|By David M. Brudney, ISHC April, 1984
Hotel and motel operators throughout California are optimistic that 1984 will b e a strong year for the industry. Many are counting on four major events the Golden State will host this year -- the XXIIIrd Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Super Bowl IXX in Palo Alto and the Democratic National Convention and the All-Star baseball game in San Francisco -- to carry the industry back to better times.
It’s easy for operators and marketing people alike to get a little carried away in the excitement of packaging our products in order to secure our share of this potential windfall of new business. Prospects of thousands of new foreign and domestic visitors combining long vacations around the convention and sporting events, motoring up and down the state with new money to spend, has seen the most conservative operators in a state of readiness and high expectations.
No mistake about it, these four events are important for our industry’s recovery in 1984, The national and international media exposure alone will put California in the spotlight much of the year. The events will attract “first time” visitors who will return home regaling friends and family alike about the great times they had and how well they wee treated. We can ill afford to put anything but our best foot forward in hosting these important visitors this year.
We must recognize, too, that since these events are so glamorous, it will be more exciting working on them rather than the “the routine business” we deal with all year. Even though the events occupy less than one-twelfth of the year, we’ll probably devote more time than we should to planning, packaging, promoting, selling and servicing business related to the events.
It’s time now, more than ever, to make certain we are taking care of the good, steady business that has carried us so far.
Those little commercial accounts we’ve been taking for granted on week nights. The demanding tours that must have rooms in the summer -- at lower rates -- but never forget us in the shoulder or off seasons. And let’s remember, too, the social, fraternal, trade and professional groups who use our guestrooms and function space on weekends. Remember those important markets especially when the demands for space are high this summer. Don’t leave them out in the cold. They’ve earned special consideration.
Al McGuire, NBC-TV’s analyst on NCAA basketball coverage, has a great line he uses judiciously. In close games, in the final minutes, McGuire points out quickly when a team fails to get the ball in the hands of their best scorer. “They’re making a mistake,” he shouts. “You’ve got to stay with the partner you brought to the dance!”
His philosophy is quite simple. Every good basketball team has one or two players who score most of the team’s points. They usually are the best shooters on the team. McGuire is saying that when a game is on the line a good team has to find a way to get the ball into the hands of those one or two offensive stars. You have to depend on the players who have won for you before; brought you this far.
We should heed McGuire’s basketball philosophy/warning in our own game of operating successful hotels and motes. We must stay with the business that has “won for” us before. Now is not the time to show any indifference at all toward those basic markets that have carried us this far. That’s going to be a real challenge for operators in Greater Los Angeles where for three weeks 80 percent of almost everyone’s inventory has been committed to the Olympics.
How those operators honor their commitments to the Olympics and still satisfy the demands of their “regulars” will be interesting to observe. Most will be confronted by a “no win” situation.
So now is the time -- before the events -- to take the time and prepare our staffs for what’s in store. Let’s keep these big events in proper perspective. And let’s take extra good care of those valuable markets that have fed us good business all along.
Here are some suggestions:
Let’s all try and remember that after the big events are over those special customers will be gone and we will return to “business as usual.” Let’s be sensitive to the needs of all those customers we expect back. They are the ones that “brought you to the dance.” We can’t forget them now. If we do, we stand a good chance of losing them for good.
Aging Playboy Analogy
Taking care of our regular business is as important as money is to an aging playboy who takes a wife thirty years his junior. You remember the story. The aging playboy decides to marry a beautiful, young woman. On their wedding night he dares to ask, “darling, would you still love me if I lost my fortune?” “Oh, no, my dear,” she replies, “I will still love you...but I will miss you!”
Innkeepers can ill-afford to have its good, solid, steady customers missing because they were neglected by management’s preoccupation with new, more exciting business.
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with three decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Associates of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979.
David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com