Whatever business you are in, if you’re self employed there are two stages of work. We work “in” our business, and we work “on” it. There’s a big difference.
Most of us believe we are pretty good at what we do. We provide good service, good follow up, and a good customer (guest) experience. And sometimes it’s all we can do to keep up with all the things that have to get done today. The routine is essential to running the business, but the routine can also be a distraction from the big picture. So unless we are going to become slaves to our businesses, and unless we’re going to become victims of changing tastes, a tough economy, or things that are different (when did that happen?) we simply MUST make/take/schedule time to work on the higher level jobs that help a business thrive, not just survive, by going outside our daily bubble and seeing what is happening in the world that relates to our business.
Staying abreast of trends in hospitality is essential to staying on the leading edge, being relevant, knowing what consumers want and expect, and how we might deliver on or satisfy that expectation. How do you stay abreast of trends in hospitality? As we at The B&B Team® do, you can subscribe to newsletters that have relevant information and learn how to pick and choose what to read on any given day. To make life a little easier for you, here’s a partial list of some of the places where we get information and, on occasion, inspiration.
1. www.hotelmarketing.com. A daily summary of hospitality-related articles with good headlines and synopses. You can go to the source story when you want. If you only subscribe to and look at one, this should be it.
2. www.marketingprofs.com Marketing is an area that lots of innkeepers struggle with. Sign up for their “Get to the Po!nt” newsletter. It comes daily, is short and sweet, and is loaded with great ideas. One of the few that I try to read every day.
3. www.brasstackthinking.com Amber Naslund is young, bright, and a great thinker. This blog is a good source for philosophical as well as practical approaches to conducting business in a social media world. If you want to understand what “it’s all about,” this is the place to go.
4. www.ypartnership.com Premier research. Go to “News” then “Market Intelligence” and sign up for the free monthly update. Be the first to read what everyone else quotes!
5. www.socialmediaexaminer.com Some great articles about using facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools in practical, down to earth style. No mumbo-jumbo. You can do this!
6. www.mediapost.com This is a source for all things media and marketing. Way too much to take it all in. Go to “Publications” and browse a bit. There are LOTS of areas, and you can subscribe to any of them. Try a few and drop them if they don’t work for you. Go outside the box here, and think like a marketing professional. How can other’s experiences help your inn? I like the Behavioral Insider and the Social Media Marketing Daily.
7. www.htrends.com is a great place for a range of news topics from different sources including Smith Travel Research, HSMAI, Cornell, and others. A daily aggregation of news that you can pick and choose.
8. www.innkeeping.org Yes, by belonging to PAII, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, you’ll receive the weekly PAIIinnfo newsletter, which is an aggregation of Innkeeping and hospitality related articles, many drawn from the above sources. If you do nothing else, skim this for what’s relevant. It’s part of your membership dues and will keep you at least aware of some relevant topics.
“But how am I ever supposed to look at, much less read, all this info when I have guests to take care of that are more important?” First, understanding trends in the travel industry is the difference between good and great innkeepers, those that flame out and those that keep reinventing themselves and enjoying success. Second, don’t stress about it; you can’t possibly read all this stuff. We can’t either, but we can and do look briefly, and, frankly, if it’s a busy day, I use the delete key a lot and without hesitation. There will be something more tomorrow. Do NOT let these pile up! But please take five or ten minutes to skim and read even one article a day, and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll start to absorb, the tips that you’ll be able integrate into your business plan. If you really can’t do it today, just delete. It’s not the end of the world. But to ignore trends altogether because “you are too busy” all the time (who isn’t?) is to spend too much time working “in” your business and neglecting to work “on” your business.
What great sources do you look at regularly and find inspiration in?