DISRUPTION…is a bad word or just an alarm clock?

In the past few years, the hospitality industry has seen more disruption than in the past. Third-party booking channels, OTAs, metasearch sites… they have all entered our industry and captured the attention of everyone. Yet, they shouldn’t have been a surprise. Innovative digital business solutions such as Uber and Airbnb have been proliferating for years.

However, as an industry, we in the hotel business have been quite lucky compared to others such as as healthcare, telecom, and even the storied manufacturing industry.

What is yet to be seen is how we as hotel professionals react to this, and how we become more agile and transformational in how we operate, market, and go-to-market with our products.

The question is: “Do we as leaders have the mental capacity and mindset to approach opportunities in the marketplace differently?” Now, don’t get me wrong. Mental capacity is not to be confused with intelligence. It is an ability to see opportunity differently, even in an extremely traditional industry.

It is time (dare I say long past time) we look at these key areas more closely:

Creativity and innovation supplanting traditional operations in customer value

As industries work to be more relevant and innovative, they quickly turn to how they create value for their customers. Although operational effectiveness will always be top of mind, the hotel industry has to become more familiar with the customer buying journey and opportunities that arise through that value chain. We need to be focused on how to connect with customers earlier, with the right message and tempo.

Digital Marketing becoming more global in strategy and traditional marketing being obsolete

Digital marketing has made traditional marketing nearly obsolete. People want a two-way conversation, rather than being told what they want. If digital marketing gives us a valued two-way conversation, we need to be sure we are fluent in the parts of the globe that matter most. I am not speaking of language, but the unique nuances of marketing and selling to other cultures.

Customer value creation rather than customer satisfaction

Lastly, hotel companies need to look at the value they are creating for guests. Customer satisfaction at this point should be table stakes inhospitality, so we need to shift to a value creation model in order to grow and retain your customer base.

Why are there disrupters? Because currently they are doing this better than we are. In this new era, we need to find new ways to create value within marketing, sales, and revenue management.