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Turn Your Hotel Frown Upside Down

Sagging returns got you down? Here are some great turnaround management tips to boost your profits without digging deep into your pockets.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Niraj Dhanani
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Hotel turnaround management consists of several factors. First and foremost, time is of the essence. Speed and time in which the actions are taken will decide if and how the turnaround will be take effect or be completed. Along with speed, a strategic plan needs to be created by studying the market, comp-set, and property. The plan should include the basic who, what, when, where and how. Without a map, strategic plan, one cannot reach their destination.

Once the strategic plan is created, four main ingredients need to be applied to turnaround the hotel. Turnaround should be all about energizing; From Staff, Property to Sales to Revenue Management. With distressed or under performing hotels, either the hotel property has been long been ignored, from owner or previous management, or the market has had a steep decline in occupancy levels. Leaving lack of cash flow for capital improvements, employee training and/or sales efforts. Here are simple steps to energize and bounce back on track with revenues and profits.

Energize Staff
Hotel staff is an essential part of the business. Basic philosophy practiced from the legendary Mr. Marriott, “take care of your employees who will take care of your guests” has measure. Energize the property staff by holding a meeting. Let them know what changes will be taking place and what they can expect and in their departments. Hold training either by department as a whole or one-on-one. During the training the GM needs to roll up the sleeves and jump in the “trench.” This shows hotel staff that the GM is part of their team, not just someone that sits in their office and doesn’t care what happens in their department. It also boosts moral and builds credibility with staff.
Paint employee work areas, perhaps new uniforms (if the brand allows) or employee recognition will all help boost employee moral and energize the staff.

Energize Hotel
Since the hotel has been ignored or neglected, there may be some areas that need attention. If the budget doesn’t allow for complete exterior paint or architectural changes of the building, there are number of other ways to energize the property. Build/add some new landscaping, re-stripe parking lot, minor lobby or breakfast upgrades, new amenities in room or on property, and/or add/upgrade exterior lighting if needed.

Energize Sales
Depending on the size of the hotel, there may be a Sales Department or a Sales Manager. If the hotel is smaller in size, this responsibility is most likely one of the many hats for the GM. Energizing the hotel sales efforts starts at the hotel level and in-side the hotel. Up selling should have been part of the employee training at the Front Desk. All Guest Service agents should be actively selling the hotel and selling guests up to Suites or rooms with better views.
A new Sales & Marketing plan will be to be created that will spell out your target market, marketing efforts, and sales efforts for the year. After the completion of the plan, fresh collateral with new pictures will provide a great tool in helping you with your sales efforts. Hitting the pavement and conducting outside sales calls will be an integral part of energizing the Sales at the property. Meeting people face-to-face and building relationships with your local Chamber, Convention & Visitor Bureau, and other businesses will get the ball rolling and get people talking about your property, which they can happily recommend and/or promote.

Energize Revenue Management
If there was no actual Revenue Management in place in the past, creating and actively managing revenue will need to be in added. When you sell your rooms, who you will sell them to, where you will sell them, how to sell them for maximum nights and how much you will sell them for are the basics of Revenue Management. Hotel forecast, hotel booking windows, and occupancy history will need to be reviewed to determine your strategy. If there were revenue management practices set in place, energizing and re-focusing your goals will help you achieve greater success.

There may be times when an owner or GM are not experienced in some or all of these measures. It’s best to hire a Consulting Company or a third party management company that has proven ability and experience with turnaround management. Your not alone in this voyage, there are number of companies that have perfected these methods, why not hire them to take on the mission.

If these measures are followed, any property can achieve turnaround management success. Determination, hard work and right tools in the right hands can lead to Path to Profits.
Niraj Dhanani    Niraj Dhanani
AP Hospitality, LLC

Bio: Mr. Dhanani is a hotel expert with years of industry experience in acquisitions, management, renovations and litigation support. He has successfully consulted on or turned around numerous properties and revived them back to financial health. His company (AP Hospitality) provides Hotel Consulting, Expert Witness, Property/Department Trainings, Revenue Management, Repositioning/Rebranding, Negotiating Franchise Contracts/Impacts & PIP’s, Hotel Management Services and much more. Contact him at Neal@APhospitality.com or visit website at www.Aphospitality.com
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