Being the objective consultant within Hospitality, it started in 1993
Dramatic changes occur on continuous basis within the Hospitality industry. Many hotels and restaurants aiming to get the same market segments. The leader of any company has more tasks than ever before to include team support, setting objectives, be a motivator and marketer, just to name a few. The political role of the leader of a small bar or large corporate hotel is taking much energy, while trying to ensure a company runs with solid profits.
There are many ways to make sure your business goes well. Irrelevant on whether you are starting up or running the business for a while already, I would like to share some thoughts and a fragment called The Objective Consultant from my book ‘A Hotelier’s Mind, setting strategy for the future’.
The Objective Consultant
In my book, ‘A Hotelier’s Mind’ I have focused on all the traits, characteristics and
habits of a leader. Having been in the industry for a long time, I can easily
confirm that most General Managers we work with welcomes change when
it’s clear there is a financial result that follows. It is widely understood that
the industry is rather old fashioned in many ways and that the need for
understanding the core of the business is greater than ever, to keep the
guests loyal. But there is much more to it.
In 1993, I wrote my first book, where I described my life as a student
in Holland. I wrote the book with grandfather’s type-writing machine.
Fighting for grades and making sure I passed the modules in the allocated
4 years. I lived in the most bizarre house with 3 others and the living
circumstances were let’s just say, not doing the mind a lot of good.
Performing in these circumstances will suddenly prepare you for real life
situations as a leader. The book was most likely never published because
it would affect parents dramatically. A big part of the education was work
experience and an internship. I did my placement in a very fine boutique
hotel, The hunting tower Hotel in Perth, Scotland.
A part of the book was also about the thesis I had to write for the hotel.
I had to do a marketing plan for the expansion with small cottages.
Matching potential guests with the cottages was certainly not an easy task,
in the middle of the early 90’s recession. The client base was vast and loyal,
but low seasons seriously damaged the hotel. With the cottages in mind,
the hotel was aiming for the English with as serious interest in fishing
and hunting. I want to share a page out of the book that is until today
extremely relevant. In fact, I started the book with showing this image on
what factors influenced or would influence this hotel.
I identified Economic, technical, public policies, competition and cultural
circumstances as some of the main areas. Remember this is written over
20 years ago.
- The economy impacts every hotel, describing this environment would help
us identify our existing and also new market segments by understanding
spending behavior, also, identifying and recognizing the economic cycle.
The economic cycle is important for hotels to understand. They are
described with words like depression, upswing, recovery and peaks.
economic cycle is a reaction on all the internal and external factors within
a market. It is hard to predict, but there is a clear trend. As a leader, the
reaction and proactive actions are vital.
- Additionally, I analyzed and tried to predict the technical behavior that
was extremely rapid already and I remembered at the university, one of the
classes was learning how to type, two hours a week on a typewriter and that
was electronic, believe it or not. Working there operationally also taught
me so much about technology and the opportunity of businesses that
would unveil if there would be a dramatic change in system, bookings and
internal communication. Handing over the hand written orders from the
restaurant with my handwriting, caused a few headaches in the kitchen.
20 Years later, technology has become a part of our life, in many cases, a
company’s vision and has taken the road that I predicted back then but in
much faster pace, forms and shapes I could not even imagine back then.
As I am writing this, I am listening and steering a tune on a Bluetooth
system focused on my reader, researching online and offline. That looked
very different many years ago and will look totally different in the future.
Technology, hiring skilled staff and allocating financial resources are part
of a leadership decision that are critical.
- The public policy was in this case particularly important and relevant
because of the expansion of building into the forest and also, to ensure that
the hotel or guests have the right documentation to hold guns for hunting,
or fishing for example. Keeping an eye out for legal aspects in an expansion
or new build can lead to serious hold ups.
- The competition teaches us a lot and with current technology, there is
an incredible source of information available on the internet. We can
start understanding why the competition is offering a certain weekend
package, why they have so many suites, why the restaurants are always full
or why they take so many wedding bookings. Competitors do the same
with you, so be first, be different, remember your vision and your unique
selling points. Learn from other industries, how they communicate and
connect with guests. How they differentiate themselves from the others
in the market. It will be the source, the key of how your marketer can address your market. And whatever you sell, don’t sell service, it’s a lame
misunderstood way to compete as you are not the judge of that, your guests
are. It’s only the way you exceed great service that counts. I literarily need
a paper bag, when I hear a General Manager say we have the best service
in town and statistics totally point in the other direction when its stated
as a unique selling point.
Competition can and will help you make decisions, but don’t underestimate
the speed it can change and if you have identified a new concept or idea,
how quickly it can be copied.
- Lastly from the graph is culture. Already then, the culture was a main value
and now even more so. People want to experience locality, understand a
culture rather than just getting a taste. Leaders use culture as a source
of marketing and sales or even design and experience. There is pride in
cultural differences that is much more obvious nowadays more than ever.
I recently passed a place that was probably one of the first American café’s
in Amsterdam. The sign outside said, Doughnut since 1939. It certainly
made me believe they had been there a long time and they are proud they
are still there. It is a great way of establishing and recognizing a culture
and consumption will follow.
The part of the old non published book of 1993 paved way for observation
and techniques I have acquired since. Later, this was sharpened by the
Six Sigma education that was much about objective processing too. As a
consultant, the conversation with a potential customer is much easier when
this is understood clearly. Since this book is all about making hospitality
sexy, I want to share a few more details that affect the business significantly
and also examples of where opportunity is much closer than expected.
The hospitality business is one of a kind, the combination of running a profitable operation and having customers in front of you, is becoming more and more demanding as expectations of the customer increase. Being your own consultant will make your business thrive, and inspire both your employees and many who wish to join this amazing industry!
Jeroen Gulickx is a well-traveled hospitality professional with two business
degrees and extensive experience within the hotel-and-spa segment.
The main capabilities vary from streamlining cost and operational models
to strategy yielding, business development, and marketing and digital
In 2006, he started Mocinno International, a hospitality consulting
company that now has offices and representation in seven countries in
Europe, USA, Middle East, Asia, and Russia. The team is focused on
delivering incremental revenues for hotels and spas and also develops and
strategizes hotel suppliers, using mainly the Six Sigma methodology.
Mocinno International works with a network of highly experienced,
energetic, and innovative people based in key locations. The team also
leads client or Mocinno-originated projects or concepts.
Jeroen shares his over twenty years of industry knowledge through his
blog, or other social media, and speaks in travel, marketing, innovation,
or strategy related forums.