Wake Up and Smell the Next Downturn Brewing

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | January 06, 2010

I've been working in the hospitality industry since I was a teenager, so I've had a lot of time to observe it and figure out how to succeed in it-and how not to. Over the years I've identified an ever-present barrier to success that always seems to keep us from maximizing our profits. It's a part of the human condition that affects us all, but we never seem to realize it until after the fact.

This barrier is our tendency to have short memories.

It's said that we have no memory for pain, and I suppose it's true. How else, for example, could women give birth more than once? How else could we survive the painful task of uprooting our family and moving them from a place we call home to some other place, many of us several times? A short memory might be a plus in instances like these-but it's always a negative when it comes to the hotel business.

You read the trades, talk to fellow hoteliers, make the conference circuit and hear all the good news. Times are good right now. Rates are up, occupancy is up, RevPAR is up, it's all turned around from the doldrums of recent years and everybody's happy: Your creditors are happy, your lender is happy, and best of all, you're happy. You're making more money, you're playing more golf and you're taking bigger and better vacations.

Life is good-and if you listen to most industry pundits, it's going to get even better. It won't be long before you'll be able to do the things you've been putting off . . . like trading up to that Lexus, building your dream house, maybe even buying or building your next hotel. Talk about Heaven on earth, right? And isn't it about time?

Actually, it's about time to wake up from that dream.

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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.