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Cashing in on Our ‘Relational Equity’

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April 19, 2021
Partnership Section
Robert A. Gilbert

Over the last several months, the recovery “has taken clearer and clearer shape, and is perhaps closer than many of us
realize.”Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, shared that insight during a recent HSMAI webinar presentation focused on “Preparing for the Recovery.”

Adam wasn’t wearing rose-colored glasses. While acknowledging widespread erosion of RevPAR, occupancy and other key metrics that have occurred throughout the course of the pandemic, he also noted the positive developments that point to an inevitable recovery. Vaccine distribution is underway around the world, for example, and travel confidence remains low but is beginning to trend upward in the United States and Europe.
   But the secret weapon, according to Adam, is something intangible but powerful — what he calls “relational equity.” “The reason that virtual meetings and virtual workplaces have worked as well as they have is because they are built on a foundation of in-person relationships that we have developed over years,” Adam told our HSMAI audience. “Eventually, those need to be replenished. We can’t continue to live off the relational equity we built up through in-person time together. The reason you’re functioning as well as you are remotely is because you have the trust and the relationships that you’ve built up over years in person.”
   It’s helpful to understand that this is something all of our future guests, customers and clients are experiencing. And it’s on each of us to make sure we’re best positioned to cash in on the relational equity they’ve been banking over the last year.
   The articles in the HSMAI section of this issue of Hospitality Upgrade are a good place to start, with Caryl Helsel focusing on commercial strategies for recovery, Kelly McGuire making the case for increased revenue automation, Michael Goldrich exploring the unique demands of hotel marketing, Cindy Estis Green with Gorka Amian confronting the “sobering reality” of 2020 and the implications for 2021, and Larry and Adam Mogelonsky analyzing the implications of the Airbnb IPO for our industry.
   Keep these perspectives in mind as we make our way into the second year of the pandemic crisis — and fulfill the promise of our own relational equity.
Enjoy these articles and stay inspired!

Robert A. Gilbert
President and CEO of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

We hope that the clustering of these related articles is helpful to you and that it represents a whole section you can easily share with your sales, marketing, and revenue management colleagues. And if there are ideas for additional topics you’d like to address, let Geneva (grinehart@hospitalityupgrade.com) or myself know (bgilbert@hsmai.org).

©2021 Hospitality Upgrade
This work may not be reprinted, redistributed or repurposed without written consent. For permission requests, call 678.802.5302 or email infor@hospitalityupgrade.com.

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