Hoteliers: Reduce Your Stress, Gain Resilience

By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | January 30, 2011

If it weren't for stress, life would be a breeze – right? Stress zaps energy and clouds thinking ability. It would be a wonderful gift to have no stress or be naturally stress resistant. There are positive stressors that energize and create passion and then there are the negative stressors that cause ill effects. But, as someone once said, "Stress is like Blood Pressure, it is either high or low but we don't want it to go away completely." By tapping into the habits of stress resilient people we can find the techniques and habits that feel natural and comfortable for breaking the automatic tie with emotions that send our bodies into a crisis.

Negative stress (or dis-ease) reduces our ability to have the endurance and robustness needed to face the everyday challenges in our workplace and lives. It goes without saying that hospitality managers manage a multitude of challenges and hurdles at any one time. In addition; downsizing, layoffs and mergers can cause a shift to less familiar management tasks or an increase in overall responsibility. The old saying "find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life", is why you choose to do what you do. As jobs change, you may no longer be in that state of job nirvana. For hotel executives, managing stress levels is just as important as managing the hotel's business.

Learning how to unwind on the job or at the end of the day and stay unwound helps us become more efficient and better equipped to handle the next onslaught of stresses and challenges with clarity and optimism. And at hospitality's fingertips is one of the best resources for stress reduction. The most important mission of our spas is to help guests relax and ease stress. Our spas realize that there are as many stress-reducing techniques as there are individuals and have built up a cadre of techniques, therapies and activities. Hospitality managers have a great resource in their own back yards.

Judith Lazarus, spa authority and author of Stress Relief & Relaxation Techniques (a very profound, yet simple stress reductions book), sums it up beautifully: "Wondrous technology has advanced us for good and bad. We can multitask and accomplish so much, but unfortunately we are not techno-beings. Stress is harder than ever to overcome, because we are expected to be available 24/7 via phone, text and social media. At the same time, decades of scientific research have proven that stress management techniques have demonstrably positive counter-effects if practiced regularly. They don't have to take a long time; the trick is finding something that resonates with each person. [That's what Stress Relief & Relaxation Techniques is all about - trying different tools on for size to find what fits each individual.] We schedule everything into our PDAs but time for ourselves."

Savvy hotel guests have already incorporated some kind of stress relief into their harried lives, and know that the spa is ideal for scheduling an appointment for relaxation. For hospitality personnel too, a spa is perfect for providing the environment, tools, space and permission to let go for a while. Time and trouble are suspended while we let ourselves be nurtured. It's a short physical and mental vacation from noise and worry that is healing beyond its time frame if we can prolong the effects with consciousness. And that is what stress management is all about: Conscious letting go of the bombarding mind messages that don't allow our bodies to relax, refresh and rejuvenate.

When we take time out, our breathing becomes more deep and even, pulse slows, muscles relax, hormonal and digestive systems proceed with maximum efficiency. With rest and stress management, we can come back strong. Hospitality people have a tough job because no matter what is happening in their personal lives, they have to show nothing but a calm and positive attitude to their staff and guests when dealing with the gazillion inevitable problems that arise. Regular stress relief time allows us to keep returning to our best selves, enabling the resilience needed to rise to the occasion again every day and still feel good.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.