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Learning from an objective consultant within Hospitality, it started in 1993.


Being the objective consultant within Hospitality, it started in 1993

Dramatic changes occur on continuous basis within the Hospitality industry. Many hotels and restaurants aiming to get the same market segments. The leader of any company has more tasks than ever before to include team support, setting objectives, be a motivator and marketer, just to name a few. The political role of the leader of a small bar or large corporate hotel is taking much energy, while trying to ensure a company runs with solid profits.

There are many ways to make sure your business goes well. Irrelevant on whether you are starting up or running the business for a while already, I would like to share some thoughts and a fragment called The Objective Consultant from my book ‘A Hotelier’s Mind, setting strategy for the future’.

The Objective Consultant

In my book, ‘A Hotelier’s Mind’ I have focused on all the traits, characteristics and

habits of a leader. Having been in the industry for a long time, I can easily

confirm that most General Managers we work with welcomes change when

it’s clear there is a financial result that follows. It is widely understood that

the industry is rather old fashioned in many ways and that the need for

understanding the core of the business is greater than ever, to keep the

guests loyal. But there is much more to it.

In 1993, I wrote my first book, where I described my life as a student

in Holland. I wrote the book with grandfather’s type-writing machine.

Fighting for grades and making sure I passed the modules in the allocated

4 years. I lived in the most bizarre house with 3 others and the living

circumstances were let’s just say, not doing the mind a lot of good.

Performing in these circumstances will suddenly prepare you for real life

situations as a leader. The book was most likely never published because

it would affect parents dramatically. A big part of the education was work

experience and an internship. I did my placement in a very fine boutique

hotel, The hunting tower Hotel in Perth, Scotland.

A part of the book was also about the thesis I had to write for the hotel.

I had to do a marketing plan for the expansion with small cottages.

Matching potential guests with the cottages was certainly not an easy task,

in the middle of the early 90’s recession. The client base was vast and loyal,

but low seasons seriously damaged the hotel. With the cottages in mind,

the hotel was aiming for the English with as serious interest in fishing

and hunting. I want to share a page out of the book that is until today

extremely relevant. In fact, I started the book with showing this image on

what factors influenced or would influence this hotel.

I identified Economic, technical, public policies, competition and cultural

circumstances as some of the main areas. Remember this is written over

20 years ago.

1. The economy impacts every hotel, describing this environment would help

us identify our existing and also new market segments by understanding

spending behavior, also, identifying and recognizing the economic cycle.

The economic cycle is important for hotels to understand. They are

described with words like depression, upswing, recovery and peaks.

economic cycle is a reaction on all the internal and external factors within

a market. It is hard to predict, but there is a clear trend. As a leader, the

reaction and proactive actions are vital.

2. Additionally, I analyzed and tried to predict the technical behavior that

was extremely rapid already and I remembered at the university, one of the

classes was learning how to type, two hours a week on a typewriter and that

was electronic, believe it or not. Working there operationally also taught

me so much about technology and the opportunity of businesses that

would unveil if there would be a dramatic change in system, bookings and

internal communication. Handing over the hand written orders from the

restaurant with my handwriting, caused a few headaches in the kitchen.

20 Years later, technology has become a part of our life, in many cases, a

company’s vision and has taken the road that I predicted back then but in

much faster pace, forms and shapes I could not even imagine back then.

As I am writing this, I am listening and steering a tune on a Bluetooth

system focused on my reader, researching online and offline. That looked

very different many years ago and will look totally different in the future.

Technology, hiring skilled staff and allocating financial resources are part

of a leadership decision that are critical.

3.The public policy was in this case particularly important and relevant

because of the expansion of building into the forest and also, to ensure that

the hotel or guests have the right documentation to hold guns for hunting,

or fishing for example. Keeping an eye out for legal aspects in an expansion

or new build can lead to serious hold ups.

4. The competition teaches us a lot and with current technology, there is

an incredible source of information available on the internet. We can start understanding why the competition is offering a certain weekend

package, why they have so many suites, why the restaurants are always full

or why they take so many wedding bookings. Competitors do the same

with you, so be first, be different, remember your vision and your unique

selling points. Learn from other industries, how they communicate and

connect with guests. How they differentiate themselves from the others

in the market. It will be the source, the key of how your marketer can address your market. And whatever you sell, don’t sell service, it’s a lame

misunderstood way to compete as you are not the judge of that, your guests

are. It’s only the way you exceed great service that counts. I literarily need

a paper bag, when I hear a General Manager say we have the best service

in town and statistics totally point in the other direction when its stated

as a unique selling point.

Competition can and will help you make decisions, but don’t underestimate

the speed it can change and if you have identified a new concept or idea,

how quickly it can be copied.

5. Lastly from the graph is culture. Already then, the culture was a main value