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David Brudney & Associates
2938A Luciernaga Street
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone: 760-994-9266

Stay with the Partner that Brought You to the Dance

David Brudney & Associates- Hospitality Marketing Consultants
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with four decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Assoc. of Carlsbad, CA

By David M. Brudney, ISHC April, 1984

Hotel and motel operators throughout California are optimistic that 1984 will be a strong year for the industry. Many are counting on four major events the Golden State will host this year -- the XXIIIrd Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Super Bowl IXX in Palo Alto and the Democratic National Convention and the All-Star baseball game in San Francisco -- to carry the industry back to better times. 

Itís easy for operators and marketing people alike to get a little carried away in the excitement of packaging our products in order to secure our share of this potential windfall of new business. Prospects of thousands of new foreign and domestic visitors combining long vacations around the convention and sporting events, motoring up and down the state with new money to spend, has seen the most conservative operators in a state of readiness and high expectations. 

No mistake about it, these four events are important for our industryís recovery in 1984, The national and international media exposure alone will put California in the spotlight much of the year. The events will attract "first time" visitors who will return home regaling friends and family alike about the great times they had and how well they wee treated. We can ill afford to put anything but our best foot forward in hosting these important visitors this year. 

We must recognize, too, that since these events are so glamorous, it will be more exciting working on them rather than the "the routine business" we deal with all year. Even though the events occupy less than one-twelfth of the year, weíll probably devote more time than we should to planning, packaging, promoting, selling and servicing business related to the events. 

Itís time now, more than ever, to make certain we are taking care of the good, steady business that has carried us so far.

Those little commercial accounts weíve been taking for granted on week nights. The demanding tours that must have rooms in the summer -- at lower rates -- but never forget us in the shoulder or off seasons. And letís remember, too, the social, fraternal, trade and professional groups who use our guestrooms and function space on weekends. Remember those important markets especially when the demands for space are high this summer. Donít leave them out in the cold. Theyíve earned special consideration. 

Al McGuire, NBC-TVís analyst on NCAA basketball coverage, has a great line he uses judiciously. In close games, in the final minutes, McGuire points out quickly when a team fails to get the ball in the hands of their best scorer. "Theyíre making a mistake," he shouts. "Youíve got to stay with the partner you brought to the dance!" 

His philosophy is quite simple. Every good basketball team has one or two players who score most of the teamís points. They usually are the best shooters on the team. McGuire is saying that when a game is on the line a good team has to find a way to get the ball into the hands of those one or two offensive stars. You have to depend on the players who have won for you before; brought you this far. 

We should heed McGuireís basketball philosophy/warning in our own game of operating successful hotels and motes. We must stay with the business that has "won for" us before. Now is not the time to show any indifference at all toward those basic markets that have carried us this far. Thatís going to be a real challenge for operators in Greater Los Angeles where for three weeks 80 percent of almost everyoneís inventory has been committed to the Olympics. 

How those operators honor their commitments to the Olympics and still satisfy the demands of their "regulars" will be interesting to observe. Most will be confronted by a "no win" situation. 

So now is the time -- before the events -- to take the time and prepare our staffs for whatís in store. Letís keep these big events in proper perspective. And letís take extra good care of those valuable markets that have fed us good business all along. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Be sure our sales people are spending the necessary time now to solicit more business from our regular markets.
  • Be sure our entire staff is recognizing and providing excellent service for those guests.
  • Now is the time for owners and operators to be seen by our regulars...in the lobby, at the front desk, by the front door, thanking those important guests...reassuring them of how important they are to our success.
  • Letís see our owners and operators showing up at those small group meetings on weekends just to say hello...making a point to be at the front desk when important commercial accounts have early evening check-ins. Being there to say hello, letting them know who you are and asking them how their trip was. Be there on the mornings those key tours check out. Get on the bus personally and tell the group how much you enjoyed having them stay with you. And donít forget to personally that the escort or tour guide. Details of those experiences always seem to get back to the tour operator and or wholesaler.

We should be doing all of that now when it appears business is getting better. Donít wait until business gets bad again. Do it now. You wonít be sorry. If youíve never done things like that before, you might be surprised at the positive response youíll receive. It should be fun for you. Who knows, it might be just the tonic to "rejuvenate" your enthusiasm about being in this business. 

Letís all try and remember that after the big events are over those special customers will be gone and we will return to "business as usual." Letís be sensitive to the needs of all those customers we expect back. They are the ones that "brought you to the dance." We canít forget them now. If we do, we stand a good chance of losing them for good. 

Aging Playboy Analogy

Taking care of our regular business is as important as money is to an aging playboy who takes a wife thirty years his junior. You remember the story. The aging playboy decides to marry a beautiful, young woman. On their wedding night he dares to ask, "darling, would you still love me if I lost my fortune?" "Oh, no, my dear," she replies, "I will still love you...but I will miss you!" 

Innkeepers can ill-afford to have its good, solid, steady customers missing because they were neglected by managementís preoccupation with new, more exciting business. 

About David Brudney & Associates

David M. Brudney has become a charter member of Laguna Strategic Advisors and was a founding member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Brudney is a veteran sales-and-marketing professional concluding his fifth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators about hotel sales and marketing best practices and standards of care, and conducts reviews of sales-and-marketing operations throughout the world. Brudney is a professional speaker, teacher, mentor and sales trainer. Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.

Contact:  David M. Brudney, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone:  760-994-9266
Email David Brudney
Web Site:   www.DavidBrudney.com

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