Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin.

Have you woken up recently and thought about this film?

I do, almost every morning when I wake up. I instantly realize that the monotony of the situation will push me into the same routine, a nice trip to the shower, a tour in the kitchen, I sit to relax, have breakfast with my lovely wife and son, talk about “almost” the same topic “The mono theme” COVID 2019, and then go to work, 10 steps away.

Around noon or 1 pm, depending on the number of calls I have, I know that I need to move quickly to the kitchen or living room for a nice meal (whatever we chose before we were locked down), a shot of espresso coffee, and then back to work.

During my calls, meetings, and emails, when everyone is asking “How are you?” I always respond the same, “I’m fine, here locked down…”

By 6 pm or 7 pm, if the day hasn’t been too boring, I choose to relax a bit and get some fresh air in the living room, have dinner, and watch the international news to see how the world is doing. By 10 pm I am in bed reading a nice book, and the alarm will wake me up at 6:00 am the following morning. It continues like this, one day after another.

This figurative and “almost” real routine got me to think about the film “Groundhog Day.”

I don’t know if you remember the film, but one day after another, Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) faces the same situations and lives the same day repeatedly.

In the film, Phil has fun while he is trying to figure out how to break the endless loop he is stuck in. He tries almost everything, but at the end of each day, the loop starts all over again at 6:00 am. 

If you recall, the only way out was to change, to transform the protagonist character. Only when Phil changed was he free, because by doing the same thing every day he was condemned to live the same reality every day. 

A good friend of mine always says that “foolish people are those who believe they can change the world by repeating the same things every day.”

When a crisis strikes, things change very quickly, and you have limited time to adapt and react. 

These days, we are all living our own personal Groundhog Day, with one important difference: we are not stuck in a time loop. We can use this time in quarantine, it has so much value as it has become a sort of  “break time” which you can use to improve and perform better, to adapt and transform your business, which is exactly what the market will expect as soon as we are able to go back to work.

When we get out of this crisis (and this is happening right now slowly in the US, and surely in Europe) the market, customers, conditions, regulations, and legal requirements will all change. Are we getting ready for this change, or will we resist internally to keep life as it was before?

Again, just remember that the Vacation Rental business will be definitively changed when everyone goes back to work and back to reality. It has already happened, even if you don´t see it.

OTAs will never be as they were before. They are all now raising serious money but, is this money only to cover expenses and losses, or are they redefining and transforming themselves? What are the lessons learned from what happened? 

Bars and restaurants are now facing change too, as they are now putting tables further away and hiring personnel to deliver food. Some may have to completely transform their restaurants into food delivery or take away shops.  

Group activities will almost definitely become individual or small group activities, and having fun (at least next summer) will not include screaming at a live concert or dancing at a disco, but instead, it will be having a nice pizza at home. Are you ready to be able to provide all of these services to increase your revenue with every single booking?

As a Property Manager, do you realize today how your own role has changed? Are you ready to accept the challenge?

Bookings this next season will also be different. Now, customers will look for a house or a villa, but they will also want an important number of services that you may not have at the moment. Ready to increase your portfolio of services?

If you think about the enormous amount of things that will change and you understand that we have a very limited amount of time to make all the necessary changes, then you will realize that you are not in a time loop, but rather you are running out of time.

Despite the actual situation and circumstances, I have a very positive view of the future. Those who followed their instincts and invested time and energy to keep on pushing forward will find a very familiar scenario when this crisis is over.  Those who stay in the comfort zone and allow the Groundhog Day loop to continue with the same message one day after another may not be positioned for success when this crisis ends.

Just make sure you wake up in time, otherwise, you risk missing many opportunities.

José Vázquez

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