Have You Made Your New Year's Resolutions Yet?

By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | July 20, 2014

Okay, be honest. Are you one of the 317 million adults in the US who do? Now, fess up. Are you one of the 300 million who don't keep it up for at least a year? I'm talking about making New Year's Resolutions.

Americans seem to love a new year. It marks a fresh beginning. We wipe the last year's slate clean and can start anew. It is no surprise that 45% of us regularly resolve to do something to improve ourselves when the calendar flips over. Another 17% of us sometimes do. And it's no surprise that, of these, only 75% keep it up for a whole week, while less than two-thirds last the first month. The percent slips to less than half (46% to be exact) at the six month mark.

Why the drop off? Simple, it is hard to change an old habit. It is hard to change behavior. As the Lay's Potato Chip commercial says, Try eating just one. Most of our resolutions have to do with getting healthier, more organized, learning something new, or enjoying family and life more fully. We all want to get better, be happier, and feel accomplished.

Now you are probably wondering why you are reading about New Year's resolutions in this issue of Hotel Executive? It's past the summer solstice. It's sunny and warm. The flowers are in full bloom, children are splashing around in the outdoor pool, and adults are the sitting in lounge chairs enjoying one of those fruity drinks with a little paper umbrella stuck in the glass. You are relishing the results of the hotel's summer get-away specials and are already planning fall weekend deals.

So why would you even contemplate New Year's Resolutions now when it is more than half way through the year? It's simple. It's never too late to start. But just as this is true for yourself, it is also true for your hotel. First, a more basic question: Do you even make resolutions for your hotel? If you don't, it isn't too late to start that either. If you could turn the calendar back to January 1st, what resolutions would you make for your property? For your staff? For your marketing plans? In a hats- off-to-David Letterman, here are five to give your thinking aout a fresh mid-year start.

Differentiate. Stand Out. Break Through the Clutter. Peter Drucker once defined leadership as "thinking through the organization's mission, defining it and establishing it, clearly and visibly." At the beginning of the 21st century, marketing guru, Jack Trout, author of Differentiate or Die, said that in this age of killer competition, he would change the definition to "thinking through the organization's difference, defining it and establishing it, clearly and visibly." I totally agree. So resolve that what you do at your hotel, differentiates its brand, products, and services so it stands apart from the competition and stays in the top spot of consumers' minds. In other words, think beyond just setting a piece of chocolate on the bedside table at night.

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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.