5-Star Aspirations

I finally caught up with a pop-business reality show I’d been meaning to devote an hour of my downtime to. When the voiceover announced The Hotel Inspector as being born into the Forte dynasty with over 20 years of luxury hotelier experience, I rubbed my hands in expectation as a dowdy 3-star Blackpool B&B aimed to upgrade to five stars.

I can imagine the producers salivating when they learned the owners had very little industry experience, operated at only 22% occupancy and sought to spend a whopping 190 grand. As was later pointed out, this sum equated roughly a whole year of totally full bookings.

As with all these type of shows, potentially needless conflict was built in. Nevertheless, four great sales pointers came from the Inspector’s approach.

Guiding Principle
The taste, more specifically the lack of it, was an issue. Decor didn’t match, such as bedspreads and curtains, and many fixtures and fittings were considered tacky. What was interesting was the summary of this. There was “no guiding principle”. This is a construct that scuppers many a sales proposal that I’ve seen too.

Focus Areas
The Inspector gave the owning couple three items to focus on. I thought this was good and snappy. In this particular case they were; rein in spending, good taste, and service. A bulleted focus sentence is a winner, and I also loved one quote when the owners questioned cutting costs, “it’s so easy to spend money, and so hard to make it”.

Customer View
To hammer home how they needed to think, the question was put to them, “why do people come?” The answer was summed up as “bath, bed, breakfast”. Always useful to think of a solution from the viewpoint of the person paying.

Post-Presentation
The expert proposed a decor scheme combining 5-star style with cost control. It is always easier to dis an idea rather than praise it, so perhaps it was no surprise that the couple criticised the plans. Yet initial rejection was replaced over time with many of the items embraced. It appeared that this was due to the mood boards remaining on view. When the excitement/intimidation of the cameras had gone, reflection enabled a re-think. An interesting concept when considering what happens after you’ve left the prospect’s presentation room.

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