2010 Voice of the GM Survey results in16 Nov, 2010 By: Stephanie Ricca Hotel and Motel Management
Can a job be recession-proof? Judging by the results of this year’s Voice of the GM Survey, hotel general managers are good at weathering the storm and remaining happy despite economic hard times.
For the past six years, the majority of GMs who take the survey report being “very satisfied” with their job. Variables like purchasing budgets, average daily rate and all of the other factors that come with regular industry ups and downs fluctuate, but the common thread through the years is that GMs are a generally happy bunch.
Reasons to be happy
This year you general managers have a few more reasons to be happy. According to your responses, you have by and large turned the corner on 2009’s hardships. Sixty-seven percent of you did not lay any employees off this year, and approximately one-third of you actually hired full-time staff this year.
Another plus: You’re pretty happy in your relationships—the ones with your owners and employees, that is. This year for the first time we asked how happy you are with your ownership group, and a big majority—72 percent— are happy with it.
Along those same lines, the people you work with are the No. 1 reason you stay at your job. “I love my property and staff,” one GM said. “This is my home and I am surrounded by my family.”
It’s much easier to be happy when your hotel is doing well, and what a difference a year makes. Last year nearly half of you reported that rates at your hotel had dropped five percent or more. This year, the majority of you (30 percent) report you have raised rate between five percent and nearly ten percent over last year.
Make no mistake though, rate still has you worried. Last year, your chief concern was occupancy, and this year it is rate.
Those two numbers go hand in hand, and this year the majority of you predict your occupancy will grow by nearly 5 percent in 2011, boosting revenue per available room.
It will take time for rates to recover to pre-recession levels—something you’re all-too aware of. “Our goal is to achieve similar RevPAR to previous years while slightly decreasing occupancy,” one of you said. “Less wear and tear and less staffing costs.”
Renovations and upgrades
As you spent the last 12 months slowly regaining occupancy and rate, some critical upgrades have sat in a holding pattern.
Nearly 40 percent of you did not upgrade any technology in 2010, and most of you still have flat-screen TVs at the top of your wish list.
Also on your tech wish list? Media hubs, wireless infrastructure, HDTV and other guest-facing tech upgrades are important to you, because an upgraded hotel is a guest-friendly hotel.
“We lost a key piece of business ... due to our hotel needing renovations,” one of you said.
For the past four years, the majority of you have reported that your properties have been renovated more than four years ago. The recession seems to have made the spread between renovations a little wider.
However, as you renovate, you’re doing it smarter. Two and three years ago, many of you still were considering a linen re-use program. This year, most of you have already implemented these basics and are investigating sustainability practices that affect the entire hotel, not just the guest-facing operations.
For example, you mention making back-of-the-house lighting more efficient, boosting your guest and employee recycling programs and incorporating solar power.
Through all this, you remain optimistic. Only 4 percent of you predict 2011’s lodging environment to be worse than it is now, so things are looking up. Check out the results of this year’s survey and see how you stack up.