps for Success.

The first ten are below and the rest will follow later in the week:

Kemmons Wilson (founder of Holiday Inns)
20 Steps for Success
1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half – it can either be the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours.

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity.

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one-step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree. One way is to sit on an acorn and wait; the other way is to climb it.

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is right at least twice a day.

7. The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute, “I know I can.”

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

#11-20 to follow …

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #7
“The only thing constant in our business today is change. If you do not improve on today’s service delivery, someone else will”
Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

Part of the Fifteen Timeless Philosophies in Hospitality
A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010-2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

http://www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
1. Sales Management and training
2. Turn-around and revenue management
3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
4. Customer Service
5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
7. Medical Lodging Consultants

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

http://www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

Observations on SERVICE #1-10

I believe that each of us has truly GREAT and original ideas at different times in our lives. We are likewise inspired by others at times by reading their books or sometimes a simple quote.

I often use quotes in my columns, as reinforcements for a position I have or providing credit to others who provided me with an inspiration or a starting point. I also use quotes in many of my training presentations as well, in both the full programs and in breaks. I know they are effective, as I receive requests for copies from many participants following these sessions.

Below are ten quotes that address the topic of SERVICE.

1. Service Is The Opportunity to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life.

2. “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

3. The first step toward great SERVICE is…. Willingness

4. If your company has a Mission Statement, memorize it.

5. “Nothing great was ever achieved without Enthusiasm” Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. When you wholeheartedly adopt a “with your heart” attitude and go out with the positive principle, you can do incredible things.

7. Live your life and forget your age.

8. In the real world there are YES and NO.
In SERVICE there are Yes and “May I suggest the following?”

9. Never use the word “impossible” seriously again. Toss it into the verbal wastebasket.

10. “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

More to follow …

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #14
“ Use technology to help guests first, the hotel second.
People will always relate to “high touch” in our business.”
Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

Part of the Fifteen Timeless Philosophies in Hospitality
A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

http://www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
1. Sales Management and training
2. Turn-around and revenue management
3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
4. Customer Service
5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
7. Medical Lodging Consultants

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

http://www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

Conference Calls can be very effective, if …

Conference Calls can be very effective, if …

A major strength of the hospitality industry is the hosting of face-to-face interaction at our hotels and other meeting facilities, both for our guests and within our own organization. Those personal interactions allow for better communication and often team building in tackling challenges and problems.

There are times when meetings are not convenient (telecommuting staff, emergencies, excessive travel time or cost), but verbal communications are more effective than emails, intranet postings or memos.

Conference Calls can be very effective, if … some fundamental rules are followed:

If you are the leader in using conference calls, consider the following questions:
Do you really need a conference call?
There are times when several short one-on-one phone conversations with a few people would be more efficient.

Did you send out an agenda prior to the call, by email or company intranet posting?
Agendas keep everyone focused. It should include no more than 8-10 bullet points of exactly what is to be discussed and specifically what should be accomplished as direction and outcome from meeting. The conference call leader must send out all important conference call information in advance, including the dial-in number and passwords. If this is a follow-up call where associates on the call will be providing updates on assigned deliverables, the agenda should state which of these updates are to be included in the advance communication as well.

How much time is needed, or do you really require an hour for your conference call?
Online calendars block time into ¼-hour time slots for a reason. If there are 30 minutes of issues to discuss, schedule it for 30 minutes. The chances are you will be focused more on the important items on the agenda in order to accomplish what you need to the time allotted.

Specific Actions to remember for facilitators:
Start on time.
The facilitator must start the meeting on time and lead the introductions with a roll call, which should include each conference call participant’s name, job title, and location. A tip – both facilitators and participants should smile while speaking to spread enthusiasm and energy!

Turn off call waiting.
No one wants to hear the distracting beep of the call waiting function.

Use the right equipment.
Speakerphones have a tendency to pick up background noises and this is especially true in an open office area with multiple cubicles. If you must use a speakerphone because there are multiple participants at the same location, it is usually better to use the mute function until it is your turn to speak, so that everyone on the call can hear him/herself clearly.

Find a quiet space or room.
Avoid the distractions of external interruptions, when possible.

Avoid cell phones if possible.
While cell phones may seem to be more convenient, they can pick up static or service can be dropped during the call. If there is only a single participant at a location, the best phone to use during a conference call is a landline phone with a headset.

Keep the group on track .
There may be some benefit in allowing some “catch-up time” but only prior to the scheduled start time of the conference call. It is important to set the tone and pace for the meeting ahead. If you are facilitating the call, remember that it is your responsibility to keep the group on topic and focus.

Follow your call up with a summary email, listing action items and delivery dates.
Accountability is essential after all meetings, including conference call meetings. Nothing keeps people on assignment and focused more than the expectation and knowledge that they will be held accountable for commitments on future calls. Taking a few minutes to review who is doing what and by when is invaluable.

Other considerations to make conference calls effective:
Don’t interrupt.
Since there are not visual reminders during an audio conference call, participants should wait until the last speaker is finished before speaking. Conference call participants should also remember to introduce themselves before they address the others on the call, unless all parties know each other’s voices well. It is the facilitator’s role to discourage interruptions or to redirect the call back on topic, if the conversation goes off on a tangent.

Don’t do distracting activities.
Conference call participants should remember that many speakerphones pick up typing on the keyboard, paper shuffling, pencil tapping, and chair squeaks. As mentioned earlier, muting the call is a good practice when others are speaking.

Don’t put the call on hold.
If a conference call is placed on hold, “hold” music will begin and distract the entire meeting, or another employee can pick up the held call, which will further interrupt the meeting and jostle everyone’s focus.

Ending the conference call.
When the call is ready to end, the facilitator should clearly state the meeting has concluded, and add a single closing comment. Facilitators should also be the last one to hang up, so that there is no additional time billed from the hosting service.

These are common sense tips, but many conference call participants can forget how to use them because conference calls are made without visual cues. If there are new employees without conference call experience, the facilitator may want to share an etiquette tip sheet, including such information as in this column, to help new participants learn before they make a mistake during an important conference call.

Conference calls have their place when used effectively, because they can be scheduled quickly, minimize costs and bring people together for an appropriate reason. If courtesy and etiquette are observed, these meetings can be successful, everyone can be heard, and participants will be encouraged to share ideas and input.

For an amusing example of how many conference calls have gone awry, go to http://www.hospitalityeducators.com/articles/20101006

John Hogan
John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com
http://www.HoganHospitality.com