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Implementing the following tactics will help your property save money and stay competitive – starting right now.  There’s a lot to keep your eye on, and while you can implement each of these on your own, when you join AH&LA as a member, we take care of the whole list for you, saving you both time and money.  Carefully read the information below, then determine the most effective way to launch your strategy.

To find out how 10 properties each took on a tactic and achieved tremendous results, click here.

1. Stay on top of local and national legislation.  6. Better serve guests by comprehensively training your staff. 
2. Know where your competition stands, and invest in resources for efficient forecasting and planning.  7. Find tangible strategies for going green. 
3. Pay attention to the latest trends and innovations.  8. Take action to retain top employees. 
4. Be prepared for an emergency.  9. Have a viable press strategy. 
5. Cut costs by knowing your ROI on every purchase.  10. Be knowledgeable tap into the minds of industry frontrunners. 

1. Stay on top of local and national legislation.  
In brief, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) or card check is currently the most pressing issue affecting our entire industry, which threatens to strip employees of their right to secret ballot union elections and allows unions to form overnight without your knowledge.  ADA regulations are also shifting and pending legislation could cost hoteliers millions in retrofits – or in violations of failure to comply.  Additionally, E-verify is legislation recently signed into law by President Bush and affects the employment eligibility of newly-hired staff.  Learn more about these issues and more in the governmental affairs section of AH&LA's Website.

AH&LA Member Benefit: receive timely updates about progress on Capitol Hill, as well as pertinent information on the implications of new legislation and what you need to do to be compliant.  Members also have unique opportunities to connect with their Representatives and have their opinions heard.

2. Know where your competition stands, and invest in resources for efficient forecasting and planning.
Staying competitive means knowing your competition.  Get your hands on reports of local markets to analyze the value you’re offering your guests as compared to the property down the street.  Companies like STR Global and PKF specialize in sophisticated hospitality-specific research and offer a variety of reports to accommodate your unique needs.

AH&LA Member Benefit: through the AH&LA Data Center, powered by STR, enroll in the STR Lodging Survey program, allowing you to compare your property’s performance against the aggregate of your local market, as well as the Host Survey, comparing your operating costs to other hotels in your market. Members also receive a 25% discount off their first year fee on the Monthly and Weekly STAR reports which detail occupancy.

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3. Pay attention to the latest trends and innovations. 
With changing technology and increasing consumer demands, change may be the only constant in our industry.  Trade publications, such as Lodging magazine, give you an inside and honest look at the next big thing and the next overrated thing.  Tapping into consumer news sources such as Kitty Bean Yancy’s travel blog of USA Today, will further help you tailor your offerings to draw new business.  

AH&LA Member Benefit: receive free subscriptions to:

  • Lodging magazine, delivered monthly and covering the full spectrum of hotel news, information, and trends
  • AH&LA SmartBrief, electronic daily news source, offering bite-sized pieces of breaking industry news
  • Lodging Law, quarterly electronic publication covering the most pressing legal concerns
  • Lodging HR, quarterly electronic publication addressing topics in human resources
  • Prism, quarterly electronic publication highlighting the diverse people and initiatives shaping our industry

4. Be prepared for an emergency. 
There are many things to consider when preparing for an emergency; educating your staff on what to do, developing an exit and rescue strategy for guests, effectively communicating with the press, and moving forward once the emergency subsides.  Keep guest safety tips prominent in each room and make emergency planning part of employee training.  Review AH&LA’s preparedness section for specific details on action plans and visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Website as well. 

AH&LA Member Benefit: receive timely electronic advisories during and after natural disasters and other emergencies, informing you how to help, how to prevent it from happening to you, and what to do if you’re impacted.

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5. Cut costs by knowing your ROI on every purchase.  
Now is the best time to stick with what you know works in order to minimize risk.  Ensure you have measuring tactics in place so that you can track the source of savings and new business.  When working with your vendors, get quotes from their competition and use it as leverage to negotiate a better rate or as confirmation you have the best deal.

AH&LA Member Benefit: get generous discounts from over two dozen leading industry providers, including savings of 40-60% with Staples, 20% with Hcareers, and 1-7% with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

6. Better serve guests by comprehensively training your staff.
Find out what guests are saying about your hotel by visiting sites like Trip Advisor and Hotel Chatter on a regular basis.  Top notch customer service not only keeps guests coming back, it ensures your cyber-presence is attracting new guests.  Additionally, a great way to get by with less is to cross train your staff so that one person can fulfill multiple responsibilities.  The best way to polish your employees is through training through an organization like the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.  Their materials address everything from customer service to serving alcohol to housekeeping and are based upon industry best practices. 

AH&LA Member Benefit: save up to 40% on the full spectrum of training materials from the Educational Institute.

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7. Find tangible strategies for going green.  
Consumers have gotten much more eco-savvy and they’ll know if you’re not using the right light bulbs, cups, or showerheads.  In addition to boosting guest satisfaction, green initiatives can tremendously impact your bottom line.  If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at the 11 Minimum Guidelines AH&LA devised.  Each guideline contains examples and resources, as well as ROI details.  Over 50 additional guidelines are also listed for properties in advanced stages of going green.

AH&LA Member Benefit: have your most pressing green questions researched and answered by AH&LA’s Green Guru free of charge.

8. Take action to retain top employees.  
Let’s face it; our industry is hallmarked by high turnover.  But turnover is costly and taking time to bring new employees up to speed means taking time away from serving guests.  Recognizing a job well done – especially in front of others – is a great way to build loyalty, as well as offering rewards/incentives.  Get creative with rewards; give extra vacation days, a title raise, ‘make your own schedule,’ etc. to let your staff know they’re valued.  Also take a look at the Diversity Business Assessment Tool produced in conjunction with the National Multi Cultural Institute.  Ensuring you have measures in place that create an environment of inclusion and respect will also help your retention rate. 

AH&LA Member Benefit: anyone employed at an AH&LA member organization can join AH&LA’s Women In Lodging and/or Under 30 Gateway membership category free of charge.  Extending this invitation to your top employees gives them a wealth of benefits and resources and shows you are vested in their career path and want them to grow with your organization.

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9. Have a viable press strategy. 
By using the power of the press, you can capitalize on free promotion for your property.  Have someone on your staff dedicated to writing press releases and pitching the media on how you’re helping the community and serving guests.  Also have someone comprehensively read local and national travel publications to see what the media is buzzing about, then respond to op-eds or blogs to get your property noticed.  Once you build your credibility as a contributor, you’ll become the first place reporters go for a quote or insight.

AH&LA Member Benefit: get instruction or writing press releases, receive timely media advisories, media pitches, and more to give you a 360 degree press strategy.

10. Be knowledgeable tap into the minds of industry frontrunners.  
To be the best you have to learn from the best.  What do presidents and CEOs of major chains know that you don’t?  Reading the latest industry publications is great, but attending industry events and speaking directly with leaders is even better.  Industry events happen every month featuring renowned speakers and exclusive networking events, giving you the chance to get the insight you need to rise above the herd. 

AH&LA Member Benefit: get exclusive discounts to AH&LA events, including the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, where enterance is free.

To become an AH&LA member or learn more about the benefits available to you and your property, click here. 

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