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Welcoming and Embracing Change Includes a Shift in Mind-Set

publication date: Jun 10, 2011
author/source: Kathleen Hogan and John Hogan, co-founders of HospitalityEducators.com


Welcoming and Embracing Change Includes a Shift in Mind-Set | by Kathleen and John Hogan

Welcoming and Embracing Change Includes a Shift in Mind-Set | by Kathleen and John Hogan

"The only thing constant in our business today is change. If you do not improve on today's service delivery, someone else will."     Hotel Common Sense TM #7 Dr. John Hogan

In hospitality as in every business, change not only happens but it actually speeds the process of growth and positive improvement in quality IF we can learn to take the time to understand it.

An excellent example can be found in these two versions of a similar message found on You Tube:

The first was created in 2007 and has had more than 5 million viewers
Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age


The second was created less than a year ago with updated information.
Shift Happens 2010 - while this one has less viewers, the dramatic alterations in the statistics shared are staggering considering the time span of less than three years.


Hospitality and the hotel segment of the industry have undergone tremendous changes in the past generation or less. These include:

  • Computers - As recently as the 1980s, large main frame computers occupied an entire room under tight security. Reports were slow, hard to understand and often incomplete. Today, desk top computers with far more capabilities are the norm.
    Hotel front desk machines - There was not even a universal technical name for many of them, but NCR (National Cash Register) was the industry leader in rudimentary data collection of room postings and the night audit. The PMS (property management systems) of today complete many night audits in minutes and substantial marketing information is potentially available to savvy hotel managers.
  • Sustainability - "Green" a generation ago was a hotel or restaurant's commitment to décor with plants. Changes in almost everything from energy considerations, corporate social responsibilities, interest in supporting local businesses and awareness of the negativity and costs of waste have introduced dramatic focus on leaving a smaller ecological imprint.
  • Uniforms - This was always a sensitive issue, but I recall my personal experience while on assignment at the flagship for a major international chain. The "one size fits all" in the rather unattractive color of the day in easy to damage polyester always stuck with me. Today's many options provide a tailored and individual feel for most departments.
  • Brands - In the mid 1970s, there were roughly 65 brands globally. I recall a major shift when I was researching my Masters' thesis that roughly 33% of the 18,000 properties in the US were affiliated with brands in 1976. Contrast that statistic with roughly 70% of the 43,000 properties measured in 2002 that were brand affiliated. Consultant Stanley Turkel, CMHS reported in a column in late 2010 that he counted more than 260 brands in the US alone, and many more being created monthly on a global basis. Not all of these brands will have staying power, but the sheer number of options is incredible.
  • Marketing - Of the items mentioned so far, marketing may be the one that has undergone the most dramatic and comprehensive change. The industry has certainly evolved from depending on billboards, brochure cards, radio and limited TV/cable as the mainstays of promotion. Today, the choices continue to grow with a range of options including changing panoramic online photos, webinars, SEO, SKYPE conference calls, Go-to-Meeting, You Tube videos (which can be embedded) and many other social media options that seem to replicate themselves regularly. As was the case with the brands mentioned above, not all of these marketing options will survive long-term but ignoring them right now is not the answer.
The title of this column, Welcoming and Embracing Change Includes a Shift in Mind-Set, certainly applies to the building of HospitalityEducators.com. We have learned a great deal about change, technology, responsiveness to our members/readers and marketing. Our membership resource site was launched on July 4, 2010, with a diverse base of industry focused content from five founding associates and other resources. Prior to the launch, research was conducted on a range of topics to ensure the proper mix of content was available to the anticipated audience.

Anyone who has ever been involved with launching a web site or a start-up business understands that the launch is reason to celebrate - for about an hour, as that is when the delivery of service begins. We were pleased with readership comments and feedback, yet we recognized the site needs to operate at the speed with which information is being shared globally. We asked a number of industry professionals with differing backgrounds and experience for their critique of the site. These people included:

  • a senior executive in a gaming property
  • general managers at both upscale and rooms only properties
  • a senior vice president of a national REIT who is involved with asset management
  • 3rd generation resort owner/operators of an independent year round property
  • several under-30 rising professionals
  • the head of training at an award-winning, nationally known large convention center hotel
  • hoteliers of diversity in many ways
  • several university level hospitality professors
Their collective and honest feedback was appreciated, as were their suggestions on ways to make the membership resource site stronger and more visitor oriented. Their input included ideas on content, "one-click" options, video and audio sessions, and recommendations to provide interactive training. They even addressed the template structure, commenting that while the green background was pleasant to the eyes, it did not lend itself to the excitement of the industry at first blush.

We have already made a number of the recommended changes and are relaunching HospitalityEducators.com with a new look. We felt that March 16, designated as Freedom of Information Day, would be the perfect time to share these changes.

Technology has improved the potential for better communication, but it is not social media, online marketing, a commitment to social issues or a better PMS that delivers the message. It remains the personalized caring of people delivering hospitality that makes the difference.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas 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 to Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com.

Kathleen Hogan, MBA | Co-Founder and Publisher of HospitalityEducators.com. She has a background in management, banking, and finance with a Master's Degree concentration in Human Resources Management. In addition, Kathleen is a hospice volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona, where she currently resides. Kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com | http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-hogan/19/846/a13 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.

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Part of the 2011 Keys To Success Workshop Series

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