“If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.” T. Harv Eker
I’ve become a fan of the American Ninja Warrior show on NBC. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it’s a competition show comprised of men and women who painstakingly traverse their way through some of the most insanely difficult obstacle courses on the planet. By the end of the course—if they make it—the competitors are so tired, it seems they cannot lift another muscle.
When I watch it, I can’t stop thinking, “I could do this!” Then I think otherwise pretty quickly when I consider the hours of training required and the fact that I love pizza and ice cream. Maybe next year. For now, I am thinking of other seemingly impossible feats in sports and in life that require the same amount of dedication and training.
In Major League Baseball, there is the elusive “perfect game” for pitchers—an amazing accomplishment. Only 22 pitchers have thrown a perfect game since 1880.
In the modern era of the National Football League (post-1970), there’s only been one perfect season ending in a Super Bowl win: the Miami Dolphins’ in 1972.
Clearly, the Olympic gold medal is also an elusive accomplishment. Michael Phelps has the most career Olympic gold medals with 14; four others follow behind him with nine gold medals each.
What accomplishment in hotels is just as elusive? What accomplishments are only experienced once or twice in a generation?
I asked this question to numerous hotel leaders. Here’s some accomplishments they felt deserve special recognition, if accomplished at all.
(The conventional belief in our industry that bigger is better was removed from any consideration. Therefore, a brand with 4,000-plus hotels, a management company with 400-plus hotels or real-estate firms with several billion dollar transactions under their belt were not considered an “accomplishment” for the purpose of this column, even though they deserve a special place in our industry’s history. This inquiry was in search of astounding feats, ones that are experienced once or twice in a career—the equivalent of the perfect season, the perfect game or winning the gold!)
a. Winner of a brand’s highest overall guest satisfaction score when the hotel is more than 4-years-old.
b. The perfect year includes: 100% employee satisfaction, 100% brand quality assurance, top 5% in brand guest satisfaction, 10% over budgeted revenue and 10% over budgeted house profit.
c. Guest satisfaction scores improved from brand “default” status to top 10% in 12 months.
d. Maintain overall guest satisfaction levels above 90% during a full renovation
e. On TripAdvisor.com, fewer than 3% of the total votes in the “Poor” or “Terrible” category
And this one accomplishment from a GM friend that made my heart leap:
f. To receive a letter from a former employee, 20 years later stating, “Thank you. My life is better for having known you.”
Conrad Hilton claimed to have lived the American dream. What he continued to dream of was “World peace through international trade and travel.” He believed that being hospitable to those traveling to the United States would promote world peace. He also insisted that any Hilton hotel operated in a foreign country would train local people to staff the hotel, use local building materials and supply the hotel with local furnishings. This, too, would promote world peace, as these policies, according to Hilton, would enhance the American image abroad.
Anyone reading this would trade all the perfect games and gold medals for world peace, and we hoteliers are lucky to be part of an industry that can actually make a difference. That certainly would be the greatest accomplishment of them all.
Adam Zembruski is the president of Pharos Hospitality, a Charlotte, NC-based hotel investment platform explicitly designed to acquire, own and operate franchised upscale select service hotels. Adam oversees all operating entities at Pharos, including Property Assessments and Takeover, Sales and Marketing, Revenue Management, Human Resources and Culture Development, System Implementation, Financial Analysis, and Talent/Performance Tracking. Adam can be reached at 704-333-1818, ext. 12, or via email at email@example.com
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