I hope you are having a great year. For most of you, it's probably a new fiscal year, and my desire is for all of you in the hotel/hospitality industry to have a much better year than the previous one.
I am assuming that most, if not all of you have already hashed and rehashed to death the great plan(s) you had in place to get you through the year and that you now know what worked and what did not—all successful businesses do exactly the same thing.
But here it is a new year with new plans either in place or being formulated and, I bet, many of you are already wondering if you are going to meet that first milestone.
These are truly uncertain times and coming up with workable short-term and long-term plans that have a chance to succeed, each with their respective milestones, seems more like a gamble in which the odds are against you from the start.
The STR Global Market Forecast is not too encouraging either, though it's not all negative—their prognosis is for a slight performance gain.
However, if we go by the numbers: Midscale and Economy Chain-scale venues saw an average of 60.6% occupancy rate, up 2.3%, whereas Luxury venues declined 1.95%, with an occupancy rate average of 72.5%, which, considering the times and the economy, is not bad.
Now, if we actually pay attention to the economic forecasts and can average out the "prosperity is right around the corner gurus" and the "doom and gloom economic gurus," we should be better able to plan and navigate the short-term future, with realistic achievable milestones along the way to keep us on the path to successful year.
What's in the wind for 2013? Asia, China, Macau are doing extremely well this year, and all indications are that the trend will continue. India is close behind, with various large scale projects projected for the coming year.
That's "the rest of the world" and not here, the United States. What about us?
Well, we are on a roller-coaster ride, the kind that takes you not only up and down but upside down as well, and just when you think that it is safe to start raising rates back to where they were before all the downturns, guess what, the bears and sharks are there to tell you otherwise!
I think it is safe to state that all of us, as individuals and as business people, are going through some tough economic times—some more so than others. Too many of us have had to not only cancel vacations, conventions, out-of-towners, and other personal and corporate meetings that normally would require a hotel stay.
And, of course, as part of these tough times, if we do have to stay at a hotel, we look for the best deal for the least amount of cash outlay—even under normal circumstances, that would hold true more on the personal level than at the corporate level.
In fact, more so today than at just about any given time in the past, the hospitality industry is coming up with and promoting, seemingly, hundreds of gimmicks to get your business.
Competition between all venues is fiercer than ever, as it should be during these hard times; it separates the good from the mediocre and the bad, as well as it makes and breaks general managers—Darwinian economics at its best—perhaps at its worst. At any rate, the survivors know they earned their salary for a change and love and have a passion for their profession.
Word of advice: Don't lose your focus during the good times; you know, those good times right around the corner? Sometimes we as hoteliers get lost within our own creations and fail to see and take care of the reason for it all, the guests.
And with the guests in mind, I wish every one of you a great 2013.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both kings and Paupers will visit you.