Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Future

Columnist Conor Kenny from Conor Kenny and Associates looks back at the hotel industry in 2012 and considers its key lessons for hoteliers in the future.

It’s that time of year again when we look back, look forward and catch our breath. Reflection is imposed on us and we see the benefit even if it’s something we resist in a busy year.

Reflecting is good. We step out, step off and see more clearly. When we see clearly we can reset the compass. When we do that, we make change.
As John F Kennedy said:

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

People do not resist change, they resist loss. This is worth thinking on because it is a primeval motivator in pulling your troops forward. It makes sense.

The past four years have been thunderous, stormy, cold and wet. But, storms clear the air, clear out the pirates and eventually give way to sunshine.

In business, there is a great dictum; “Let’s move from we think to we know”. On that note, sunshine won’t follow unless we ‘know’ what we are doing, where we are going and what we have to do.

Business in 2013

2013 and the years that follow will not be easy – do not assume a return to the good old days. A volcano changes the landscape, forever. Rather than fall asleep in a dreamy false optimism, it’s far better to learn from what has gone before. Then, look at future gaps and how you can fill them.

If I were to offer a little advice and opinion, I’d look at these few pointers as 2013 looms.

People Power

Companies do not grow, people do. Training, listening and growing people have disappeared at the very time they are most needed. People, only people, create atmosphere, moods and worthwhile experiences. The answers lie within, your challenge is squeezing them out. Your people, to be clichéd, are your best asset. But, if you don’t grow them, listen to them and nurture them, they will be your competitors gain.

Ideas and Fresh Thinking

Ideas come from people, nowhere else. We know, this is our daily work. The best ideas at the lowest cost come from your people. Nobody knows the business better than troops on the front line. Bill Gates got it right: “At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top – I’m afraid that’s not quite right.” The greatest source of intelligence is under your nose. Make sure they are not under your thumb.

The Predator Lurks

Every business has a predator. Sometimes they watch but soon they will exploit. Discover your predator and, if you were him, map out how you would attack your business. Once you have done that, make a plan. If you don’t, they will.

It’s Not Price

The world obsesses about price. It’s a mirage. Let me go deeper, price is irrelevant. In fact, many businesses are increasing theirs and doing very well.

I can see heads nodding but let me explain. There is a huge difference between ‘price’ and ‘value’ They are entirely different. Here’s my view on value, spot the difference “It is a price I’m happy to pay for what I got”. Now, through a customer lens, ask yourself that question.

In 60 Seconds

In 60 seconds there will be 700,000 search terms on Google, 600 new YouTube clips uploaded, 100 new Linkedin accounts, over 98,000 tweets and 70 new domain names registered. In very simple terms, you cannot afford to say “not for us” it is or “ours is fine” it is work in progress. For me, digital marketing is all about getting you noticed. It’s not easy but you can talk to a lot more people when you jump on board effectively. Can you afford not to?

Generation Y

Generation Y: if you don’t know who they are, you ought to and search to see why. By 2025 they will be 75% of the global workforce. They behave entirely differently to the 3 generations before them. This impacts on your business, customer and opportunity. Understand Generation Y and you are already racing past your competitor. It’s essential homework after today.


When we sail through a storm our senses are heightened. Fear changes people and sometimes the mask slips. Leadership with values matters more than ever. A world where we worry about our next pay day has brought us all back to what matters and what’s important. For you, this translates into having a meaningful CSR plan. More on that again but, for now, if you don’t, according to Generation Y, you are no longer in the race and disqualified yourself.

The future is bright. Recessions are cyclical. The trick is not to be overwhelmed, not to worry ‘what if?’ but merely to do good work, everyday. Do that and you will survive. When you’ve done that, you will be smarter, leaner, fitter and, most of all, ready to reap the rewards.

By Conor Kenny

About Conor Kenny and Associates: Conor Kenny and Associates are experts in sales, marketing, sales training and people development. They help you to get the most out of your people and your business. As skilled marketing consultants and experienced experts in innovation, sales, marketing and communications, they know that you and your people have skills too. Companies don’t innovate. People do.

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