Hospitality is a dynamic business that runs double speed just to stay firmly in place. It is, forever, under the influence of forces that urge it to embrace change more frequently than most other industries. First of all, it is the customer base that demands change or updation continually; then the other hotels in the region or elsewhere that push you to look within and finally the times that tend to get dated faster than you can plan and implement.
The Bottom line is almost always the plank from which business strategies spring up and from where Company Vision gets its focus. And to keep a healthy bottom line, hotel companies must always endeavour to retain their leading position (if they are market leaders; otherwise aspire to be one), increase their market share and always stay ahead of their Competition.
With 2018 close on our heels, a lot of the industry mavens and trend forecasters are working overtime to predict what will be the new developments, what will last and what will be thrown into the relics of history. Yet, it is a given that the virtues that have stood the test of time continue to guide brand growth and brand relevance.
Below follow five basic and essential steps to keep you ahead of your game, regardless of your geopolitical, cultural, time-driven coercions –
1. TQC - Total Quality Control
This is what separates the grain from the chaff. Your quality consciousness is one singularly important facet that puts you on top of the heap, regardless of your size, location, features or specialty.
I am completely swept off by hotels that do not drop the ball in the faultless crustiness and chewiness of breads in the morning baskets, in the perfect grainy texture of their mustard, the freshness of ALL fruits and cheese and cold cuts on the vast buffets, the crispness of their fresh smelling, spotless linen, the perfect point on which their temperature control rests, the poise and the pleasant disposition of the immaculately trained staff, the little thoughtful gestures exhibited at welcome and turndown. I appreciate these much more than the design, the period or modern furniture, the art deco objets d’art, the number of awards showed off in their press gallery.
I am of the strong contention that if hotels and the big guns that run them can ensure quality control in the tiniest of facets then they have definitely got the big picture right. Those who aim for the surface sheen, the outwardly, the meatier in-your-eye things and skim over the finer aspects are quite missing the point.
2. Competition Check
Those of us in Public Relations and Sales & Marketing have the privilege of enjoying a great perk at least on the upside; until it comes down to hard work and serious study that is tagged to it. Great because it entails wining and dining at competition hotels! The somewhat downside because it involves checking out the menu, the ambience, the rest of the accoutrements that form part of fine dining (this does take away the gay abandon with which we’d rather like to wine and dine), a kind of studious approach that the exercise lends to an evening we would wish to be carefree and the serious report that we must fill in and submit the next morning. Like us, our brethren from the Food & Beverage and Kitchens brigade are also extended ample opportunity within the month to dine several times at the fabulous places housed in other hotels in the city.
Then there is the new hotel FAM that we go for to familiarize ourselves with the latest in town that will fight tooth and nail with us for the share of business our geographical location attracts.
I remember on a sabbatical to the United States while working with a hotel chain, that was a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, I was encouraged by my boss to approach the other member hotels in the cities I was visiting across the east and west coast and seek a stay in order to check out their brand and product.
Like with most other products – durable, FMCG, experiential, ethereal – it will always be imperative to know what and how well the Competition is doing.
3. Brand Benchmarking
In these tough times of economic recession, lack of guest loyalty, availability of too many options, the advent of newer chains that come attached with the strings of their unique features and discerning facets, it makes a whole lot of sense to continually benchmark internally and raise the bar amidst the other players in the industry.
Guests will stay with you for the overall goodness of your product and will return only when they see a different value for themselves from the rest of the pack that hounds and courts them and solicits their business.
4. Eye for Innovation
There is always an opportunity to better your best; to present an idea in a more superior way than the next good guy in town. And that is where your inclination for innovation comes in. Faster Wi-Fi, more well-stocked minibar, a much more improved in-house laundry, greater hassle-free check-in and check-out, far more efficient in-room and butler services, more refined ease of conducting business affairs while still in the Limo, a stellar guest history software that remembers every tiny detail about the guest – the penchant to reinvent yourselves and keep your R&D skills razor sharp will always stand you in good stead.
5. Trending in Technology
While with a lot of other things we can set our own rank (think permutations in infrastructure, preferences in design, choice of services’ routine and template), with technology we can only follow what has been devised by the denizens of the Silicon Valley and madly copied and distributed in tech labs and IT firms.
From Apple founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne down to Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the A to Z of tech wizards are stumbling over each other to present the next big and better craze.
While many other things are in our hands, technology is in the hands of those who dive deep into the sea of innovation and swim back with one magnificent creation after another. With technology making the world smaller and hospitality always endeavouring to bring the world closer, it makes sense to keep up with the latest offering in personal and business technology, especially when the competition has just reworked and jazzed up their tech menu and offerings for the guests.
The five above will always guarantee to keep your Brand alive and kicking, your think tank busy, your creative teams satiated, your employee base motivated and above all, your guests happy.
When caught in the jargon of business theories and the loop spun by the new age witchdoctors; do reflect on these basic tenets and see how your business continues to thrive and outperform.
Have a successful and satisfying 2018!