As the first week of the new year comes to and end, a lot of us find ourselves still struggling to keep the New Years Resolutions we made Saturday night in a champagne induced state. Since many of those resolutions include gym going and weight loss, I thought it was appropriate to share my 3 Step Workout Plan to achieve business agility:
STEP 2 : Benchmark don't Bench Press
STEP 3 : Condition the Organization to Act on Feedback
Even though I think my workout plan is very simple to follow, we know keeping our resolutions throughout the year can be a challenge. So to help you through the process of keeping your resolution, I've compiled five tips:
Start small and focus on one resolution at a time
It's no small feat to start a feedback program. If you're trying to tackle collecting insights from meeting and event planners along with five other major initiatives, it will be difficult to do any of them well. Instead, focus on one resolution at a time. You know your business best, but in today's market where speed and intelligence are key, I warn against putting off your Feedback Resolution. Ask your transient counter parts how valuable they find the consumer insights they collect after someone stays in your hotel or at your resort. If you are able to combine those insights with those from the event, you'll be able to present better RFPs that will increase your group and business travel wins.
Whenever you're trying to change your behavior, it's always easier when you set mini goals and milestones. If you're specific about what you want to accomplish, it will be easier to tell whether you're on the right path. For example, the group business sales team cannot be 100% customer focused if you don't have the mechanisms to collect feedback and turn data into insights. If that's your end goal, set specific smaller goals, such as writing the survey and implementing a regular schedule for reaching out to customers, to mark your progress along the way.
Realize you need to modify your organization's behavior, and get back up support
The goal of making a resolution is to modify your behavior. However, a lot of us don't realize this when we first start to tackle our resolutions. To become an agile organization that acts intelligently (with speed), there needs to be an organizational shift. As much as we like to believe we can shift everyone's thinking on our own, we often need top down support. Get the big wigs on board with your plan and everyone else will likely follow suit and before you know it, everyone will be clamoring for more insights.
Understand that permanent change is driven by internal desire
Realizing you need to shift the organization's behavior goes hand in hand with the internal desire to do it. Just because an organization talks about implementing a feedback program, they may not actually have the desire to go through with it. If you're having trouble getting the support you need, start building the business case. Look for other examples inside and outside your industry of companies who have successfully implemented a feedback program and how it helped them. In the hospitality market, you may just need to look inward. There's a reason I always receive a short survey after staying at a hotel, because the transient team is gaining value from the consumer insights they're collecting.
Accept the fact that it doesn't have to be All or Nothing
As I've mentioned in the past, it's going to take time to work up to Feedback Nirvana. That's okay. You'll likely have setbacks along the way, that's to be expected. Just because you can't get there over night doesn't mean the customer journey isn't worth it. A quarterly survey to everyone who hosted an event at your property is a good start. Once you start to see the business value, the program will quickly grow from there. You just need to get the ball rolling and follow through with the plan you laid out for the program, everything else will fall into place as long as you tackle little chunks at a time.
If you think you're ready to take the plunge into feedback collection to improve your hospitality marketing and win more group business in 2012, register for an upcoming web surveys demonstration or download our white paper, 5 Tips to Driving Sales with Customer Insights.