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

Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations

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