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Hospitality Tip of the Week: Act as if you are number two

publication date: May 5, 2013
author/source: Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CMHS



Act as if you are number two| By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS

Act as if you are number two | By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS

If you were to poll a sampling of both the general public and frequent travelers and ask them what they thought was the largest car rental company, the answer would likely be the same in 2009 as it was in 1966: Hertz. The question was not which was the best, but the perceived largest. Identifying the “best” is often too subjective a question and is very hard to qualify, as many companies rent the same brands of vehicle from similar locations.

In the late 1960s, Robert Townsend was the aggressive, marketing focused CEO of one of Hertz’ competitors. Open-minded, he tried a number of strategies but he could not dent the market leadership of Hertz and was little more than a blip on the radar in some markets of other rental competitors.

Over time, however, Townsend and his team did made their impact on the car rental business and on everyone else that has ever tried to overtake #1. The non-traditional way they accomplished their goal of significantly improving market share by “stealing” customers one at a time.

How did they do it?

Their advertising slogan laid the foundation of it all: “We’re only #2, so we try harder”.

Was Avis really #2 at that time? We will probably never know, because the vital statistics (locations, number of rental units rented versus available, revenue generated, etc.) may not have been as detailed as they are today. What made Avis so well known was the way they became the underdog – everyone’s favorite to succeed, especially against all those “other” brands.

It was not an advertising campaign that made the difference – it was the evolving organizational perspective and attitudes. There are some business books that have a very short shelf life because they are tied to a particular product, technology or fad.

UP THE ORGANIZATION is a 30-year-old classic I recently re-read for the third time. It has logical and pragmatic approaches in bite size messages that remain timely. It is full of no-nonsense, easy to digest suggestions and ideas that have proven to be able to be replicated again and again.

Avis claimed the role of #2 by their own admission, but they “fought” with both Hertz and all the others to reach and maintain that coveted second spot.

Number Ones get to be and stay on top because they are regularly improving their service and product offerings. Being part of a #1 brand in your market segment might give your hotel a head start, but it remains up to the hotel sales staff to continue to prospect, research and book customers as if they are as hungry as Avis was back in 1970. It remains the responsibility of the operations staff to keep the hotel looking fresh, crisp, welcoming and attentive to the details. In today’s competitive environment with many sub-categories of lodging products, the combination of sales and operations teams must constantly continue that battle of exceeding guest expectations.

Let the guests’ letters and increased profits tell you of your successes. Let your heart tell you that you need to retain the competitive spirit found in #2.

“What it comes down to is that anybody can win with the best horse.
What makes you good is if you can take the second or third-best horse and win

Vicky Aragon, (1964- ) American female jockey champion

Feel free to share an idea for a column anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ………….
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
1. Sales Management and training
2. Turn-around and revenue management
3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
4. Customer Service
5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
7. Medical Lodging Consultants

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

Your Hospitality Resource for Hotel Owners, Innkeepers, Managers and Associations


Up the Organization Up the Organization | How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits
By Robert C. Townsend
Although it was first published more than thirty-five years ago, Up the Organization continues to top the lists of best business books by groups as diverse as the American Management Association, Strategy + Business (Booz Allen Hamilton), and The Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management. 1-800-CEO-READ ranks Townsend’s bestseller first among eighty books that “every manager must read.

John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS
United States - Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
Email: john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com

Hospitality NetJohn Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
USA - Phoenix, AZ Phone: 602-799-5375
Email: info@hoganhospitality.com
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