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Embrace bad times as a challenge, not a problem – Learnings from sports coaches.

Published by Kris Glabinski

As a Dad of two teenage sporting boys, I read a lot about coaching. One of the articles I read recently was from It was about bad weather and how it affects their focus, mood, confidence and eventually affects their sports results.The article talks about how bad weather can affect the results in youth sports.  Whether you are a soccer player, tennis player or even a swimmer, there are always times when bad weather can interfere.  Cold outside, rain, wind or extreme heat… whatever conditions they are not practising under becomes a problem. Therefore their minds tend to look for excuses for not performing well, before they even start.

Coaches from the portal explain how important it is for youth to understand that bad weather is 100% out of their control. They can fall for it or they can use it as an opportunity.

They explain that the weather is the same for all players. Most of them react in the same way – bad weather affects their results. So it is an opportunity for any youth to succeed through the bad weather if they are mentally tough. This way they can use bad weather to their advantage over other players. How to do that?

Coaches explain “the key is embracing the bad weather as a challenge, not a problem”. Other players, including opponents, will often psych themselves out when the weather is wet, cold or windy. These athletes might tell themselves, “Today is going to stink. The weather is nasty and it is only going to get worse.” They have a poor mental attitude even before they start competing.”

If kids understand that and they continue to be positive and regardless of the weather they give their 100%, they gain an advantage over others who give up before they start.

I read that article and naturally compared it to the current coronavirus situation. Hotels like youths everyday try do their best. But sometimes bad weather appears. Which is 100% out of their control. It becomes a problem for many. But if it becomes a challenge – there may be an advantage to be had.

Now I know this is easy to talk about. I personally know hoteliers who are closing their hotels right now. Costs continue to exist, revenue is slashed. No light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s be honest – in such a situation many will be as confident as their cashflow. There seems to be not much they can do about it.

But the fact is, “if you are in hell, keep going”. Stopping will not help the costs. It will not bring the revenue in short term. So while others are struggling let’s look at the practical ways to keep going:

  1. What are your current operating costs? How much time do you have before cash runs out?
  2. Do you need external financing? Do you need to curtail spendings? Do you need to postpone payments? Negotiate with suppliers and financial institutions.
  3. Let’s plan: the crisis will last from A to D. In-between there will be some milestones: B, C. A has already started and whatever the D date will be, let’s focus on B. B is probably going to be the worst of the worst – the biggest panic. Affecting you and all your competitors in the same way. C will be a positive milestone – a light in the tunnel. Maybe you were not prepared for A, but you should start working on B, C and finally stage D.

First of all, a crisis means many people are stranded at home, but they can still work. Building an atmosphere for working from home and teamwork is the first step. Create virtual meeting rooms, create social discussion, use video, to show you are there, people are there and business is there.

Get the team to work on a plan for B. Do not expect to cut prices, do not expect any revenues. What you could do instead is to work out useful PR and marketing communications to your staff, your customers and your neighbours. Provide positive messages. “We can do it”, “We can’t wait to have you back”, “The team is preparing a surprise for all the guests who will return after the crisis”, “Everyone is looking to go back to normal, so are we” – with the picture of your team leader. You can also link with some sales messages: “All cancelled events will be re-accommodated together with extra this or that”, “We understand you are losing time too – we are taking the time to introduce express check in / check out…”, “Lost some priceless moments? Let’s recover them: any birthdays or weddings or proposals with a special treat”, “Time to recover from crisis – any single room booking after the crisis will be upgraded to a suite”. Use your team creativity to come up with as many ideas as you can. Remember – this situation is not a problem but a challenge. And this is how you deal with it. By being creative.

Then there will be the next phase. C time, a light in the tunnel. Some customers will start booking in. Many in advance. All contracted business will start to recover. Will you be ready for that? Use the time with your team at home to prepare communications to all your customers. Use a countdown theme. It is for you as it is for your customers. Make sure that all your bookers can count on you as soon as their travel ban is over. Make sure all distribution channels are loaded and ready. Look for new channels. Replace the ones that will take longer to recover. Increase your offer to other segments. So what if you are a business hotel? Why not do a bleisure hotel for a while. Everybody needs to relax after this crisis. It will be a happy time.

Finally phase D: fully operative mode. For some right in the high season. Do not be arrogant or greedy. Be humble and thankful to your loyal customers. Thank them for being there when you needed them in the high season. A very personal approach. But so valuable. And so eternal.

Remember what the sports coaches said: “the key is embracing the bad weather as a challenge, not a problem.” – you can’t fight the virus? challenge it.

Other players, including opponents, will often psych themselves out when the weather is wet, cold or windy. These athletes might tell themselves, “Today is going to stink. The weather is nasty and it is only going to get worse.” – if this is your competition, you have the opportunity.

Good luck!


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