Stop the boom from being a bomb

Stop the boom from being a bomb

Differentiate. Differentiate. Differentiate.

Every day we read about companies and REITs buying up buildings and existing hotels for cents on the dollar. We also read about concerns over why ADR is stagnant or moving incrementally. This blog is about how to protect your investment, but this will not be about the proper thread count or eliminating mints on the pillow to drive your results.

When you purchase a building that is somewhat non-descript and ordinary but at a good price in a decent location, you could stand the chance of fierce competition for lack of distinction. Fear not. In and of itself, it’s not that there is anything wrong with ordinary. Look around you — it’s everywhere. It is what you can make out of it that will set you apart. For example, where I would see a block of stone, Michelangelo would see David. He would see potential. In my company, Cure for the Common Hotel, the primary objective for all our clients is to carve out the extraordinary from the ordinary and for extraordinary to be the “new normal.”

How? Be Michelangelo. Sculpt a culture and a distinctive identity. 

Differentiation is actually a survival skill in a very noisy marketplace where ADR and rewards points seem to rule the day leading toward greater commoditization. Almost every hotel has some sort of a rewards program. Let’s carve something out of this block of ordinary that will shift your market share, something no one else in your locale is doing as well as you.

You and your organization could be the one to break ground on the “new hospitality.” The “new hospitality” is something that you can invent to leave your competitors in your dust.

Why are so many companies getting into the lifestyle and experience game? So people can “feeeeeeeeel” something when they are with you. For this you need a “vibe.” There are as many different hotel vibes as there are hotels, and you can create your own.

Think about a typical day for a road warrior. Rushing from the “park and ride” to the airport, grabbing some plastic food from the kiosks, standing in security lines, rushing for the tram, smiling a big smile to get the exit row, hopping a cab in the pouring rain or blazing sun to get to the hotel. Yes, that guest may want to get into their room as quickly as possible to get out that PowerPoint. But what if they arrive at the hotel and all of a sudden their energy shifts, the vibe is different, the associates speak as if from another planet than the planet they’ve been on all day?  Differentiation can quickly turn around a guest’s “lifestyle” and their overall experience of that day. Your business can make them happy.  

I speak often about happiness being a fundamental, profitable and essential business principle, and happiness will stem from the culture you consciously create. What are some of the areas you can look at to create that?

  • Does the language you use in your culture uplift others? Do the associates tell guests “no worries” in response to a question instead of the pleasure their request brings? Why bring in “worry” where there was none?
  • Do you see leadership as something that comes from the executive office, or is it available at every level in every position?
  • Do your job descriptions talk about only “doing” and not expectations of “being?”
  • How do you make all guests feel singularly important?
  • What could you do to have more site visits convert to business on the books?
  • Is there room for more inspiration in daily communication vehicles?
  • Do you view recognition programs as a stepping stone to greater ADR and occupancy?
Even when the physical asset isn’t ordinary, a lack of culture will make it seem so. I repositioned a “cute” boutique in the southeastern United States that had absolutely no soul, no culture. It was just a group of people who had been through three different management companies in three years. Their loyalty was replaced with the need to put food on the table at home. There was no true north and no inspiration. After repositioning the asset and creating a distinctive culture that we communicated incessantly, the reviews on the staff at this hotel are now off the charts.

It’s always time to look at the stone in front of you, carve something out of the ordinary, kick up the potential and put your return on investment back in your pocket.