Before the breakout of the pandemic, hotels did not need a vision statement. Hotels just opened, and the flow of travelers filled the hotel without much effort. Demand for overnight stays grew every year for the past ten years, and the hotel industry did not see why this would change.
After two years of struggle, hotels are in a recovery phase with less demand than before, with the same supply. The market is therefore much more competitive than it has been in the past ten years. Before the pandemic, hotels made tactical decisions to increase revenue marginally. The most significant difference now is that hotels need to take a look at the bigger picture. Hotels now need a well-thought-out strategy how to attract guests and customers in stifling competition with other hotels. The first step is to craft a remarkable vision statement.
The vision statement in hotels
A vision statement is the anchor point of any strategic plan. It outlines what a hotel would like to achieve and gives purpose to the team. A well-written vision statement should be short, simple, specific to the hotel (type, location, concept, etc.) to minimize the need for interpretation. Even better is if the vision statement also has some ambition. The visions statement is the hotel's desired future state or position.
Fundamentals of a vision statement
Here are a few ideas to consider when crafting the vision statement.
Keep it short and simple.
Hotels employ a lot of people in many different positions. The vision statement should therefore be short, punchy, and easy to remember for every team member. Would you please keep it to one concise sentence?
Make it specific
One of the most successful strategic choices is differentiation. Hotels tend to be unique, so it should be easy to find the unique experience that only your hotel can provide and craft the vision statement around this uniqueness. Being specific also includes the particular values that team members should apply when performing their jobs.
Balance the ambition
The vision statement should be ambitious to be exciting, but the ambition also needs to be balanced, so it does not seem unachievable. For example, hotels are a long-term business, so that the vision statement could have a time frame of 3-10 years, but the employee turnover is high, so to create an engagement around the vision statement, a three-year time frame would work better.
Craft the content
The content should include an output, the uniqueness the hotel brings to the output, a quantified target group, and a human aspect.
Hotels talk about guest experiences, personal service, a great night's sleep, etc. Hotels provide accommodation, so this is a great starting point for the output.
What uniqueness about the accommodation does the hotel bring to the market? The uniqueness could be anything such as the location, facilities, concept, heritage, and service. Every hotel is unique, so it should not be difficult to find a compelling uniqueness for the target audience.
Some hotels are generic and do not even reflect over any specific target group. Try defining and quantifying the target group to become more precise and send a clear message to all team members. When the vision statement includes a target group, it will focus the commercial team to attract this specific target group and focus the operations team on understanding how to care for their needs. This focus will automatically create happier guests and excellent guest reviews.
Hospitality is all about being human, so add this aspect to the vision statement. A human touch will transform the vision statement from being highly conceptual to practical and human. Hotels need to get this part of the vision statement right to engage all employees.
For inspiration, follow the links to the left.