As the New Year begins, do yourself a favor and don’t look back. Think about the future and what you want to accomplish. When I speak with travel advisors and they tell me that they had a good year, I always ask them the same question. What did you do different? Every time they tell me about a new market they went after or new marketing techniques they’ve developed and so on. Never do they tell me they just worked harder. As they say, you don’t have to work harder, just smarter. If you are going into 2012 with an “I’ll work harder” strategy, then stop and think about what you are going to do differently.
Put your thoughts into two different buckets, the maintenance bucket and the growth bucket. You should be creating a plan for both, as it is a dual effort. I have seen many businesses fail because they got so excited about the growth bucket that they forgot about the core business.
When building a plan, make sure you share it with your team. If you are a company of one, share it with an industry associate who can give you feedback. You need to have buy-in from your entire team and they need to have input on your ideas. I can tell you the most successful of you will be the ones who are doing what the others are not. Take for example our cover story on Nicholas Clayton, president of the Viceroy Hotel Group (pictured here at my left). Here is an organization that provides one-of-a-kind lifestyle hotel experiences. Now they weren’t the first ones in the space but when they entered it, they did it differently. At the time, many lifestyle brands presented a great product but could not deliver on service. The staff looked beautiful but was not willing to provide service levels that luxury guests were accustomed to. So Viceroy set out to fill that niche at amazing locations around the world. You will find out in the story how Nick pulled from his Ritz-Carlton experience and added a bit of coolness to come up with a luxury lifestyle experience that is unique to Viceroy Hotel & Resorts. So, go find your coolness, do what your competitors are not doing and you, too, will have a banner year in 2012.