Despite the doom and gloom reports of recent months, better days are coming — we just have to get through the next year and ensure that business fundamentals are strong enough to weather the rough and tumble ride we’re currently experiencing.

Despite the doom and gloom reports of recent months, better days are coming — we just have to get through the next year and ensure that business fundamentals are strong enough to weather the rough and tumble ride we’re currently experiencing.Ironically, when you look back at Hotelier’s last Canadian Hotel Investment Conference issue, the industry was mired in a groundswell of uncertainty. Still, as American hoteliers were scrambling to better position themselves, the Canadian hotel market showed solid strength. Now, a year later, the U.S. recession has deepened and Canada is in the midst of a sub-zero economic climate.

But despite the daily dose of debilitating news there are opportunities in every sector. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that if you’re an investor who still has funds to deal with, being in a discount market is the best possible time to buy. In the story, How to Thrive in a Downturn, in the February 2009 issue of Canadian Real Estate News, an informal poll of investors indicates virtually all of them plan to invest more in 2009 than they did in 2008. Similarly, about seven in 10 Canadians say they’re planning on taking a vacation next year.

Remaining positive is vital as hoteliers sift through the regular rubble of layoffs, closures and declining occupancy. “We need to make sure we are still champions and cheerleaders,” says Hank Stackhouse, president and CEO of Delta Hotels. “If we walk into our offices or around our hotels and are showing dismay at what’s going on, it will quickly translate into how we deal with our customers. You don’t have to walk around oblivious to the fact that there’s some pain out there, but you have to make sure you stay focused on what’s important.”

Let’s not forget that by its very nature, the market is cyclical. It’s important to recognize your company’s strengths and weaknesses, understand your market limitations and prepare yourself so when the market comes back full throttle you’ll be ready to handle whatever comes your way.

And while it’s prudent to cut expenses, the most important action you can take is getting back to revenue-producing mode. As Michael Masterson and Mary Ellen Tribby, authors of Changing the Channel write, “While there’s no easy way to bring in revenue during a recession, success hinges on implementing the right mix of marketing efforts. Remember, motivated, financially capable businesses and consumers do exist, but if you aren’t getting in front of them, you’re leaving money on the table.”

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