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What a Sparkplug Teaches about Hotel Operations During a Crisis | By Greg Johnson

We are seeing occupancies declining, groups canceling and jobs being lost.

It is easy for hoteliers to get caught up in the vortex of panic and depression.

Up until now, many sales leaders have assumed the role of the hotel sparkplug, filled with energy and optimism to cast an uplifting aura throughout the back of the house.

It is critical that we all continue this message of confidence and hope.


Aside from the metaphorical meaning of the term 'sparkplug', let me first digress with a short story about some engine troubles I was recently having which nonetheless provides a powerful lesson for those in hospitality. Annoyingly enough, my engine was consistently misfiring when I accelerated or reached a speed of around 50 miles per hour. After going online to search for the cause of the issue, the main advice was to switch out the ignition coils and sparkplugs - a straightforward and inexpensive task that I completed myself.

With a sense of accomplishment, I slid behind the wheel and fired up the engine. Almost immediately, the warning lights came on and the engine itself started shaking and growling. I had no choice but to then take the car to a real mechanic. It turns out one of the replacement sparkplugs I used had a small crack in the ceramic insulation. After a full diagnostic, that was the only problem - a small, three-inch part was enough to throw off the performance of the entire vehicle!

If you compare a car to a hotel's organizational structure, all it takes is one downtrodden personality - one broken sparkplug if you will - to unbalance the productivity of the whole operation. So, ask yourself honestly if you are now, in these trying times, becoming a vital component of your management team that has had its ceramic insulation cracked?

Through my years of working and honing my hotel sales skills at Newport Hospitality Group (), we've developed a solid training manual for how managers should conduct themselves during any crisis. All boiling down to fundamental mantras that are easily memorable and broadly applicable, in face of this COVID-19 outbreak, these matter now more than ever, and I would like to share a few of them with you.

Your team needs your leadership and your positivity to keep the engine running smoothly. Become that premium unbroken sparkplug that we all need right now. You can make a difference and you can change the lives of those around you.

And to conclude, instead of posting an inspirational quote, how about a funny poem written by yours truly about all the irrational toilet paper stockpiling?