Category Archives: Revenue Generation

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.

Degenerate Capitalism Returns…Again

Degenerate Capitalism is term that’s starting be thrown around…again. Term originally used may years ago by economist Dr Kurt Richebacher. Degenerative capitalism occurs when a capitalist economy is taken over by the financial markets. When economists view economic data only on the basis of what impact the data has on the immediate financial markets.

In 1970’s economists universally agreed a nation needs savings to assure prosperity. Fast forward to 2013 and we have the view that consumer spending makes any nation prosperous. If deficit spending by the government is bad, then deficit spending by consumers has got to be equally bad. Media, economists, and Federal Administration (and many states) are ignoring it.

In healthy economies, consumption has to be fueled by production. Americans are getting poorer at rate of 2.3% per year.

What’s implication for our industry?

  1. Look for industries that are expanding production and increasing their margins.  Get greater share of your business from them.
  2. Recognize that general public is going to have less and less to spend every year.
    How much of your business is dependent on discretionary spending by the consumer? How successful can your business be going after a shrinking percentage of upper middle class Americans? Can you upgrade your amenities as fast as chains think you should, and still keep the margins you want?
    If not, what’s your plan? Those that anticipate will do ok, others will lose profits…too quickly .
  3. Use creative thinking to identify how to restructure hotels to a different business mix.
    Perhaps you can rent out some rooms to professional businesses that have base of customers coming to town consistently. Office services you currently provide can help those businesses reduce expenses. Then get tie in to have those customers stay at your hotel rooms. Means their customers can do business without having to leave your hotel…reducing their expenses. Many hotels already have tie-ins with local restaurants to deliver meals. Done right, you may not need that expensive franchise affiliation. Or you can get a less expensive affiliation without losing rate.

Industry emphasis has been expanding/upgrading amenities. That’s forcing businesses to go after the same upscale customers…a customer base that is increasingly affluent…but declining in numbers. How long will you be competitive in that environment? Maintain your desired profit margins? Understand if the overall market by your hotels is upgrading, staying the same, or starting to slip.

Like all businesses…to thine own self be true. Trust me, the franchisors are.

Anticipate Guest Needs, Then Personalize

Do you remember the last time your hotel anticipated a guest need? Which employee did the anticipating?

Does your blog feature the guest experience when a need was anticipated? Does your blog include guest comments, attributed to the specific guest? When the comments are negative do you identify how you have solved the issue for future guests?

Does your staff talk about ways guest and employee needs were anticipated every week? How much staff meeting time is spent talking about anticipating guest and employee needs?

Does your hotel track when guest needs have converted into additional revenue? How profitable those incremental revenues were?

Hotels that provide great guest service are more profitable. They also anticipate guest needs to minimize “surprises.”

Have a success you would like to share?

Optimizing Onboarding ROI

Are you optimizing ROI from your new employees? From their first day? How do you know?

As business leaders look for the best ways to maximize the ROI of their workforce, the onboarding process is often overlooked. For many, the onboarding experience is reduced to a mere checklist of tasks to be completed and forms to be submitted. The fact that such organizations fail to understand, though, is that an employees that experience a smoother onboarding process will be more connected to the organization, better trained and, thus, quicker to produce.

Establish a Baseline for Measuring Onboarding ROI

Evaluating the value of an enhanced HR process is not always a straightforward process, but establishing a baseline is the first and most important step. Spending time with leadership and defining your standards for measuring ROI is invaluable.

When establishing your baseline to measure ROI, there are a few key concepts you should keep in mind:

● Onboarding should be consistent. All of your fancy data gathering will be for naught unless you can roll out a universal process for onboarding new hires.

● The onboarding process is more than a checklist. Though checklists are great for staying organized, your new hires’ success depends on your ability to get them connected to your organization and keep them connected beyond their first day.

● The onboarding process goes beyond the first week. Though the normal probationary period for new hires is 90 days, The Wynhurst Group reports 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment.

How to Brave the Metrics Madness

After identifying what information will be most valuable, you can begin strategically tracking data. Keep in mind that some of the data you measure won’t be cold, hard facts that fit nicely into a spreadsheet.

There are three areas you can focus on for information: performance, experience and effectiveness. In terms of scope, I’d suggest looking beyond your new hires.

For Maximum ROI, Take Engagement Beyond Onboarding

At the end of the day, your ROI is answering one question above all: What is the value of onboarding new employees more effectively? Here’s a hint: Take a look at your metrics and note improvements in employee performance, time to proficiency and increased retention. Once you can answer that question, move onto the next question: “How can we maximize the value of a better-onboarded employee?”

One way you can maximize this value is to keep the momentum going. Many organizations leverage the tools and technology found in talent management systems to better manage the process of engaging and motivating their employees. Beyond core talent management functionality, these systems also offer reporting analytics and dashboard elements that provide the information you need to support your ROI analysis.

About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice

http://www.softwareadvice.com/hr/.
It’s his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR, and to keep his audience clued-in on important trends and hot topics in the industry.

This article can be found in its entirety at Kyle’s blog:
http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/hr/onboarding-roi-metrics-for-measuring-the-true-value/

Building Effective Recruiting Talent Communities

Lots of followers is not an effective way to build a talent community on social media.

The goal of any recruiting strategy should be to build a reliable, repeatable source of hires. Lots of people, simply means lots of people. The key is the quality of people the talent community attracts and whether they are qualified for the jobs available.

Job boards have a very, very, low ratio of hires to people reading their ads. Most social sites for employment have even lower ratios.

How you engage your talent community determines whether it will be effective or not.

The most effective recruiting talent communities are small, communities built around the culture of your company and the skills needed for the jobs you typically need to fill. A talent community should not be designed to fill every position, only those positions that need to be filled frequently.

There are more effective recruiting techniques to use for the ‘once in a while job vacancies.’

Building effective recruiting talent communities requires you, or someone in your company, to consistently spend time cultivating the desired talent community. That means keeping your talent community apprised of happenings in your company. What coming needs are likely to be. Opportunities and challenges. Etc.

Talent Community Rule of Thumb

Spend as much time communicating with your talent community as you spend communicating with your best friend. That takes time. Concentrate that time on the jobs most frequently vacant. Develop information to attract highly skilled people to those jobs.

Lots of jobs available in lots of different positions.
What do you do when you are faced with major hiring challenges over an extended period of time? Build smaller talent communities within your overall community. This may be by Department, brand, or geographical areas. The smaller the talent community, the easier it is to communicate and engage people. It’s much easier to talk about specifics than broad generalities. Create opportunities for people within your community to interact with each other.

Key to Engagement
Offer something to keep people coming back. It can be prizes, games, recognition. People participate in social communities to get something they want or need. Simply offering a job now and then doesn’t keep people coming back.

It isn’t complicated!
Building a recruiting talent community is not difficult.

1. Identify the jobs you need to recruit for. Can they be addressed with one talent community, or do you need sub-communities?

2 Identify the skills and management style that ideally mesh with your company.

3. Identify where on the Internet the people you want to attract hang out. Is it Ladders? LinkedIn? If on Twitter or Facebook, where on those sites? Other sources? Talk to your employees in the jobs you need and ask them where they spend their professional time on social networks.

4. Communicate at least weekly to your talent community and to each sub-community. Distribute press releases. Announce promotions. Tell people about business marketing successes. Send a link to an article to benefit their career (and expand their skills to make them more desirable to your company. Etc.

The communication step shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes per sub-community per week. Engage your best employees to help.

Looking for a New Career Opportunity?

Seek out social talent communities that match your skills and interests. Actively participate in them. The better prospective employers understand your talents, the more interested they become. Communicate your successes. Offer suggestions.

Economic Analysis: Weathering the Storm: Tom’s Take

Was just reading that 61% of US Government expenses are covered by the taxes the government collects. Other 39% has to be borrowed.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has already forecast a 4.5% deficit to GDP for the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, the government continues to spend money we don’t have on programs that will never increase real tax revenues or the size of the taxpayer base. In the last 50 years the federal government has made no real attempt to solve the above deficit problems long term.

So what does it mean for hotel business as we look “down the road?”

One persons problem is another persons opportunity.

As the government gets bigger and bigger obviously there will be more business from governmental agencies. Equally important will be all the companies calling on various government agencies either to sell to, or get something from the government. Then there will be all the companies who call on the government who are just trying to get a piece of the action.

Historically, “insiders” have gained the most from swings in governmental spending. That’s why there are so many lobbyists trying to influence governmental agencies. Yes, they are trying to influence policy, but more important is having advanced information that can benefit them.

How do you become a government insider?

Knowledge is power.

Who in your community will benefit from the government taking a more active role in our economy? How much do you know about those entities? How can you learn more?

Even if your business is in a small town there are businesses and organizations that work closely with various business organizations. Be sure you know who they are and have a plan on how to increase your business from those organizations. They are going to have needs for hotel rooms, create group business, and have a need for recreational programs. They can benefit hotels that specialize in transient business or group business, and they can benefit resorts.

What’s the best way to tap into this buisness?

Use the Internet.

Create a social media campaign using email to reach out to organizations for each market segment you are interested in.

When thinking social media we immediately think of Twitter and Facebook. Instead, create your own social media network and let it expand based on people who are interested in what you are offering.

Have a monthly email that appeals to a highly targeted group of your customers. Ask them to subscribe and to share your emails with others they know who would be interested. By appealing to a highly specific group of customers it becomes very easy to write to them. It’s much easier to write for a narrow market. As soon as we try to write information that will appeal to a mass market we have to spend a long time carefully thinking about the market we are trying to appeal to.

This blog is written first for the hotel industry and secondly has some applications to the overall hospitality industry. Were I to write this for a much broader audience I would have to write much longer blog articles and use lot more examples, and I could not be as specific. I have a great deal of admiration for people who have the ability to cogently write for large mass audiences.

Break your marketing emails down to as small a market segment as you can. This will enable you to exchange information and feedback that is highly targeted to the needs of the specific segment. Your goal is to increase your business from that segment by 10% each year. Will you always hit the goal? Probably not, but having an aggressive revenue goal will keep your monthly emails highly targeted.

Share what’s working for your hotel. We are all peers, very, very few of us are really competitors.

Economic Analysis: Uncertainty Can Be Good News: Tom’s Take

Robert Frost said, “In 3 words I can sum up everything I have learned about life. It goes on.”

Friday I was reading that crisis in Greece continues to worry investors. RE market seems to have turned the corner in the US. Next article said RE market remains weak. Meantime, volcanic eruption in Iceland has royally screwed up airline flights. To point UK has sent ships to pick up stranded citizens in the Baltic. Stock market rallied. Wait a minute, it dropped Friday on news of yet another scandal.

What the heck (alright I tamed that down) does all of this mean? How do we make it work for our businesses?

The more I read the less I know. If I don’t like one analysis I can read a little more and get the opposite analysis. Economics has always been more art than science. Yet, people, or at least the media seem to be dwelling on economic predictions more than ever.

“At first I was uncertain, now I’m not so sure.” Anonymous

Those of us in business need to be aware of what’s going on in the world. But then move forward without relying too much on what’s going on. Another quote I like, “There’s nothing wrong with looking back, just don’t stare.”

There are certain things we know.

The world knows that natural resources are depleting and the population is exploding. Likewise, each of us should know what is going on in each of the communities we do business in. Which businesses are growing and which are contracting. But do we?

I was recently talking to a VP Operations who has been asking their hotel management teams:

  • When was the last time the GM’s asked their teams, specifically, which local businesses were growing or poised for growth? When was the last time the sales team visited those businesses to learn what their needs were?
  • When was the last time they attended Chamber of Commerce Meeting? Met with the local CVB? Had lunch with their peers from other hotels? Attended a Rotary or Kiwanis meeting? Were involved in another civic activity?

This VP was worried that the teams were concentrating on today’s business to the exclusion of future business. The VP was right. The GM’s had not been asking the first question. Attending a staff meeting it was quickly apparent Department heads were not getting into the community to learn what was coming. Most of the Department heads belonged to one or more organizations, but they rarely attended meetings.

Action Plan

Hotels had their sales teams calling on known accounts and local businesses. Department heads had to attend at least one civic function a month. By dividing up civic organizations, each hotel assured attendance at majority of meetings and functions. Things that should have been happening all along, but in the effort to get immediate business, things that were not being done systematically.

Results

First month hotel picked up 4 additional catering functions. Booked 3 small meetings for the next month. All a result of sales team calling on businesses they added to their list of prospects. Attendance at civic functions and meetings resulted in booking 3 wedding receptions, an anniversary party, role out party for expansion at local business, and events for 3 new businesses that were opening within 3 months. Plus over 20 leads for other business functions with potential for over 300 room nights.

VP’s prodding reminded Department heads they were all responsible for sales for their hotel.

Silver Lining in Residential Foreclosure Market: Tom’s Take

Home foreclosures first quarter are 35% higher than in 2009. Appears the nation is on track for 1 million foreclosures in 2010.

How can there be a silver lining in that? There certainly isn’t for the people displaced. But for those in businesses that benefit from meetings those foreclosures represent opportunities.

Financial institutions are increasing meetings as they look for ways to divest these assets. Whether it’s meeting with a group of realtors, or potential investors, or companies to handle advertising, maintenance on the assets, etc.

There is plenty of money available to invest. So far, major investment groups have been watching for commercial assets. Commercial Backed Mortgage Securities (CBMS) hold many, if not most of the desirable commercial real estate assets. CBMS are very, very complex. They normally cover a number of assets, so unraveling them and preparing individual assets for sale takes a long time.

I doubt the groups with large cash holdings will be interested in residential real estate. However, some of the smaller groups may decide they can pick up groups of homes, rent them out, and then sell them in several years when real estate market conditions improve.

What businesses may have needs for your hotels? Mortgage companies, residential real estate companies, landscape and home maintenance companies, insurance companies, security companies, CPA’s, small and mid-sized banks and financial institutions. Call on them to see what their needs are. Listen and get creative in ways to gain business from them.

Tom’s Take: Innovations for Second Quarter

Yesterday in Business is Better, Closing In On Good, But Not Great “http://www.blog.securemploy.com/2010/04/07/business-is-better-closing-in-on-good-but-not-great/” I indicated that most companies we have talked to did slightly better than planned for the first quarter. Some felt they were overly conservative in their projections. Others felt they didn’t get as big a “share” as they wanted. Etc. Bottom line: many companies are not as happy about first quarter as they should be. Congratulate yourself if you achieved NOP!

Innovative Thinking for Second Quarter.

Had a delightful conversation with a progressive thinking VP Sales & Marketing early this week. He really got me thinking. I asked if I could share his ideas. He agreed.

He introduced me to:

Zero Based Marketing & Sales Projections Increase Revenues 11%

All of us are familiar with Zero Based budgeting that was all the rage a few years ago. (Incidentally, a number of progressive management companies are still using the concept and seem to be beating the industry profit averages by 5-7% every year.)

This VP sits down with sales teams at each hotel, every quarter. They analyze all the booked business. What has been booked. At what rate. What additional services/products were added to the sale. What F&B is included. Then they go through a check list of 97 things they can offer to any group or guest to identify what they did not sell. Now they re-analyze each piece of business to identify how to get additional revenue from the group.

They have been doing this for 9 months. On average they have increased revenue from existing bookings by 11%.

The VP takes this a step farther. Before each sales call the sales person studies the list of 97 items that can be sold and charged. Which will benefit this group or corporate account the most. They look at what will provide the most benefit to the customer. Not what will give the hotel the greatest profit margin. This VP understands the key to sustained long-term profits is to keep all the accounts. VP knows that only happens if you meet the clients needs first.

Can It Really Be This Simple?

VP Sales and Marketing said they learned early that they always left money on the table. Sales people are trained to close the sale. It’s tough to be in the middle of that process and remember everything you can sell. By analyzing what was missed, from the customers perspective, they can go back to the customer and help the customer better meet their needs.

I asked if the customer always “traded up.” The answer? “Almost always, but typically at a fraction of what we suggest.” It’s easy to identify ways a customer can significantly increase their results by spending 20% more. That’s rarely in the budget. “Customers always appreciate our suggestions, even when they don’t use them. They appreciate our thinking about their business. By concentrating on how our suggestions will benefit them, they “get” that we are not just trying to re-negotiate the deal.

Sweetening the deal.

Once in a while, the customer just can’t add anything. Before we make our suggestions the sales team at the property has identified 1-2 things they would be willing to “throw into the existing deal” to improve things for the customer. These customers are blown away by our offer. It stops them cold if they were thinking we were just trying to renegotiate after the deal was signed.

The Best Part-90% Re-bookings.

That’s right. This company has re-booked 90% of the business that has been exposed to the above. “Customer loyalty is the name of the game for any business. I always remind our teams that it’s easier to get additional dollars from existing customers than to find new customers. We all know it. In our zeal for additional business, I found we were pushing our sales teams so hard they were not giving our existing customers the attention they deserved.”