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Hope is a Good Thing, Maybe the Best of Things

Josh Collins
Dec 21, 2020 12:15:00 AM

A little hope for tomorrow makes up for a whole lot of yesterdays, right? When I wrote this back in March, little could I know the havoc COVID would wreak on those closest to me throughout the hospitality, travel and tourism industry? And while we’re still grossly unaware of its holistic impact, my heart feels deeply for those in very real circumstances having hard conversations around how they’re going to provide for their families during this holiday and Christmas season.

What seemed obvious to me then, remains even truer still today. Our communities are desperately looking for hope. They’re needing to recover, dare I say even heal, from the trauma 2020 has inflicted. They’re looking for those empathic leaders who say “I’m sorry, I’m hurting too.” And they’re looking for purposeful leaders with a renewed vision for the problems desperately needing to be solved in our next normal.

So let’s start rightfully where we should as 2020 comes to a close, namely with Hope.

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” - Andy Durfresne, Shawshank Redemption

Andy’s right you know, hope is a good thing, a very good thing in fact. As 2020 comes to a close, my hope for you as you read and share this throughout your community is for you and your team to take a step back together, embrace one another with empathy, and celebrate the resilience displayed this year.

A close friend of mine, Jeff, recently helped me think about this by describing a healthier rhythm of detaching from what’s happening in order to pay closer attention to what’s actually happening. What a paradox, right? But that’s just it, our industry has experienced the longest period of growth on record yet this year has been more traumatic for our communities than ever. It’s created a desperate need for organizational transformation, and for us to do the harder work in making the critical observations we’ve long ignored in our industry.

Indeed there is work ahead, but there is also hope! When we take a longer look back at our shared histories, we reframe the desperation we’ve experienced this year and look forward with anticipation towards the innovation to come. Consider simply the examples of Dropbox, Slack, Uber, Instagram, and Pinterest emerging out of the Great Recession of 2008. There are, of course, countless more examples, like when Kellog pivoted to radio during the Great Depression giving their business a much-needed boost over and against Post.

But of course, for every exciting story of innovation, there are even more of those who’ve failed to see the currents of change and adapt. You know many of them off the top of your head. Remember Blockbuster? But there are others like Tower Records, Blackberry, Polaroid, and Toys”R”Us as well.

Even still, hope remains!

How do I know?

Because the hospitality, travel and tourism industry is made up of some of the most resilient and remarkable leaders I’ve ever witnessed. 2020 has given our industry its George Bailey moment, and the world has now seen what it’s like without a vibrant visitor economy. It’s why I still believe as Destination Leaders, we were created for such a time as this. What I've learned proves to me when we double down focusing on why we exist, our teams will discover what matters most and we’ll continue to build bridges of trust through transparency.

2021 certainly isn’t the future we would’ve wanted, but it is the future we’re entering. The problems we’ll solve together will undoubtedly continue to illuminate just how essential we are to our communities at large. At Entrada, we’re already seeing the first fruits of this with states like Wyoming and destinations like Fort Worth and Salt Lake City.

So as we begin to detach from what’s happened in 2020 and start to pay closer attention to what’s happening moving into 2021, let’s remind one another hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.

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