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?
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.
As hospitality professionals, we spend a significant amount of time and money on the training and direction of our teams to provide guests with the finest in service and hospitality. Our goal is to keep our guests happy & satisfied so that they will return to us, continue to give us their business and sing our praises to their family & friends. Imagine the disconnect that occurs when our actions convey the exact opposite sentiment to our customers, flying in the face of the most basic principles of hospitality and business development. Everyone in every industry knows that good service, good value, and good product improve one’s chances of growing one’s business. So why are we sabotaging ourselves?
There is probably not a day that goes by that someone in a managerial capacity at your properties isn’t talking about strategy for the coming year; what is our plan, who is going to create it, who is going to implement it, etc., etc. While all of these conversations are highly important, none of them really make a difference if the strategic plan that we ultimately create is not dynamic, measurable, and executable. Even if we can achieve these three points, the question remains, how will we know if our ‘strategy’ has truly been successful?
The question “how do we define hospitality?” should not be rhetorical. Whether we are Cocktail Servers or CEO’s, Accountants or Asset Managers, each of us has signed up for the hospitality industry and therefore the definition of hospitality must mean something significant to us. While there is a baseline definition of hospitality across our industry, sometimes we can lose sight of an honest definition of the term, and most importantly what this means to our guests.
It’s difficult to believe, but the time for budget and marketing plan development for 2017 is upon us. Yes, it’s true, now is the time when many of us are working on our plans for the coming year. As we go through this exercise, the challenge for all of us is to remain focused on the desired outcome. Do we all agree on what that outcome should be? Surprisingly, perhaps not.
As hospitality professionals, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of such things as “value for price paid,” “rational pricing,” and “rate integrity.” However, because these are so common in our work, there is an inherent risk that we may inadvertently lose sight of what these phrases truly mean or worse, there is risk that we may lose sight of how to execute strategies that reflect these important principles.
In recent memory, perhaps the most overused and ‘under’-understood term in the world of hospitality is “disruption.” It is nearly impossible to read about our industry today without some reference to the impact of “disruption” or “disruptors” on our lives. But as we read and talk about this buzzword for our industry, a bit of perspective is important.