• Evelyne

Seven 7-Word Phrases to Avoid

Did you ever have a conversation with a boss, client or team member and their response to a discussion leaves you looking like a confused puppy? Your mind is thinking – “Did he just really say that?”

You’re left to wonder whether the person genuinely doesn’t understand what they are talking about, willfully ignores the benefits of a proposed idea, or is too embarrassed to admit they are uninformed about the topic. Sometimes, though, they are so confident about their convictions, that they close their minds to anything that would contradict them.

(I’m going to date myself now…) Back in the 1990’s while attending a brand regional conference about technology, we were talking about implementing voicemail (it was a new thing then) at all our properties. One of the GMs said to us

Our guests won’t want that. They want the personal touch of the operator taking a message and having it delivered to their rooms.

Never mind that    1 – he was deciding what the guest wanted rather than asking them and    2 – most of our guests were foreigners and our operators rarely spoke, not to mention write, anything other than their native languages and therefore often got the messages wrong

Needless to say, he lost his battle and went through the implementation, complaining all the way. The results of course included better, faster message delivery and happier guests.

To remind us to keep an open mind and increase our willingness to try new things … I propose to banish certain phrases that we hear all too often in an effort to improve innovation and potential for success. Here are my seven 7 word phrases that I try to avoid:

1. We have always done it this way. There’s an old saying – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s true enough. But we should always be on the lookout for new ways to do things better, faster, cheaper. Just because you’ve always done it a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t improve on a system or method. Not considering other ways of doing something may prevent you from making great strides. It may also simply verify that your way is best, but how will you know if you don’t at least consider alternatives?

2. Good idea but we have no budget. Before dismissing a good idea because you have no money in the budget – it’s always worth considering whether the ROI will justify the added expense… If that good idea will generate more income than the expense, you’re just plain foolish for not taking the leap.  And don’t forget that NOT doing it sometimes ends up costing more than doing it … weigh carefully the cost of not doing something!  Retrofitting after-the-fact is always an expensive proposition.

3. We have to do more with less. We’ve grown tired of hearing this mantra. The recent recession have been rough on all of us. Layoffs indeed required us to tighten our belts and take on more responsibilities. This time period has allowed many of us to learn new skills and see how valuable and adaptable we can be. However, things are now turning around! While we are not seeing the staffing levels back to what it was pre-recession, and it is true that we have all been able to maintain service levels with near skeleton staff levels, piling on more work than we’re already doing is never going to achieve the results of a full staff. Most people I know are stretched, and stressed, to the limits. So when management wants to take on new projects and try new things, it deserves consideration to either hire outside help or start staffing up to handle the new reality.


  1. We can’t afford training.

  2. Training takes staff away from their jobs. (particularly considering item 3 above)

  3. Time is better used doing something more productive.

My answer is this… if you don’t train your staff to do their jobs properly, it will cost you more in the long run. More in dissatisfied guests who won’t come back and will spread the word about their dissatisfaction. More in liabilities as they potentially jeopardize safe practices.  The list goes on.

Also, don’t forget that you risk more in staff turnover because employees who feel their employers don’t give them the tools they need to do their job properly will inevitably look for employment elsewhere.  The fact is that well trained staff increases job satisfaction which in turn decreases turnover, which goes right to the bottom line. Not to mention happy staff interact with guests and customers in a way that is proven to increase brand value.

5. Don’t worry about the details, just sell. When I was in sales, it used to make me crazy to have to sell a product that I didn’t fully understand or that was still in development. I felt like I wasn’t equipped to explain the benefits to the client. Nor did I enjoy selling “vaporware” that may or may not be ready for use when I was promising it to the client. Really, folks!

When you are trying something new, launching a new product or making improvements on a popular service, details matter. Especially in hospitality, details are crucial! Why should I buy from you rather than our competition? How is this improvement going to make my life/experience/job/business better? Why is it more expensive?

Put yourself in the client’s position and take the time to invest in training your team to answer every possible question or scenario that a client might potentially throw at you.  Details matter in the selling process.


7. Social Media advertising wastes valuable marketing funds. The people who say this are often the same ones who spend $50,000 on a print ad in Condé Nast Traveler magazine where you can’t measure ROI. With Social Media, you can measure your visibility, track where your target audience goes, how many stops they make and where they go online before and after visiting you, you can customize their experience when the ad has brought them to you (via landing pages and special booking offers), you can engage in a real dialogue with the target customer. With the print magazine ad you can… (see my articles on attribution challenge)

Keeping an open mind requires leadership.  How do you lead?

Share with us which phrases you try to avoid or that make your blood boil … 7 words or otherwise!

#publicrelations #hospitalitygrowth #hotels #hotelssocialmedia #mentoring #lodgingproperty #brainstormideas #training #hotelorresort #socialmediainfluencers #socialmedia #staffdevelopment #socialmediaforhotels #hospitality #hotelmarketing #leadership #reputationmanagement

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