Category Archives: Hospitality News

Perspectives the mainstream misses.

Security Ideas for Strategic Planning

Was just reading interesting article on protective security measures by Scott Stewart in Stratfor. Turns out there are many similarities to Strategic Planning.

Author was in business of providing protective services to government officials, religious figures, royalty, business executives and ultra luxury individuals.

Professional protective security people certainly understand weapons and self defense. They realize that if they have to rely on these they actually have failed to do their job. True protective service entails anticipating situations and being prepared for them in advance to avoid confrontations. When confrontation is probable, goal is to structure confrontation on terms the protective service experts dictate.

Action is always faster than reaction. Just watch a football game. Proactive approaches involve “excellent situational awareness, thorough logistics planning, good security assessments, careful trip and individual site security advances, liaisons with counterparts and strict operational security. Protection teams can also employ powerful tools such as protective intelligence investigations, threat and psychological assessments of people with an unusual interest in the protectee, and countersurveillance detection teams.”

Leaders use the same approach when doing their strategic planning, whether it’s to address an emergency or a surprise in business, or to do the annual strategic plan, or long term plan based on business outlooks years out.

It’s already June, are you hitting your strategic plan for first half of year? What adjustments are necessary for second half of 2016? What are your plans for 2017 if economy holds strong? Starts to soften? Either nationally or just in your market or,selective market segments?

Millennials Now 1 of 3 American Employees

Pew Research Center reports that one in three American workers are millennials.

46% of millennials embrace business travel.

Millennials are looking for unique experiences. Many reject cookie-cutter chain offerings. They are looking for hotels that are trendy or at least well maintained. Millennials are looking for something unique.

So how can your hotel meet their expectations?

We all are hearing about massive data. What can you do if your hotel lacks technology to collect that data?

Collect your own data. That’s easy. After collecting data you have to act on it.

-Collecting month and day of guest birthdays allows you to send email birthday cards. Many services offer them. Better yet. Anniversary dates so you can offer them an anniversary package.

-Ask if there is any specific information their spouse loves to know about. Then provide it 3-4 times a year.

-Why are they in town? Knowing “why” enables you to better service them and know about return visits.

Quote of the Day-Sept. 6, 2015

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist the founder of the of Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique for mass production.

8 Traits Leaders Must Have

Traits to interview for when looking for true leaders.

Leaders need and must be able to articulate:

-Have ability to manage complexity.

-People who act strategically.

-People who cultivate learning agility. Leaders learn from every situation they are in. Are your candidates?

-Develop personal adaptability.

-Create an environment that fosters innovation.

-Inspire engagement.

-Leverage existing and new networks.

-Have experience and know how to manage global businesses.

Traits come from excellent article by Loise Axon, Elisa Friedman, and Kathy Jordan on ERE Sept. 2, 2015. Article title: Finding Leaders Who Can Take On Today’s Complexities: 8 Capabilities recruiters Should Put on List.

True leaders evaluate prospective employers based on questions that identify leadership abilities and skills from managerial abilities.

How About Hospitality Executive Committee Positions?

Executive committee members on hospitality management teams all need the first 7. Do your interview questions identify if your Executive Committee candidates have the traits? Equally important, has your team identified depth needed on each trait for different Executive Committee positions? How you are or will, measure performance against the traits?


Effective Recruiting Ads…for Employers

Recruiting is advertising. You need to sell your opportunities.

To many ads have job descriptions in them. Concept of job descriptions was to satisfy internal HR record keeping and help in relating similar positions for pay purposes. Later EEO drove development of job descriptions. Have you ever read one that didn’t put you to sleep?

Come on. If you want me to get excited about your employment opportunity don’t bore me to death.

Majority of employers do good job interviewing candidates with what, how, when, where, and for whom questions. Employers strive to learn about the accomplishments of the candidates and how those accomplishments mesh with the employers immediate needs.

Candidates want the same information. The best candidates will be hired by the employers who provide the information the candidates want.

Candidates want to know what the challenges are in this job or what the goals are. How the employer wants to see them accomplished. (Can I fire as many as I need to build a better team? Or am I restricted to the existing employees for at least several months?)

They want to know how the employer expects them to do the job? Phase things slowly? Or move fast?

When is the candidate expected to show results? Tomorrow? Or is the time frame realistic?

Where are the greatest challenges for this job?

Who does the job report to? Where are the hidden reporting relationships? (Position reports to Department A, but Department B has lot of say in how A operates.)

Put real information in your ads so people can tell you how they will benefit you.

New Look to Hotel Industry Impacts Your Career

Hotel News Now, 4/15/15 had excellent panel discussion on how hotel industry has changed and what it means for owners.

The build and hold philosophy rarely works when brands require $2-3 MM in capital every 3-4 years. Owners are forced to turn properties. Likelihood of getting $2-3 MM back plus additional profit is unlikely.

That totally changes how business is managed.

  • Hotels require strategic thinking as well as operational thinking. Exit strategies are now as important as positioning strategy. Of course day-to-day operations are important, but they are only part of the equation to maximize the return on the asset.
  • Strategy is now changing how hotels are built. Why build it to last 100 years if you are going to sell it in 3 years. Strategy is also changing on renovations.  Owners no longer want to do one capital project a year when brands may change rules just after the project is done. Now owners want to wait until they know what the brands are demanding.
  • Guests used to compare hotels to home. Now they are comparing home to hotels. Guests expect hotels to be more technologically efficient than the guest is at home.
  • Owners are now doing better job using the napkin test. If it doesn’t pencil out on back of napkin, based on simple cost analysis, odds are it won’t pencil out using more detailed and sophisticated tools.
What does this mean for your career?

When you are interviewing look carefully at the physical hotel. Is it up to date? Getting tired?

ASK: When is your next pip planned? What importance do you place on keeping the brand? When does your franchise agreement come up for renewal?

If they look at you with a blank stare  talk about the above and mention part of your decision is based on likelihood the brand on the hotel will be downgraded. Good companies will welcome these questions and your perceived value to them will rise. If you get body language that indicates they didn’t like you asking, odds are you have hit the nail on the head. It’s unlikely they will help your career. Think long and hard about any offer they make.

Your interviewing needs to evolve as the industry is evolving.

Why Are Salary Demands Going Up Fast?

Companies are starting to have difficulty with salaries. The larger the company the more difficulty they are having (because adjusting salary ranges for them is very difficult process.)

Average salary increase the last three years has been under 1%. Historically it has been slightly under 3%, That means people are falling behind every year. Maybe not you, or your star employees. Majority of people in the management work force are not keeping up.  Adjusted for cost of living,  US population is making less now than they were 10 years ago. We all know what has happened to prices in those 10 years.

Your employees, and job seekers,  understand their best chance to get back some of the money they lost is when they change jobs. Good people will only accept less than 10% increase:

-if they are unemployed
-it they have personal reasons that requires them to get back to a specific area.

Promises of rapid advancement or future training is rarely accepted. People know these promises are very rarely kept. Your hotel may be the rare exception, but don’t expect job seekers to accept your word for it. If your hotel really does it, introduce job seekers to 3-4 people you have trained and promoted in the last year.

What can your hotel or company  do,  besides taking a long time to fill positions?

Put together practical training program to develop your existing  staff for promotions.

How can companies do that efficiently?

Identify hotels that are training properties for certain positions. Different hotels can be responsible for developing people in different positions. This concentrates training per hotel to reduce training costs. Training improves at the same time. Last it reduces pirating of employees as soon as they get trained.

US hotels have three choices.

-Start doing a much better job of preparing their employees for the next step.
-Or paying much higher salaries when the hotels replace people.
-Or reduce standards, even more, (but that’s dangerous to long term business.)

(If you don’t think your service is mediocre, odds are 99% that you are badly out of touch. Observe how your employees interact with guests  and respond to questions. DON’T interact with the employees yourself. You represent their paycheck, of course they are going to give you great service.)

Consumers Critical Hot Buttons

People will go to almost any lengths to avoid being inconvenienced and to avoid painful experiences.

Those are huge factors driving online sales. But wait, aren’t they just as important in the business each of us are in?

What is your business doing, right now, that inconveniences customers? What things do your customers view as a real pain when they purchase goods or services from you?

Many of us ask customers how we can serve them better. And we usually get answers that don’t help us or them much. Customers don’t want to think of ways to make our business better. Customers care about what makes their experience with us better.

Change your question to:  What part of your experience with us  frustrates you? Inconvenient’s you?

Whole industries are getting turned upside down by new approaches to serve customers. Think about buying a new car or truck. Most of us hated the idea of visiting dealerships and having to face car salespeople. Along came which lets you identify what car you want to buy, with which accessories, and then tells you which dealers have that vehicle in stock and what you will pay for it. You then call the dealer and make arrangements to go in, drive the car, and then make the purchase for the Internet agreed price.

Now there is a new player that will help you find the car, arrange financing and get your insurance all at once…and then they’ll deliver the car to you, typically within a week.

Next meeting with your employees, ask them what your company does that is inconveniencing or frustrating customers. Then test those assumptions by asking customers. Address their needs quickly…or risk other businesses solving those problems and taking your customers.

Apply above to employees and investments.

What things does your company do that frustrate employees? Make their job more difficult? Or less satisfying? What are you doing that encourages your employees to look for other jobs? If you don’t know, ask!

Keep above in mind as you look at investment opportunities in new fields of technology, medicine, science, etc.  Who has products or services that make people’s lives better or easier?

Next Phase of QE Coming Soon

To listen to the media it appears that Quantitative Easing (QE) is a thing of the past.

According to Jonas Elmerraji that’s not the case at all.

The Fed fears deflation. Turns out the forward inflation is only 18 basis points above the level that started Q1, QE2, and Operation Twist. Forward inflation has not fallen below 2.2% since Post-2008.

When the Fed fears deflation they give the economy another round of QE. Next QE program  could start in 2015, perhaps earlier. The Fed will start talking about it before implementing it. Talk is cheap. Another QE program is expensive. Previous QE’s have not boosted the inflation rate as much as the Fed had hoped, nor as quickly.

What’s the implication for your business?

What’s the message in this? Watch for inflation rate to fall below 2.2%. Then step back and think about businesses that will benefit from another round of QE. How can your business offer more to attract customers from companies/organizations/governmental agencies? What can you implement to get more of that business.

Next how will QE affect your business. Which vendors will it benefit that you need to leverage on price? Which vendors will be adversely affected?  What’s your plan? Would another round of QE help or hurt your prices? If it will hurt what can you offer as inducement to maintain your prices and margins?

What’s the implication to you personally?

QE always increase some prices and decreases others. Historically it seems to increase prices on the basics we all buy. Big ticket items typically don’t increase as much. Likewise, QE has implications for your personal investments. Spend few minutes evaluating your investments to see which will benefit. Be sure the benefits of selling assets will more than offset the tax consequences.

QE isn’t just a Fed program. It has important implications for your company and for your personal finances. Histrorically we know that inflation dropping below 2.2% historically has triggered another round of QE (regardless of what the government calls it.)