Why is financial leadership in hotels so un-evolved? We need to realize that the third pillar, the money, the owner, the profit-and-loss, the paperwork, whatever you want to call it - it needs a proper voice. The right voice - a voice that speaks to the leadership and the highest purpose that a cornerstone of our business warrants.
“All the world's a stage,” Shakespeare famously wrote, “and all the men and women merely players”. In many respects, Guest Experience Management is strikingly similar to a stage production. To bring each scene to life, the cast and crew — and, also, the set design and technology — need to come together in a highly-orchestrated manner.
In our hotel industry, there is an abundance of data available to measure performance and rankings among peers. There are real-time guest ratings and reviews, competitive set performance indexes, hotel star ratings to mention a few. One area that is gaining traction among guests and performance is sustainability best practices.
In 1991, a California court, applying California law, in the Woolley versus Embassy Suites case sent a startling message to hotel management companies. At the time, those of us who follow these kinds of cases thought the holding was a one-off, quirky decision that is not likely to be followed and may be overturned in subsequent decisions. It held that a hotel management agreement is not only a commercial contract that sets out the rights and obligations of the parties, but it also gives rise to an agency relationship.
In the past, when most people thought about the public relations profession, they thought of two things: spin and propaganda. Today, some people still hold the outdated view that PR professionals are just paid ‘talking heads’ with questionable morality. Being a PR professional myself, I object to this incorrect portrayal of a career I’m passionate about. That being said, I do understand where this misconception came from.
To maximize your effectiveness with your leadership team around the money you would be well advised to accept the fact that it’s an endless exercise. We must see that the idea of mastering the numbers is elusive. This imperfect reality is comforting and seeing the challenge we have as just another endless mountain to climb is very healthy.
For many hoteliers, there is a great deal of confusion about the different revenue management technologies available on the market today. It’s hard to remember which technology calculates rates, which manages inventory, which updates the new prices to the online distribution channels, or if they do both.
Increasing traffic to your own website is one of the most important factors for a hotel’s success, as 100 per cent of all revenue from direct bookings are paid to the property with no acquisition cost. It is possible to increase your property’s website traffic by establishing direct links to your site so customers can reach yours via other sites. While this method is efficient, building direct links can be time-consuming and expensive.
The business of managing the hotel finances is not terribly technical or complicated. What makes it challenging is that it’s usually a very large job involving many people. In a 500-room hotel, you can easily have 20+ forecast contributors. The communication system in the hotel is the key to both smooth management and predictive financial results. This is the how to.
The whole conversation around big data is exhausting. The possibilities are endless. But here we are, every day, worried that we are sitting on a mountain of data but doing very little with it. But is it paralysis caused by these overwhelming possibilities? Or do you just think big data is best left to big hotels and chains?