There are external factors in all businesses beyond the direct control of any manager or owner. Then there are internal factors in all business over which a manager or owner has some degree of influence or control.
Using creative marketing and out of the box sales approaches can have big payoffs during the inevitable tough times.
It may be the creativity of internal responses to external factors to achieve a more favorable outcome than pure chance. Let us learn from what one Orlando business owner accomplished during some recent challenging times.
Harris Rosen is a well known and top shelf Hotelier in the Orlando market. He graduated from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1962 and is now CEO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. He owns seven quality properties totaling more than 5,000 rooms. Business in 2008 appears very good.
But when Harris bought his first Quality Inn hotel in 1974 there was a major gas shortage in the US. Folks were just not traveling to Orlando. Few travelers mean few guests at any area hotels.
Hotels and restaurants obviously need guests and diners to literally survive. So what to do?
Well, Harris Rosen used to stand at the highway near the exit ramp to his Quality Inn and try to use will power to influence people to leave the highway and check in. He soon found, however, that his willing powers were lacking, so he came up with a Plan B.
A Special One Man Sales Program was put into place.
Harris knew that motor coach operators in New York were still traveling to Orlando. He personally hitch-hiked to New York and made cold sales calls on the motor coach owners.
"Hi, I'm Harris Rosen. I just hitch hiked up from Florida to talk with you about a really big benefit for you and your tour coach customers. and I'll agree to it, "he would say. This is a paraphrase, but essentially how the sales calls were made according to the story as recorded by Harris Rosen himself.
In short order he made friends with many tour bus owner / operators and cut deals for as low as $ 5 a night for guests to stay in his Quality Inn. The contract was a business card given to the coach operator where Harris wrote 5 dollars a night and signed his name. "You just give this to the front desk at check in and they'll honor your special rate for you and all your passengers," he told the tour bus owners. Harris cave out enough business card contracts to fill his hotel. Then he bought an airline ticket to Orlando and flew home.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York's Twin Towers the hotel business in Orlando really suffered. Harris Rosen began dropping rates to as low as $ 39 at some of his 4-star properties. He marketed and promoted. Many locations traveled to Rosen hotels and helped prop occupancy and thus the hotel was able to better maximize overall hotel revenue, cover house costs, and reduce layoffs.
When the bad times roll in, just roll out some creative promotions and marketing to not only survive but thrive.