“What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge,
and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.”
Martina Horner, President of Radcliffe College
Tryng to identify “Key Learnings” in a given year is more challenging than it first appears. The reason I found it more demanding than expected because of the immense amount of reflection to discover what actually made a lasting impact.
Here are the professional Key Learnings, as applicable to me by my speaking, writing and/or consulting this past 12 months.
- Renovations need to make a WOW, in their planning, their delivery and their Return on Investment. In tight economies, there may not be as much new product introduced but the upgrades in existing properties need to anticipate the future. I stayed at a number of properties this year that clearly missed the mark and will not be significant players in their market by 2012, regardless of brand. On the other hand, I experienced a number of excellent projects that were well executed.
- eCommerce is changing at tremendous speed and we all need to work to keep up. I am not discussing social media here, but the changes in Search Engine Optimization, the rapidly evolving ways that sites are found and used or discarded and more. This is an area that should be addressed by Executives at all levels.
- Ethics in Hospitality. I see the need for people to re-address values in the hospitality marketplace in hiring, operations and marketing.
- Financial Accounting and Management needs to be reviewed by Executives at multiple levels. Technology has made skimming and following the money trail more challenging. Reviews are needed by many p eople at all kinds of hospitality businesses.
- Marketing and Sales Management is now truly Global. We have as many or more readers and interest in our services and information internationally at www.HospitalityEducators.com as we do domestically. The reason is the availability of information that can be shared cost effectively anywhere in the world.
- Ownership and management structures need to be seriously examined and tested. This is especially critical in family businesses.
- Recognizing the Value of Hospitality Associations as Business and Political Lobbying Resources. I have been a lifetime supporter of Hospitality Associations as a member, volunteer officer, committee member and more. This year’s political action committees clearly identified the need for more of us to embrace these associations as essential business partners and an investment with a measurable ROI.
- Revenue Management does not have its own “mystery language”, but it is has evolved tremendously from the yield management tactics of ten years ago. As business and technology have made communication and the sharing of information truly global, the need to evolve fair pricing for all needs intense and ongoing attention.
- Service Delivery needs to be re-examined – again. There are truly new hospitality customers coming, from different countries, age groups, interests and personality. The days of mass marketing and delivering “average service” are gone.
- Strategic Planning means today and 2020 thought process. We have looked at our SWOT analysis several times this year and the results keep changing.
- Understanding and Embracing Green Hotel Business Initiatives is not just for someone else. In updating our www.HospitalityEducators.com section on sustainability, the number of You Tube interviews and detailed answers on “how to” use these initiatives are amazing.
- Reasonable Care continues to grow more important in the hospitality industry. In my consulting, research and work as an expert witness, I view the need for paying more attention to reasonable care becomes apparent. Growing populations, untrained or inadequately trained staff, a litigious tendency by many and the weak economy all contribute to this.
Feel free to share an idea for a column at email@example.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. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas 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
- Sales Management and training
- Turn-around and revenue management
- Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
- Customer Service
- Making Cultural Diversity Real
- Developing Academic Hospitality programs
- Medical Lodging Consulting
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.