By this time next week, the winner of Super Bowl LV will have been announced.

And while the final outcome will be partially dependent on who runs fastest, hits hardest, and throws best, one could argue that the end result will be determined by what happened in the two weeks leading up to the game.

medsker headshotWith world class athletes on both teams, this one will come down to the team with the best game plan.

To hospitality management teams, 2021 is the Super Bowl. It’ll be a year where glory is there for the taking, and fortunes will be won or lost. While you may not have thousands of fans cheering (or booing) your every move, this just might be the year where you carve name into the history books.

With success accruing to those with the best plan, how can we improve our collaborative efforts?

Let’s take a page from the NFL:

The Right Players

There’s a reason they call it “Tom-pa Bay.” Tampa’s had a solid defense for a while now, but their success this year can be attributed to luring Tom Brady and assembling an all-star offensive cast around him.

Expect the Buccaneers and Chiefs to go toe-to-toe in a high scoring offensive matchup bearing little resemblance to the defensive showdowns that took place 10 years ago.

As the game has changed, both teams have changed their org charts to prepare for future success. As a hospitality strategist, when was the last time you did the same?

Distributed Planning

In-season practices and team-wide meetings are important. However, NFL teams realize they can get better results by breaking their team into position groups and planning asynchronously.

The head coach determines the overall game plan and tasks his lieutenants with ensuring each player is ready to carry out their duties. This allows everyone to focus on optimizing the global strategy when the entire team comes together rather than tying everyone’s time up on matters that may not be relevant to them.

As hoteliers, we often bring our team together weekly to discuss our revenue optimization efforts. And yet, we get lost in the details, spending most of our time reviewing rates rather than focusing on the big picture.

Would it make sense to consider asynchronous communication for items that don’t require the immediate attention of the entire team?

Study the Tape

Many games are won and lost in the film room. By thoroughly understanding how their competition will react across a range of situations, teams can develop a plan to achieve success where others have failed.

In recent years, NFL teams have taken this a step further and developed enhanced analytics approaches that tell them, for example, when they should go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal.

Think they are using an Excel spreadsheet to reach these conclusions? Guess again.

Play to Your Strengths

Both teams in this year’s Super Bowl have achieved success by adopting a specialized approach to maximize use of their talent.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers count on their defense to create turnovers at key points throughout the game in order to give Tom Brady an opportunity to take shots on a shortened field, while the Kansas City Chiefs will beat you by picking up points on every drive.

If both teams simply reached for the best/fastest player in the draft each year (see Las Vegas Raiders) rather than focusing on how each player might fit into their system, they would likely be watching the big game from their couches rather than suiting up on Sunday.

Some hotels have a killer location, while others have great amenities or other discerning characteristics. A hip hotel with a rooftop pool and club is likely not a great fit for families, and yet it might be the perfect option for twenty- and thirty-somethings looking to blow off some steam over the weekend.

And yet, all too often the sales and marketing strategies are similar for each. How much more success would you have if you took inventory of your relative strengths in order to determine the ideal strategies for YOUR hotel?


Two weeks ago, the Chiefs’ starting quarterback was knocked out on national television. In came the backup, who made enough plays to win the game and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

While it’s important to have a plan and work it, the best NFL teams build adaptability into their approach. If something isn’t working, they’ll make on-the-fly adjustments until they find success.

Similarly, it’s critical for hotel management teams to build flexibility into their approach and react quickly to changing market conditions. Meeting once per week to discuss trends and results may not allow us to react quickly enough to competitive strategies or evolving traveler preferences.

While my money is on the Chiefs, it’s clear that both teams will finish the season markedly better than their “comp set.” By taking a page out of their playbook, we can ensure our hotels do the same.

About the Author
Mike is the President and Co-Founder of Focal Revenue Solutions, which provides hospitality business intelligence systems and strategy for hotels, resorts and hospitality management organizations. Prior to founding Focal, Mike served as Director of Revenue Systems Architecture for Two Roads Hospitality.