The tragedies of multiple natural disasters over the past several weeks have been well documented. The impact of hurricanes in Texas, the Caribbean, and Florida as well as historical wildfires in California is still being assessed, but certainly more than enough is known to understand that we are witnessing a previously uncharted period in our history. Countless lives have been impacted, as well as countless businesses and the communities that they serve.
The relationship that exists between ownership and asset management can vary widely from one property to the next and from one business approach to the next. Some owners are extremely hands-on in the operation of their properties, some are not. Some asset managers are focused on particular components of a property’s operation, some are not. Each of these variables plays an important role in maximizing the benefit to all concerned. Ultimately, Ownership and Asset Management must take the time to understand one another as well as possible, in order to achieve the best possible results for everyone.
In the hospitality business, it is important for us to be strategic. We speak frequently about strategy; strategic planning, strategic thinking, strategic pricing, strategic selling; the list goes on and on. It is crucial, however, that we all truly understand what it means to be strategic. Being strategic, by its very nature requires looking forward to make behavioral decisions based on that forward look. Reacting, on the other hand, is really just the opposite. So, if we are all so aware of the need to be strategic, why do we spend so much time reacting to what is happening around us?
“How and why will 2018 be different from 2017?” The answer lies in your ability to create a strategic plan for the coming year that not only establishes specific methods to achieve your financial goal, but that simultaneously focuses on stealing the business of your competitors (a.k.a. market share).
Whether just stopping in, grabbing a coffee, or attending a meeting or a social event, people tend to gravitate to hospitality businesses, if nothing but to satisfy their sense of ‘curiosity.’ The challenge, and the opportunity, for those of us in the business is how to communicate the purpose of our businesses to these various customers and passers-by. What is it that makes our hotels or restaurants more than just purveyors of good & services, but rather important and contributing members of our community?
As the hospitality industry continues its march down the road of “ultra-competitiveness,” it can become increasingly difficult for the customer to differentiate between brands, between management philosophies, and between that which is hospitality and that which is commodity. While this may seem daunting, there is good news; the ability to separate ourselves from our competition in terms of strategy and management philosophy is completely within our control.
Hyatt has gone out to the owners of its hotels and let them know that it plans to launch “’an aggressive sales & marketing plan’ to drive more direct bookings...”. As so many are now doing, Hyatt is looking to reduce its dependence on the OTA’s and their associated cost model by pushing more customers to book direct. What’s wrong with this picture? The painting of the OTA’s as an ‘adversary’ is not only unwise, it is actually also unfair.
With the never-ending parade of brands, sub-brands, soft brands, and more that enter our competitive marketplaces on an almost daily basis, it can be challenging to maintain focus on the day-to-day operation of our properties. As competition continues to grow, both in properties and in brands, it can become increasingly difficult for us to focus on those things which truly separate our properties from those of our competitors. While those things that we have done historically in order to effectively compete still hold true, we must also come to grips with the fact that we must learn to compete differently. No matter who you listen to or who you read, the data is everywhere: today’s guest wants more of an experience than a transaction. How are you addressing this in your properties?