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Success Newsletters

Volume 3, Number 2 March-April, 2003 Issue

In This Edition
1. Five Principles for Business Success
2. Kemmons Wilson and the Holiday Inn
3. A Customer Service Story from Galway, Ireland

Five Principles for Business Success
We are judged by our actions in business and in relationships constantly. Think about these five principles whenever you come in to contact with people. They are rock solid and if followed will serve you well.

Remember, people are looking for and judging us by:

1. The integrity we demonstrate
2. The relationships that we build
3. The service we provide
4. The value we deliver
5. The quality that we guarantee of our product or service

Copyright: Charles M. Marcus 2003. All rights worldwide reserved.

Kemmons Wilson And The Holiday Inn Story
Many of you may have never heard of Kemmons Wilson, I certainly had not until I started researching for this newsletter; but I bet a lot of you around the world have slept at one time or another in what his vision accomplished, a Holiday Inn!

Charles Kemmons Wilson was born in Osceola, Arkansas in 1913. His father died when Kemmons was only 9 months old, and so he was raised an only child of a single mother during the Great Depression. When his mother lost her job as a dental assistant Wilson quit high school to find work to support he and his mother. He borrowed $50 from a friend, bought a popcorn machine, and set it up in a movie theatre lobby. By 1933, he had made $1,700 from the popcorn business, enough to buy a house for he and his mother. Even as a teenager, Wilson’s motto was: “A person must take risks to achieve,” and his philosophy was to put opportunity ahead of security.

Later, Wilson mortgaged the house to buy a local Wurlitzer jukebox franchise, and by 1951 Wilson was a millionaire from his dealings in the popcorn and jukebox business, with a little help from real estate.

In 1951, during a family vacation to Washington with his wife and five children, Wilson noticed that there were not a lot of affordable hotels along the way where people could stay and expect comfort, cleanliness, quality service, and good food. He also noticed that wherever they stayed they were charged a huge surcharge for having their children stay, even in the same room as he and his wife. Although Wilson could well afford this, he felt it unfair to the many families taking vacations who were not as well off as he was, and who could not afford these unfair extras. This observation was the birth of the Holiday Inn idea.

On return from their vacation, Wilson shared his observations with his wife, Dorothy, and told her that he was going to build a chain of hotels that would encourage parents to travel with their children and as long as the children stayed in the same room as their parents there would never be an additional charge. He also told Dorothy that he was going to build a brand name that people could trust and that she would be proud of, and that he was going to build 400 of these hotels across the country before he was through. His wife laughed at him. That kind of annoyed Wilson, and made him even more determined to succeed.

With no experience in the hotel business Wilson researched everything about it he could find. He stayed in hotels, measuring room sizes, observing everything, taking notes, asking questions of people and then listening to their answers, all the time visualizing in what he wanted to achieve. He then hired a draftsman to draw up the plans. As it happened, the draftsman had recently watched a Bing Crosby movie called Holiday Inn. While he was working on the plans, he sketched in “Holiday Inn” at the top of his plans. Wilson saw it, liked the name, and based on his experience in movie theatres he knew the value of a marguee, and he designed the now famous sign and such slogans as “The Nation’s Inn Keeper” and “Your Host From Coast To Coast”. He decided that the sign should be at least 50 feet tall so that it would become a landmark for travelers, and so was born Holiday Inn and it’s famous welcoming sign which one can not miss. The first Holiday Inn was opened on Summer Street in Memphis, Tennessee in August 1952. By December of 1962, Wilson opened his 400th Holiday Inn, just as he had told his wife that he would do, following U.S. interstate highway growth at that time in the United States. Now his wife Dorothy was laughing for a different reason.
In the early 1980’s Wilson expanded the Holiday Inn Chain internationally and by the late 1980’s Holiday Inn Hotels were located in virtually every corner of the globe. In 1990 Six Continentals Hotels, the world’s leading global hotel company acquired the Holiday Inn Chain. Today it owns, operates and franchises over 3,300 hotels in over 100 countries with 515,000 guest rooms. Not bad for a person who started out with no experience in the hotel business, but who had a vision and a burning desire, and just wanted to give people affordable accommodation with quality service and food, where they and their families could stay.

It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Give people what they want, and they will come back again, and again, and again!

Kemmons Wilson died recently in Memphis at the age of 90, but his legacy continues to grow. Wilson, viewed as the father of the modern-day hotel, was a family man, and a hard working and down to earth person. People say he was always approachable and available, he cared about people, and people really cared about him. And he was driven; even in his 80’s he was still making business deals.

Here are some of Kemmons Wilson’s personal tips for success:

“Work only a half day. It makes no difference which half, it can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours.”

“Eliminate from your vocabulary the words: I don’t think I can, and substitute: I know I can.”

“A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch”
“Opportunity comes often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to hear it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it, and a head trained to use it.”

A Customer Service Story from Galway, Ireland.
This was sent in to me by one of my subscribers, Barbara Redlich from Toronto. Barbara thought it would be interesting for me to read, as she has heard me speak and thought it mirrored my philosophy. She kindly gave me permission to share it with you. Thank you Barbara.

This quote was found in a shopping mall in Galway, Ireland.

“Customers are the most important visitors in our premises; they are not dependent on us, we are dependent on them. They are not an interruption to our work, they are the purpose of it. They are not an outsider on our business, they are part of it. We are not doing them a favor by serving them, they are doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so”

That articulates very well what customer service is all about, and how we should view our customers and clients.

So many of you have asked me what I read to gain my inspiration, and other than books, there are a number of magazines and e-zines. Instead of my usual book feature this issue, I am reviewing and recommending three magazines that I subscribe to. The regular book review will return next issue.

Fast Company
This is an excellent, cutting edge business magazine. It contains great articles, a wealth of knowledge and information about the movers and shakers in the business world, and ideas that sometimes challenge traditional thought. It is published monthly and a must for anyone in business.

Travel and Leisure
I read a lot of travel magazines. I gain inspiration by reading about different cultures and eco-systems. In my opinion Travel and Leisure is the best. This glossy magazine has wonderful and practical tips on where to visit in the world and on travel savings. The travel articles make you feel you are in the destination itself. It is published monthly.

Bits and Pieces
This is a small magazine but with a lot of information. It calls itself the magazine that motivates the world. Published monthly, it contains great quotes and very interesting inspirational stories.

“ When you focus on what might have been, it gets in the way of what can be”
Patricia Fripp

“The greatest mistake a person can make is being afraid of making one”
Elbert Hubbard

“May your life be as beautiful as a summers day with just enough clouds to make you appreciate the sunshine”

Date Added: March 23, 2003 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters

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