As the economy slowed in 2009 in some sectors business and vacation travel was down. How did industry and hotels respond? Some of the larger hotels had the advantage of conferences, meeting conventions and connections to stay successful. They also bolstered their food quality and service with exposure through TV, radio and other types of media. They portraited their best chefs and award winning service. Not every hotel could do this with great exposure but it was a good start.

If you don't have a restaurant, lounge, bar or if it is not very busy what do you do? A good response to this question was to get more involved with local sports events, sponsorships and other events of a local regional nature within a province, state or trading area within 500km of a smaller nature than national conferences. Adding special discounts and packages to your restaurant, bar, lounge to your package guests gained hotel revenues. Local sporting regional competition celebrations, use of UFC, NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and other sports to bring action and excitement back into restaurants, lounges and pubs. Some such as Boston Pizza were successful in increasing market share by doing this and taking away lounge business from restaurants such as Pizza Hut. Everybody had to redefine their niches and their specialties.

What if your restaurant, lounge or bar is losing money? You can renovate it, but you first must research what group of customers you currently target and what customers you want to target. Has your local market changed due to the economy, due to the change in your regional clientele or in regards to the change in you client's tastes or what they are looking for in regards to food, atmosphere, service, value in a restaurant, bar, pub? How much money do you have for advertising? What types of advertising are you going to use? Other businesses such as Moxies' upgraded, updated and expanded bringing more excitement to the lounge atmosphere.

What if your a hotel or motel without a restaurant, lounge, or bar? There are other amenities people look for in a hotel, a pool, a sauna, steam room or a gym. Even hair salons, beauty parlors and gift shops help provide alternative forms of revenue. Perhaps if certain parts of your hotel are not profitable it is time to look at other uses. You may even consider partnering with a local business that needs a space and can provide something relevant to your clientele or separate your hotel from others in the local market. Consumers are looking for value, price, location and also services.

Most importantly, the basics in hotel are service points. The front desk being the most important and first thing people go to when entering your hotel. If your hotel does not have friendly and efficient service it will not easily be able to expand. You should have a well defined expectation of how guests are to be served and the questions front desk staff need to ask when greeting the client initially. In slower economic times Front Desk staff can provide a variety of services besides room check in, like paper service, breakfast service, office service for business clientele and local city recommendations. All this can be allocated near the lobby to reduce labour costs.

The days of big rooms and big lobbies seem to have slowed down. Now is the time to look at ways to reduce labour costs but more importantly ways to renovate hotels for the future. People are getting tired of the same old hotel room layout. Executive Hotel Suites are becoming more popular as well as themed hotel rooms.

Now is the time for a dramatic shift in the hotel industry to bring it into the future. Size, space, design, efficiency and layout will be things that will change the future of the hotel industry. More changes will be coming to this industry in 2010. Spa's, hot tubs, group relaxation services. Serenity, design and changes in atmosphere to more natural surroundings and surroundings that are unlike the modern home. Now the standard needs to be set to the next level, a level of health retreats and group excursions without having to travel to far from your city or country.

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Des Marais has assisted small businesses with expansion and growth for over 20 years. His expertise is in expansions, turnarounds and business development.

He has been a consultant and held positions in some of Americas and Canada's fastest growing companies and led teams to top ten and #1 positions in Canada. He can be reached at He has helped several entrepreneurs develop and sell their business.