Hotel Online Special Report

Hotel Common Sense
The Power of Breakfast


by John Hogan, MBA CHA MHS, August  2004
“Excellence is to do common things in an uncommon way.”
Booker T. Washington 
Founder, Tuskegee University 

The term "power breakfast" was a very popular term in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.  It was frequently used to describe all the "deals" that sophisticated and influential people were able to close business agreements in previously under-utilized hours.

It makes sense that a hotel, as a combination of a product and a service, is easier to sell in a face-to-face situation.  The best chance for sales people to close may very well be when the potential client can see first-hand what a good experience their guests  will receive. 

Most hotel sales people will agree that group business, meetings  and contract sales are usually closed when the prospect client has had a first hand opportunity to see the property "in action."  While some clients include an overnight as part of the due diligence review, many others cannot compare the full benefits of a rooms only hotel in competition with full service properties. 

Breakfast at both rooms-only and full service hotels is a chance to shine, as more salespeople than ever are viewing breakfast as an ideal time to "do" business.

Inviting potential clients for breakfast and a tour of the hotel appears to be most appealing to both hoteliers and buyers.  Here are a few reasons why business breakfasts make sense for everyone:

  1. There are fewer cancellations for breakfast appointments, mainly because the invitee hasn't had the problem of getting "tied up" at the office.
  2. Doing business at breakfast allows the invitee to get back to the office early and get in a full day.
  3. The hotel salespeople have more productive time available because they cut down on waiting time for their invitee and on travel time 
  4. Time spent at breakfast is viewed by many as more productive than other meals, because all participants view this as a time for productive business for all parties.  There is less likely to be quite as much warm-up banter, as everyone wants to get down to business.
  5. The question of "to drink or not to drink" doesn't need to be addressed and avoids the sensitive issue of alcohol before the meal.
  6. Breakfast at full service restaurants is still a best value, when compared to other meals.
  7. Both parties have cleared minds first thing in the morning and decisions can usually be made quicker.
  8. Hotel restaurants are almost always busier at breakfast than at any other meal. Doesn't it make sense to show a restaurant that appears to be well used and popular?
  9. Having the invitee to breakfast should insure a tour of the hotel if you are dining at your place.  Select a nearby place if your hotel does not offer Breakfast so the tour can take place.
  10. The hotel staff will also likely be fresh and more alert in the morning, providing a positive service impression.
Many rooms only properties offer very attractive continental breakfasts.  Your potential client will likely be positively impressed with your presentation that will be part of their guests' stay. 

McDonalds' and many other fast food restaurants discovered the value of breakfast and turned formerly closed hours into periods of substantial profitability by meeting the needs of people who were looking for a quick, perceived value option for breakfast.  For many family restaurants such as Denny’s or International House of Pancakes,  breakfast remains their highest and most profitable volume period. 

Perhaps it is time for hoteliers to follow this lead and increase the volume of "power" used at breakfast.

Think Tank 
Questions of the day

These questions are offered to stimulate discussion about the way we do business.  There is not necessarily only one “correct” answer – the reason for this section of the column is to promote an awareness of how we might all improve our operations.  Consider using these or similar questions at staff meetings encourage your team to THINK!


  1. When was the last time you as an owner or manager ate breakfast with a client? Was it a good business experience for each of you?
  2. If it has been more than 10 days, why?
  3. If you are a rooms only property, are you proud of the breakfast you serve? Many of the mid-market rate and occupancy leaders are very proud of their offerings.  What might that say to you and THEIR guests?
Contact me at 602-957-5810 or anytime and remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication or of Best Western International.

John Hogan, MBA CHA MHS is the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for Best Western International, the world’s largest hotel chain.  Best Western International has more than 4,200 hotels in more than 80 countries and is one of the worlds most established and recognized hotel brands, founded in 1946 in California.

He serves on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity including the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the AAHOA Education and eCommerce Committee and is the Best Western liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.

He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from the University of Northern Washington. His professional experience includes over 30 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis. He is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), a Master Hotel Supplier (MHS) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism. He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor for 20 years, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independents hotels.  Prior to joining Best Western International in spring of 2000, he was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He has conducted an estimated 3,000 workshops and seminars in his career to date.

He has published more than 175 articles & columns on the hotel industry and is co-author (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available on from HSMAI and other industry sources. 

He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and is finalizing work on his Ph. D. which includes a 2nd book – The Top 100 People who Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.


John J. Hogan, MBA CHA MHS
Director, Education & Cultural Diversity 
Best Western International

6201 N. 24th Parkway, 
Phoenix, AZ 85016-2023 
Phone 602-957-5810; fax 602-957-5815

"...we all need a regular dose of common sense "

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