Marriott International’s recent announcement that it was reducing commissions paid to third-party meeting & event planners by 30% was met with a combination of surprise, anger, and acquiescence. After the dust had started to settle it became apparent that the move, while clearly bold and sending a strong message, was less impactful in reality than originally thought...and yields an important opportunity for non-Marriott branded properties.
It’s a fascinating time in the hospitality industry. Nary a week goes by without a new brand being introduced, and in many markets our industry’s seemingly never-ending upward cycle continues to generate new project after new project. If one didn’t know better, one might think that there can never be an end in sight to our growth. Reality and history, however, offer a harsher lesson; growth will slow, supply will outweigh demand, and we will be forced to tighten our belts to ride out the next dip in our performance. Is there anything that can be done to avoid history repeating itself?
Whatever your chosen media, it is nearly impossible today to open one’s eyes and one’s ears without hearing about yet another case of ‘sexual harassment.’ First of all, we should be clear that there is nothing ‘harassing’ about the nature of the accusations that are front and center today. A quick trip to any dictionary or search engine will help to eliminate any confusion about the difference between ‘harassment’ and ‘assault.’ Media attention of late is focused on this issue as it relates to the entertainment world, and to the world of politics. However, how can we be confident that this is not a cause for concern within the Hospitality industry?
Hospitality is what we call our industry, it’s the art that we practice, it’s the reason why we follow a career in service to others. While it is all of these things, it can still be very difficult to explain if you are not in the middle of it on a daily basis. How do we practice it, how do we teach it, and how do we communicate it in order to have the maximum impact on those around us? Ultimately, how are we using the principles and concepts of Hospitality to help our business units to be successful? And do you have to be a five-star property in order to foster a culture of Hospitality?
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).