Let’s put New Year’s resolutions aside for a moment. Every owner and GM I know wants to find ways to build revenue, year round and not as part of some quick fix race that fizzles out by late January. While the ‘fiscal cliff’ may loom on everyone’s minds right now, your priorities should not be hampered waiting for sweeping monetary decisions to be made in Washington, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing or Ulaanbaatar. Here are some ideas to get your team’s creative juices cooking early in the New Year and keep them simmering for the other eleven months:
- Change is good. It will help spark new ways to think. If your planning meetings always take place at a specific time and location, start by changing that time to interrupt the druthers of daily routine. Then, do a shuffle; have everyone sit at a different seat at the table. Reverse the order of agenda items. By changing habits, your team will have no choice but to think differently. And ideas will surely come from examining issues via a fresh perspective.
- Build a healthy team through healthy diet. A clear mind helps the thinking process, and if your neurons are clouded with trans-fats and refined sugar, the mind will flounder. In other words, you are what you eat and if you eat healthy, you’ll maximize your brainpower. Start with yourself and lead by example. Scrutinize your own eating behaviors. Make the move to a healthier eating approach and lifestyle by first researching from the vastness of information and regimens available on the internet – paleo diet, slow carb diet, raw foodism, all have something beneficial to offer. You’ll probably shed a few pounds, gain energy and be able to better handle the stressful days ahead.
- Don’t overload the input queue. Pick one great and preferably simple idea per quarter then exploit it. Too many times I’ve seen GMs overload their team with multiple programs of increasing complexity, only to find that sales, marketing and operations personnel come up short on execution. When it comes to complex tasks and new initiatives, multitasking is a death sentence. Rely on the tenets of mental momentum – devotion to one goal will sync operations cohesively and make any result achievable.
- Open your team to new ideas. They say that one of the marks of a genius is his or her ability to listen and acknowledge differing points of view. Consider adding a guest speaker to your next executive committee meeting. Or, take your team on a scouting trip to a competitive property to see how they perform. There’s always something you can do better, and improving begins with adroit observing. Whatever you do, ensure that you set aside ample time for group discussion and indicated actions.
- Think green, think energy efficiency. Capital enhancements that improve long -term operating expenses make good sense. Naturally, energy prices will continue to increase. LED and OLED lighting, once cost prohibitive, demonstrates how times have changed. Similar improvements are now available in laundry, HVAC, PMS, waste disposal and other operational systems. Then there are the more visible forays like solar panels, water-saving toilets and food miles for the F&B director to mull over. You can even hire an independent energy consultant to implement new processes with potential savings reaching seven figures.
- Improve your team’s hardware and software. If your sales team is not using tablets to sell, you are handicapping their efforts. If you are still using Internet Explorer 7 as your default browser, you’re operating in the Middle Ages (even Microsoft is discontinuing support this year). And, if your own computer is more than 48 months old, back up the hard drive, locate the nearest baseball bat or cricket paddle and go to town.
- Heighten your team’s social media knowledge. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn are not going away and they are each constantly updating their systems and policies to refresh the user experience. There’s no excuse for everyone not having a basic knowledge of each top platform. It starts with awareness. Many great programs exist to help you learn and aggregate important public information and opinions about your organization. Make sure you’re up to speed on your competition, too.
- Elevate your Executive Housekeeper. This should be considered a position of high esteem. Nothing will kill your business faster than short cuts in the area of room cleanliness. Slip-ups, shortcuts, limited training, budget cutbacks, cheaper chemicals, or old equipment; all are simply unacceptable nowadays. We live in a dirt-phobic society where one splotch or loose hair can degrade an online critique from five to two stars. Yes, these review systems are highly subjective, but resistance is futile, so make sure your guestrooms are always spotless.
- Embrace your community. Surplus catering food to the local food back? Contribute replaced FF&E to shelters? Hire interns from the local community college? The holiday spirit may have passed, but that’s no reason to stop giving back. Encourage ideas and initiatives from your team to act on.
- It’s all about the guests. Hospitality is the ultimate guest service business. Find unique ways to demonstrate how much you appreciate having visitors stay with you and enjoy your domain. Delivering satisfaction is the name of the game and you should be open to all possible ways to increase this. For instance, watch your TripAdvisor write ups closely and note even the most minor of improvements you can make to enhance the guest experience. Also, view your competitors both near and far to see what they are doing to not only satisfy customers but differentiate their product.
(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in eHotelier on January 2, 2013)