Hotel veterans like myself have used their experience to launch a sole practitioner consulting practice. During my years in the hotel industry and consulting profession, as a member of the Advisory Council for the hotel school at Michigan State University, and mentoring small businesses for the Small Business Administration I've had and have been exposed to some interesting myths about starting a consulting practice. Here are three that I frequently hear:

1) With years of experience operating and developing hotels - I would make an excellent hotel consultant.

2) Being well known in the hotel industry, serving as an officer in my state hotel association, and winning several awards I should not have difficulty in lining up clients.

3) It does not take me very long to decide what's wrong with a hotel and make a list of the recommendations needed to improve things.

Experiences and recognition will certainly provide an advantage. However, there are major characteristics of the consulting profession that differ from operations and development in hospitality. Hotel companies have cadres of people that are brilliant in operations and marketing so they usually do not hire consultants in those disciplines. However, they do "go outside" for advice but when they do, it's not always with a "hospitality" consultant. These other business consultants are hired for a variety of special engagements like human resources, public relations, social media, design, and capital markets that are applicable to all industries.

Today's sole practitioner in hotel consulting soon learns that operating and marketing hoteliers do not hire hotel consultants. It is rare when a general manager or marketing director engages a hotel consultant. Their bosses don't either.

There are however engagements for hotel consultants available especially with the smaller hotel companies. You just have to know where to find the decision maker and learn where they need help as the hotel industry continually experiences major changes and has become progressively more complex.

Since the day of the generalist is over, today's consultants have learned to match their particular strengths and specialties with a market for those needs. The anatomy of consulting has also changed. This is seen in client needs, transactions, ownership types, operating platforms, disruptors, project programming, and brand offerings . Today's leading hotel consultants are truly different from their predecessors who specialized in market and feasibility studies.

Discover where your expertise matches the market. An excellent starting place is the world's most recognized professional organization, the International Society of Hospitality Consultant's website. Click on to view their wide range of functionalities and specialties.

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