Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Hamish Dodds/Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel Industry

There was a very interesting interview with Hamish Dodds in Mondays edition of the Scotsman. He is the Chief Executive of The Hard Rock Brand for apprx the last three years. I don't know how much you know about recent developments at the Hard Rock. The Seminole Tribe of Native Americans bought the Company in 2007 from Rank and from that moment have concentrated on Hotels, Casinos whilst revamping the Restaurants and the overall brand.

Shall we see Hotel developments within the UK? "Definitley" was the reply. That comes as no surprise to me as Businesses and especially the Hospitality industry has undergone huge challenges with the economy where only the inventive will survive. It has always mystified me as to why the Hotel industry in the UK in the majority of cases focuses its attention on discounting instead of nurturing new and indeed creating niche markets. They then become entrapped on a downward spiral as business does not improve and this in turn rebounds with how they direct and treat their Staff. In so many cases the staff turnover multiplies and standards diminish as this sad situation manifests itself within the industry. More bureaucracy ensues as loyalty and planning rapidly disintegrate as the experienced staff depart and the inexperienced staff are promoted and here we go again as a further fall in standards becomes the norm. Also the Hotel industry has been remiss in ignoring the live music genre unlike their counterparts abroad! This is because of ignorance I'm afraid rather than embracing this untapped market.

Two points immediately come to mind as many many Hotels should look at what Mr.Dodds and his team have indeed achieved. Investment in both the brand and the staff have had huge increases in results and an improvement in the overall performance. Invest in the characters that you have within your staff. Remember that they will make it a memorable visit for all your visitors to your establishment, don't let some bland company executive make life hell for those who deal with the general public and create hundreds of forms that have to be filled in on a daily basis (i see this on every visit to Sainsburys Supermarkets where the staff fill in forms within the store infront of the public that leaves only a hand full of operators for the tills!). The Hard Rock make sure that their brand is perceived as special and ensures that each visitor feels that. They have made clever use of their revamped loyalty programme where you 'buy' to build points that you then can spend on future visits. How many small enterprises do you see where if they do incorporate a loyalty card they offer a discounting scheme where they only cheapen the product and all it stands for.

Music is a very special and a wonderful niche market. The Hard Rock have concentrated on this medium and have/are increasing  the volume and profile of their 'Live Music ' programme. They make sure that they are perceived as special and I cannot wait to see how they attack the UK Hotel market where live music will be incorporated within each unit.  It really is a surprise and a disappointment that the Industry as a whole has not woken up to above points and I for one salute Mr.Dodds and his team with how they have tackled and progressed through these economic challenges and succeeded in ensuring that their brand has indeed been perceived as 'Special'.
Don't you think that all UK Hotels should be studying just how and why the Hard Rock have achieved this? Are your Staff happy? Do you have an ever increasing staff turnover? Do you over rely on discounting withing your unit? Is your complaints file bursting at the seams? No niche marketing within your unit?

I can imagine that I will have touched a nerve with quite a few points listed above. This will give you 'food for thought' over the Festive Period and equally give you an opportunity to start the New Year with a different approach and resolve.

What am I going to do? If I was a few years younger then I would be phoning Hamish Dodds and his Team to become a part of it. You never know, they may phone me yet! I am sure that my Hotel experience and music knowledge would be of benefit.....and my memorabilia!!!!  In the meantime I will pop down to the Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh and sit at the Bar watching the World go by and drinking my 'Southern Rock' and wait for my phone to ring!

Compliments of the Season to one and all.

David Mundell

Mundell Music
David Mundell With The Legendary Andy Fraser from Free.

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