Spa Balance

6. Sink or Swim – The Importance of Staying Relevant with Sean Murphy

In a world that is rapidly changing, things are constantly evolving. And as a result, we need to adopt an agile approach to keep up with the dynamic pace of today’s business landscape. But what is more important, even more so than upping our cadence, is to stay relevant. If we don’t move with times, we will eventually fade away.

In today’s episode, I’d like to share the refreshing interview I had with a young, dynamic and forward-thinking hotelier, Sean Murphy. 

I love how Sean made reference to the Blockbuster and Netflix case study (the doom of Blockbuster and boom of Netflix) in our discussion and I think it is important to share the story for those of you who aren’t familiar with it because there are some valuable lessons for all businesses across industries. 

I think the following quote from Forbes beautifully describes what converted Blockbuster to one of the Dinosaurs: “The irony is that Blockbuster failed because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine. It was a very tight network that could execute with extreme efficiency, but poorly suited to let in new information.”

And when it comes to the hospitality industry, we can draw similarities. There is no doubt that hotels are well-oiled operational machines – we have the most elite, age-old hotelier schools developing the creme-de-la-creme of hoteliers, all being honed and taught the most fancy, efficient and elaborate yield management models to compete in even the most cut-throat of markets. But all these systems are fundamentally built on the past rooms, conferences spaces and food and beverage models. We don’t need to go too far to see how we still measure the performance of our hotels. Our accounting system continues to be called USALI – “Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry”.

In terms of business performance, we still view our hotels as part of the “Lodging” industry, instead of an industry that delivers experiences. With this system as our core anchor, we will always view ourselves as the “lodging” industry. The industry that fundamentally sells rooms, conference spaces and food and beverages – and that also to predominantly one target audience: the corporate and business client.

However, the reality is that today, there has been a global seismic shift in general – from how we do business, how we earn a living and in our value systems. One thing the global pandemic has taught us all is the importance of health, the importance of stopping, reflecting and spending time with our loved ones. It has forced many of us to revisit our value systems, because what we took for granted suddenly changed.

Now, more than ever, people’s decisions are based on the quality of their lives, and the definition of what “quality of life” means has changed. People are increasingly making lifestyle choices.

This seismic shift in our value systems has only further consolidated how wellbeing has taken centre stage on all fronts – for businesses and people.

If we don’t recognise and embrace this strong wellness-conscious movement and adapt our businesses, there will be no place for our businesses in a decade or two. We have seen this happen to even the best of companies in the past decades – the likes of Blockbuster, Kodak and Blackberry.

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