Monthly Archives: July 2018

Hotel category- lil stats, big importance

Rarely do I see a business article use data with such clarity & insight

This surprisingly well written business article (esp for Canadian publication)  supports oft-ignored lessons about Market Assessment; your boss will want to know  1. category size; 2. category growth,; 3. factors influencing growth and also 4.  competitive SWOT’s. The data/ considerations should look out a few years.

Given the need for a ‘future focus”, many ppl may assume the Conventions/ Tourism Biz should be consumed about airbnb data. Not so fast. Despite the popular media’s focus on casual shared accommodation, the reality is that Bed & Breakfasts & airbnb-type accommodations don’t influence a location most meeting managers would select for a convention; what DOES influence it is a city’s perceived safety, transport & services infrastructure, entertainment options, meeting halls/ convention centres – and the capacity & service level of legitimate inns & hotels. And Toronto isn’t faring well on that front.

There are some extremely relevant figures here – on prices & capacity/ market. The Convention Biz is big- with big ripples to all aspects of a city’s economy. The data seems to indicate Toronto has an uphill climb to continue to be a ‘world class’ convention site. This Biz Category invites a market share fight as would any big category; I hope Mayor Tory takes time from ‘detail management’ to review this Big Picture opportunity – and to strategize/ invest accordingly.

In his favour? Mayor Tory’s business background, and his common sense actions to ease road traffic congestion on major routes.

Discouraging signs? A still-woeful regional transit ‘system’; a myopic decision to spend billions of taxpayer $ to BYPASS a borough with a subway; a brutal lack of accountability on transit car supply; road construction contracts that still seem to still be poorly written, unenforced, or both (youre hereby invited to play: “Let’s see if any work is done in the closed lanes of Hwy427 today!”)


C-Stores: unusual & oft untapped retail partners

A fine new list is out, reminding me how promising Convenience Stores (‘C-Stores’) are as a distribution partner, notably for:

  • impulse-oriented items (snacks, gift cards, etc)
  • off-hours purchases
  • on-the-run commuter items (water, antifreeze, sunglasses)
  • cottager or vacationer items (last-minute HABA items**, bug repellent)
  • addiction-oriented fill-in purchases (caffeine, smokes, lighters, energy drinks, soda,…)

The 1st new promotion I brought to P&G Canada was to suggest P&G try a first-ever C-Store display event (Kudos to SalesMerch colleagues JFM & MattG!) targeting summer cottagers en-route, or at point of destination. Within P&G, we referred to it a the “Small-Size” event; the name understates the importance of these comparatively ‘low volume’ events.

  1. Although the event wasn’t just about making profit, it was nicely profitable (small sizes typically being the most profitable sizes!).
  2. It was strategic, preventing OUR customers (Crest, Scope, Always, Pampers buyers) from leaving our brand due to a temporary shortage. Holding loyalty before that was much of a revered idea elsewhere.

[side note: A big tip of the hat to the “crazy risk-takers” in the Sales Merch Dept who creatively massaged a way through P&G’s conundrum-creating criteria #2. ie It wasn’t hard to prove it’d pass #1. “On Strategy” nor #3. “Profitable”; the dilemma for entrepreneurish staff was showing an idea is already #2.”Proven” – when it has never been done before!]

C-Stores’ potential goes WAY beyond selling gas, lottery tickets, tobacco, rolling papers, Doritos. I worked in one for years & respect their resilience; when grocery stores added late-night hours, C-stores profited by selling lottery tickets. By the time grocery stores started selling lottery tickets, C-Stores had significantly upgraded their self-serve coffee & brought in lines of 24/7 RTE fresh prepared meals. Now, some C-Stores sell fine-quality fresh-cut flowers. And other- get ready for it- sushi!

So don’t count’em out. C-Stores are wiley; they’re flexible; they’re open-minded to make a buck. And they might be your next distribution partner!

The Top 100 USA list is here: