Would it be too childish to imagine ourselves, grownups, sitting on Santa’s knee and reading off a laundry list of hopes and wishes for our properties? Maybe, yet secretly, I bet GMs would dash at the opportunity if (spoiler alert!) Kris Kringle actually possessed the magical powers he is known for. If I were a GM, here is what my list would probably look like. No shiny new bicycles here. Read on.
1. Stable economy
All GMs like stability and predictability. Currency markets with wild fluctuations, political instability, bond devaluations and other macro issues for which there are no local controls all create risks that hoteliers can’t respond to fast enough. A stable economic forecast allows GMs to plan with a higher degree of certainty and allows for better capital-management decisions.
2. Increased consumer confidence
A stable economy will certainly help GMs manage their slates of room rates, services and promotions, but we still need another big push on the customer end — a large-scale economic stimulus that will encourage more people not only to travel, but to be less frugal with F&B and amenity purchases.
3. Minimal government involvement
Regulation that protects the safety of guests is always supported. Beyond that, GMs want the ability to plan and grow without having the county, state, provincial or federal governments casting further regulation or costs onto the delivery of guest satisfaction — the primary goal for every GM.
4. Healthy airline industry
Look to the airlines as the canary in the coal mine. If airlines are doing well, they are doing so through higher load factors. Increased load factors raise yields, which, in turn, promotes more airlift. More airlift means more flyers, and ultimately more travelers. (Then it’s your job to convert those travelers into guests at your hotel!)
5. Strong and successful CVB
While many GMs will moan about the fees required to support their convention and visitors bureau, they ideally wish for even greater success by their local representatives. The ability of a CVB to secure a major association or world-class event for your city will quickly pay off your investment.
6. Patient ownership
Managing a property with a priority of short-term profit generation generally leads to compromises insofar as guest-service delivery. Owners that are preoccupied with quarterly revenue targets are the bane of any GM’s existence. Trust is the key word here. Owners should be most interested in protecting the long-term value of their asset.
7. Visionary director of sales and marketing
A solid base of group sales makes for a smooth-running and predictable revenue stream. The competence of this position needs to be measured in how many months (ideally, even seasons) this member of the planning committee is thinking and driving ahead with unique ideas and new programs.
8. Great revenue manager
My, how the world has changed! Today, the revenue manager is the GM’s right hand, often replacing the hotel manager, HR director or director of sales and marketing (all of which are equally critical to success, of course!). With a pulse on yield, rate and occupancy, a great revenue manager is the key to delivering on promises made in the annual plan.
9. Well-seasoned HR director
You know the type: someone who is adroitly familiar with every nuance of the legal environment, is not fazed by the unusual and has the ability to protect confidential information like a priest.
10. Understanding spouse and family
The GM’s job has long hours with a cell phone that is permanently on. To be successful, you need a base. With a loving family as a pillar of strength, a GM can effectively face the fire each and every day.