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The Hotel General Manager – The Complexity
of Leadership  in a 2.0 World

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August 17, 2010 - GMs have always had to be exceptional multi taskers – managing managers in multiple disciplines.  The widening scope of the GM’s job has never been more apparent than in this marketing plan and budget season as both now need to accommodate new strategies.

 It has never been more complex than it is now and the new disciplines that a GM has to manage are additions to, not substitutes for, the traditional ones.   While the GM’s job is to manage the managers , there are more of them  to manage in different disciplines requiring the GM to have a basic knowledge of what it is they do all day!

In addition, the scope of many positions has changed.  The discipline of revenue management has dramatically morphed and continues to do so with new developments and responsibilities that also include aspects of revenue generation.   There are now the mobile marketing apps and strategy with its opportunities to bond with guests and upsell and cross sell additional profit centers while the guest is on property.   F&B marketing has radically changed with social media, especially Twitter.  The sales department uses online tools and platforms to discover and qualify new prospects and can we discuss the social media strategy and/or the social media manager?

While the GM doesn’t need to know all of the intricacies of these changes, she/he has to have a basic knowledge of each to understand how they impact the top and bottom lines and so he/she can ‘manage’ those managers!   The independent and smaller properties demand a greater depth of knowledge on the part of the GM as many have little to no franchise support in these areas. 

Revenue Management:  With PKF predicting NOI will drop 5.3% in 2010 (PKF, 4/21/10) and rates not rising in tandem with demand as in past recoveries, the GM needs to be asking a lot of questions.  The RM needs leadership in this area as it will take strong leadership to have the courage not to follow the ‘race to the bottom’ of rates in the local market.  The cost of reservations from each channel is also an area the GM needs to look at and when the RM is closing inventory on channels that drive a low rate with a high cost of reservation.

Mobile Strategy:  This is an area that needs immediate attention, especially for independent hotels and resorts.  eMarketer.com predicts that 40% of ‘search’ will take place on mobile devices by 2011. (emarketer.com/8/13/10)   Mobile travelers are using their mobile phones for boarding passes, reservations for hotels, airline reservations and cars.  Having a mobile app that will keep your current customers loyal and can even promote incremental revenue from guests in house.  Movitas has an excellent mobile app that is especially useful for independent hotels AND it’s inexpensive!  Here is the link – www.movitas.com  GMs need to research this lucrative area, find out who, if anyone, is handling investigating and reporting on the options and who would develop and execute the mobile strategy. 

F&B Marketing.   It used to be that F&B marketing was the ‘tent’ ad in the rooms and maybe some email marketing.  The new strategies for local and in-house F&B marketing encompass both mobile marketing and social networks, especially Twitter.  The best F&B marketer I have ever met had it down to a science.  She had built a network of locals that found value in the restaurant and lounge.  On slow days, she would push out Twitter lunch specials at 10am to her ‘followers’ on Twitter with a Twitter special.  Same with the lounge – at 3pm she would push out an appetizer or drink special.  It worked and increased local traffic without which most hotel F&B outlets wouldn’t survive.  The GM needs to ensure that the F&B manger has a strategy and is alerting the Social Media Manager of what to push out and when. 

The Sales Strategy.   The sales strategy should have a solid basis in internet and social media prospecting.  A conference center with which I work has hired a full time internet prospecting person to research and provide leads to the sales department.  A social media strategy for each sales person to have a professional profile on LinkedIn and FaceBook gives them the opportunity to prospect and qualify on LinkedIn and use FaceBook as a way to stay in touch with customers.   The GM needs to ask for solid numbers in terms of the results from internet prospecting and ensure that there are standards for the sales team’s individual social network pages as well as how well they are using them.  It doesn’t take much time for the GM to check their profiles on LinkedIn and FaceBook to see how the sales team is using them  -- if the GM knows what to look for.

The Social Media Manager.  BusinessWeek reported that companies are hiring social media mangers before they figure out what they want them to do – would you hire a sales person without explaining to them that they were to do? (BusinessWeek, 7/16/10)  In addition eMarketer.com reported that 40% of hotels don’t have a social media strategy.  I have seen disasters when a social media manager that is dynamite with a mouse is turned loose without being grounded in hotel industry best practices.  The GM has a responsibility to find out what those Best Practices and case studies are and set the bar higher for hiring a social media manager.  The GM should also ask for a social media strategy that explicitly outlines what is to be pushed out and when for all departments as well as the monitoring tools and success metrics that the social media manager will use. 

There are many new competencies that the GM has to understand in order to manage.    General Managers that can master the basics of these and guide the team in their implementation and execution will lead their hotels into  success in 2011!

Contact us for GM and sales seminars that provide value to annual meetings with guaranteed takeaways participants can use when they return to their offices.  Email carol@carolverret.com!



To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.net. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.  Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com.
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Contact: 

 Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
carol@carolverret.com
Web Site: http://www.carolverret.com/

Email: carol@carolverret.com
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Also See: Market Analysis and Sales Office Audit - Look Beyond the Obvious in Turnaround Situations / Carol Verret / June 2010
Dynamic versus Static Hotel Reviews: The Immediacy of Social Network Reviews / Carol Verret / May 2010
Marketing to Changes in Consumer Behavior - It's No Longer 'One Size Fits All' / Carol Verret / March 2010
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