The promise

Every year in December, I take the time — as I am sure many of you do — to look at the past year to see what I can learn from it. I also look forward with great hope and anticipation in January to a time of new beginning, and to the future and what opportunities the New Year will bring.

For all the years since we started our company, I have written my performance promise to our team members. Every year, the general managers and other team members help me write my promise. I also share that promise with all of the owners I work with. This promise is meant to help these constituents understand what I will do to help them be successful in achieving their goals in the year to come.

In developing my performance promise, I ask myself what two or three things I can do as the leader of the organization to coach and support our teams in achieving their success in the coming year. In doing so, I want them to hold me accountable for this performance promise.

Indications are this approach works. For example, in 2012, here is how one component of my performance promise finished the year:

Promise: The owner will coach, support and hold team members accountable to deliver the cash flow/NOI/ROI that meets or exceeds owners’ expectations.  


  1. Revenues: RevPAR budget and budget revenues
  2. Year-over-year RevPAR growth vs. comp set
  3. Owners’ NOI goal met

Goal: Improve occupancy from 95% to 100% on every night our hotels are forecasting 95% or higher. In 2011, the “fill ratio” was 63% on nights we forecasted a minimum of 95% occupancy or more. In 2012, the “fill ratio” was 87% on nights we forecasted a minimum of 95%. 


  1. RevPAR 105% of budget
  2. RevPAR growth 12% year over year
  3. NOI growth vs. budget 107%
  4. NOI growth vs. last year 116%

How did we make it happen? Really simple “stuff.” But it takes consistent focus and discipline. The execution really focused on daily interaction with our revenue managers and the hotel teams. The hotels received support calls every three to four hours managing inventory. I recall one evening when a revenue manager called one hotel at 9 p.m. wondering why they still had three vacant rooms after having called the competitive set only to hear they had no vacancies. And then every night a hotel had a perfect fill, I called the hotel team and revenue manager to say thanks. Then every quarter, the three hotels with the highest “fill ratio” received a party box.

In my next few blogs, I would like to share more about my performance promise — what I have learned and how it has affected my ability to achieve the goals we have set.

What promise have you made to your constituents? I would love to hear from you.