By Robert A. Rauch

Every year is different in many ways. Technology is changing very rapidly and yet there are some basics that we often forget that can make the difference right now and this coming year. I was compelled to write this after reading The Power of Moments by the Heath Brothers. These tips are specific hospitality industry tidbits based on this fine book and 40+ years of experience in the industry. Yes, I started when I was 4.

Elevating Experiences

“Moments of elevation” are experiences that rise above the routine, according to the aforementioned book. These moments make us feel joyful and motivated. To create these moments, we need to do something unusual. Back in 1986, I vividly recall how we created a Halley’s Comet package that included room, food, bus trip to the desert, rented telescopes and an Arizona State University Professor of Astronomy. Yes, it required a 3A wake-up call to our guests but nobody complained and it made for rooms business and great press.

When we get our team members excited about something, they will ensure the guests are excited. It works and can be as simple as offering a taste of beer, wine or unusual tea as a mini-tasting before dinner or on check-in. Our own team members can come up with great ideas that do not cost much money but are highly unique.

Insights and Creativity

“Moments of insight” deliver realizations and transformations. To produce moments of insight for others, I like to use a creativity “stretchercise” derived from another book, Fanning the Creative Spirits,” by Charlie Girsch. These “stretchercises” might be one of the following:

  • Do an activity with your non-dominant hand such as writing, eating or brushing
  • Sit in a new place for meals, meetings, church, temple
  • Read the paper in a different order
  • Take a new or different route in your car
  • Intentionally sleep in a new place or position. Note what happens upon waking

These activities allow us to gain a fresh perspective and I have had tremendous success when applying this to my Entrepreneurship course at Arizona State University every semester. The students become very creative after the simple exercises and it works in the hospitality workplace as well.

Pride of Work

“Moments of pride” commemorate people’s achievements. Recognizing others for their achievements takes a bit of time and creativity but as an example, one of our general managers was honored for his efforts in helping young people at a non-profit. An investment of time and effort yielded a huge reward for our GM so we acknowledged his work. We routinely award our team members for employee of the month, quarter or year but do we send the announcement to the local newspaper with the photo? Remember, everyone likes to be recognized! We’ve all read about how salary is not the driver of happiness in the workplace. Pride of work is up near the top!


“Moments of connection” bond us together. Groups unite when they struggle together toward a meaningful goal; they often begin their work with a “synchronized moment.” I’ve been involved in fundraisers for kids who literally are starving. We made sandwiches (P&J) for thousands of these kids by creating a contest among attendees at a conference. The competition was fun, making the sandwiches at warp speed as a team created camaraderie and it worked for all. This type of connection is meaningful and may create a long-term bond.

Marty Sklar, Former Disney Executive

Before he passed away, Marty Sklar went out and talked to our group about the Disney approach since he was there right at the beginning. He preached his 10 commandments:

  • Know your audience
  • Wear your guests’ shoes
  • Organize the flow of people and ideas
  • Create a visual magnet
  • Communicate with visual literacy
  • Avoid overload – create turn-ons
  • Tell one story at a time
  • Avoid contradictions – maintain identity
  • Ounce of treatment – ton of treat
  • Keep it up (maintain it)

Sklar added some more comments like “leadership is earned and must be exercised daily” as well as “be optimistic because if you are not positive, who will be?”

At the end of the day, we often look at profit and loss statements and reports and forget who is taking care of our guests and what we can do to make the businesses we own more exciting for everyone, including ourselves. Try something here and it will work wonders! To a great finish to 2018!