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Adaptability in the Hotel Industry
By Robert J. Nyman
When was the last time you stepped back and listened to what was happening in the world outside of your own industry? In order to stay relevant in today's world we all need to adjust to how customer demographics, attitudes and lifestyles are changing; while the cost of doing business is being redefined. How often do you actually speak to a guest, hear what they really have to say, ask what they are thinking about and then share those ideas and thoughts with your staff? In today's ever changing marketplace we need to listen, discuss, debate and think about the items and issues, generate a game plan to move upon, value engineer the process, edit and act upon the plan and then measure the results and ROI. The Hospitality Industry has seen the guest cutting back on spending on food and beverage, leisure activities and business hotel expenditures as the industry also pares back on costs and amenities too. Guests today want value in what they spend their money on and convenience with a hassle free experience.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
The economic aspects of the world marketplace have changed. Of course there will still be a demand for the luxury event or something close to it, but less and less can guests afford or want to pay the premium for a five-star plus experience. The majority of the middle market segment is also being affected by changing demographics and the growing input and dominance of the Millennial generation. The baby boomer guest is moving to a price sensitive lifestyle which includes being more judicious shopping for value and experiences. Consistency in the product and program delivery is most important to the guest of today and future, or as our organization has coined the term, "delivery on the promise and commitment." The rules and ideas of last few years are just about ready to be put into the office shredder, the structure that was thought as the "right way to go" is the mission statement of the past and doesn't deserve to be re-written for the hospitality industry of the foreseeable future, since is it now considered passé. Looking at the global aspects of our industry and considering the valuable interaction of key executives and business leaders and planners from other industries has brought our team to the conclusion to move ahead and be resilient and topical in the future; the word we will use and live by for the next decade is FLEXIBILITY in all that we do and the programs and concepts we develop.
VET OUT THE PROCESS
Too many times in the past have we worked on projects or with clients and have been restricted by old school guidelines, rigidity and reminders from the past of "this is way it has and should been done." Our first initial questions about any project are its goals, budget and projected ROI; plus how much flexibility there is in the initial program to adjust, innovate, edit and create. Once we set the preliminary guidelines we can move on to the next steps of developing the concept, operational aspects, parameters and potential market placement. We then fast track the development process and put together a hard and fast timetable on the Part 1 initial program, making each and every team member accountable as if it was their own money and time at stake. This way, we find that people sweat the details and become less rigid in their thinking, if they believe they have skin in the game; a vested interest. Our role is Project Overseer, taking on the position of key liaison to put all the aspects of the project together, working with all of the disciplines, but not acting as judge and jury, more amassing information and materials. We reconvene the team either in person or most likely via video conferencing, and walk through the entire program asking for adjustments to be done on the spot, requiring team members to be flexible and/or stand behind their convictions. Once we finalize the initial program, and before we commit it to a base guideline for development, we go back to each team member and ask how adaptable they can be with their part of the concept, budget projection and timeline. We then benchmark the entire project to make sure it will be successful, then go out and sell the concept to the potential target guest to make sure of the viability of the program. Some people refer to it as "test marketing," we call it the pre-sell of the concept and once we get a consensus of opinions, we reconvene the development team and see how adaptable and flexible they are to adjust to the guest input, budget cutting and value engineering and if they show practically and resiliency that we know we will be successful.
About Robert J. Nyman
Upon leaving Restaurant Associates, Robert assumed the position of Operations Analyst for the Marriott Corporation, responsible for the In-Flight Division of the Northeast Region. Building on these extensive airport experiences, he then moved to his next position as Director of Food and Beverage for Loew's Regency and Warwick Hotels in New York City. Robert was recruited to join the Hyatt Hotel Corporation in Chicago, and was named Regional Food and Beverage Director for the Midwest Region.
Following his years with Hyatt, Robert joined Playboy Enterprises and as Vice President for North American and Franchised Operations was responsible for club operations. Upon leaving Playboy, he started his own restaurant company in Chicago, which grew to four distinct specialty restaurants and one gourmet food store. After nine years in the Chicago area, Robert sold his company and returned to New York to take over the reins of The George Lang Corporation, first as Director of Operations and then as President and Principal of the company.
Robert's educational background includes the Culinary Institute of America, Hotel Management at New York City Community College, a Bachelor's degree from New York University's Department of Food Service, Master's credits in food and nutrition from New York University, an International Masters of Business Administration and an honorary Degree of Doctor Business of Administration in Hospitality Management from Johnson and Wales University. Robert also served as instructor for hotel and restaurant related courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and served as adjunct faculty for New York University's Center for Food and Hotel Management.
In addition, Robert formulated the SEHNAP/New York University Alumni Council, served on the Board of Overseers at the Center for Food and Hotel Management at New York University, and Director of Culinary Arts Council for Johnson and Wales College, has been named a Culinary Ambassador by The Culinary Institute of America, is a Certified Professional Consultant and has a current listing in Who's Who.
Robert is frequently asked to speak at conferences, conventions, and private seminars and is often quoted in numerous trade journals. He has commonly been referred to as the "Expert's expert!"
Re-Printed with permission of Robert J Nyman & Hotel interactive
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