Do You Appreciate Your Franchise and are YOU Being Appreciated?

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | August 21, 2011

2011 seems to be a year filled with appreciation - and rightly so. Coming out of one of the worst economic depressions in decades, people are beginning to really value those who helped them stay afloat during tough times.

This year you can search and find the customary "Military Appreciation Day," "Customer Appreciation Day," and "Secretary Appreciation Day" type events plus some that are more unconventional, such as "Collector Car Appreciation Day," "Hero Appreciation Day," and "Super Secret Comic Book Appreciation Day." This got me to thinking, but what about "Franchise Appreciation Day?"

For nine years the International Franchise Assn. (IFA) hosted such an event that brought together franchise executives across multiple markets to meet on Capitol Hill and discuss how franchisors and their franchisees are being impacted by Congressional decisions. While it proved to be an important event for many years and got Congress to acknowledge their appreciation of the franchising sector, it may not have done much to bolster the "appreciation" felt between the franchisors and franchisees themselves.

Used as a verb, "appreciate" means to recognize the full worth of something, to be grateful for something, to raise in value, esteem, or price.

Using that definition as a basis of discussion, would a "Franchise Appreciation Day" be lucrative today? Do franchisors truly "appreciate" their franchisees and vice versa?

As Chairman and CEO of the industry's leading franchise negotiations company that provides new franchise agreement negotiations and franchise termination/liquidated damage claim negotiations services, I would answer: "No. Absolutely not." Almost daily, I am called upon to help hotel owners resolve disputes that arise between themselves and the franchisor as a way to avoid litigation. While there are always two sides to every story in franchising, right or wrong the odds typically favor the franchise company.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.