The Expert: Communication Is Key

There’s no doubt that our country is experiencing very difficult economic times, and hotel performance generally reflects the downturn. When it comes to evaluating how well a hotel has performed compared to prior forecasts and expectations, many hotel owners face the same reoccurring discussions month after month.Because rooms are booked and billed on a daily basis, hotels experience daily market volatility directly. In essence, inventory marks to market every day. For hospitality asset managers, this complicates performance forecasting and requires more flexibility in adjusting business plans to accommodate uncertainty and increased economic volatility.As owners face more challenges in achieving their assets’ forecasted performance goals, involvement and communication with the hotel’s local management become the highest priority. Owners must rely strongly on these relationships to monitor the health of the asset and its market accurately.Now more than ever, open communication is at the core of Behringer Harvard’s management philosophy. It’s a guiding principle of the successful relationships we’ve built with our business partners, associates and local management staffs. They understand that we place a high level of importance on open and honest communication, and this creates a cooperative environment in which management challenges are promptly addressed and resolved through effective teamwork.Tough economic times can create complex challenges that require tough solutions. Regardless, good business relationships require open communication. When working with your business partners, create open communication channels to foster mutual respect for the greater good. It can also serve to strengthen your business relationships and help you prosper in spite of economic storms.Jeff Burns is vice president of hotel investments for Behringer Harvard.