We’re facing an uncertain future as Americans, and acknowledging that is our first step to a positive outcome.
The word that will epitomize the fourth quarter of American—and dare I say it, global—business is “uncertainty.” This was already happening thanks to normal cycle dynamics and global economic changes (Brexit, anyone?), reinforced by third-quarter hotel company performance. But it’s been exacerbated by Donald Trump’s election to the role of President of the United States.
However, “uncertainty” doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
First, a disclaimer: I’m not neutral when it comes to my personal support of a presidential candidate—that’s the right all Americans are proud to possess. I supported Hillary Clinton in this election cycle. I’m also confident that my personal views do not bleed into my commitment as an unbiased journalist. But we all have a preference; we may as well acknowledge it.
However, regardless of how we voted in this election, we all woke up yesterday morning to the same scenario—uncertainty. Whether you were a diehard supporter or a member of the diehard opposition, admit that you felt a degree of uncertainty. Of not knowing what might happen next, this time more so than others in the past.
At its core, “uncertainty” is a neutral word. It can end up resolving itself anywhere on the spectrum of positivity and negativity. Often when we invoke that word in a hotel industry context, we really DO know the most likely, or certain, outcome. We’ll say the fourth quarter of year seven in a streak of positive RevPAR gains is “uncertain,” but we know that an inflection point is coming.
In this case though, “uncertainty” I believe truly is neutral. For as many of you readers who over the past 12 months extolled the virtues of a Trump presidency, just as many of you spoke in opposition.
We are then at a point of true uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen next or how we’ll react to it. After four years, it may be net good. It may be net bad. It will be challenging. I hope very much that we can work together to make it good, according to interpretations of that word we all can agree on—economic stimulus, job creation, strong global economies that promote the value of travel, and the tenets of kindness and hospitality that characterize our industry.
I would like to make one request though, as we navigate what’s next: Please—for the sake of yourself, your children, your friends and your family—reject as much as you can the behaviors rooted in hatred, racism, sexism and bigotry that emerged from this campaign season. Be vocal in your rejection of those behaviors; be active in that rejection and acknowledge that it exists. If you believe in those tenets, talk to friends who believe differently and try to see their point of view.
Just as our industry promotes the freedom of travel without borders and the pursuit of an American dream in our hotels, we must work to believe and promote those tenets ourselves. That will lead to a truly hospitable future, regardless of who’s in charge.
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