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Stimulate Hotel Revenue - The Economic Stimulus Package Opportunities - By Carol Verret

The Economic Stimulus Package that is almost certain to pass in mid February contains extensive opportunities for hotel sales departments to stimulate revenue in a year when leading industry analysts are predicting that '... a 2.5 percent fall off in demand, combined with a 2.9 percent increase in supply, will result in a 2009 year-end occupancy level of 57.6 percent. This represents a 5.3 percent decline in occupancy.' (PKF, December 9, 2008)

Carol Verret The goal of the national Economic Stimulus package is to pump money into the economy in order to stimulate economic activity and create new jobs. One consequence of job creation is that more Americans will once again have a certain amount of discretionary income to spend on things such as travel.

While there is mixed reporting about the timing and the impact of the stimulus package the details are beginning to emerge. The New York Times reported that "... The White House released a report Saturday revealing details about the package, which would pay for a variety of projects." "According to the report, the Obama plan would double the generating capacity of renewable energy over three years ... It would retrofit two million homes and 75 percent of all federal buildings to better protect against the weather, ... envisions using loan guarantees and other financial support to leverage $100 billion in private sector investment in so-called clean energy projects over three years. The plan would lay 3,000 miles of new or upgraded transmission wires for a new electric grid. ... The plan would modernize 10,000 schools, improve security at 90 ports and build 1,300 wastewater projects." (NYT, January 24, 2009)

Other details include extensive grants to states in order to begin repairing the country's infrastructure as well as investments in Health Care such as ensuring that there is access to affordable health care and beginning the process of creating a database where patients' medical records will be stored.

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So where do the revenue opportunities lie:

Alternative or Renewable Energy: This includes companies that generate or plan to generate wind based energy through wind farms and solar energy companies. It also includes the companies that manufacture components, the tech labs where the technology is developed, etc.. There will also be demand generated by consultants to these industries as well as engineers and technicians. The price of solar components is actually coming down so these companies are well positioned for both commercial and residential installations. The light bulb went off for one client after an alternative energy company booked a meeting at their hotel on short notice -- they are now pursuing others.

New Electric Grid Suppliers. This includes the development of the infrastructure technology for the grid as well as the manufacturers of the components. In addition, there will be all of those consultants and engineers who will provide the expertise. The planning for this has probably already begun but will gain traction as soon as the money begins to flow even though the project will take years to complete.

Health Care. Health care has been a recession proof industry but the implications making health care available to more people should stimulate new projects, new money available for research and all of the outpatient and auxiliary services, such as testing and analytics labs, that accompany this. The provisions of the Stimulus Package package that call for an extension of COBRA for the unemployed and the development of a national patient database, while not an immediate priority, will require the that technology be developed long before its potential implementation.

Education. Not only will the states receive funds for public schools but Universities will see increased enrollment due to the Pell grant and student loan guaranteed funding. With more people being able to go to institutions of higher education, the competition will increase for these institutions to attract new students so look for facility improvements as well as curriculum and research upgrades.

Federal Government Agencies: Who do you think is going to oversee and regulate all these projects? The BLM that oversees land management for these Alternative Energy installations locations, the EPA will want to ensure environmental integrity for these and the waste water projects, the various agencies involved in energy management and regulation, etc., etc.,. Then there is the project of retrofitting Federal government buildings across the country to become more energy efficient and the suppliers of the technology and companies that will win contracts for the actual installations. What new technology will be required and who will staff the improved security at 90 ports throughout the country?

State Government Agencies. These are going to be BIG winners in that the states will be given money to begin infrastructure improvement, many of which have been designated as 'shovel ready'. Look for the Departments of Transportation to begin a flurry activity in awarding contracts if they haven't already. http://www.bidclerk.com/ could become a hotel's BFF.

The Automotive industry. Yes, I said the automotive industry. Bailed out industries will be transformed by their bail outs and the expectations connected to them. Look for the automakers to scramble to design and perfect high mileage cars that run on alternative fuels, electricity, ethanol, etc. As well, with people driving cars longer, the auto parts and repair industries are seeing resurgence. Companies that not only manufacture but especially distribute auto parts and those franchises that specialize in auto repairs are targets for meetings. I was recently conducting a seminar in a hotel and there were two automotive related franchises holding regional meetings.

The time to locate these companies, agencies and the associations that service them is NOW! Don't wait until the money is distributed. Develop your approach strategy and begin building relationships so when they are ready to book, you are already there.

Have you signed up yet for the Weekly Shots of Hotel Sales and RM Caffeine? This is an absolutely, totally free 'give back' to the industry and is short shots of motivation and sales tips that arrive in your Inbox each week. Your email address will be used for no other purpose. Shoot a blank email to carol@carolverret.com to sign on.

Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065. Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com.



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