Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive




Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, June 9,2009

What is Your Definition of Leadership?


By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, June 9, 2009

In consulting for clients, in preparation for personalizing workshops and in evaluating topics for this regular column series, I regularly reflect on what the measures for success are.  As an avid reader and an aficionado of history, I expand beyond my own career by examining the successes and failures of others to find  knowledge.

Hospitality (and almost every business in this now global economy) has evolved to a blend of high tech and high touch.   Technology greatly facilitates research, marketing, distribution and communication.  The people-skills side of business, however remains the fundamental center of all basics that pulls everything  together.

My MBA1 thesis addressed some of the results of blending high tech and high touch.  Contrary to many historical business patterns in the United States, the extraordinary consolidation of the most established hotel brands did not negatively affect the profitability of most individually owned hotels. In fact, the apparent consumer confidence in branded hotels not only maintained, but also actually improved profitability for most hotels in most segments during that time. This trend appears to be reinforced by the ongoing transition from independently operated and marketed properties to chain affiliation.

Recognizing the Impact of Leadership

In my readings, I have come to respect many of the insights and business practices of former General Electric Chairman and CEO, Jack Welch.  While he probably made some flawed decisions in his 20-year tenure of one of the world’s most diversified conglomerates, he recognized the need to focus his efforts on the high -touch side of succeeding in business.  In a recent column, (Why do we really do what we do?)  I outlined some of Welch’s focus on learning and on the merits of performing a SWOT analysis {Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of all business functions.

In his book STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT, Welch shared many examples of how critical it was to have the right people in the right positions if the company’s was to meet its long-term commitment to company values, to effective decision making and to ongoing profitability2

In one of his many speeches to groups outside of the GE organization3, Welch shared his views on trust of leadership and esteem for everyone in an entire organization.  Welch shared his philosophy that an A-plus company needed top performers and explained his views of four types of managers:

1. Type I is everybody’s star:  “These people deliver on commitments, financial or otherwise and share our values. Values like a love of speed, a hatred of bureaucracy. Values like relishing change, not being paralyzed by it, and respecting everyone and engaging everyone in the cause of winning.”

2. Type IIs are just the opposite: . Welch said, “ they do not meet commitments, nor share our values – nor last long at GE.”

3. Type IIIs are more complicated: “They try hard, but they miss some commitments, don’t always make the numbers but share all the values. They work well with people”, said Welch.  “Sometimes, they swing and miss. We encourage big swings, and Type IIIs typically given another chance.”

4. Type IV is the real headache: “This is the person who makes the numbers, but forces them out of people rather than inspiring them to produce. This is your big shot, your tyrant, the person you’d love to be rid of but oh, those numbers….Type IVs deliver the goods without regard to values, and in fact often diminish them by grinding people down, by squeezing them, stifling gem.  Some of these learned to change, but most couldn’t.  The decision to begin removing Type IVs was a watershed – the ultimate test of our ability to ‘walk the talk’, but it had to be done if we wanted GE people to be open, to speak up, to share, and to act boldly outside ‘traditional lines of authority’ and functional boxes in this new learning, sharing environment.”

I certainly recognize that GE was and is a huge organization, with immense resources.  I also recognize it has huge obligations and liabilities.  The failing of such business giants as Woolworth, Circuit City, General Motors, Chrysler, Pan Am Airlines and many hotel brands over the years cautions us all that size alone does not make long term success.

The purpose of this column is to get readers to think and analyze the leadership in their organization.  In my career, I have worked in independent hotels, in branded properties from under 100 units to 1,500 rooms+, in family owned resorts and in corporate offices of differing sizes.   I have seen each of the above Type Managers in action and I recall my level of engagement, satisfaction and sharing of values was directly influenced  by which type of manager I had to deal with.

General Electric and Proctor & Gamble have each been called a ”CEO Factory4”  because of their commitments structured leadership development programs, which take their senior management through various experiences in different stages of their career. These leading companies provide an ideal training ground.

There are some excellent management companies and hospitality brands that have made commitments to excellence on a long-term basis. Two come to this author’s mind: Marriott who often appears on top 100 lists and Hyatt, a private company known for its entrepreneurship.  I compliment them and would be pleased to share your stories about company leadership in future columns if verifiable information is sent to me.

My questions today ties to the title of this article: 

What is your definition of leadership?  Would you want to work at your hotel or management office?

1 The Surprising Effect on Profitability Resulting from the Tremendous Consolidation in the Lodging/Hospitality Industry in the United States  1990-2000    John J. Hogan, CHA MHS - A  thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of  Master’s of Business Administration, Hospitality and Hotel Management  April 2002
2 STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT, Jack Welch  Warner Business Books, 2001, Chapter 12 Remaking Crotonville to Remake GE.
3 Welch speech at the 50th anniversary annual meeting of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, Raleigh NC 3/18/92 
4 How admired companies find the best talent       Anne Fisher, FORTUNE senior writer   February 23, 2006;       Leading from the front- Corporate Dossier-Features-The Economic Times  12 Sep 2008, 

Feel free to share an idea for a column at anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service 
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

He writes weekly columns for a number of global online services and has published more than 400 articles & columns on the hotel industry.  He co-authored (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from, ROOMS CHRONICLE  and other industry sources.  He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and expects to publish in 2009 his 2nd book based on his dissertation – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.

Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations in a specialty hotel brand for six years.

He holds a number of industry certifications (CHA, CHE, MHS, ACI) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands.  He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20-year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels.  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 joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain. 

He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his long-term involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career. 

Service to the Industry and Hospitality Education includes working with the Educational Institute Certification Commission of the AH&LA, the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, the Commission for Accreditation on Hospitality Management Programs, the AH&LA and AAHOA Education and Training Committees, the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (CHRIE), the International Hotel Show and the Certified Hotel Owner program for the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association.


Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE

Also See: Examining Why Do We Really Do What We Do? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Act As if You Are Number Two / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Fundamentals for Retaining Quality Staff / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Customer Relationship Management Requires a Blending of High Tech and High Touch for Optimal Results / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Do You Know Where Your Customer Is? Or Knowing Where Your Business Originates / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Understanding what we measure and making it count! Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
A Different Appraisal of Our Biggest Challenges in 2009 / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Reflections: Mentors and Friends - Vermont Hoteliers Borden and Louise Avery and their Son Allen / Dr John Hogan / March 2009
Remember to Embrace the Essentials in Sales; Revenue and net profits can often depend on how one of the most fundamental practices in sales- how incoming phone calls are handled / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Working With Your Hotel Franchisor for Everyone’s Success / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Evaluating the franchise business model as a potential franchisee / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment / Dr. John Hogan / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Four Steps: How to Make More Sales Calls than Any Other Way Or Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If. . . / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Chief Engineers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
"A Baker's Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel  Banquet Managers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
Making New Year's Sales and Marketing Resolutions Real and Practical / Dr. John Hogan / January 2009
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Probing Hotel Expenses / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Fundamentals of Hotel Sales Planning / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
A Message for Hoteliers: Giving Thanks - and Not Just One Day Each Year! / Dr John Hogan / November 2008
Hoteliers Must Remember the Lessons of Reasonable Care! / John Hogan / November 2008
Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.