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Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same?

publication date: Oct 22, 2012
author/source: David Brudney, ISHC

Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same?

By David M. Brudney, ISHC
December 2004

I was one of those kids who had to wear glasses before I was 10 years old.  Fortunately for my parents, my Uncle Ben was our optometrist and he gave terrific family discounts.

I remember all of those eye examinations, sitting in that big chair, and hearing Uncle Ben ask me over and over, “Is this better, worse or about the same?”
What brought this to mind was something I experienced recently sitting in a recovery room beside Karen who had just returned from elective surgery on her shoulder.  A nurse was standing over my now semi-sedated wife, attempting to gauge Karen’s level of pain.  “Now tell me, Karen, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being worst, where are you pain-wise now?”   Over the next half-hour or so, Karen moved down the scale from 9 to 8 and then finally down to 7.  The nurse adjusted the painkillers accordingly.

Taking all of this in, I began to ask myself, “Why can’t we use this type of metrics with hotel owners?”  Picture Hyatt asking one of its owners, “how is our overall approval rating for this year, is it better, worse or about the same?”  Or how about Hilton asking an owner, “On a scale of 0-10, 10 being best, how are we doing at managing your asset?”  I wonder if those questions and ratings are presented.

In my professional role as a hospitality consultant and advisor, I get to ask lots of questions of the hotel unit level management team while conducting a sales and marketing review of a particular hotel, resort or conference center.
I ask, “on a scale of 1-5, 5 being best, how would you rate the effectiveness of your sales team?”  I follow up with, “how would the owners rate the effectiveness of your sales team?”  I circle back to the rating given me and ask, “you rated your sales team’s effectiveness as a “3.5”?  What are some specific things that need to be done in order to raise that “3.5” to a “4” or higher (over the next 90 days)?”

Take the test

Some of the answers I get are really good; some, in fact, wind up as part of my recommendations and key action plans at the completion of the review.  Here are a few key questions that owners and asset managers should be addressing. 

Owners and Asset Mangers’ Survey: rate each of the questions and issues below that best reflect your level of comfort:

 5 = (I am) extremely comfortable
 4 = Comfortable
 3 = Inconsistent
 2 = Concerned, not very comfortable
 1 = Very concerned, no confidence at all

  • The Sales department is staffed, qualified, directed, funded, trained and deployed correctly to meet and/or exceed its production goals _____
  • The Sales department spends the majority of its time engaged in proactive selling v. reactive selling _____
  • The Sales department is skilled in “drilling” clients/prospects, “up, down and out” _____
  • The Sales department’s incentives and bonuses measure up with primary competition and industry standards _____
  • The Sales Department’s incentives and bonuses are strong enough; relevant enough to meet owners’ production increase expectations ____
  • Measurement tools are in place to assess R.O.I for all sales and marketing expenses ______
  • Measurement tools are in place to evaluate the effectiveness of trade shows, exhibit booth costs and travel and entertainment _____
  • The hotel’s website is up and running, attractive, user friendly, has the necessary linkages and is highly interactive _____
  • Given the significant increases this year in both business travel and Internet bookings, as an owner I expect Sales department production to have increased over the same period of time (See CVCT’s Carol Verret’s excellent article on Sales director leadership and success qualities) ____

If your score totaled 40 or higher, hug your operator!  If, however, you scored 35 or less, you should consider independent validation of your expectations as part of a formal Sales and Marketing operations review.  © copyright 2004

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