Time to drop the platitudes
Time to drop the platitudes
10 SEPTEMBER 2020 7:29 AM

Industry bigwigs love to remind us that everything will be OK if we just hang in there. That doesn’t ring true anymore. Showing the good, the bad and the ugly is the most inspirational way to get through a crisis.

Whenever the chips are down, people love to give advice.

Have you noticed this? As soon as this pandemic got real, we were showered with reminders to focus on people, to stay strong amid adversity, to hold tight to our values and above all, to remember that this too shall pass.

Don’t get me wrong: Advice-givers often come from a good place; I know they do. There’s absolutely comfort to be had in reminders that we’ll be OK. Us lowly common folk look to leaders in our lives and communities and industries to inspire confidence and assure us the future will be brighter.

But there’s a fine line between inspiring reminders and platitudes, and I think it’s time for the idealized advice to go.

I’ve heard far too many keynote speakers at online industry events repeat the same drivel, and I’m over it. Super-wealthy power players telling me that everything will be OK as long as I hang on to my values rings hollow.

It’s time to get real, friends. At all levels in our industry.

The best speakers and sources we’ve encountered here at Hotel News Now in the last six months (and really, in the last 11 years) are the ones who tell it like it is—who don’t mind sharing mistakes and hardships.

Take the story HNN’s Sean McCracken wrote on Sonesta, published earlier this week. Company President and CEO Carlos Flores gets real in the story, talking about how the company was at a turning point earlier this year, rethinking strategy after falling short of some growth goals.

Flores isn’t afraid to be transparent about the bad and the good, and the net result is, in my opinion, really helpful for a reader.

It’s why I love our Q&A with a GM series (here’s a recent story from that series). GMs operating in the most challenging situations usually aren’t afraid to be honest and share the bad as well as the good.

I’d love to see more CEOs and consultants take this approach. Not everything is peachy keen. Not every sales team is going to be able to pluck up and find business by making some cold calls from home. But when leaders can talk frankly and honestly about how they and their teams work through the crummy conditions that abound in 2020? That’s inspiring.

I’ve always said that there’s comfort in solidarity. For me, that really translates to: “This is crappy for everyone. Nobody is immune. Leaders will make mistakes. So let’s drop the BS and talk for real about how we’re working through the problems.”

I dare you. Comment below, email me at sricca@hotelnewsnow.com or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.

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  • Drew Dimond September 10, 2020 11:35 AM Reply

    Wondering when someone would touch on what many have thought but did not know how to express for fear of being accused of lacking enthusiasm. Optimism and positivity can only go so far. You are spot on - there are no magic tricks to put "bodies in beds" Most managers are doing a remarkable job in maintaining the value of the asset and generating maximum cash to pay capital expenses. They are forecasting and re-forecasting weekly. The real challenge is for ownership and/or asset managers to get real and figure out a plan for the next two to three years - their managers/operators for the most part are performing well. Stephanie, thanks for stepping up with this thought provoking article.

  • Borivoj Vokrinek September 10, 2020 12:20 PM Reply

    I think the industry needs both. The realistic picture of how bad the situation is for everyone (and how much worse it might get), but people also need to see the light in the tunnel, have the reason to go through the hardship. People typically tend to underestimate the impact of the crisis on its onset, but then, once the crisis peaks, people tend to get overly pesimistic and underestimate the pace of recovery. Thus we need both, the appreciation how bad things are but also to hear that it will eventually get better. This is especially case in the current world, where media love to report the bad and ugly, as it gets the wider coverage. Thus little bit of positivism does not hurt, in my mind.

  • Asf September 10, 2020 12:21 PM Reply


  • Amy Brodrick September 10, 2020 2:28 PM Reply

    I'll just agree with you and say "Amen". It's time to get real.

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