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How to Communicate With Hotel Asset Managers
The relationship between asset managers and F&B can be a rocky one. Asset managers monitor and protect the owner’s assets, and their decisions are driven by the bottom line. F&B decision-makers are often passionate, creative, and emotional about their work, so hard financial data is not always top of mind. However, for an F&B program to move forward and be profitable, both sides must communicate on common ground. But how is that common ground defined?
In our first Hotel F&B Talks webinar, Nate Tanner, VP of F&B at Pacific Hospitality Group, offered multiple ways to connect F&B with asset management, including tips for F&B pros to make an impact when explaining budgets and proposals to an asset manager:
TANNER: I think that the key point of preparation is finding common ground on which to start. If you’re an F&B director, then it’s working with the GM of the hotel and working with the asset manager to establish what goals, measurements, and metrics you’re going to be held accountable to. That is the most key preparation that you could have.
If you’re the GM of the hotel or a regional GM, the most important preparation is to sit down with the asset manager and say, “Let’s agree on the statistics we’re going to measure.” And once we agree to those statistics, we hold to them. That way there are no surprises. That way there’s no different interpretations of the data; the data speaks for itself.
Where asset managers have a very difficult time, and I completely agree, is they’ll get a P&L, they’ll get data in one way or another, and it’s the agreed-upon data, and then the operator will come in with all the reasons why that data is not correct. Or, if you just reinterpret it another way, it paints a different picture.
So you have to agree upon that picture from the get-go. If you do that, you will have a much better, more positive and productive relationship with the asset manager.
F&B has to take the time to understand the world of finance. They need to know what the terms on a P&L statement are, what net operating income is, their food costs, operating costs, and what all of those details mean.
A reality of the post-downturn hotel industry is that locals count. Bars and restaurants are not just amenities for in-house guests anymore but are profit centers that rely on neighborhood residents for regular revenues.
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