The hotel as theater

The hotel as theater

For years, many businesses have looked to hospitality to improve their customer relationships and improve sales. This is true for credit card companies, car manufacturers, retail — you name it. Conversely, it benefits us to look elsewhere as well in order to bring new thinking and outcomes to our hotels and brands. 

Years ago my uncle was the backstage manager for “Camelot” on Broadway. I have a lot of memories of the greatness of the stars, the crew and the consistent joy of the audience. When I am launching brands and repositioning hotels, I often look to entertainment and Broadway for inspired ways of being and “acting.” Of course, for years as an approach to culture and strategy Disney has used casting and auditioning versus “hiring.”

So, if our hotels were stages, and I believe they are (with many different sets), how could we get our show to produce more nights of standing room only? 

The plot 

Really set your hotel apart so it tells its own story. If your “play” is like all the others in town, what’s the pull? Get your own “story” (identity). Create financial abundance and standing ovations from your audience daily. 

The audience: Your guests

What can you do that you are not doing now to get a standing ovation from guests? (This can be defined as great reviews, blogs, true loyalty and new business.)  

The cast

Are you “hiring” or casting talent to blow away the audience? Great theater (and hotels) inspire and touch people in some way. Can your cast deliver on the desired ovation? Do you have training or rehearsals? Actors rehearse their timing and “delivery” to elicit a certain response. In this light, training appears pretty rote. How are you encouraging self-expression and bringing out talent?

Executive producer and director

It is the GM’s role to set the culture and derive a “long-running hit” out of that culture. Start with the end result in mind.

  • What do you want to evoke from the audience? 
  • What is the story you want to convey that will determine the experience? 
  • Carrying a Rewards Card is a form of applause, but a standing ovation has them telling everyone about you. 
  • How do you propose to distinguish your “play” from all the others around you so you have the highest receipts nightly at the box office?
Creating outstanding cultures is like creating great theater. It’s exciting. It’s about excellence. Rave reviews bring greater audiences, free press and a fat bottom line.

I am always advocating inventing ways to leaving your competitors in the dust. It is easier than you think and has great returns at the box office, but it does require new thinking. Work with someone who can help set you apart from all the rest.

“Break a leg,” then take your bow. It’s always showtime!