Even the best laid plans of mice and men go astray. ~ Robert Burns
I can’t believe it! We are already well and truly in the planning stages for 2015. Where did the year go?
As we read this, budgets are being calculated, proposed, argued about… Marketing plans are being ironed out, based on detailed and careful market and industry studies along with forecasts of what we expect to happen next year.
I always marveled at this season’s activities. We are all expected to see into the future, plan based on educated guesses… make predictions. We are focused on our path and know where we’re going. We will target all our activities to achieving the agreed upon goal!
What happens when nature or man throws you a curve ball? As Robert Burns once wrote: . “Even the best laid plans of mice and men go astray.”
What if all your careful planning gets blown out of the water? What if…
Are you prepared to react, to adjust your forecast, change your path, based on real events on the ground (or in the air, or on the seas…)?
How will you react? You can’t plan for every eventuality, but are you prepared for any adjustment to your careful predictions?
Remember the 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull? (No I can’t pronounce it… I dare you to!!) Who could have predicted the effect it would have on global tourism?
While that is an extreme example, it does goes to show that we should always have contingencies and alternate options ready to go, rather than scrambling at the last minute to salvage a sudden situation.
Perhaps your local partnerships can launch new promotions to develop your mutual drive markets. Perhaps your restaurants have to take center stage with a localized target audience? Perhaps this is the time to take rooms out of service for those renovations and upgrades you’ve been putting off?
When I was on property, I would carefully prepare 2 budgets… one overly conservative and another more aggressive one, reflecting a best and worst case scenarios. Head office also prepared a budget, which was basically a wish list based on fantasy. We would present our most conservative budget, therefore giving us room in the inevitable negotiation. This is surely a tactic many of you employ.
Somewhere in the middle (well, never really in the middle) we got our assigned budget – which we then had to back into. Thanks to creative forethought, our more aggressive “best scenario” budget was often close enough to the final version that a little tweaking would get us where we needed to be to satisfy the head office. Nevertheless, implementation of the plan still ebbed and flowed throughout the year based on actual events. While, luckily, I never experienced a Eyjafjallajökull-sized episode, we did dust off creative solutions from time to time in order to fill some unexpected periods of market changes.
My lessons learned?
Those contingencies should be part of your plan.
Make sure you dream them up and shelve them.
Make the plans as detailed as possible so they are ready to dust off should you have to employ them.
Remember the old boy scout motto:
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