Are you no worse than the competition?

We have been asking ourselves recently why so many known negative points and defects keep occurring so many times over a sustained period when most operators know only too well the specific defects and issues.

There are many excuses offered, and some may well have merit. They include time, budget, distractions, priorities and even management attitude and convention. We think it is time to drill down and start fixing the situations that arise time and time again. We need to get into habit-forming practices that may be boring but with imagination, creativity and real engagement at all levels can become ways to improve performance.

We have further concluded that in order to really fix these issues you have to get into the grassroots points and not look at the task with a sense of boredom or repetitiveness but rather with determination to get the important details correct and part of everyday engagement.

Whilst much of this activity can be about improving standards and service, it can also be about driving revenue and sales activity. Recently we have experienced some disturbing lack of understanding of relevant sales details at the hotel unit level. On occasion we found areas that management and heads of department dangerously dismissed as matter of fact. In some cases it seemed presumed it was being done.

Accordingly, we developed a simple litmus test for general managers to see just how well they, their teams and their property are really meeting day-to-day performance levels. There are 18 key sales-orientated questions in the form of a reality check at hotel level:

  • When did you last check your electronic rates compared to your competition, and what were the results?
  • Who in your organization is checking competitive data from daily events boards, and what were last week’s results?
  • What are you actually doing with data collected from competitor boards?
  • Who are your top 10 customers, and how much revenue will they provide, approximately, this year?
  • When did you last spend time with your top 10 customers, and what did you do?
  • Do you know who your competitors’ top 10 customers are, and what are you going to do about them?
  • When did you last visit your competition, and what did you do as a result?
  • How often do you visit your sales offices in your hotels?
  • What MICE inquiries arrived in your meetings office yesterday?
  • What is your response time to MICE inquiries, and how does it compare to your competitors?
  • Do you keep details of refused bookings, and what do you do with them?
  • Can you talk about your competitors’ sales teams and the individuals on them?
  • What sales calls did you personally do last week and why? What were the results and follow up ?
  • Have you reviewed your sales teams calls and results for last month, and how successful were they?
  • What is the key activity for your senior hotel management during 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.?
  • Are you efficiently collecting your guests’ email addresses?
  • How often do you hold a GM cocktail party?
  • Do you engage and review the hotel’s entertainment strategies on a regular basis?

For us, this is the kind of detail that has a high level of importance. If you are not able to answer most of the above questions it may be time to get closer to your business. We are all aware of the above points, but are they effectively happening in your business on a regular basis? That is the question.

What other criteria do you think are important to key performance areas, and how do you make sure they are engaged?