Six Traits of Really Successful Restaurant & Hotel Marketing Leaders

Successful strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:

1. Focus on the Guest Experience Most of the focus in most businesss and hotels is on something other than the guest experience. Reports, policy mandates, fires,  cleaning, processes, position tasks, to-do lists, postings, phone calls, meetings, errands, etc…And the more ‘work’ you have to do, the more narrow the focus of your shift-by-shift thinking. Pretty soon, the staff become the same way – because they see you do (every day) what is important to you, task oriented and not guest oriented.  To overcome this, you must:

  • Ask yourself if what you are doing right this minute is enhancing the experience of a guest. If it’s not, then…
  • Ask your staff if what they are doing right this minute is enhancing their guest’s experience. If it’s not, then…
  • Ask every guest if what you are doing is enhancing their experience. If it’s not, then…

2. Focus on the Employee Experience In my entire consumer life, I have never had a great experience in any business where the employees were emotionally, intellectually and spiritually disengaged. Happy and productive have become the exception and is no longer the rule. Telling people to go home if they are in a bad mood is just as important as telling them to go home because they’re sick. Secondly, after you show negative influences the door, you have to inspire the positives to perform. Investing in the people who create every single guest experience in your business is critical to ensuring your efforts to serve your guests is making the impact you need it to. To ensure a higher level of engagement, you must:

  • Ask yourself if you feel that what you are doing right now, is adding value to your own work experience.  (If you’re not happy/having fun/making money/having the time of your life, then no one else is either!) If not, then…
  • Ask every employee, if what they are experiencing in their work is inspiring them to do greater work?, If not, then…
  • Ask every guest if they feel your staff is actively engaged in creating an experience for them that is meaningful. If not, then…

3. Focus on Their Community Experience The community of people who live, work and play within a 3-5 mile radius of your business are your lifeblood. They are also your community. Investing in them is the best way to ensure you enjoy consistent, long-term success. It also means that your success is tied to theirs. Therefore it’s critical that you make investments in their success, so that they can invest in yours. To create investment opportunities, you can:

  • Ask every employee to do work that gives back to the community in some way. Then invest in that work.
  • Ask every guest what community efforts they feel and most impacting to them and their community, or what efforts need to be undertaken that aren’t. Then invest in that work.
  • Ask other businesses how you can partner to do even greater community work. Then invest in that work.
  • Ask (demand) that your vendors invest with you. Or find ones who will.

4. Focus on Value The purpose of your business has always had only one goal: to create a guest. To do this you must understand what inspires and motivates people to buy what you sell. If you don’t know who your best guests are or how much they spend with you and why, then you must:

  • Create an ongoing process for understanding who your best guests are and what they value and why by …
  • Asking every profitable guest what makes them want to be a guest of yours.
  • Ascertain what your best guests have in common (what they value) and deliver that tenfold.
  • Communicate to like valued people who are not yet guests, through the networks of those who are.
  • Stop doing what it is that drives like-valued guests away.

5. Focus on Celebrations We love to celebrate the events in our lives that bring us the most joy and excitement. The number one event celebrated by people is their birthday. Anniversaries, Mother’s Day, etc… pale in comparison to this one, single event in people’s lives. It’s the act of celebration that can emotionally attach a person to your business forever. First date, last date, new job, old job, promotion, success, new shoes, new friend, new discovery…every day is a life event from which you can draw inspiration for a celebration of some type. And the greater the importance of the event or the degree of the emotional connection you can make by making them (or what’s most important to them) the object of celebration, the deeper their loyalty to you will be (guests and employees). The more you celebrate, the more people will want to celebrate with you. And don’t forget, people never celebrate alone. What are you celebrating today? You should create a process that enables you to:

  • Plan for celebrations. A calendar of events for guests and employees.
  • Be able to create spontaneous celebration events. A server or front desk clerk discovers that their guest is celebrating something. What do you do? What do you do if they are not? Can you find something?

6. Focus on ROI Return on Investment.  Three words too often forgotten or misused by most every operator. Where’s the profit (economic or otherwise) in what it is you are doing? Everything you do should have a clearly defined ROI attached to it or else you do one of two things: engineer it or you don’t do it.  This goes for every single thing you do or attempt. From hiring to marketing. You spend 4 hours a day on Facebook telling people how great you are? What’s your return on that? What’s your investment in new employees? What’s your return on hiring them? What’s your investment in existing/new guests? What’s your investment in your community? What’s your investment in innovating your thinking? What’s your return? Which means you need to know how to derive two things:

  • The cost of the thing. How much does it cost to hire and train one of your employees? What is the profit generated by your top employees? Guests? Vendors? What’s the investment to profit ratio of all of them?
  • The return on the investment in the person or thing. Economic? Emotional? Is it positive? By a factor of what? Is it enough of a return to be able to do more? Invest more? Grow more?

Now I know you’ve heard the line about how you have three options: Cheap, Fast and Good. Choose two. But these six traits are not like that. You need all six. Failing to adopt even one will increase the amount of time it takes you to achieve the level of success you deserve.  

For four decades, my Coaching, Consulting, & Learning Events have helped thousands of hospitality leaders worldwide, build successful businesses. Call or text me at +1-817-797-2929 or email me at