Extract from Time, Talent and Technology to Win in 2017:
Just like the media business, when things are hopping, it’s good for the hotel business. The travel industry thrives on change, action and excitement. If you follow the top level results of Google Analytics – it reads like a hotel marketing plan. The bigger the news the more viewers / readers – the bigger the events, conventions, deals, or attendance the more hotel guests.We need action and people on the move and 2017 promises to have “huge” events, changes, challenges, and opportunities.
The pundits are focused on the percentage of change in occupancy and RevPAR, and they are right. This matters a lot when we want to understand growth. My good friend Mark Woodworth, Executive Vice President with CBRE tells us, “Flat is the new normal.” I agree, however, that is not so bad if we are in our down cycle. What if this is the worst it will get? What if the optimists are right and we are going to have a great year?
Well, the truth is we really don’t know. What we do know is that action creates demand and that means room nights. We know 2017 is going to be a year full of people on the move and that means heads in beds.When planning the strategies to capture the most demand possible, think like the disruptors. The founders of Airbnb did not create demand; they used talent to figure out how to anticipate the needs of the travelling public. The challenge is to THINK about the customer solution, KNOW who your target market is and what they DESIRE, and perfect your message and methods to connect with that specific market. Find your “point of difference” and use that to attract the new buyers.
This may sound like a Marketing 101class (I do teach Hotel Management at Georgia State University), so forgive sounding like your former college professor with this basic message. However, don’t dismiss it. We can all use a bit of spring training and a refresher. Don’t look at the cycle to solve your problem or serve as your excuse. You have heard that with new demand comes new supply and it is confirmed the new supply is coming. So stay away from the cycle discussion to gain market share. Rather, focus on what you can control. Set your resources and goals to find a way to “steal” or earn that market share, that will have a meaningful impact and create the win.
What if you challenged your team to enable innovation and creativity as the keys to your plan for 2017? Assume that the demand for next year is there and that it’s going to be very strong. Ask the team to find a way to beat the competition and uncover the opportunities We know others have done it; the take is there. Demand is booming for those who seek it.
The challenge is being the leader to make it happen. My prediction for 2017 is those who focus on TIME, TALENT and TECHNOLOGY will win. So be the one who has the strategic plan centered on building talent, using your time wisely and optimizing technology to meet your goals. You will come out on top. It may be a good thing to be the disruptor if it will encourage innovation and achieve new results. Explore the opportunities and look for the market that is not being served (or served well) and set a new level of excellence.