Revinate
Revinate
Episode art #72 with Lori Kiel
Episode art #72 with Lori Kiel
The Hotel Moment podcast — episode 72

Modern and focused commercial strategy — What does it look like?

In this week’s episode of the Hotel Moment podcast, Karen Stephens, Revinate CRO, and Lori Kiel, Chief Commercial Officer of the Kessler Collection, break down the history of commercial strategy and how it’s traditionally been approached within hospitality. Kiel explains several ways technology acts as a vehicle to advance commercial initiatives while helping teams commit to one goal as comp sets change.

Tune in for inspiration on how to improve your commercial strategy and make it easy for guests to choose your hotel over any other. From driving traffic to your website to narrowing down guest segments — every team is part of a “commercial-first” mission.

Red, yellow, and blue lines to indicate soundwaves.
Headshot of Karen Stephens

Meet your host

As Chief Marketing Officer at Revinate, Karen Stephens is focused on driving long-term growth by building Revinate’s brand equity, product marketing, and customer acquisition strategies. Her deep connections with hospitality industry leaders play a key role in crafting strategic partnerships.

Karen is also the host of The Hotel Moment Podcast, where she interviews top players in the hospitality industry. Karen has been with Revinate for over 11 years, leading Revinate’s global GTM teams. Her most recent transition was from Chief Revenue Officer, where she led the team in their highest booking quarter to date in Q4 2023.

Karen has more than 25 years of expertise in global hospitality technology and online distribution — including managing global accounts in travel and hospitality organizations such as Travelocity and lastminute.com

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Transcript

Intro – 00:00:02: Welcome to the Hotel Moment podcast, presented by Revinate, the podcast where we talk to leaders in the hospitality industry. If you’re looking for trends, perspectives, and stories from leaders in travel and hospitality, you’re in the right place.

Karen – 00:00:19: Hello and welcome everyone to the Hotel Moment podcast. I am your host, Karen Stephens, the Chief Revenue Officer of Revinate. And today we are thrilled to have Lori Kiel, a distinguished commercial strategist with over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry. As a commercial thought leader for Lori Kiel Productions and the Chief Commercial Officer at the Kessler Collection, Lori has been at the forefront of integrating sales, revenue, and marketing strategies to optimize commercial success. Besides her notable leadership roles, Lori is an avid educator and a keynote speaker, often sharing her insights on how a commercial first mindset married with the right technology can be a game changer for hotels. Welcome to the podcast, Lori.

Lori – 00:01:00: Thank you for having me. I am so excited to be here.

Karen – 00:01:04: Me too. I tell you what, I’m like, “How have I not talked to this woman before? We have so many people in common on LinkedIn?” And I am so excited to have you here today.

Lori – 00:01:15: Likewise. I appreciate it.

Karen – 00:01:17: Great. So Lori, with over three decades of experience in hospitality, you’ve become a champion for commercial strategy. Could you share with our listeners what drew you to this field and how your passion for commercial strategy has grown over the years?

Lori – 00:01:31: So I started like so many of us that were back in the 90s in reservations, I was in reservations, I was three to 11 front desk while I was in hospitality school. And I loved that side of the industry at the time — that customer-facing, but also helping to plan their trip before they even got there. This was back in the day that if someone wanted to know the rates, you told them to go to the brochure rack and the rates would be there, which is insane, but golly, wouldn’t that make things nice today? Just not the case. So from that, reservations slowly transitioned into revenue management as we moved into the 90s, and OTAs were introduced and we realized like, “Oh wow, we’re actually going to be competing against ourselves. So we’ve got to figure this out. We’ve got to take those rates off the brochure rack.” And so that’s how I got my start. My start was working in revenue management through operations because at no point in those first 10 to 15 years of my career were we calling revenue management a career or a job. It was always someone who had a job and they did revenue management. So it was reservations and they did revenue, or it was the front office manager and they did revenue. So I did this dual role for years partially because I loved it. And the other side of it was,  as it became prominent enough to become its own role, I was too scared. I kept saying, “No, no, no, I can’t quit my day job and become just a revenue manager because that’s never gonna last.”  Well, isn’t the joke on me, because look where we are today.

Karen – 00:03:09: The whole center of everything when it comes to it.

Lori – 00:03:12: It is the center of everything. Yeah. So as I continued on my path and I recognized that revenue was definitely the place that I found my passion. It was what made me want to jump out of bed. There’s so much gamification to it that I absolutely loved. A little bit of that science and art, that was deeply ingrained in me and that’s where my passion began. So as I continued up the ladder, I found myself here at Kessler, started as a Corporate Director of Revenue. And all during that time, one of the biggest conflicts that we had back in the day was between sales and revenue. It was this battle for the room night, battle for who gets it, who gets to take those room nights on a Friday night. Is it group or is it transient? And so it was when I was here at Kessler that the position became available for VP of Sales. And I said, wouldn’t it be amazing if both reported to one person? And then maybe this discord that we continue to see would change because it wouldn’t be one-for one. It, we’re all going towards the same thing. So really that’s how it was born for me was taking sales under my wing — having sales and revenue. We budgeted together. We yielded together. We went for our goals together. And then in that, there was a whole lot less of in-fighting, if you will, for who’s going to get it. Because we were just happy that anyone was going to get it as long as we hit the total room revenue goal. As I continued through Kessler, the same exact thing happened in marketing. We went through marketing, marketing, marketing, but what was happening at Kessler is, is we were seeing a lot of turnover with marketers. We started to realize that it was because marketing was changing. Marketing had gone from this very visual career, visual skill set, creative skillset, to now morphing into what we now know as e-commerce and distribution strategy and digital marketing. And our traditional marketers of the past didn’t have that skill set. So once again, I took a chance and I said, “Hey, how about if marketing sat in the same platform under the same umbrella with sales and revenue and we all work together?” And so that’s how I got my passion for it. And so I feel like I was ahead of the curve, if you will. And then when I started to hear the new nomenclature for commercial. “I was like, wait a minute, this is what I’ve been doing all along. How do I redefine it for myself and really start to pioneer what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been trying, what we have failed at? And perfected.” And so here I am. I love it.

Karen – 00:05:59: I love it. And that kind of leads me into my next question, which is you’ve had all of these different roles, very prestigious roles with Kessler Collection. And can you share the vision? It sounds like when you decided to do Lori Kiel Productions, that was really a significant milestone. And I think you’re kind of leading us down that road anyway of how all of this came together. Can you share the vision behind Lori Kiel Productions and how it aims to evolve commercial strategy for other hoteliers?

Lori – 00:06:25: So it’s funny, and I’m still trying to figure this out myself, Karen, if I’m being completely honest, right? Like, it’s funny. I was kidding with somebody like, “I could give you a great elevator pitch for almost anything that I do on a daily basis.” But for Lori Kiel Productions, it’s still in development. The reason I did it is because at Kessler, where I’m at 15 years, not ever going anywhere, absolutely love my role here at Kessler because it gives me the platform to do what I absolutely love doing. And I’ve said to Richard Kessler many times in my career, if I didn’t do this for you, I’d be doing it for someone else because this is what I love to do. I just get to do it for these beautiful properties and for you. So the breakaway, if you will, was because I recognized that my passion for commercial strategy really needed to have its own space. And I know many years ago, I had told myself that when I hit a certain birthday, that I was going to take everything I knew in the industry and I was going to go to a college and I was going to start teaching revenue management. That was my goal. When I hit 50, I would move away from the corporate world and I would go teach. Well, I hit 50 and I was like, “I’m not done here. And oh, by the way, things are changing. I can’t leave corporate life. I’ve got to stay in this. This is where it’s relevant.” So, through that need to stay relevant, and further, the ability nowadays to provide enrichment, provide wisdom outside of the college environment. You can have the best of both worlds. And so that’s how I came to decide that I would start Lori Kiel Productions and I would find the way to really have my cake and eat it too. I still get to be the Chief Commercial Officer of this amazing company, but I also get to fulfill my goal of giving back to the industry through Lori Kiel Productions. And they work very well together.

Karen – 00:08:26: Which is great. And I did check out your website in advance of this podcast, and I see you focus a lot on leadership, mentorship. So as you’re saying, I can really see how you’re kind of bridging that gap of, if you’re thinking about a college professor or how do you mentor that next generation. And I think that that’s awesome because sometimes it’s not just about going to a university to learn these skills. It’s about cultivating within the industry — the people who have been there done that. And wow, that is so invaluable. And by the way, just a fun fact, we know like for this particular podcast, the listenership is a lot younger. It trends a lot younger because the generation now, that’s how they’re learning and understanding information is through podcasts and then going and seeking out those resources. So getting back to commercial strategy. So how have your kind of your ideas and conceptualizations morphed over time? So in other words, what metrics and KPIs, how do you think about the approach when you’re talking about commercial strategy?

Lori – 00:09:26: Let me tell you where it started and then you’ll understand where I’m at. So where it started was — I’m a writer. I love writing. I found a passion for writing way late in my life, which it’s never too late. You can write on your deathbed, for God’s sake. So I decided to start writing probably seven years ago and I started my own whatever. It was a blog. It’s on its side. It’s not commercial. And then all of a sudden it started with one marketing session where I was like, what in the world? Why are we still writing marketing plans? This is bananas. It’s absolutely bananas. And so I remember going home that night. And I said to my husband, I’m like, this makes me crazy that I just spent my entire day working on a marketing plan that I know is gonna end up on a shelf. No one’s gonna look at it after I present the first version of it. And then what? And it’s taken an entire 10, 11 hours to put this thing together, just in the polish, not even in the research. And so I wrote a post that night called Death of the Marketing Plan. That post caught fire. And I thought, “All I’m doing is putting into words what we all are thinking. I’m putting into words what we know is true. I’m putting into words what we need the industry to hear. We need to hear this so that we can solve for it.” So out of that writing has now come this platform where it’s not enough to just write an article and go. This is what I think about a marketing plan. It is, “That’s great. Now what?” So my goal with LKP, with Lori Kiel Productions, is to solve for, “That now what?” Now I don’t have solutions to every single thing that’s out there, but I’m starting the conversations. And through those conversations, we’re starting to find some inroads. One of those is through HSMAI. I am a huge fan. If I ever got a tattoo in my life, it might be HSMAI. I am a huge fan, but I’m a fan because they are the only association that I’m aware of that really focuses on sales, revenue, and marketing, which is also where I find myself. And so in that, we had started a KPI workgroup a couple of years back. I raised my hand, I said, “I want to be the chair, I want to be the chair because I’m really interested in these KPIs because obviously, we recognize we’ve got to understand, ‘What are those key performance indicators in each of our variations in our areas so that we can move forward.’” In doing that, we came up with 67 KPIs. We published an appendix that gives you the KPIs, the definitions, the calculations, who uses them — all of the good things. And from that, for the last three years since that publication, we’ve been continuing to evolve that. So, some of the learnings, I will tell you, start from that first KPI workgroup because what we recognized in that KPI workgroup was it had been enough for a lot of years to say, “RevPAR is king”. I’ve been saying it almost my entire career, right? I learned it in hospitality school. “RevPAR is king. RevPAR is king.” Well, sometime in 2018, STR had to start changing the way that we were formulating these competitive sets. Now you can’t have more than 40% of any one owner and 40% of any one brand, a percentage of this, a percentage of that. And I know for Kessler again, because I get the benefit of continuing to sit in the seat and serve on the board that’s defining our competitive set started changing and they weren’t really very competitive for us because we’re a part of the Marriott brand. Well, when Starwood and Marriott came together and became one brand. If I am now sitting in a market that had five Starwoods, five Marriott, five Hiltons, all of a sudden, my competitive set just reduced down to the percentage of what I’m allowed to call a competitor based on all of Starwood and all of Marriott being one brand. So I tell you all that to tell you that it became a search for “What is the next KPI? What is the key performance indicator if it’s not going to be RevPAR? If I can’t stake my entire claim, if I can’t put all of my strategy in RevPAR, where is it going to go?” And do I have an answer for you on what that is? No. At this point, what we’re doing at Kessler is for every single area that we are delving into relative to strategy or analysis, we’re defining one KPI so that we all collectively know what the one key performance indicator is for that thing. So that I’m not talking RevPAR, and you’re talking TRevPAR, and he’s talking GOP. We’re all talking one thing. And so that’s how we’re solving today. But again, it’s kind of a very long way to tell you it came from a POV and now it’s gone to a place that I’m trying to help solve.

Karen – 00:14:35: Right. No, that is very interesting because I think, you know, we talked to a lot of hotels as well. Going back to the idea of a comp set. Now, we’ve got this digital age and if you’re competing for the leisure traveler, you’re not necessarily like, “Oh, they’re coming to Orlando.” They might be going anywhere. So your luxury property, you’re competing against hotels that are — because your true comp set is really how are you getting the eyeballs of that guest that wants to have a luxury vacation and making sure they understand that your properties are the best one. Maybe the destination is the second thing or the hotel might be the first. So I just thought about when you were kind of talking through that. So we’ve also talked a lot about marketing and how that’s changed. It’s gone from kind of this visual brochure into the digital marketing age. So can you talk a little bit about any hurdles that you’ve encountered while orchestrating those digital transformations and how do you keep your team up-leveling to be able to kind of meet the next round of demands? Because it’s evolving quickly.

Lori – 00:15:39: It’s evolving too quickly. I have to tell you, I couldn’t have asked the question better because if there’s one thing that keeps me up at night, it’s this, it’s, “How fast marketing continues to evolve, how fast it’s changing, how do we stay in front of it all? Who is truly the expert? Who has the answers?” I ask these questions again and again and again of myself. I ask them of my staff. I ask them of my agencies because again, when I look at — I’m going to give you a great example, and this is one of the things at the top of our priority list right now is websites. So websites still matter. It’s still that stake in the ground. It’s still your real estate online. However, how many people are using websites versus Instagram versus straight searches now with getting solutions via Bard or questions answered via ChatGPT ? And how do I know my websites are going to be more than a place for pretty pictures and truly be able to keep up with those Google algorithms, be able to come up on a ChatGPT search, be able to come up in a Bard search? It’s maddening and it’s mind-numbing. I think the thing that’s very concerning is it’s the fear of the unknown because I ask some of the people that I think should know it and they’re still figuring it out. And again, no shade to them because we’re doing all we can to stay relevant. So you answer the question, we do provide enrichment. Enrichment is a core value of Kessler and it is something that we absolutely walk the walk on. So a couple of months back, I became familiar with Adam Enfroy from a Forbes article that I had read. And believe it or not, he kind of deals in blogging via affiliation marketing, but he made it into Forbes because he is one of the most successful in the industry. And it’s all relative to how he manages keywords, his SEO really plays that whole game. It’s really a game application, if you will, using all the tools. So we signed up for his training. It’s a 40-hour course. And I’m telling you the things that I have learned out of that training. And I’ve probably only gotten through half of it. Next level. And you wouldn’t have thought about that. You wouldn’t have thought to sign up for that. You would have signed up for Cornell’s SEO 4.0 or something, right? I signed up for what looked relevant based on articles I was reading. And I’m telling you, the questions I’m asking are because of what I’ve learned and they are relevant. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think anyone does, but. We’re going to stay really close to it and it’s going to continue to be the top priority for our commercial organization is how and what do we do about this ever-changing landscape of digital e-commerce distribution.

Karen – 00:18:37: It is moving all the time. Can you repeat the gentleman’s name again, just in case so that if people are listening, they can hear it one more time and we’ll put it in the show notes?

Lori – 00:18:44: It’s Adam Enfroy, E-N-F-R-O-Y. And he has a company called Blog Growth Engine. He calls it BGE. And his program is, it’s actually very affordable. I had pontificated on buying it for far too long. It’s like $1,499, $1,500. And it’s 40 hours. It is video clips with full transcript. And he’s showing you how to do it, what free resources to use. And then in addition to that, he gives you a community where you can go in and ask the questions. So, It’s not hospitality, it’s not specific, but it’s everything that is digital today. And Karen, I’m telling you, you can ask my team. My team is like, “Where have you learned this?” How many times I keep pointing them back, I’m like, “Through this training that I did!” It’s crazy. But you know, if I could just circle back, isn’t that where commercial came from? Think about it. Commercial was not something that we talked about in hospitality, but commercial has existed. When you go in and you Google search “commercial”, it brings up companies like Ernst & Young. Now we would never have looked at Ernst & Young to find a solution for hospitality. But it makes sense and it works. And if you start digging into how they do it. Very similar. So. Sometimes it is looking way outside of that box, getting out of your box and going, “Wait, how are other industries doing it well? How do I adopt that?”

Karen – 00:20:18: Yeah. Amen. We’re a company that is bespoke to hospitality. Everything we do and think about is designed for hospitality companies. But one of the things, and I think you hit on it, yes, there are things that are unique in our industry, but you’ve got to open your eyes and see what else is going on out there, right? So it’s like, If you’re talking about SEO, like it’s not going to be unique to hotels. There are things that are unique, but you can learn a lot, which actually takes me to my next question. So I want to talk a little bit about Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) because that’s something else. CDPs have been in the industry since 2018. They’re just now starting to kind of pierce the barrier of hospitality. And really, I think from our perspective, if you don’t have your data straight, if you don’t understand who the person is, there could be multiple profiles. But if you don’t know who that person is, you’re going to have a hard time reaching them. So can you talk a little bit about, have you had any experience with CDPs? How do you think about that in the industry?

Lori – 00:21:18: I hadn’t heard the term before now, CDP, but I’ll tell you that I think there’s a couple of things that come to mind relative to that is, first of all, there’s a bit of frustration in the hospitality community because truly getting any true customer data that you can proactively use is very difficult. And when I say that, what I envisioned back in the day of when we used to talk CRM. CRM is that you come to my hotel four times a year, you’re always asking for an extra pillow and a blanket and you like Diet Coke in your room, whatever the case may be. Many years ago, we said, well, there are these systems that are now gonna tell you when Karen comes that, “Oh, Karen’s arriving today, you need to go ahead and put the extra pillow, extra blanket and put some Diet Cokes in her fridge.” Our systems cannot do that. Are there systems that can? Yes. Are they interfaced to the property management system that drives the behavior at the property? No. Absolutely not. Now there are workarounds that you can do to get it, but that is a lot of work in a post-pandemic environment where we are continuing to struggle with staffing. So. That’s one side of the equation. When it comes to the customer data relative to targeting my customers, that is another area that I struggle in because I have what I believe is starting to be called data wells, where I scrape the data out of my property management system and it gets put into a system that is in essence, a data dump or data well. And then if I have the time, I can go in and start searching for some of those answers based on how my BI program is. Again, very time-consuming, doesn’t always give me the right answers, especially if I’m getting a lot of reservations, let’s say out of Seattle, Washington, where I know absolutely that’s not where my customer comes from, it’s just where one of the big OTAs is based. So. Again, thinking way outside, I go outside of the box and I go, how am I going to figure this out? Well, when the beacon technology had started up a couple of years back, maybe this is 10 years ago, no, I may be dating myself. That was the first aha for me. I was like, “Oh, wow”. You might be in my building walking by my Starbucks and I can all of a sudden make a little on your cell phone and say, “Hey, Karen, come in for a latte. They’re 10% off right now”, or whatever the case may be. Well, then that was shut down because you’re not allowed to have access to my PII, right? Unless I tell you, you can. However, now there is the technology we’ve just partnered up with a company this year that is providing me with exactly what you’re talking about. Using, again, cell phone technology without the PII. It just knows that there are X amount of cell phones in my Plant Riverside District in Savannah. And those cell phones came from here and here and here. And those people have this HHI, like I’m able to see good demographics, right? Household income, college level, all of that good stuff. But I’m also able to, this technology even tells me like, what are those people like to watch? What do they like to eat? Are they wine connoisseurs? Do they like art? And so now I actually have a tool that we’re able to use that doesn’t make me do the work and it gives me more information than I need. That’s what we’re using to now target not only the customers that are already loyal to us, because now I can identify them. “Oh, this customer type comes multiple times a year. Let me make sure that I am programming, I’m marketing to him. But I also know that this customer type is going to my competitor down the street because it also gives me that data so that I can target them to get them to come to me.”

Karen – 00:25:17: Wow, that is crazy.

Lori – 00:25:20: Deep

Karen – 00:25:25:That is deep. That is deep. Well, cool. Awesome. That is very interesting. And I do have to say, it’s not about Revinate, but we have built, which we’re releasing in Q1, but we do have a true CDP. So at some point, I’m excited about the launch of that. And the technology that it’s built on, it is connected to the PMS systems and restaurant systems and spa systems. And it’s on a graph database, which is what LinkedIn uses. So in other words, it can handle multiple datasets and be like, and this is Lori and all of her touch points. So it’s very cool. Yeah. So that was kind of a yeah, I kind of buried that one in there. But that’s okay. I loved your answer because that was amazing.

Lori – 00:26:04: It’s good. But you know what? Again, if that’s the solve — You know, the other thing is you said the last topic that we just covered, I was laughing in my head because I thought, “We all know that hospitality is, we are not the most tech-savvy, we are not the most data-savvy, and for God’s sake, we’re never on the front end of anything like that.” So we need to be adopters of other people’s great ideas or adopters of really moving our own industry because we’re not the first to the table most of the time. So I love hearing that you’ve got to solve. We need more of those.

Karen – 00:26:39: Right, thank you. Yes, I’m excited about it. I’ve been at Revinate for 11 years. I’ve been in the industry for, also 30 30-something. So, so I finally saw this thing in action. Like I saw the actual graph data on the back end and I was like, “Okay, we are good.” It’s exciting times. So coming back to, I really want to talk about, I mentioned in the intro, this commercial-first mindset. So can you just explain to us a little bit more, what do you mean by that? And how do you infuse that? We talked about technology, but how does that become a game changer for hotels commercial-first with the right technology? And what do you mean when we talk about that?

Lori – 00:27:19: Well, the commercial first mindset is it truly is about breaking down the silos. My analogy that I frequently use is if we could break the silos down, we can instead create highways, three-lane highways where each of the disciplines has a lane. However, those lanes allow for merging. It allows for collaboration every now and then there’s a collision. I’m not going to tell you it’s not always pretty, but that is very different than the place where I have come from in the past, where revenue management was solely focused on transient yield meetings, their specific pace, and then group was solely focused on group and what they’re doing. And then marketing was out here doing awareness campaigns on things that we didn’t even tell them we needed. And that’s the reality because again, there are three very distinct disciplines. When you start to bring them together, commercial-first means we decide together that the goal is this. And then we three are all working towards that. And so now when we are talking about group, and transient, and marketing, “Where do we need each of us to be the pace car? Who needs to be in the lead? And who is it okay that’s just trailing the pack, right?” And so I just had this conversation this morning on my commercial exec meeting and marketing is trying to figure out where to put our paid media budget. And they said, “Well, I really need to understand what the needs are for next year so that I know where to put our paid media budget.” And I said, “Well, at this point, you need to put our paid media budget where it’s going to drive traffic to our sites. That’s what we need you to do. In the meantime, revenue and sales need to figure out what their pace looks like so that they can understand what truly might be needs in the future without setting something on fire that’s so far outside of a booking window.” You couldn’t know that it’s a need. In this one conversation, what I can tell you about the commercial-first approach is, what we’ve done is we’ve said, “First of all, we don’t need to all go identify these crazy months that are on fire six months out. Let’s just start there. Second of all, marketing, we’re giving you a place where we’re already telling you how you can help us without you doing extraneous things that we don’t necessarily need you to do. Drive traffic to the site. If you do that, that’s then going to start getting our pace loaded, right? We’re gonna start seeing some of those bookings. We’re gonna see where those demands are. “So by them doing that, we start this. And then with revenue, and group, and transient working hand in hand to see what’s pacing, they can start to build a strategy. That is not necessarily how it used to work, Karen. I can tell you that. And it’s not always the way it works now, I’m not gonna lie. It is not perfect. I would like to give you one other analogy, because I gave this to my marketing person the other day. She said, “I’m just trying to figure out how I fit with these other disciplines.” And I said, “Think about what we’ve always known about the front desk, housekeeping and engineering. Not one of those are the same discipline, front desk person, very skilled, dealing with the customer, typically pretty tech savvy, housekeeper, quality, really has to be able to deliver a brand new room every single day, numerous times a day, and make sure that the 16th room that they clean looks as good as the first room that they cleaned that day, right? Really delivering the product. And then engineering, again, pretty skilled, needs to be able to make sure that all the systems are in play. All three of those disciplines are working for the same customer working towards the same goal. And ultimately when that guest checks out, that comment card is going to be a representation on all three.” So it’s really one goal. It’s customer satisfaction through those three lanes. Same thing with sales, revenue, and marketing. Same thing. So how do you take what we’ve known for years on how these three work together and now do it here?

Karen – 00:31:37: I love it. And what I’m really hearing that was really coming out over the top of that is singular focus. You talked about it when you talked about KPIs, like there’s a lot of different KPIs. Pick one that’s the most North Star for everybody and then everybody aligns behind it. And that’s what I’m hearing as well. And I think that’s so critical because as you hit on, man, there’s a lot of stuff to focus on. You could focus on, I mean, you could just be out there. If you align on one strategy, have that commercial mindset. It is really phenomenal. So thank you for that. That really crystallized it for me. I’ve got one last question for you, Lori, just to wrap it up. And we talked about mentorship. We talked about what you’re doing at Lori Kiel Productions. But reflecting on your journey, what crucial piece of advice would you give to aspiring leaders in the industry who aim at harnessing technology for commercial success? It doesn’t even have to be about technology necessarily. But what is your one piece of advice that you would give to the aspiring leaders out there?

Lori – 00:32:40: Right now, I think my biggest piece of advice is about vulnerability. There is not one single one of us that knows it all. We don’t. It’s changing too fast. So you have got to be willing to call out what you don’t know. And that is not a comfortable place for people to be caring. It’s just not. And I think if there’s anything that is going to continue to be a weakness for us in moving this forward, it’s going to be in the lack of vulnerability that we as leaders, we as people coming into the industry have. How often do you have people that are willing to raise their hand and go, “I have no idea what you’re talking about”, or “I don’t understand this”, or “I can’t do this?” And that’s what we’re asking people to do. When we say, for instance, in commercial, what we talk about is you have to be the expert in this area. So I’m an expert marketer and I absolutely know, but I don’t really understand revenue management. In order to get there, in order to get the upskill that I need there, I’ve got to be willing to raise my hand and go, “I really don’t understand revenue management. Can somebody help me learn?” And that is the place now where I feel vulnerability is. I don’t know if that’s a fun word for people. I don’t know how many people, if you put 50 of us in a room, are willing to raise their hand and go, “Yeah, I don’t know everything about what I’m doing today, but I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to take the risk, but I’m willing to tell you too, I don’t know 100% of everything I’m doing today.”

Karen – 00:34:13: Yeah, well, I love it. I think it comes down to its vulnerability and also having the confidence to know that you know what you know and you know you have the ability to learn. And if you feel confident in that way, it’s perfectly fine to admit that you don’t know something else. So I think that’s fantastic advice. Lori, it has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us today. If people wanna learn more about Lori Kiel Productions or the Kessler Collection, can you give us the URLs of where we go?

Lori – 00:34:39: Yeah, so www.kesslercollection.com has our entire portfolio. Hotels, restaurants, experiences. We are everything and more. And then lorikiel.com. We’re continuing to build that out as we are really aligning the focus of the vision for Lori Kiel Productions. So we’re working with a lot of great partners right now on trying to build out some curriculums, continuing to offer education and mentorship. So really proud of both.

Karen – 00:35:10: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, thank you, Lori. It’s been a pleasure.

Outro – 00:35:13: Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Hotel Moment Podcast. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you’re watching on YouTube, please like the video and subscribe for more content. For more information, head to hotelmomentpodcast.com. The Hotel Moment Podcast is presented by Revinate.

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