by John J. Hogan, Featured Contributor
Hotel Owners Must Remain Involved and Aware, Regardless of Brand, Location, Hotel size or Markets Served
I can walk through a hotel lobby and watch people at the desk and see what they’re doing. People don’t look at me. They don’t even know I’m there.” Jerry Seinfeld
OWNING a hotel can be either a delight or a nightmare, as it requires both capital investment and an ongoing commitment to paying attention to what your guests want and need.
As the CEO of a company that serves and interacts with literally hundreds of hotel owners annually, I am cognizant of many of the challenges facing them, but not all. Early in my career, I learned the concept behind what I came to call Hotel Common Sense™ from a family of Vermont innkeepers who were savvy hotel owners. While they never wanted to be more than Vermont based, they had one seasonal resort serving families, one city center hotel serving state government and associations, a country inn/B&B serving an Ivy League University and one year round resort with a championship golf course. Borden Avery, Louise Avery and their son Allen Avery for more than 40 years remained actively involved in paying attention to the changing needs and preferences of their guests at independent properties, while dealing with the many changes in marketing, technology and staffing.
Times have changed, and more hotels have become branded as either franchises or managed by a parent company. While a brand may provide a number of quality resources (name recognition, reservations, technology, distribution systems, purchasing, training, etc.), it remains up to savvy hotel owners to remain aware of what is happening at their properties.
Each year, there are literally dozens of lists that make projections of coming trends. There are Top Ten must things to watch, to read, to change to, to drop, to avoid or add, or literally dozens of more topics. Most of these have some great ideas and worth considering, but it still requires the attention of hotel owners to share with their management their specific ownership goals and insights to the coming year.
In our continuing work in seminars and consulting, we note that many properties do not have active marketing plans. While most properties have some kind of budgets, there are often insufficient follow up actions to changes in revenue, market mix or occupancy.
The needs of hotel owners are not identical to that of the hotel management or the hotel brand unless there is a coordinated effort to make them complementary and comparable. A hotel owner that uses asset management may have better communication because of a focus, as does the owner-operator who often has more of a handle on the direct end results because of their involvement.
In providing my professional services relating to the hospitality industry and hotels, I am always looking for new venues to expand my awareness of trends and ways to improve my Hotel Common Sense™ . In my 2014 planning and updates, I am pleased to share with readers of this column a venue in its 2nd year that offers some solid information. The Hotel Ownership Management Summit precedes the February Hospitality Law Conference in Houston.
Issues being addressed this year include:
- The current financing environment
- The evolution of hotel management agreements
- Understanding the ever changing ” let’s make a deal”
- The impact of government regulations on management agreements
- Hotel acquisitions
- Trends in development
- Mixed Use projects
- Litigation Hot Topics in Management Agreements
- Hotel Owner and Hotel Management Relations – where they are and where they are going
- Open discussions on the future of Independent (Unbranded) and Branded Hotels
I look forward to seeing you in Houston.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.