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Principles for Success:

No Nonsense Benchmarking for Hotels and Hospitality Businesses

by Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS 
March 1, 2011

Benchmarking1 is the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from other industries. Dimensions typically measured are quality, time and cost. Improvements from learning mean doing things better, faster, and cheaper.

Benchmarking involves management identifying the best firms in their industry, or any other industry where similar processes exist, and comparing the results and processes of those studied (the "targets") to one's own results and processes to learn how well the targets perform and, more importantly, how they do it.

In my career, I have had to prepare and provide reports over the years that have at times been meaningful.  I also recall at other times reports that have been a total waste of time, as they had outlived their usefulness or were no longer relevant.  As a consultant, one of the tasks I often recommend with a new client to allow me to work with select members of the team to establish the value of what is being measured and reported.

Some potential items for consideration, whether you are the "chief" officer in management, marketing, finances or human resources, might include:
  1. When launching a new marketing program, how much research has been completed? By whom? Reviewed by whom? How will the success be evaluated?
  2. How many hours (or days) does it take for you to orient effectively a new management person? How does that differ from hourly positions?  Are your new staff members prepared to serve your guests at the end of the on-boarding?  How does your process compare with your competitive set?
  3. What is the review and evaluation process for considering renovations and their impact on guests loyalty, ongoing costs and ROI?  By whom? Reviewed by whom? How will the success be evaluated?
  4. How much time is given to evaluating the energy consumption at your facility?  Does anyone consider all elements of sustainability, such as waster, recycling, energy practices by areas not in the guest areas, etc.?  Gasoline is now over $4 US again - is anyone looking at how this affects staff, the local shuttle costs, guest accessibility to our location, etc.?
  5. How much time is measurably traceable relating to staff learning? To organizational leadership development?
  6. How would your staff respond to a fire? To a bomb-threat? To the new computer system? Does anyone consider skill sets or competencies in training?
  7. How much time is given to focused guest service training and improvements?
  8. When was the last time management proactively and specifically interacted with guests, other than dealing with a problem?
  9. How much does your staff understand about the overall financial viability of your hotel or hospitality businesses?  I am not speaking of specific numbers, but of the trends and ongoing likelihood of continuing success.
  10. Who makes sales calls for your businesses? Is all of your marketing tied to the brand, to online web sites, or does anyone benchmark results by area?
I could probably identify several dozen areas worth considering for smaller, rooms-only hotels and more than one hundred potential issues in larger, full-service hotels with meeting and F&B service.  This would not be a “make-work” project, but points of discussion that could very well address the long term viability of almost every hospitality business today.
Last month, I was presenting at a program for a national company (MeetingsQuest) at the beautiful  Fairmont Copley Plaza (that will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012) in Boston, Massachusetts.   I walked the five blocks to the 1500 room Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers , which had been my first assignment after graduation from the University of Massachusetts.  As a management trainee, I experienced many “firsts” for me in this building, but I also had the opportunity to learn from seasoned veterans in many positions.  The Sheraton was the flagship of the chain at that time and one of the leading hotels in Boston.  As I walked through the public space that was substantially under renovation, I realized how many benchmarks the facility management and ownership must have been evaluating to keep the hotel competitive and successful. 
Every hospitality business, restaurant, casino, inn and hotel is facing significant challenges in the next 24 months, and the ones that take the time to evaluate their positions will be the ones to prosper.  Saving a small amount of money today will not be the answer to remain competitive, because the global markets are changing dramatically now.


“What are you doing at your hotel, restaurant or hospitality business?

Hospitality Tip of the Week®: 

“Manage Systems. Lead People. Coach Your Team.

 Be a Real Mentor.”

John Hogan, Hotel Common Sense® # 13

Getting the Most out of Your Franchise Investment  - Making Hospitality More Profitable

Part of the 2011 Keys To Success Workshop Series

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 professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them [email protected].   Special 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.


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

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Also See: Principles for Success: What we have here is a FAILURE to COMMUNICATE! / Dr. John Hogan / February 2011

Making This New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Last - Part 3; Real and Practical Action Steps #13-28 / Dr. John Hogan / February 2011

Making This New Year's Hospitality Resolutions: Real and Practical - Sales Action Steps #1-12 / Dr. John Hogan / January 2011

Making New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Real and Practical; A “Fresh Air- New Ideas” Perspective / Dr. John Hogan / January 2011

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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