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Happy New Year, fellow hoteliers!

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever made any? Moreover, have you ever stuck to them? Here is a list I’ve compiled for hoteliers that I hope you’ll consider adding to your own for the upcoming year.

1. I will use fewer online flash-sale programs or others of their ilk. Everyone knows they work at delivering occupancy, but at what cost to your core customer base and brand value strategy? Commit to building your occupancies properly with well-founded yield-management strategies.
 
2. I promise to reduce my reliance on OTAs, focusing more on business generated through my (or my chain’s) website. Remember, OTA customers are not your customers. The goal is to secure your own customers for re-marketing purposes, let alone the yield enhancements that come from direct bookings.
 
3. I will respond to every TripAdvisor rating within 24 hours. Good, bad or ugly, I will ensure everyone knows we are proactively monitoring this source of feedback with a goal of continuous product/service improvement.
 
4. I will become even more technologically savvy. It’s an ongoing battle. True, a GM has to be a people person, confident in communicating one-on-one with guests and staff. But at the same time, the GM has to recognize and embrace the need to keep fully abreast of technological innovation.
 
5. I will not slash my advertising budget at the first sign of despair. Far too often, panic sets in after the first-quarter results. The immediate target is often the marketing budget. After all, when cutting advertising, no one loses their job, and no one really knows how advertising works, right? Wrong! There is a direct correlation between your marketing spending and guest volume. Advertising is the gasoline that fuels your marketing engine. Chopping spending ultimately leads to further volume reductions down the road.
 
6. I will use my planning committee team’s time wisely. Recognizing that the time spent in meetings is time away from the business and the guest, I agree to reduce the number of meetings and the time spent in those meetings by expertly pre-planning and scheduling.
 
7. I will let my competitive set and market dynamics determine group rates. The goal is to deliver the appropriate groups occupancy target. To do so, you will have to ensure your group rates are in keeping with the marketplace. Remember, without a group base, the ability to achieve your targeted occupancy will significantly compromise FIT segment rate goals.
 
8. I will participate more in CVB activities. GMs recognize they are goodwill ambassadors for their property. The need for visibility outside the property grows with the value of their property. Delegate or participate with your convention and visitors bureau appropriately.
 
9. I will support the future of our industry through the hiring of interns and providing them with meaningful assignments. Do this by aligning your property with local hotel schools at the junior college or university level. Ensure there is at least one intern working on property at all times. Choose interns in a variety of areas such as rooms, F&B, sales and marketing. Give them suitable training and feedback. If you don’t pay your interns, reward them at the completion of their internship with appropriate cash or compensation in kind.
 
10. I will personally attend at least one general industry event this coming year. Do not delegate this. You need to keep yourself in the loop by touring the exhibits, listening to educational speakers and getting a pulse on what’s going on outside your own property.
 
11. I will eat lunch at least once a month in the company cafeteria with my team. And, if the lunch is unsatisfactory, I will appropriately chastise my F&B director to ensure my team is well fed. I will use this time to mutually share news with my staff and to receive suggestions as to how we can enhance the property in the future.
 
12. I will reward all members of my team for the success we will achieve. The rewards will be clearly identified within the budget framework and fully committed to by ownership in advance. Progress towards delivery of these targets will be outlined to all members of the team on a continuous basis. And we will succeed!
 
What are your New Year’s resolutions and ruminations?
 
(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in HOTELSmag on December 31, 2012)

Larry MogelonskyHappy New Year, fellow hoteliers!