Steve Jobs' Correlation with the Hotel Industry

By Ashish Modak General Manager, LUX* Belle Mare | January 03, 2016

I recently had the pleasure of reading a yet another book on Steve Jobs. Almost at the same time, I watched (during a training session at the hotel) the much-publicized address of his at the Stanford University commencement ceremony. Steve Jobs had summed up his address to the young students with a very simple and catchy phrase – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish! Jobs shared three personal stories to illustrate the power of this phrase. Three personal stories that could connect with the entire audience and even today after more than a year of him leaving this world, this phrase and those three stories resonate with many.

Having reflected upon this address and the gist of a couple of books written on him that I have been fortunate to read, I find it compelling to share these stories with their relevance in the hospitality industry and with a couple of examples of what we have done at my hotel - LUX* Belle Mare here in Mauritius based on this very philosophy. It is a well-known fact that the hotel industry demands people with extraordinary passion and commitment. The question is – Is this enough to create the difference between an 'Also Ran and a Winner'? 

The difference to me lies in the rules laid down by Jobs through his beliefs. Lets look at the three key parts of his address to the students to reflect upon his philosophy, which made Apple what it is…

Learn to Connect the Dots

Using the example of his college days, his learning of calligraphy and its usage in the later years while designing Macintosh, Steve Jobs touched upon a very key mantra… Trust your guts; your belief, your inner voice. It is a fact that our inner voice talks to us. Many a times, we fail to listen to it carefully. Be it work pressures, formalities, hierarchical orders or any other reason, but inner voice is often stifled and only reflected upon at a later stage with a feeling of 'Only If'! In hotels, people who have learnt to believe in this principle have done wonders. These people have been the pioneers in the industry worldwide and their hotels and organisations have become trendsetters. From Hilton to Marriott, from Ritz to Oberoi - each hotel company has a story to share. A story seeped in belief in your inner voice, a belief in yourself and a belief born out of being very close to the customer. The CEO at LUX* Resorts & Hotels has been a mentor for me for many reasons. 

Having been in the industry for many years and having played a key role in the successful launch and operations of some very successful hotels in the world, Paul Jones is a live example of someone who knows what to go with and what not! LUX* Belle Mare – today a jewel on the east coast of Mauritius was a run down, tired hotel until Paul stepped in. A series of transformations followed. The whole process of transformation of the hotel culminated with a two - month closure for a total refurbishment. From rooms to public areas, from landscaping and lighting to training of the team; all aspects were worked upon resulting in a trendy, young at heart and a very special offering.

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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.