This is an activity we encourage all our followers to do and if you’re already a subscriber, you would’ve seen our “How To Future Proof Your Hotel Business” video that we placed on Youtube back in 2016!!
Now more than ever this is a valuable exercise that can help you prepare your accommodation business for the expected ‘bounce back’ in the economy, and help you get to the other side in full stride.
The key is putting this time you have now to best use and keep your business moving forward as outlined in our earlier article Panic, Pause or Pivot.
For now though, here’s the video from 2016 which I’d like you to watch first. The basic premise is to fast forward your thinking 5-7 years from now and think of what the future business environment might look like. Then go about building an action plan to best prepare for that new world.
In particular, in this video I focussed on a technology theme and how that may change and what competitive advantage you can find within.
However, I felt to make it relevant to the situation we find ourselves in now. It needs a more specific set of instructions on how to facilitate yourself through the process and specifically how it may apply to a post-covid-19 environment.
So, here’s what I’ve come up with…
I suggest doing the exercise within a small group. So gather your leadership team or senior managers. Many heads are needed to get the creative and cognitive juices flowing. If you are a smaller business, invite colleagues, partners or even some clients to the table to get different perspectives
Clear the whiteboard and in the centre write “Post-Covid-19”. Ask the team to free their thinking beyond today and the next few months into a world where the Covid-19 threat has passed. Invite them into a ‘brain-dump’ and capture words and themes on the board. Toss up areas of thought such as airlines, domestic travel, economic strength, competitors, business patterns, leisure travel, international travel, consumer confidence, industry demand, market data.
Build the brain dump into a more formalised table allowing for a row on the left for each key factor or theme, plus columns for each heading of before, during and after. Agree to the key themes to focus on and record them on the left.
Below are some suggestions of likely themes that will come from the brain dump session. Then in the columns record words, opinion, statements and facts that describe the before during and after for each theme.
On the far right, add an Opportunity column to capture possible opportunities or ideas in each themed area.
For each opportunity, dot point a series of actions to be taken to take advantage of the opportunity.
Highlight which actions we can move on straight away, assign a person responsible, and add deadlines. Then keep reviewing this action plan regularly to keep the projects alive and on track.
Whether you use the structured approach as above or a looser method, the key is to encourage fluid conversations about what the future environment looks like, with the aim of identifying areas of opportunity or competitive advantages that you can develop.
It’s not necessarily about having the advantage right now, but foreseeing that you could have the advantage if you start to prepare early.
Good luck as you future proof your hotel.