Hospitality Industry Professionals: What Business Are We In?

We aren’t in the coffee business serving people. We are in the people business serving coffee.” Howard Schultz- Founder and Chairman, Starbucks

greek-coffee-1328798-639x511I shared this quote in a 2011 blog post and am amazed at the reaction I continue to get from this simple message. This Howard Schultz philosophy continues to drive the culture he wants for Starbucks to be successful.

This quote should make all of us think…what business are we in? We introduce ourselves as working as a meeting planner, or in the hospitality industry, hotel business, or name the specific organization where we work. But, when we respond to this question, do we truly understand the business that we are in?

I agree with Howard Schultz and the vision he has for his company. Starbucks is in the people business serving coffee while creating an environment that offers a desirable experience. In the hospitality industry, we are in the people business providing great individual guest and group meeting experiences. We help bring people together to discuss important topics that can change the course of an individual, an organization, a country and perhaps even the world. It is human relationships and interactions that create the experience we desire. Sure, our facilities provide great beds, meals and meeting rooms – but the people provide the environment that enables the guest stay or meeting to be a desirable experience.

The hospitality industry is an exciting career choice. Let’s make sure we always remember what business we are really in…the people business.

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Taking Care of Business in the Hospitality Industry

2015-09-07_9-01-23When people ask why I became an independent hospitality professional, I reply with the following. I was taking care of business to achieve my dream utilizing my experience of over 25 years in the hospitality industry.

I will admit that I have always been a huge Elvis Presley fan. His entire entourage (the Memphis Mafia) had the initials TCB on them for Taking Care of Business. This name came from the TCB Band which was the name he selected for his band when they went on tour. The Taking Care of Business slogan is one he adopted for both his personal and professional life. I think this is a great acronym and slogan for all of us in the hospitality industry.

Our industry is in an economically strong period with demand at an all-time high. It has challenged me to sit back and ask…what is my definition of taking care of business for my business? The following are five things I feel are important to achieving success:

1. Be intentional…those with a game plan and are specific about what they want, achieve their dreams.

2. Take action…TODAY!

3. Do not fear failure…be willing to take risks that may not work out as planned.

4. Pick yourself up when you fall down…when you do fail, learn from what went wrong and get back in the game.

5. Celebrate your successes…TODAY!

Elvis was ahead of his time with his music. He may have also been ahead of his time with a leadership and management philosophy that could help each of us be more successful each day.

Are you taking care of business?

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Hospitality Professionals: Lessons on Focus and Distractions

a-helping-hand-2-1439048-638x597As we strive to achieve success in the hospitality industry, we need to have the ability to prioritize and focus on the activities that will get us to our desired goal.

Recently, I watched a parent, who was just home from work, take their three small children out to ride their bikes. Since seeing kids play outside is not as common as the days of my childhood, this caught my attention and I stopped to observe them.

My excitement quickly turned to disappointment as I watched the parent spend the entire time looking at their phone (even as the kids were laughing and screaming ‘look at me’). The parent was trying to do multiple things at once and was not focused on the opportunity right before them – being engaged in quality time with their kids.

This reminded me of times when I’ve spoken in front of a group at meetings. As you look out into the audience, you see many on their phones and other personal devices, not engaged in the presentation or the activity right in front of them. I often wonder why they took the time and spent the money to attend the conference if they have other matters that are more important. As hospitality industry professionals that believe in the importance of face-to-face meetings, we need to lead by example and demonstrate how to get the most out of these personal interactions. It is not a positive to boast that you are a good multi-tasker. There are many studies (especially for us men) that demonstrate multi-tasking actually makes you less productive. Instead of trying to do multiple tasks at once, let’s show others how to increase their productivity by: 1) staying focused on the present 2) not being distracted and 3) prioritizing our tasks so we can give each one the focus it deserves.

I want to thank this parent for reminding me to focus on my priorities so I can ensure success in the hospitality industry!

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7 Tips For Success As An Entrepreneur In The Hospitality Industry

career-479578_1280The following are 7 tips to help entrepreneurs be successful in the hospitality industry. These points come from my years of experience as an independent contractor and from the 100+ individuals that have joined me.

1. Have a clearly defined game plan
Without directions or a map, you will never find your desired destination. The same is true with your career. Without a plan for success…you plan to fail.

2. Take Action
Do one thing every day that will get you closer to your goal.

3. Be Prepared Financially
Start investing in yourself today! Set aside funds for when you decide to go on your own. This money will help you through the ‘start-up’ phase. In addition, money management is often an obstacle to our success. Now is the time to prepare and learn the skills needed to be fiscally responsible.

4. Overcome Frustration
One of the largest obstacles to achieving your dream is allowing frustration to sway your focus. You have to be able to fight through the challenges that you will face along the way and maintain a positive attitude.

5. Overcome Rejection
We all dislike being told ‘no’. I have written several posts on this subject. The key is to understand that, to be successful, you will face lots of rejection. You need to become effective at facing and overcoming rejection.

6. Don’t Become Complacent
When you reach a goal…set new ones. Do not become comfortable at any single point along your journey. You need to push your boundaries to reach your dream.

7. Have a Goal to Give Back
Focus on giving first and not worrying about whether or not you will receive in return. Being successful and building a great living enables you to live a happier life and give back.

“When you’re in business for yourself, you write your own history, you write your own success story, you write your own legacy and most important, you write your own paycheck,” Jeffrey Gitomer, best-selling author. The journey to success as an entrepreneur is not an easy or short trip, but it will be worth it and it will change your life for the better.

Is it time for you to consider being an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry?

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The Importance of Sales Calls in the Hospitality Industry

imageHow important are sales calls to our being successful in the hospitality industry? I have always followed the simple philosophy that successful businesses have as part of their culture: you grow your business or you watch as your competition does. It can be written even more simply, grow or die. The following is a message that I often share with my team regarding making sales calls to grow your business.

Here are some statistics on how many ‘touches’ it takes to close a new account:

2% close on the 1st call or touch
3% close on the 2nd call or touch
4% close on the 3rd call or touch (ironically, this is where most follow-up processes stop)
10% close on the 4th call
80% close ON OR AFTER the 5th call

We can look at these stats another way as shared by Bart Berkey; hotel executive, speaker and author. He calls it the ‘truth about soliciting business’:

48% of all salespeople make one call and quit
25% of all salespeople call twice and quit
17% of all salespeople call three times and quit
80% of all sales are made after the fifth call
10% of all salespeople keep calling
80% of all sales are made by 10% of all the people

Now that we know why we have to be persistent, we also have to understand and overcome objections…the dreaded ‘no’.
What “no” means:

I’m too busy
I don’t trust you
This isn’t on my ‘to do’ list
My boss won’t let me
I’m not the person to make this decision
I don’t have the resources to do this now
Your product or service does not meet my need

What “no” doesn’t mean:

I hate the proposal
I hate you

We must have a product or service that matches the potential customer’s need and they must agree that it meets their need, or their answer will always be no. However, keep in mind that they are saying ‘no’ to what we are offering, not us personally.

If you want to have a long and successful career, you need to become effective at sales calls. You have to master the skill of reaching out professionally and demonstrating value to the person and their organization. Please do not take a ‘no’ as the final answer, never stop following up with valuable information and take the actions needed to be in the 10% that make 80% of all the sales.

Are you ready to start today?

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Changing Organizations in the Hospitality Industry

arrowsRecently, an industry professional joined my team coming from another meeting and event planning company. As we discussed this opportunity and as he weighed his options, I was struck by two takeaways from this process:

1. It is important to align with the right organization that is the perfect fit for you. As your needs and goals change, it may be necessary to change your affiliation to ensure success both personally and professionally.

2. Make sure you properly manage your most valuable resource, time, to ensure you achieve your career objectives.

Let me focus on the second point, time. His decision to join us reminded me of the need we all have for a work/life balance that still enables us to achieve our dreams. As my Business Coach, Angie Segal, shared with me; “Time is the one resource we cannot get more of.  If we lose money, we can always make more, but if we waste time we cannot get it back.”

I have a few thoughts on how to make sure you are focused on using your time effectively to achieve your professional goals:

  • Align yourself with the right organization that meets your specific needs.
  • Determine your big dreams for the future and the goals you need to pursue along the way.
  • Have energy, passion and put forth the effort needed to achieve your goals.
  • Be confident that nothing will stand in your way and commit to staying positive and picking yourself up when you fall short of your goals.
  • Make the right (and often hard decisions) that will best enable you to reach your desired destination.

Often times, we get caught up in being ‘busy’ and forget our dreams and the goals we have for our life. Make sure you are part of an organization that supports your goals and enables the time to do the activities that will help you achieve your dreams.

Are you where you want to be with your life both personally and professionally?

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My Entrepreneurship Story in the Hospitality Industry

autonomy“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever”. Ed Sabol

This quote is from Ed Sabol, the Founder of NFL Films. Before 24-hour sports channels existed, he told the ‘story’ of the NFL each week and many of us fell in love with professional football.

We all have a story to tell. Mine is why I chose to leave an executive level position and a 20-year track record with a major hotel company to embrace the entrepreneurial lifestyle. My story is how I pursued my dream of being an independent business owner within the meeting and event planning industry.

My goal is to be in control of my life, career and have unlimited earning potential. Instead of sitting in traffic, I want to be outdoors exercising. Instead of heading to a stand-up meeting, I want to be spending time with my family. Instead of meeting with revenue management, I want to be meeting with my life coach to make sure I am on track to achieving my dreams. My goal is to be able to live and work where I want to be…not where the company is located or where they mandate I need to be.

Have you ever wanted this to be your story? Let me share my full story with you…in hopes that it may live in your heart and inspire you to reach for the life you truly want!

If you haven’t had a chance to read “Taking Charge of Your Hospitality Career,” sign up for this free report today.


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Freedom in the Hospitality Industry

WeWantFreedomAs I watched my 16 year old daughter drive off on her own with the new found freedom that having your driver’s license gives you, I was both terrified and excited. It is terrifying to let go and trust that she will be safe. It was exciting to see her explore on her own and it reminded me of when I took the leap to being an independent professional in the hospitality industry.

I wanted to take control of my life, career and to have unlimited earning potential. I thought I was leaving the security of being a corporate employee, but what I found on the other side was even more security as I was now in control of my own destiny. I was fortunate to have good coaches, mentors and a strong support group.

The following are a few books that have helped me on my journey and I want to share them with you:

  • Making Money Is Killing Your Business- Chuck Blakeman
  • Millionaire in Flip Flops- Sue Cooper
  • Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different- Walter Isaacson

After 8 years in this entrepreneurial model, I have helped over 100 individuals make the transition successfully from employee…to entrepreneur in control of their life. It is not a leap after little thought, but a strategic move with a road map to success. You need a coach, mentor and someone who has traveled the path before you to lead you through the process…I can be that person for you.

Let me know if you want to learn more about my story!

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Share Your Industry Insights with Future Meeting and Event Planners


After a long break, I went back to school…the Hospitality Management School at Ferris State University (FSU). I am a proud graduate of FSU and they invited me back to share with the students (primarily upperclassmen) my 25+ year journey through our dynamic industry.

I was introduced by a senior and it took me a few minutes to recover from the realization that not one of the students in the audience were even born when I graduated. It was gratifying to talk about my career in the hospitality industry which included various hotel positions, trade show management and meeting planning. My goal was to share the many opportunities that exist in hopes that it would spark an interest for a potential career path. We also discussed industry trends and what future opportunities exist for them to explore.

They were engaged and an interactive group that I feel confident is ready to join us in the meeting and event planning industry. I hope all of you will consider sharing your story with the next generation of meeting and event planners…it was a rewarding experience.

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Entrepreneurship in the Hospitality Industry

solo sunsetAs independent hospitality management professionals, we live by the quote I am sharing below. We choose to embrace this philosophy and pursue our dream of being an independent business owner within the meeting and event planning industry.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”. Anonymous

Does this lifestyle interest you? If you want to control your life, your career and have unlimited earning potential, I can help ensure your success in this model. I have a proven track record over the past 13 years helping nearly 100 individuals make the transition successfully from employee…to entrepreneur in control of their life. It is not a leap after little thought, but a strategic move with a roadmap to success. You need a coach and mentor to lead you through the process…I can be that person for you.

Let me know when you are ready to talk…it never hurts to at least talk!

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