I am sure many have read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. Here is an adapted version for us Hoteliers which I find opportune as we begin a new year 2014. It certainly is not a definitive, be-all-end-all “Seven Habits” list for hoteliers — just something to reflect upon start us off on the right foot in 2014.

1. Know thy customer:
It’s easy for consumers to break up with a faceless organization, but much harder for them to part ways with a business that understands who they are. With website analytics, customer surveys, third-party review sites and social media all at your disposal, it’s now easier than ever to build dossiers for every client — or, at least, consumer archetype — whether they be past, present or future. This extends into the physical realm, as the more of a face — that is, a presence developed around genuine guest-staff interactions — you can give your organization, the more satisfaction and, ultimately, loyalty will be instilled.

2. Survey your competition:
We must know inside out our present & potential competitors – picking up tips and tricks both small and large, but also witnessing the recurring patterns in healthy hotels. Start with a little web surfing by browsing your competitors’ websites and social networks. But the real meat comes with site visits — we have to visit each property and stay as a guest, maintaining a “tabula rasa” type attitude about their operations. You never know what you might observe.

3. Strategist and tactician:
One must be both the big thinker (strategist) and the logistician (tactician), able to see the long-term forecast while moving short-term operations into position to make this future attainable. Julius Caesar — one of the greatest conquerors of all time — was famous for saying, “Fortes fortuna aduivat,” or, “Fortune favors the bold.” To be bold, you must first act.

4. A hotel runs on its stomach:
F&B: No matter what one’s present situation is, you simply must have quality F&B services, whether in bar, in the restaurant or via private dining It’s a great way to generate positive memories amongst those staying with you, but it’s also an easy way to ensure their wrath. Be creative, consistent, timely, cost conscious, green, fresh, clean, impeccable, local, and so forth – think out of the box. We just started a Food Boat Mita Mary which was the hit of our season.

5. Technology is good:
With smartphones, website tracking and social media everywhere these days, we can now use such tools as Big Data to see the patterns and better serve our guests.

6. Technology is bad:
The flip side of this coin pertains to managers who look only to technology to fix their problems. However useful these innovations might be, they are, at best, adjunctive to the physical presence of a hotel and bona fide guest service. You may not be the world’s best at social media or Google Adwords, but if you deliver a memorable onsite experience, consumers will still come. Likewise, you simply cannot replace the rapport that is built upon positive face-to-face communications and staff members who truly care about their guests’ wellbeing.

7. Better late than never:
One might not be doing everything right. Even might not be doing half of it right. Whatever your case may be, it’s never too late to catch up with the current trends and prop yourself up against the ever-vigorous tide of competition. Furthermore, there’s always the “next big thing” right around the corner. Even if you missed the boat today, the next ship will dock tomorrow, but it won’t wait for long, so hurry up and get on board – the surf is up!!!


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