Zuckerberg’s “Year of Efficiency” is not virtual reality

I’m not an avid Facebook user. I used to be. Now, it’s mostly comprised of people I didn’t really like in high school superciliously posting pictures of their kids. I do engage with Instagram, not frequently posting, rather to stay abreast of the latest dance moves and tune into Instagram Live sessions with the comedian Marc Maron.

I’m not a big Mark Zuckerberg fan. Is anyone? He appears devoid of feeling, abnormally doesn’t blink—all in all he reminds me of some unemotional lead in a low-budget, late-night sci-fi flick. He may also have reptilian blood coursing through his veins. Who really knows?

Of course, he’s also one of the richest people on planet Earth, which means when he does something, everyone sees it.

On March 14, he did something, or rather wrote something, something like a corporate manifesto. He titled it “Update on Meta’s Year of Efficiency” and, beyond his use of the serial comma and corporate speak, I found the substance of it pragmatic and suited for these times.

When I read it, my mind immediately drifted to hotels, not AI and robot dominance. Some derivation of the word “efficient” appeared 19 times within the 2,184-word screed.

Now, when a CEO employs the word “efficiency,” it’s essentially code for tightening the buckle—layoffs, hiring freezes, etc.—because even titans of industry still must pay electric bills.

Hotels are not tech companies, but they can learn something from Zuckerberg; namely, running a property more “efficiently.” That doesn’t mean laying off staff—those tough decisions were made as COVID wrapped itself around the industry and squeezed—but adopting measures that focus as much on revenue generation as cost control.

Removing some elements of redundancy and flattening operations can help—think clustering and consolidating revenue management and accounting practices, for example—but efficiency can also mean investing in the asset.

Technology has a huge role to play in creating efficiency and having the right tools to run operations is vital—think CRM, PMS, POS, all the three-letter acronyms that make a hotel go and streamline processes. Remember: investment should result in a boost to not only guest experience but employee experience.

Invest in the bones. No one enjoys parting with money, but CapEx spend comes with the territory. This means taking preventative measures now that won’t cost you more down the line. That’s efficiency.

Communication. Like Bill Marriott says, take good care of your employees and they’ll take good care of your customers and the customers will come back. That’s efficiency. Part of communication is a constant loop of feedback between front-line employees and managers. Communication should always be a two-way street, never a dead end. Make sure lines of communication are open between staff and management and encourage discourse. Problems can’t be fixed if you don’t know there is one.

Not all efficiency is about a stronger bottom line, but it can lead to one. With the myriad headwinds blowing hard in the face of hotel owners, efficiency has never been more vital for a successful business outcome.

And if you don’t believe me, believe Mark: “When I wrote my first letter to investors during our IPO, I described a basic principle that is still true today: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”

Now that’s a metaverse I can live in.