Looking back at the roller coaster ride that has been 2020, I want to reflect on some highs and lows.
As for the “lows,” our teams have had to navigate the greatest crisis our industry has ever faced. The events of March led to a nearly 90% drop in revenues in April. The drop in revenue led to an over 80% decline in the number of BHG team members at our hotels. The sustained declines in demand have forced us all to rethink how we operate today as well as how we need to adapt moving forward.
It is our people that delivered on so many “highs” this past year.
At the hotel level, our people-first culture and refusal to give up kept key team members in place while duties expanded. The Fargo Holiday Inn coined the idea of “Be the Spork.” Gone are the days where we could be a spoon or a fork. You all had to push yourselves in multiple directions to keep moving forward. Unlike many other hotel companies, we were able to keep all our hotels open due to the commitment and hard work from all of you.
In our Fargo office, the BHG team made many adjustments as well. Projects were paused, work was re-bid, superintendents shifted, and processes were challenged at every turn due to COVID. Current and former employees were well supported through furloughs and some unfortunate terminations. Finance and IT worked together to assist with getting expenses forgiven or deferred.
Our top-line team is working long hours to identify any revenue opportunities that could bring more people back to work. They understand that they are leading the charge, and they are taking that responsibility very seriously. Operations teams are constantly adapting to minimize losses while delivering on guest expectations as we move closer to something that resembles normal.
In our goal to “Drive Growth through Inspired Service,” we have continued to open hotels. We have done so with smaller teams and fewer resources than ever before. We have taken curveball after curveball and kept on swinging. Everyone involved should be proud of this continued growth in such challenging times.
I know that the weight of all of this grows with each month that passes, and we understand the pressure everyone is feeling. Even with all the pressure, I feel honored and lucky. I am honored to be in the company of so many inspiring people and feel lucky to have so many of you still with us as we climb upward.
There is optimism as vaccines roll out ahead of offices reopening and travel returning. There are still difficult days ahead, but I hope that we are all able to balance the demands of our business without losing sight of the needs of ourselves and our families. Take a breath as we move into 2021 and never lose sight of what is important.
Thank you for all that you do, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Steve Martodam | President & COO
Pictured: BHG President & COO Steve Martodam