Owners & Asset Managers: Need Expert Advice, Referral? Ask A Trusted Consultant

By David M. Brudney, ISHC, May 2005

Ever wonder who cuts the barber’s hair?  Or how about who cooks when the chef dines out?  And to whom does the dentist turn when the dentist needs dental work?
Faced with pending elective surgery, wouldn’t you ask your trusted primary care physician, “Dr., if you were me, who would you choose to operate on you?”

Well then, why is it that so many owners, operators and senior management of hotels and resorts are either reluctant to or never think of asking trusted professional consultants for recommendations when help and/or second opinions are in order?

High quality, availability of professional consultants today

I continue to be amazed at the high quality and availability of professional consulting today.   The hospitality industry now features some extraordinary individuals offering customized consulting services in disciplines as far ranging as business valuation to technology, tourism destination development to management outsourcing, financial analysis to sales and marketing.

Yet so many owners, operators and senior management never ask these client-tested, easily accessible, professional consultants who would they recommend.
Good consultants know other good consultants, which makes them a wonderful resource for clients.  Good consultants make a point of knowing about other good consultants with different yet complementary disciplines.

To be sure, I know professional consultants today whose opinions are always sought, whose work plates are always full.  Most of these professional consultants render services that are absolutely critical to the task at hand and only a few do well. 
I’m not talking about those consulting “super stars” for they are very much in the minority.  What I’m referring to is the dozens of other professional consultants out there whose expertise and great work often go unnoticed.

Reasons why consultants are not asked

Based upon my 27 year consulting practice, here are some reasons for why I think professional consultants are not asked for recommendations by clients and prospects:

  • Myths, negative perceptions of the consulting profession
  • Unqualified consultants doing inferior work giving the profession a bad image
  • Out-of-work hotel executives calling themselves “consultants” while in reality they were busy looking for a full time job 
  • Potential clients’ reluctance to think “outside the box”
  • Reluctance to admit help is needed; perceived as a “sign” of weakness
  • Like the stereotypical male driver, reluctant to ask for directions
  • Reluctance of senior management, regional oversight managers admitting they “don’t have all the answers” at times
  • Reluctance for brand managed properties to introduce 3rd parties to owner partners
  • Reluctance to spend any money on consulting at all
  • Not enough education re: professional consulting today; lack of knowledge, awareness
  • No previous experience to build comfort level; trust not yet established
  • Fear that consultant will recommend him or herself only, reluctant to “lose” a potential client down the road
Obviously, there is room for the consulting profession to educate, to tell their story better.

“I know I can buy expertise by the pound, 
but I don’t know where to shop!”

One resource where owners, asset managers and senior management can go to for assistance recommendations is the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (www.ishc.com).

ISHC is a global professional society of 170 members in 16 countries, each of whom is a leading consultant in the hospitality industry.

ISHC members have expertise in more than 30 different specialty areas and collectively have experience with more than 50 hotel companies and nearly 100 brands and countless numbers of independent hotels worldwide.

ISHC member clients include domestic and international, public and private hotel owners and investors, many leading financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, food and beverage service firms, airlines, cruise lines, time share and vacation ownership companies, universities, state, national and international convention, hospitality travel and tourism bureaus.

Best of all, we communicate with one another electronically and face-to-face at our annual conference, we share information, timely articles, trends, significant new projects and even partner together on joint projects.

I can’t count the times that I have recommended an ISHC member to a client, prospect or colleague.  And the good work that those members have done in those instances have helped add more credibility and value to my own practice. 

We all need to know who to turn to for advice and recommendations.  No one has all the answers and no one has all of the contacts. Qualified professional consultants are out there today performing services of great value.  Potential clients should not overlook them as a valuable resource.

Basically, we are all in this together: owner, lender, asset manager, operator, management company and consultant.  We can all do a better job, make better decisions, if we are open to ideas, opinions, expertise from a multitude of sources.  Professional consultants need to be one of those sources. 

In the end, doesn’t that help us do a better job of developing and operating successful hotels and taking care of our guests?  Isn’t that what we’re in business for? 

© copyright 2005

David M. Brudney, ISHC, is a veteran sales and marketing professional concluding his fourth decade of service to the hospitality industry.  He is the principal of David Brudney & Associates of Carlsbad, CA, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979 and a charter member of International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.


David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
EMail: David@DavidBrudney.com
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com

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Also See Larry May: The Passing Of Another Hotel Soldier / David Brudney ISHC / April 2005
Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same? / David Brudney ISHC / December 2004
Let’s Put Bush and Kerry Through the RFP Process / October 2004
Bev Kordsmeier, Hyatt Sales’ First Lady / April 2004
Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004
What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003
Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003
Time to “Group Up”?  Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002
America’s Front Desk  Fights Back! / January 2002
Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001
A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001 
More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000 
It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000 

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