15 things to action for 2015

By John Dickson | Managing Directorstrategy_web

With the ‘silly season’ over, the first half of the year is a great time to reflect on the year that was, and assess the outstanding parts along with the not-so-great. Rather than being a chore, an assessment of your venue should be at the top of your New Year’s resolution list. To help you on your way, we’ve prepared a list of top 15 areas to assess in 2015.

1. Start the New Year with a clear direction

Early 2015 is the perfect time to convene with your Committee or Board and determine your venue’s strategic direction.  This involves investing some serious time to examining your venue’s demographics and trends, financial status and profitability, your staff and management systems, future growth and capital expenditure and taking into account any regulatory changes or market conditions. The best planners whip the blinkers off and take input for external industry trends, market analysis and key revenue drivers.

2. Get the right facilities in the right place for future growth

Following your strategic plan, the Committee, Board and Management are likely to have a raft of things to attend to including long term capital projects. Too often we see significant outlay for projects followed by additional resources at a later stage to address concerns that could have been avoided during the master site planning stage. Do not leave your footprint up to chance, you need the best possible offering for your facilities and sometimes that means getting good advice.

3. Review your Safety and Compliance structures

Your venue’s risk strategy should include not only include the safety of your staff and patrons, but also manage your compliance across all your establishment’s operations including; work health and safety, food safety, fire and emergencies, AUSTRAC and incident and injury management. Whether you take care of this yourself in house or outsource to an external party – be sure to get qualified support in these areas for peace of mind. If you need a list of your safety and compliance obligations, get in touch. We have passionate people who do this all day, every day.

4. Get your team upskilled with Government help

With the changes in Government funding and incentives increasing, it’s vital to take advantage of funded or incentivised training while you have the opportunity. It’s a great way to revitalise your team and inject some renewed passion into existing staff members with a Certificate III, IV and Diploma of Hospitality. Hospitality has a transient culture, but training will improve your performance and creates a succession plan for key roles within your team. Talk to your training provider about what opportunities are available to you now.

5. Develop a plan for increasing your market share & driving customer behaviour

To exist in a competitive market, venues should analyse the effectiveness of their loyalty programs on a regular basis. Keep up to date with the latest consumer and economic data and ensure that your marketing dollars are being spent in driving customer behaviour and not just giving away something for nothing. We are working in an aggressive marketplace so increasing your market share means smarter marketing, better product and more engaging loyalty and customer service programs.

6. Involve your team and develop your own customer service standards

The secret to successful people and businesses is the constant pursuit of self-improvement. Make sure you review your customer service standards on a bi-annual basis or if you don’t have any formal standards – it’s important to invest in this for 2015. Customer service is more than writing on the chalkboard “best service in town!” – dedicate real time and throw some real resources at developing a customer service program in your own venue. We have seen some great success with venues this year who have built their program around their key staff and given them the tools to drive it.

7.  Review your staff induction process for efficiency

Online inductions are an easy and time-efficient investment into your Human Resources strategy that will save you thousands in wages in the long term. Save time, create formal reporting and provide a level of consistency across the team. Find out how you can tailor this process to suit the requirements of your venue.

8.  Educate the Committee/Board about their personal liability & their rapidly changing roles

A Corporate Governance Masterclass is an excellent and cost-effective method to induct new Committee Members or Directors and assist in refreshing or updating your current Corporate Governance procedures. Committee Member and Director training is vital in ensuring all are aware of their responsibilities and to educate those on the industry, creating enhanced cohesion between management staff and the Committee/Board. Ensure you are progressing forward by taking advantage of the many years of experience in the room and the results will speak for themselves.

9. Review your expenses by department

Ensure that your operational department budgets reflect the current economic climate as well as maximising the hidden opportunities in each department. Taking a fresh-eye review of each of your operational drivers helps to keep your key staff accountable and hungry for better performance. We’ve seen the benefits a complete operational review can do, the most important factor is to undertake one before you are feeling the impacts of needing one urgently.

10. Find out where you are wasting marketing dollars and where you need to be spending them

Spend on Advertising, Marketing, Entertainment and Promotions (AEMP) in hospitality venues has sky rocketed. More often than not, there is more impact just waiting in your expense lines if you take the time to independently review where you are spending your marketing dollars and why. Getting more from your marketing budget is rarely about spending more – you can get maximum impact with the same spend.

11. Give your Duty Managers the tools to drive your business for you

Investing in the training and education of middle management is equally as important as     your senior staff members. Too often the best guy on the bar is given the ‘golden key’ to being a Duty Manager, with no real management training or education. Ensure that your venue is making the most of the latest duty manager development programs so that efficient communication and management policies are being filtered down to the front line. After all, if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys.

12. Consider contract catering vs. self-managed

With mounting competition providing the latest, trendiest cuisine offerings, it may be time to enlist professional support to assist your venue in providing a relevant, competitive offering to your members and guests. If you are currently using self-managed catering, I am sure you are thinking about contract caterers, and vice versa. Catering is a tricky beast at the best of times so be sure you are in touch with the right people when considering alternatives.

13. Take a 360 degree look at your management team and their performance (yes you too!)

While there is always room for improvement, it is equally important to recognise achievement. Take a moment to review your staff’s performance from a holistic standpoint to determine what measures and procedures will help both you and your staff’s shortcomings as well as making it easier for you as a team to replicate past successes and surpass those achievements. Deliver some hard truths in a diplomatic way to bring a new level of strength to your team.

14. Maximise your trading opportunities

With the expiration of the moratorium, many venues have taken steps to maximise trading opportunities. Ensure you are capitalising on your full potential in 2015 by trading to your capacity and delivering above your customers’ expectations. There has been many changes in regards to the gaming operations with some of the key changes including TITO and $50 and $100 notes now being accepted. Whilst these changes have been effective, venues need to continue to develop strategies to deliver a better entertainment experience and smarter venues will enhance their customer experience.

15. Gaining access to and using your data more effectively

The number of software, tools and gadgets available to us in hospitality is almost outnumbering people. To really thrive in 2015, your team will need to be using the latest industry tools for tailoring your operations. The best place to start is your member data and using this information to assist in your loyalty and marketing communications. First, identify and gain access to your data, then talk to the right people about how to use this for driving the business. Be it operations, gaming, marketing or loyalty; your data is worth more than most in your business and it’s being built as you read this.

2015 is set to be a great year for hospitality, so make sure you start the year off with at least a few of these key items. DWS Hospitality Specialists are the industry leaders in hospitality research, planning and operational and venue development. To find out more about your options, contact me at john@dws.net.au or call (07) 3878 9355.

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