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Your success in business is directly proportional to how quickly (and how well) you can establish credibility with your customers, investors, and colleagues. A while back, I had a conversation about credibility with Randall Murphy, president of the professional development firm Acclivus. Here's my interpretation of his ideas:

1. Be genuine about who you really are.

The days are long gone when customers were impressed by an illustrious corporate name or a fancy job title. Customers are more likely to respect you if you present yourself as an individual rather than a plug-and-play "representative." The moment you pretend to be more (or other) than you really are, your credibility flies out the window. Be authentic, even if all you bring to the table is your enthusiasm.

2. Know the legitimate value of what you provide.


American management guru Gary Hamel coined the notion of strategic decay: every strategy, no matter how brilliant, loses its value with time. Change is inevitable and essential in any organization. A business that does not embrace change is stagnating. This is a principle which applies as much to a hospitality business as any other market sector.
As companies struggle to survive in a challenging financial environment, many hotel and resort operators find it difficult to focus on and implement key policy changes, however much they are needed. This article examines how these businesses can successfully drive and manage strategic change, at both board and employee level.
Strategic change managers require many skills and qualities. But foremost they need insight; an objective, global view of a business’s current performance, the strength of the competition and the market potential.
They also need the foresight to distinguish the desirable from the achievable.


The competition, organised by the UK’s leading architecture newspaper BD and, invited designers to develop a scheme that would make a tiny space (14sq m) feel generous and luxurious.
With budget accommodation accounting for over a third of the new hotels being built in the UK, the competition was a chance to shine a light on the lack of design innovation in these buildings.
The shortlisted designs range from colourful capsule pods that can travel around the country to minimalist square boxes with interactive screens instead of windows.
One predicts the needs of visitors by collecting information at check in and via social media, while another uses low-tech stage-set technology from the theatre to hide a sunken bath under a sliding bed.
“This is a sector that’s in desperate need of reinvention. Most budget hotel rooms are boring and purely functional spaces,” said BD editor-in-chief and competition judge Amanda Baillieu.
“The shortlisted entries are all very different but they share the same ambition – to create a really memorable experience.”

Increasing F&B Revenues in Hotels

There are many reasons why hotel Food and Beverage profits are not what we would like them to be. Foremost among them is usually the fact that revenues are not as high as they might be. The lack of separate identity and entrances for outlets has a negative impact but for the most part hoteliers aren’t the street fighting promoters our free standing restaurant counterparts are. This is quite understandable, after all why should we focus so heavily on Food and Beverage when for the time and money spent it will never be as profitable as the Rooms Division!
There are some subtle differences that make a lot of sense. Think about how you’d spend your finite promotional dollars if you had a choice between promoting the hotel in its entirety or just a profitable restaurant outlet. Clearly it makes more sense to advertise the hotel and its services or to have the sales staff either build commercial room demand or pursue group room bookings. These items have profit margins in excess of 75 – 80%.


Watch for hotels in 2013 to increasingly cater to guests' every whim when it comes to eating.

In an age when time-pressed, health-conscious travelers are used to customizing their options at coffee shops and casual eateries, hotels are tweaking the type of food they prepare and where they serve it.

"The typical breakfast, lunch, dinner - appetizer, entree, dessert model is not something that our guests are responding to anymore," says Beth Scott, who's in charge of restaurant concepts for Hilton Worldwide's 3,900 properties.

TRENDS: Follow USA TODAY's Barb DeLollis for travel trends

"People don't want to ask to be seated and be given menus," says Brad Nelson, corporate chef at Marriott International, which has nearly 3,800 properties. "They want to sit down, maybe meet for an hour and then order. They want flexibility. We can thank Starbucks for that."



How does SWOT fit into the overall marketing process? SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses categories are based on internal issues, while opportunities and threats are based on external issues. SWOT analysis is really a decision-making tool. 1. Once you understand the external environment from your environmental analysis, you can combine any identified significant external opportunities or threats with an internal survey of your organization’s significant strengths and weaknesses. Thus, SWOT provides a framework identifying and highlighting issues that are critical in determining decisions made about your organization. 2. Once you identify the elements of your internal and external environment, you can translate the SWOT into TOWS actions. The SWOT measures the present situation, while you need to do TOWS to plan actions. 


Excellence in hotel restaurant design is more important than ever before for hoteliers. The quality of the F&B experience is fast-becoming a reputation maker for hotel businesses – and with more outlets entering the market, increased competition around hotel restaurant design has emerged.

We speak to Janine Ramsay, Senior Interior Designer at Restaurant Design Associates (RDA), and ask exactly how important hotel restaurant design is in the current marketplace. What makes a good hotel restaurant design?
Ramsay: A good hotel restaurant design centres around creating a highly functional interior, which maximises potential and exceeds the customers’ expectations.

We believe that a successful design demonstrates that every element has been considered, from optimising space and operational flow through to design originality and practicality.

The proof of a good design is in the ability of the interior to have a distinctive atmosphere that is welcoming and relaxing, and is subtle enough no to distract from the food itself.


The message regarding the 2013 forecast for the U.S. lodging industry from PKF Hospitality Research President Mark Woodworth was stark and clear: Hedge your bets.
"The recovery is near," Woodworth said during a presentation at October's Lodging Conference in Phoenix. "Or is that a cliff ahead?"
Prospects for the U.S. lodging industry are getting progressively cloudier as questions about the so-called fiscal cliff and its tax ramifications, especially for wealthier U.S. citizens, continue to affect the spending attitudes among the most active business and leisure travelers.
Questions about the economy and a recovery that appears to be continuing, but at a fairly tepid pace, are offsetting the positive effect for hoteliers of limited growth in room supply.
Most analysts say the domestic supply of about 4.9 million hotel rooms will increase by less than 1% next year. That would prevent the double-whammy of aggressive hotel construction and the ensuing economic downturn that struck the U.S. lodging industry five years ago.



How do you make your company a click magnet--without venturing into shady, underhanded tactics?

I asked a few search engine experts to share their secrets.

1. Make a great YouTube video.

This one might seem obvious, but it works. Web surfers love to click on videos, and a well-done video can entice a load of extra clicks, says Mike Essex, online marketing manager at ( Start-ups don't need to make a super professional video--even an interview with the founder about why the company exists can help. Most importantly, a video with good metatags and links to your site helps improve search results.

There is something to be said for a highly produced video, however. If you have a bigger budget, consider making a movie trailer for your next product launch, says Robert Granholm, the CTO at IT support company IT Arsenal. A well-made trailer can be like an adrenaline boost for people to start searching. After you watch this video of Tim Ferriss's book on cooking, you'll probably want to do a search to find out more.

2. State your mission clearly.


Lots of articles describe how to create a more marketable LinkedIn profile, how to find the right groups to join, how to choose the best profile photo... I should know, I've written about that. Oh, and that. Yep, and that too.

Since most people understand the value of taking those steps, let's go deeper. To really harness the power of LinkedIn, don't make these mistakes:

1. You give only because you expect to receive.

Connect with people on LinkedIn and you can write a recommendation that gets displayed on their profiles.

That's awesome, unless you're only giving recommendations because you want one in return. Then it's tacky.

For example, say you're a plumber. A pipe burst and we call you at three in the morning. You immediately rush over, fix the leak, and save us from inadvertently converting our basement into a swimming pool. I'm extremely grateful and I write you a deservedly glowing recommendation.

Then I ask you to write a recommendation for me.

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