I wanted to write an article on how I am choosing to think about the Corona Virus. I hope that it is helpful for you and helps you find some glimmers of hope during this difficult time in the hotel industry. I know it is a difficult time and it seems like it might never be over, but I wanted to offer a different outlook that I hope is helpful in improving your mood, aligning your team and in accelerating your recovery.
The Current Situation
Right now, more than ever, it’s very easy to say “the whole market is down so we are too”. But the best salespeople in our business are out there saying something else. They instead say “the whole market is down but we can still take these actions.” It doesn’t mean we can predict the future or stop the the impact of CoronaVirus, but I do believe there is always something we can.
If as hoteliers, we choose to be optimists, while facing reality and we look for solutions, then we can win. Over the last ten years I’ve been in sales and what I know for sure is, sales are won by getting out there and doing sales activities consistently. You also probably won’t get the deal if you decide you’ve already lost before you meet your prospect. Instead, you’ve got to face the brutal realities of your current situation while remaining an optimist that takes action.
So what action should you take?
I recommend that you get obsessive about studying what is in your control and what isn’t. It’s very common especially right now to talk about how bad things are. There is not enough business to go around and supply has vastly outstripped demand. Well the truth is that those are the current realities and it’s important that we face them. I suggest writing all the reasons why your sales are low down on paper. Spend a few minutes listing then all out and just look at them. Those are the brutal realities, and make no mistake, they are very real.
This is where most people stop. They correctly analyze the brutal realities and then they choose to shut down. But what if there was something you can do? Instead, once you have analyzed the results and you have a clear understanding of the brutal reality, flip over the page.
What Can You Control? Consider Writing It Down.
Examples of things you control:
-Lists of new prospects to reach out to later
⁃Lists of new prospects in your pipeline to reach out to now
⁃How many new prospects you email or call (in the appropriate market segments of course)
⁃What technology you research test out while things are slow
-What continued education or learning can you do?
-How can your marketing plan improve? How about your sales plan?
-Where can your hotel save money?
-What webinars can you attend?
⁃How fast you respond to inquiries
⁃Your customer service and guest satisfaction
⁃How you interact and build relationships with past customers
⁃What data you track on “won” and “lost” reasons for why guests choose your hotel or not?
-What you do with your old data – can you research it for new insights?
-How can you leverage your GMs to help with Sales?
-How can you help others and your community?
-Can you focus on corporate rates and groups while events are down?
-Can you share your knowledge and advice to others in the business?
Recognize The 3 P’s
I am not writing this article to pretend things are not bad in our industry, I know that they are. But I also believe that things will go back to normal, albeit it may take a while. There is a concept in psychology called the 3 Ps. The 3 Ps are “Pervasive”, “Personal” and “Permanent”. When a situation is pervasive, it means that it is impacting everything, everywhere and it is inescapable. When a situation is personal, it means that it feels like it is personally directed at you. When a situation is permanent, it means you don’t expect it will ever change.
I would instead encourage you to flip these around. The situation seems pervasive but there are market segments that are still booking hotel rooms. These include government, healthcare, pharmaceutical, trucking and construction. The situation seems personal, but it is a global pandemic and we are all in this together. It may be impacting you and your business and team, but ultimately we are all in this together. Finally, it seems permanent but I would encourage you to consider how permanent it must have felt during the Spanish Flu, World War 2, any all of the other crises that have happened. This hasn’t happened to you or I before, but it has happened to billions of people throughout human history. The objective truth is that the world we lived in before the pandemic was in fact a post-pandemic world. We had previously been through many pandemics. So, I think it is likely things will return to normal or very close to it.
I believe that mindset matters a lot and plays a massive role in a business’s success or failure. Right now is the time to focus on small actions that move you just a little bit further ahead. Every day is one day closer to the end of Corona Virus and each day offers us the chance to incrementally improve ourselves, our businesses and our lives. I encourage you to be open minded during this difficult time. There are likely ways that you cannot see to save money, increase sales and help others.
Consider you are missing something crucial and if you found it, things would be improve – be open minded
Think long term as this will end. Be positive and help out as a community resource. Do what you can to stay motivated and do small things every day. They certainly cannot hurt, and in my experience, they are likely to help. The short term isn’t great, but I believe the long term is bright.