Hotel Online  Special Report

Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oh My
The Hotel Yellow Brick Road is
Less Scary than It Used to Be 


By: Neil Salerno – August 2005

Dorothy and Toto would have had a much easier time finding the Great Wizard, today, than they did forty years ago. Poor Dorothy didn’t have the benefit of the Global Positioning Satellite System, Mapquest, or the Internet. Her trip was beset by lions, good and bad witches, and hoards of flying monkeys…pretty scary.

Searching for a success in the good ole hotel days was very much like finding the Land of Oz. If one had the luck to meet a good witch to provide directions, and the good fortune to pick up some protective travel companions along the way, the Great Wiz was still pretty elusive for many hoteliers.

I read an article recently suggesting that today’s hoteliers are not as hospitality oriented and are not as service-focused as they once were. The author went on to say that hoteliers are too focused on internal issues, such as staffing, ineffective marketing programs, too focused on non-service issues; that many hoteliers are distraught and in disarray. 

I guess Stephen Covey (author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) was right; some people can look at the same situation yet view it very differently. In this writer’s opinion, our industry today is a more focused towards guest satisfaction and guest retention than ever before during the past thirty years. This is a wonderful time to be in the hotel industry. 

When the industry discovered the wonders of new technology, the new technology changed the industry. In years past, we knew little about our guests and we didn’t have any way of collecting or storing guest information, even if we had thought of it. Service was completely superficial. We simply hoped people would like our hotel, amenities, and wanted to return. 

Today, hotels maintain data bases to improve their knowledge for what people want in amenities, services, and even what type of facilities are most desirable. Good service isn’t dying, my friend; in actuality it has never been more actively sought. Does anyone remember the good ole days when the industry discovered water beds? I was with Holiday Inns when it was mandated to have ten water bed rooms in every hotel. The effort failed, of course and it sounds so silly today, but we later found that no one had even asked guests if that’s what they wanted. It was a shot fired in the dark. But we are no longer in the dark.

Today, hotel companies are concentrating on finding data to make their brands successful.

The great young minds in this business today spend more time and money on research and development than we ever dreamed possible in the past. These people are more educated and focused on guest service than ever before. We know more about our guests and what motivates their decision to choose a place to stay. 

Oh, we still stumble on occasion; in our eagerness to make our products number one, our technology sometimes leaps ahead of our desire for great service and common senses. Frankly, I’m not crazy about the thought of kiosks, instead of people at our front desks. But, maybe it will beat long check-in lines. I don’t know many people who are in-love with voice-mail, but it does beat busy signals or phones ringing for endless minutes. As with all revolutionary tools, the Internet included, tools have a tendency to be over-used and overdone; until they are totally understood. 

I, too, am concerned about some of the abuses of new technology and their sometimes negative affect on our industry, but progress tends to be much like the bunny-hop, three steps forward and one step back. But, ever forward does it go. Companies like Signature, which provide great sales and service training programs and the abundance of educational information, available on the Internet in email newsletters and blogs, all contribute to more knowledgeable and better informed hotel people. Better informed people make better customer-focused decisions. 

You may find that the yellow brick road is still bumpy and littered with lions and wicked witches, but our determination to find the great Oz, led by the new breed of talented hoteliers, will prevail. Our industry’s sense for good service is very much alive and well. We’ve weathered 911, poor economies, and terrorist acts to get where we are, but we are still on the yellow brick road; the Land of Oz is ahead.


Neil Salerno, C.H.M.E., C.H.A.
The Hotel Marketing Coach

Also See: Running Dry on Good Hotel Ideas? It’s not What You Know - It’s Who You Know / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Revenue Grabbing Tips for Independent Hotels; Start Thinking Like the Chains / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Hotel Web Basics That Really Work…Content is King / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Hotel Supplier Sites versus Online Travel Agents; The War Chronicles / Neil Salerno / June 2005
New Hotel Technology Surround Us; Yet Face-to-face Selling is Still Most Productive / Neil Salerno / June 2005
The Internet…The Great Equalizer For Independent Hotels / Neil Salerno / June 2005
Third-Party Booking Sites Still Dominate Internet Sales;  Why Do So Many Consider this Bad? / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Now That Online Hotel Booking Is Here to Stay, New Challenges Emerge / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Independent Boutique Hotels Can Compete With their Big Box Neighbors / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Who Are Your Most Important Guests? We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! / Neil Salerno / March 2005
New Consumer Hotel Booking Preferences - They Love the Internet…Now What? / Neil Salerno / March 2005
Who Would Have Thought - Today's Hotel Marketing Necessity Is Also its Best Value / March 2005
Time For a Hotel Web Site “Make-Over”? Methods for Building a Successful Web Site Change / Neil Salerno / March 2005
Create Impact by Developing a Link Strategy For Your Hotel Web Site / Neil Salerno / February 2005
Steps to Develop Your Hotel's Presence on the Web / Neil Salerno / February 2005
Five Hotel Internet Marketing Myths - Busted!/ Neil Salerno / January 2005
How Does Your Hotel Web Site Measure-Up? 2005 Will Be the Internet’s Most Productive Year so Far / Neil Salerno / January 2005
Are You Being Out-Hustled By Your Competition? How to Dominate Your Hotel's Market Set / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Why Are Some Hotel Companies Plagued By Management Turnover? Is This Systematic of Poor Performance? / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Basic Components of a Hotel Website: Current Weather, Flash Animation, and Virtual Tours?? Plain Talk About Internet Sales / Neil Salerno / February 2004
Don’t Compromise Your Goals In 2004; Five New Year’s Resolutions You Will Want To Keep / Neil Salerno / January 2004
No More Whining About Third-Party Suppliers; You Control Your Own Fate On The Net / Neil Salerno / December 2003
Six 'Maxi’s' Guaranteed To Boost Hotel Sales / Neil Salerno / November 2003
It’s Time To Take Back Control Of Rates & Rooms - But Is The Enemy...Us? / Neil Salerno / November 2003
Booking Engines Are Like A Box of Chocolates...You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get! / Neil Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Web Site & Search Engine Optimization; Always A Work In Progress / Neil L. Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Budgets and Marketing Plans; Oh No, Is It That Time Again? / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Increasing Hotel Internet Sales Is Not Rocket Science...And It Doesn’t Have To Be Costly Either / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Are You Treating Third Party eWholesalers As Competititon Or a Valuable Marketing Partner? / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
How Often Have You Heard, 'I could have gotten a better rate but the client saw our rates on the Internet' ? It’s Time To Get Back To Selling Location, Facilities, and Services / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
Before You Begin that Marketing Plan Challenge Your Sales Team; Expect More and Get More / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Jump Up and Shout Yes - Delivering Best Online Customer Experience, Nice Job Vividence! / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Is The Internet Delivering On Its Promise? Well, It Depends on How you Look at It / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Coaching and Mentoring, Sometimes A New Paradigm Can Go A Long Way / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Sales Training Works Well, But Sales Mentoring Makes It More Effective; Mentoring Lasts a Lifetime / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Is It Time For A Sales Tune-up? How Healthy Was Your Last Forecast? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Hotel Web Sites; Want it Creative or Effective? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
If You Always Do What You Have Always Done.... You’ll Always Get What You Always Got! Hotelier’s Mantra... Thinking Outside The Box / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003
Good Sales Planning - The Basics Still Work / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003

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