Is Your Hotel Sailing the Seven “Cs”?
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | April 10, 2011
More than a decade ago, the American writer, George William Curtis (1824-1892), was prophetic when he said: "It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage." Little did he know that in 2011, his comments would hit the lodging industry head on. In these turbulent economic seas, when consumers reduce spending, new guests are harder to recruit, and operational costs are rising, hoteliers face unprecedented challenges today and uncertainty tomorrow. (Are you having fun yet?) If you feel like you are shooting the rapids in a rubber raft, you are not alone. There are a lot of properties in the same type of raft. But is it too easy to be hypnotized by all the hazards in the water, to the threat of capsizing your hotel's ship? The short answer is yes. As I read once, "If you focus on the rocks, that's where you will go...[instead] look for and steer to the high water and paddle like a fiend." (Yeah, I know, this is easier said than done.)
To find that high water, owners and managers alike have to remember that the goal of any business is thriving, not just surviving. And the means by which it survives is to invest in "C-worthy" marketing instead of waiting for a change in market wind conditions. As contrary as this may sound, it is a time-worn strategy that is supported by a variety of studies showing that organizations who maintain or increase their marketing activities in down times average significantly higher revenues during the recession and recovery period than those who did not.
So just what are these C-worthy strategies that can steer your hotel on that prosperous voyage? There are seven of them that will allow you to paddle like a fiend. So grab your two oars and start rowing.
Over the past decade or so, there has been a fundamental shift in how consumers define the cost of buying. It used to be that cost meant dollars, but in today's highly paced societies, cost is also measured in terms of time. Or as a popular axiom says, Time is money. So here is where another "C" enters the equation – convenience. How can you make it easier for your guests to spend time and money with you? It may mean thinking outside the proverbial business box to partner with area businesses to offer additional services that compliment what your hotel offers. It may also mean making it easier for guests to help support a charitable organization for people who may be experiencing challenges – i.e. sending cards or care packages to service men and women serving overseas. In other words, look for ways in which you can position your business as a "go-to" concierge convenience center for customers.