Ten Ways to Spark a Better 2013
Let's put New Year's resolutions aside for a moment. Every owner and GM that I know wants to find ways to build revenue. While ongoing budgetary uncertainties might be on everyone's minds right now, your priorities should not be delayed waiting for decisions to be sorted out in Washington. So here are some ideas to get your team's creative juices cooking early in the New Year:
- Change is good, sparking new ways to think. If your planning meetings always take place at a specific time and location, start by changing that time. Then, sit at a different seat at the table. Reverse the order of agenda items. By changing the routine, your team will start to think differently. Ideas come from examining issues from a different perspective.
- Build a healthy team through diet. A clear mind helps the thinking process. Start with yourself. Examine your own eating style. Make the move to a healthier eating approach and lifestyle. You'll probably shed a few pounds, gain energy, and be able to better handle the stressful days ahead.
- Don't overload the input queue: pick one great (ideally simple) idea per quarter and then fully exploit it. Too many times I've seen GMs overload their team with multiple programs of increasing complexity, only to find that sales, marketing and operations personnel come short on execution.
- Open your team to new ideas. Consider adding a guest speaker to your next executive committee meeting. Or, take your team on a scouting trip to a competitive property to see how they perform. Whatever you do, ensure that you set aside ample time for discussion and indicated actions.
- Think green, think energy efficiency. Capital enhancements that improve long term operating expenses make good sense. Energy prices will continue to increase. LED lighting, once cost prohibitive, demonstrates how times have changed. Similar improvements are now available in laundry, HVAC, PMS and other operational systems.
- Improve your team's hardware. If your sales team is not using iPads to sell, you are handicapping their efforts. If you are still using Internet Explorer IE7 to look up anything, you're operating in the Middle Ages (even Microsoft is discontinuing support this year). And, if your own computer is more than 36 months old, what are you waiting for?
- Improve your team's social media knowledge. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are not going away. It starts with awareness. Many great programs exist to help you with this task, such as Brand Karma or ReviewPro. Make sure you're up to speed on your competition too.
- Elevate your Executive Housekeeper. Nothing will kill your business faster than short cuts in the area of room cleanliness. Slip ups, shortcuts, poor/limited training, budget cutbacks, cheaper chemicals, or old equipment: all are simply unacceptable.
- Embrace your community. Contribute replaced FF&E to shelters? Surplus catering food to the local food back? Hire interns from the local community college? Encourage ideas and initiates from your team and act upon them.
- It's all about the guest; don't forget it. Hospitality is the ultimate guest service business. Find unique ways to demonstrate guest service. Lever them and watch your TripAdvisor write ups closely.
Larry, a Cayuga Member and an Associate with G7 Hospitality Group, holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering, and an MBA from McMaster University. His first nine years of business experience were in packaged goods marketing in progressive assignments with Procter & Gamble and Pepsico Foods. His next assignment involved seven years as the advertising agency for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. For the past 21 years, Larry has been president of LMA Communications Inc., a Toronto-based communications agency specializing in strategic marketing solutions for hospitality and tourism, and focusing on the independent luxury hotel segment. LMA has won more than 65 HSMAI Adrian Awards, and has been recognized by TravelClick as Worldwide eMarketer of the Year. Larry is a frequent contributor to many leading hospitality publications, serving on the editorial board of HBR and Marketer in Residence for Hotelier Magazine. He publishes a weekly column in eHotelier.com, and a daily column as 'The Hotel Mogel' in hotelsmag.com. He has just released a book entitled, 'Are you an Ostrich or a Llama? Essays in Hospitality Marketing and Management' which collects some 400 pages of his writing. He brings a strategy-based, consumer-oriented approach to hotel marketing that reflects his multi-disciplined background. He is one of the few practitioners who embrace packaged goods techniques combined with an advertising creative know-how in the development of effective solutions for hotels.
About Cayuga Hospitality Consultants
Cayuga Hospitality Consultants is a network of highly experienced independent professionals, all with an average of more than 30 years of hands-on industry experience. Each of our consultants has held ownership, executive, and senior level positions within the vast hospitality business, and also in related industries such as real estate, development, financial services, engineering and design. Cayuga's seasoned professionals have provided services in more than 100 countries, with many spending extended periods developing strong relationships and understanding of a variety of cultures and languages. Given our consultants' experience, they understand how to manage their assignments with the least possible interruption of an ongoing business, working effectively and efficiently with the assigned client team, and delivering superior high-impact work product to fulfill our client needs and expectations. Owners, Investors, Operators, and Senior Executives across the Industry have come to rely on Cayuga Hospitality Consultants experience, innovative thought, and industry-leading resources for both domestic and international assignments.