in General

Five Years and Counting

Five years ago, I decided to try something new. After months of applying and looking for work, I received an email from a former employer asking me if I could do some work for them from a distance. That led to another hotel contacting me, and off I went on a solo career.

Four Sides Hospitality Consulting was officially registered in the fall of 2011, but the work began in March of that year. After the first few months of landing the first clients, I was feeling good about where things were heading. Upon returning from my first business trip, my relationship with my daughter’s mother soured beyond repair and was over within a month. It was a challenge trying to balance between work and life, plus adjusting to life as a single dad.

The first year was rough, and I got through it. Things improved for me after I put more emphasis on the website and developing tools for other hospitality professionals to use. I developed a Hotel Revenue Pickup Report that has helped over 500 professionals around the world. Initially it was free to help generate traffic and interest. It took a year for me to wise up and realize people would spend money on it.

Through the years, there have been plenty of interesting conversations about the challenges other revenue managers have, questions from investors about purchasing a property, and a lot of grimacing when discovering poorly designed websites, hotels, or both.

Some of the highlights have included a business trip to Las Vegas to attend a users conference for hotel software. That inspired me to write several thousand words about it. There is also a hotel in Anchorage, Alaska that had an interesting mission statement behind it and a strange combination of a hotel/hostel environment: Qupqugiaq Inn. Analysis of a new hotel proposal for Coney Island, New York was a fun summer project that had me reading lots about future developments in Brooklyn and Queens. Needless to say, it is one active city for hotel construction.

What I have enjoyed most are visiting the websites of the hotels after someone contacts me. Sometimes, I am blown away that such a property exists. Case in point, Fregate Private Island Resort. Seriously, just go look at the website. A private island resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You reach the island by helicopter or boat, not included in the resort costs, and have full access to the island. Here is what is included in their rates:

Rates include all meals anywhere on the island, soft beverages, house wines, local beers as well as personal laundry, island buggy, non-motorized water-sports, guided nature walks.

It also includes:

• A welcome massage (60 minutes)

• An introductory yoga session in the morning at the Rock Spa  (60 mins each day)

• An introduction to scuba diving in the pool (60 minutes)

The lowest rate from January to March is $6,500. A night.

The conversation I had with the manager was eye opening. A reservations office in South Africa, she worked remotely in Germany, and their biggest market for guests were Russian oil executives and their families. The conversation with her led me to another gem, Royal Mansourin Morocco, which is equally impressive.

While there have been plenty of challenges faced and overcome, the one thing that was missing was an office environment and direct human contact. One can only have so many conversations on the phone or Skype. With the completion of my property management licensing, I hope to start a new chapter in my career. Working in an office with only a few others will be quite the change compared to working from home, but it is a change I welcome with open arms.

Onto plenty more years of success as a solo worker.