ISHC - The International Society of Hospitality Consultants |

Winning in a Reset Economy: Three Steps to Success | By Brenda Fields

9 December 2009


Unless we have been living under a rock for the past year, we would know that the world’s economy has plummeted and that the hospitality industry worldwide has experienced an unprecedented drop in RevPAR, the primary indicator of profitability. As the world is adjusting to this new economy, the hospitality industry is searching for ways to recover.

According to Smith Travel Research (August 13, 2009 article by Chad Church), “The outlook for 2010 looks slightly better than 2009, but the industry still is expected to end 2010 with decreases in all three key metrics. Occupancy is projected to end 2010 with a 0.6-percent decrease, ADR is forecasted to end the year with a 3.4-percent decrease, and RevPAR is expected to end with a 4.0-percent decline.”

Although this outlook is less than optimistic, there are strategies that can be implemented to turn your business around regardless of your base of business i.e. transient vs. group or the type of property i.e. convention, boutique, or resort or regardless of your marketing budgets. The key is to understand the new economy and how it has impacted your mix of business and the type of business, resulting in new demand periods. Once that understanding is in place, you are in a position to establish strategic plans to incorporate the new business environment.

In this reset economy, there is no “one size fits all” approach. The successful business owner/manager is one who understands the new environment; understands his/her business on a micro scale; and will then customize an approach that best fits his/her needs.

This article will address the key components to put your property(s) on the path to success in this new economy and maintain success regardless of market conditions.

The Evaluation Process:

Smith Travel Research has compiled data from most major markets which show how business has changed ranging from trends to market segments. Some trends indicate that leisure travel has replaced corporate travel as the primary market, which in turn changes the days of the week which represent the highest and lowest occupancy. It is important to know where your business comes from i.e. domestic vs. international and what specific markets in those two groups. The more information you have regarding your business, the more effective you will be in determining effective strategies which can easily be changed as the environment changes. There are too many variables at play to determine a solution that works for everyone.

Therefore, compile historical data, if you don’t already have it, which will show how your property(s) was sold on a daily basis i.e. what mix of business and at what rates and what was impacting your business from outside sources (conventions, hurricanes, Olympic games, etc). That information will help you understand what has changed so that you can set up a well-founded plan.

It is not too late to understand and to segment your business. Depending on the complexity of your business, there are either software programs which can record this or it can be done manually so that you start producing data that you provide a solid history for future analysis and evaluation.

The Planning Process:

The Implementation Process:

By establishing a thoughtful and detailed plan based on exact business elements, hotel owners and managers will not only take control of their business and be able to weather any storm, but will approach simple and difficult business decisions alike, from a position of strength and confidence. The confidence and knowledge will direct the best course of action to take, whether jumping into the Social Media area, web site optimization, and/or strategizing for direct sales.

Based on the hospitality industry’s experts’ analysis, it is unlikely that our industry will recover soon and it is evident that we are in a new economic environment. Taking the time to understand your business on every level will place an owner/manager in a position of strength when deciding the best course of action to reverse any downward trends. It’s never too late.

This article is reprinted with the permission of its author and and cannot be reprinted without the permission of its author.

About Brenda Fields: In her more than 26 years as a marketing and sales pro in the hospitality industry, Brenda G. Fields has emerged as the “go to” consultant for independent and/or privately owned hotels and resorts seeking real-world solutions for today’s market challenges.

With a “who’s who” roster of clients, Brenda has worked with a number of industry leaders and real estate investment companies including Starwood Lodging Corporation, Vornado Realty Trust and Planet Hollywood, Choice Hotels International, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, Olympus Real Estate Corporation, Pew Charitable Trust Foundation and Apple Core Hotels among others. Her consulting practice for independent properties has included a wide range of clients such as The Kitano Hotel, New York; Woodlands Resort and Inn, Summerville, South Carolina; Founders Inn and Conference Center in Virginia Beach, VA; The Addison, Boca Raton, FL, Bel Age Hotel, Los Angeles, CA; Mondrian Hotel, West Hollywood, CA; and as well as clients in international locations, i.e. Costa Rica, England, and Germany.

As founder of Fields & Company, Brenda has applied the formulas for success she developed over the years to assist owners and operators in achieving target revenues through cost effective, well-founded strategic plans and through creating and sustaining strong brands.

She brings a unique perspective and an ability to fully understand each client’s challenges, honed from over a two decade-long record of unparalleled success in the hospitality industry. Brenda attributes her success to the solid business foundation she developed while working for the former Dunfey Hotels Group out of Hampton, NH at the beginning of her career which placed her in key sales and marketing positions ranging from luxury hotels and convention hotels. Industry leaders and innovators such as Ian Schrager and real estate developer Harry Macklowe have benefited from Brenda’s distinctive combination of strengths: to analyze and manage every detail of an assignment while never taking her eye off the bigger picture.

Brenda is a member of the invitation-only, International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC); currently serves on the Americas Board for HSMAI: is Immediate Past President of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International in NYC; was recongnized by HSMAI as on of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing”; was awarded the “Best of the Best” by HSMAI in 2006 for her contributions on the Awards and Recognition committee; is a member of the Editorial Board of Hotel; contributes regularly to international publications, Hotels Online, Hotel Resource Weekly Network News, eHoteliers, and 4Hoteliers; and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York. Brenda can be contacted at; 518 789 0117 or by visiting

The International Society of Hospitality Consultants, ISHC, is a professional society of 200 members in 22 countries who are leading consultants in the hospitality industry. The Society is dedicated to promoting the highest quality of professional consulting standards and practices for the hospitality industry. Membership is by invitation only. ISHC as an organization represents a one of a kind collection of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry. ISHC members have expertise in over 30 different specialty areas in the hospitality industry and collectively have experience with over 50 hotel companies and nearly 100 brands worldwide. Additionally, ISHC members represent numerous prominent independent hotels throughout the world. ISHC members' clients include domestic and international, public and private hotel owners and investors, many leading financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, food and beverage service firms, airlines, cruise lines, time share and vacation ownership companies, universities, state, national and international convention, hospitality travel and tourism bureaus.


Brenda Fields
Phone: +917 825 2100


Fields and Company
1011 Smithfield Road
USA - Millerton, NY 12546
Phone: + 1 917 825 2100
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