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Neil L. Salerno, CHME, CHA

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"What the Heck is Hotel Revenue Management, Anyway?"

 

Don’t Compromise Your Goals; Five New Year’s Resolutions You Will Want To Keep

By Neil Salerno  

At this time of year, many people make resolutions to do everything from beginning new fitness programs to dieting and committing to wellness regimens. These are all good resolutions, but it’s also a perfect time to re-commit to exceeding those budget numbers you submitted a few months ago. 

In my coaching programs, I continually emphasize that people perform their best when they are appropriately challenged. Too much stretch causes stress, too little produces boredom. But how much stretch is just right? Most people do not challenge themselves. The first principle in coaching is the setting of personal goals for your team and then challenging them to be the best they can be.

Resolution Number One

“I will not compromise our goals this year”

Now is the time to set new goals for your team, if you haven’t done so recently. Many experts are anticipating good business recovery for ’04, and all indicators point to that probability. But demand increases rarely touch everyone, everywhere. I believe many hotels will experience unprecedented increases in ’04, but not all. It will only come to those who earn it through hard work.

Review every facet of your on-going sales program. Challenge activity numbers by setting new and higher activity goals with your sales team. Develop strategies with specific task goals; build and maintain momentum. Keep the focus on the big picture. 

As a sales director, I always felt that the best producers are usually the most difficult people to manage, so don’t even try. These people need only be pointed in the right direction and provided with the proper guidance and coaching. Concentrate on underachievers who lack the confidence and drive to exceed even their own expectations. These people can be top producers in 2004.

Resolution Number Two

“I will look for opportunities to tilt the playing field this year” 

There is always a lot of talk about a level playing field. Look for opportunities to tilt the playing field to your advantage. This year, really get to know your competition. Oh I don’t mean simply to review the charts that were developed for the business plan. Get to know their true strengths and weaknesses and go way beyond the usual brick and mortar comparisons. Get to know the general manager, sales team, and other decision-makers. 

There’s an old Italian proverb, which states “Keep your friends close, but keep your foes even closer”.  Don’t compete; develop a new service, sales procedure, new market, or value-added amenity to give you a competitive advantage. Look for breakthroughs to really get ahead of the pack.

After you analyze all competitive factors, target a competitor and focus efforts on beating that competitor in your marketplace. Unless your hotel totally commands the entire market, there usually is a hotel, which is a suitable target for your efforts. Make a complete review of your Smith Travel Research reports to gauge your progress. It is far easier to focus on a single competitor than the entire marketplace. 

Resolution Number Three

“I will accept change because I am never satisfied”

All top performers know they cannot stand still for long. They always look for ways to improve. Make your motto, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got”. 

Although it’s human nature to want to settle into a nice comfortable routine, create an atmosphere, which rewards change, new ideas, and new ways to perform old ideas. Make your team want to improve every facet of their game. 

Whether you think your hotel has reached its peak, has plateaued, or are still climbing, you can’t stand still. You have to keep changing to match current challenges. Staying with what’s working today, in a rapidly changing marketplace, is a very risky business. You know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  The fact is, if you don’t fix it all the time, it will break.

Change when you don’t have to. Many hoteliers don’t change things until they have to. They wait until sales are going poorly and then desperately try to find a quick fix. The problem is that humans don’t think clearly with a gun to their head. The poor decision-making, lack of innovation, and low morale characteristics of an organization playing catch-up create a vicious cycle that keeps them significantly behind.

Initiating change when you are out front will keep you there. The best time for pioneering change and innovation is when you are doing well, while confidence is high.

Resolution Number Four

“I resolve to encourage my team to work smarter and not harder”

If you have planned on adding additional training for your team in 2004, you are definitely on the right track. But a word of caution, choose programs wisely. We have all been on the receiving end of well-intended programs, which deliver reams of great information, new techniques, and new material during a one or two day seminar. Wisdom says that all but 3% is totally abandoned and forgotten within three days. Coaching extends the effectiveness of all training.

Generally, information does not “stick” or impact people’s habits just because it is good information. Look for programs, which provide some form of coaching or consulting after training occurs until the new techniques and ideas are used and have been committed to habit. People learn through repetition not just inspiration.

Resolution Number Five

“I resolve to inspire my team to dream and imagine reaching their goals”

Dreams are formed in the brain’s right hemisphere, along with passion, imagination, and emotion. Goals, on the other hand, are formed in the left hemisphere; they are rational, linear, and measurable. Dreams supply the vigor, vision, and direction while goals are specific, short-term targets, and are the strategies for reaching our dreams.

A manager who inspires his or her team to dream to be the best is way out front in today’s competitive environment. Dreams are an expression of optimism, hope, and values, which capture the imagination and engage the spirit. 

Dreams unlike goals, are not limited by what you think can or cannot be done, or by what your mind may tell you is or isn’t possible. Dreams represent something you really want, as opposed to something you think you can get. 

Dreams are far more powerful than goals alone. Inspire dreams and you will inspire success.

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