A Blueprint To Success

Larry Fisher

Getting Started

[Warning] Our Blueprint to Success for achieving your vision for your hotel isn’t for every hotel owner and operator! 

I’ve put this implementation model together for AMBITIOUS hotel executives, third-party management organizations and open-minded hotel owners and investors. 

To be clear … none of this is rocket science. This strategic model of alignment and process development takes REAL WORK. But when implemented correctly, success is inevitable for any hotel.

Just set your Vision and your desired results and then grow your people and processes in such way as to ensure the realization of those goals. Let me show you what I mean …  

Need Some Help Finding the Misalignment In Your Hotel?

Shorten your learning curve, watch this short 30-minute video on organizational alignment for hotels and start correcting misalignment in your hotel today.

Alignment Video

1 – The key to successfully aligning your hotel

First, I wanted to step back a bit and look at this model from the 100,000-foot level. As I mentioned in a previous posts, the ability of any hotel organization to constantly adapt to new and better ways of doing things is dependent on leadership’s ability to present a coherent story.  

The reasons for the need to change and how it is to be accomplished must always be aligned. Change should start with the vision for your hotel, (what the future will look like) and align with the corporate strategies, (how you are going to get there) and its systems (how the work flows through the hotel).  

The importance of this alignment is to make certain your story is consistent, and all elements of the operation are supportive and logical. This process of alignment will become how you do business at the hotel and how you will prevent your changes or any process re-engineering - going forward - from becoming just another “program du jour”.


All of the elements of your operations must be supportive and logical for your vision?

2 – Dimensions of Alignment

There are 3 dimensions to our alignment compass:

  • Operations Alignment
  •  Vertical Alignment, and
  • Horizontal Alignment

Let’s take a look at each of these dimensions and how we use them. With operations alignment we look at how our hotel is aligned with its systems and processes in order to gain a competitive edge in the market. Let me show you what that looks like. 

3 – Operations Alignment

This diagram provides a theoretical model that will allow management to understand the source of their problems and where to begin to develop the solutions. First of all, hotels and management companies always have a strategic plan or direction they want to go in, Point One (Top of the Star).

  • Point Two …. Is your structure at the hotel (the second point on the Star) designed to support your strategy? Peter Drucker says, “Structure follows strategy.” Unfortunately, all too often hotels don’t follow that model. In fact, most of the time they don’t even think about or even ask the question as to whether their structure is at cross-purposes with the strategy. However, they don’t think twice about reorganizing when trouble hits, or reorganizing when they’re faced with something unexpected.  
  • Point Three ... Now, we also take it one step further. The third point on the Star asks, do the processes at the hotel support the strategy? We look at the way the work flows: in room service, for example; we look at how much time it takes to deliver a burger and whether or not it exceeds the expectations of the guest, we look at variation and waste measurement, etc. Again, the key here is alignment. If the strategy is low cost, exceptional room service, but the processes don’t support it, your processes are dead.  
  • Point Four ... Next in the model, we look at your rewards and recognition systems. Do they support the strategy? If the strategy called for is team based, but you’re only rewarding individuals, then the team is dead.  
  • Point Five ... Moving on to people. Do your people have the attitudes, skills and knowledge to implement the strategy? Do you have the right people in the right places doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons? Are they aligned with your strategy? Do they even know what the strategy is?  

Need Some Help Finding the Misalignment In Your Hotel?

Shorten your learning curve, watch this short 30-minute video on organizational alignment for hotels and start correcting misalignment in your hotel today.

4 – Feeding the heart of the hotel

And as you can see …. at the center of the star, all of this feeds the heart of your hotel: your customer loyalty and your results. However, if all you are measuring in your hotel operations is the results, how does that strategy support creating and growing a base of loyal customers?

 I keep stressing the importance of creating and growing a base of loyal customers in order to gain a competitive edge for the hotel. What better way is there to accomplish this than to be the preferred hotel for every single guest that stays in your hotel?

Imagine what it would feel like if you could minimize the impact that your competition had on you by creating and growing this base of loyal guests and customers who frequently favor your hotel over the others when staying in the area.  

All of these operational aspects are geared to getting results for the right reasons and must contain all: guests and customers, future share of the markets, new room products, new guest-services, etc.  

Now, as you can see in our Star model surrounding this whole environment is leadership. That’s right, Leaders hold the whole thing together. Notice, I am not talking about Managers, Hotel Managers, or even General Managers here. It is the job of the managers to do things right; Leadership – on the other hand – determines what are the right things to do. 

So let me ask you, which points of the Star Model are out of alignment in your hotel organization? If you are not sure, then you need to start there and figure it out. With our clients, our overall goal is to come through the lobby doors of your hotel, go through every room, department, division and help you achieve improved alignment leading to better business results and of course, achieving your vision.  

The remaining two points on the “alignment” compass refer to what I call the “Vertical Alignment” and “Horizontal Alignment” dimensions.


The hotel orgnization must be aligned and balanced Vertically and Horizantally

5 – Dimensions of Alignment

Experience has taught us that high-performance in a hotel is only achieved when commitment, energy and efforts are focused on guest and customer satisfaction through proper organizational alignment of the hotel’s Strategy, People, Processes and Guests. Time and again we see dramatic gains for the hotel organization when these four elements are equally prioritized and equally developed in a planned, coordinated manner.

Take a moment and answer this question, “How do you manage a hotel that is designed to function vertically – think departments, Front Office, Marketing and Sales, Accounting, HR etc. when in reality guest-services and the work flows horizontally?  


Systems Thinking is critical for properly aligning your hotel

Vertical Alignment

Remember, if you are to realize your vision for the hotel, you must be able to present a coherent story that supports your Vision. You must be able to identify and achieve your strategic objectives and you need to be able to link your guests’ requirements to the way you do business at the hotel. In other words, with vertical alignment you are concerned with the hotel’s organizational strategy and how to align it with the people you rely on daily to transform that strategy into meaningful work for everyone at the property.  

Take a look around … do you have a process for aligning your people with your strategy? In some cases, your answer might yes, but you think to yourself, “then why is it we seldom hit our strategic goals each year?” We’ve seen this often and the odds are your departments and its people are probably not coordinated, they are probably misaligned and working at cross-purposes.  

Horizontal Alignment

And the final point on our Alignment Compass is Horizontal Alignment. We know that vertical alignment alone will not yield sufficient growth and profits. If you want to sustain a competitive position in your market for the hotel, you must make an absolute commitment to your guests and customers as well. We now know that vertical alignment is all about aligning your property's organizational strategy with the behaviors or performances of all of the employees of the hotel.  

Now, take a look at your commitment to your guests and other customers … do you have the systems and processes in place through which you effectively anticipate your guests’ requirements and then link them to the way you do business? Your hotel’s guest-services will generally cut across different functions of the hotel flowing "horizontally."  

We have a saying here at Pivotal One that when it comes to helping people work together across varying hotel activities and functions, that it is necessary for each employee to work their "right action." In other words, you need to have "the right people in the right places doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons to achieve the right results."  

And the results … you guessed it, they are determined by what guests want, when they want it and how they want it.  

Every hotel operator’s challenge then is the simultaneous matching of both the vertical and horizontal aspects of their hotel, as well as managing the day-to-day business of the hotel, hotel departments and teams, and the external elements such as suppliers and vendors, and so forth. In the end, all of these elements must be centered on the ultimate vision for the hotel.  

Last Thoughts ...

In the beginning, I mentioned this was not rocket science. And we can see now that it isn’t.

However, it is also quite clear that if your hotel suffers from misalignment and you do nothing to correct it, your success is questionable. Imagine that your doctor diagnoses you with a serious illness. Your choices are, do nothing and probably die from it, or take aggressive action to get back on the road to optimal health. What would you do?

If there are gaps and misalignment in your hotel … along with leadership issues, then you have in effect, the same choices.  

In order for you to get your hotel on the road to victory, you must align all of the operating elements of the hotel with your vision and you must empower your people with the processes that allow them to lead. When you do so, quite literally everyone in your hotel organization becomes a leader and everything they do everyday moves the hotel closer to achieving its Vision. There is no other way.  

We offer customized hotel development processes which assist Hotel Owner/Operators, Senior Executives, General Managers and their Property Operations Teams to help them succeed within an ever-changing, guest and customer-focused environment. 

Need Some Help Finding the Misalignment In Your Hotel?

Shorten your learning curve, watch this short 30-minute video on organizational alignment for hotels and start correcting misalignment in your hotel today.


About The Author

Larry Fisher is the founder of Pivotal One Consulting. When he's not serving his clients, he geeks out on card games, barbecuing, and challenging his friends to top his awesome karaoke skills. He calls Palm Springs, California home.