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Making New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Real and Practical
A “Fresh Air- New Ideas” Perspective

by Dr. John Hogan,
January 14, 2011

January is the time many people set (usually lofty) resolutions, based on what we hope to improve on in the coming year. While marketing plans and budgets were likely completed in the 3rd quarter of last year, January is that time of year many people stretch for renewed enthusiasm and commitment.
I wrote a column on this general topic in January of 2009 and found it interesting to note the feedback I received then and the changes that have occurred in the global marketplace since then.  The hotel segment of the hospitality industry in many segments and locations set revenue and profitability records in 2007, but the global financial meltdowns changed any hope of extending those expectations on the short run.   2009 and 2010 performances varied by location, but the industry is still reeling from a variety of negativity in the marketplace.

With that said, there remains the need for planning, thinking and executing the 2011 strategies if we expect to reverse the pessimistic nay-sayers.

A look back at the history of New Year's Resolutions
There is not universal agreement on exactly when resolutions first became used, but online research from a number of sources attribute that the Babylonians were likely the first to make New Year's resolutions.  The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.  Other sources credit the tradition of the New Year's Resolutions to 153 B.C., when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.  With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

Regardless of the source of the tradition, we all realize that people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The title of this short piece is Making This New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Real and Practical, and my goal is to offer a slight alternative to the resolutions making approaches that seem to get broken so often, for whatever reasons.
Most hotels created a sales and marketing plan last year, but what happened to the execution?  While one can blame the economy or the government or some other 3rd party, we must each assess how much of our success is tied to our efforts.
The calendar now says January, and looking back at lost opportunities for last year is a wasted effort.  It is now time to think how you will be conducting your sales efforts this year, in measurable components.
  • If you have a flexible, effective sales and marketing plan developed for THIS year - congratulations!   Now it is clearly time to hunker down and focus on execution.
  • If you don’t have one prepared, you are behind much of the competition but it is not too late to plan the work and begin to work the plan.
  • Part of this means looking at last year’s action plans and results - did your team follow the sales action steps you felt were appropriate when you made the plan?  
The answer for most of us is that we do not always follow either personal or business resolutions unless we build in a reminder system. Those systems might include using Key Result Areas (KRAs) or Personal Business Objectives (PBOs) that are tracked and formally reviewed with others monthly or quarterly.  Those systems may include submitting monthly reports on actual compared to plan in leads, conversions, revenue, bookings, calls, trips, etc.

Regardless of where you are in planning TODAY, recognize it is now time to realistically commit yourself to a fresh start.  In this 2011 series of “Fresh Air- New Ideas” Perspective columns, I will share a large number of sales & marketing, operational and general hospitality strategic recommendations and best practices.

”Don't go after a friend to make a sale;
 go after a sale to make a friend"

Adrian Philips,  
    long time Executive Vice President,  HSMAI

As a bonus when people join , readers receive a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD - a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, where co-author Howard Feiertag and I offered practical approaches to selling in the last big market downturn.

Common Sense Thoughts On The Fundamentals
1.    Identifying Your Customers
2.    The Many Ways to Reach and Influence  Customers
3.    The Difference Between Marketing and Sales
4.    The Value of Outside Resources

Common Sense Thoughts on the Tools Available to You
5.    10 Most Important Characteristics of a Sales Professional 
6.    Knowing Where Your Business Originates
7.    Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think
8.    Keeping the Business You Have
9.    Some Careful Digging Will Help Uncover Lots of Profit
10.   Building New Business
11.   Recognizing the Value of the " Small Meetings" Markets

Common Sense Thoughts on Strategies to Make You Successful in Hotel Sales
12.     Understanding the Role of Sales
13.     New Year's Resolutions
14.     Everyone Should Know What the Sales Department Does
15.     Smaller Properties Have a Distinct Need for a Sales and  Marketing Plan
16.     Marketing Plans Cannot Sit on Shelves
17.     Using Your Business Card as an Effective Sales Tool
18.     The Power of Breakfast

Common Sense Thoughts on Making Your Sales Efforts Work
19.      Sales Leadership Techniques ... "ing" is actually a verb
20.      Sales Leadership Techniques ... "ing" is actually a verb (Part 2)
21.      Employing This Proven Formula Should Give Boost to Sales Activity
22.      A Blueprint for Bigger Payoffs From Your Sales Efforts
23.      "It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood":  Hometown Business
24.      Who Would Like to Have an Additional 10 Sales People at No Cost?
25.      Extending Your Sales Team- Make Travel Agents Part of Your Programs
26.      Front Line Sales People
27.      Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If ...
28.      Sales Blitzes:  A Look At the Benefits of Team Efforts
29.      The Student Blitz:  A Not So New Technique For Building Sales
30.      Principles of Profitability:  Points to Ponder
31.      It Should Take Two to Say NO
32.      Act As If You Are Number Two

Common Sense Thoughts on Communication
33.      Enthusiastic Attitude Will Pay Off for Hotel Salespeople
34.      There Should Be No Such Thing As "Limited Service"
35.      Sales Income Often Depends On Incoming Phone Calls
36.      Listen Carefully
37.      Letter Writing Hints
38.      Solving the Problem of Finding Problem Solvers
39.      Understanding Body Language
40.      Lobby Lizard

Common Sense Thoughts on Perspective
41.     A Self-Evaluation Test for General Managers
42.     Matching Benefits to Features
43.     The Use of Incentives Can Boost Revenues in Off-Peak Periods
44.     Understanding the Basics of Market Segments

Common Sense Thoughts on the Inner Workings of a Successful Hotel Sales Effort
45.     Using the Sales Staff Effectively or The Sales Staff Must Have Time to Sell
46.     The Importance of Job Descriptions
47.     Possible Sources and Methods of Recruiting Qualified Individuals
48.     Factors for Successful Interviewing
49.     Sample Interview Questions
50.     Office Space

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
 Focus on Asking the Right Questions   
Consultants succeed when they take the time to evaluate situations, ask the right questions in an open-minded fashion, listen to the answers and then provide potential alternative solutions. 
How do you analyze your hospitality problems?  Do you really listen to your staff and your clients, or do you act before you hear what is being said?

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS, Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success

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

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to [email protected].  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.


Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
[email protected]

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Also See: Keys to Success: Be Aware of and Work with the Law; Do Not be Afraid of it / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Keys to Success: Make Your Hotel More Profitable and Successful – 2011 is the critical time to invest in Your Talent and Your Team / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Keys to Success: A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry; 13 Best Practices for Hospitality Training Managers & Directors / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Looking Ahead! / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Learning from The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Five Considerations in Hiring a Hospitality Consultant; Understanding the Qualifications for Effective Hospitality Consultants / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Half Luck and Half Brains - Kemmons Wilson's 20 Steps for Success / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Ten Quotes Addressing the Topic of SERVICE / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations - Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance (Part 2 of 2) / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance Part 1 of 2 / Dr John Hogan

Hospitality Conversations: Examining the Learning Options Available in the Hospitality Field / Dr John Hogan / July 2010
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