In the Condo-Hotel Business? Avoid 'Bad' PR with Proper Reserve Management

By Georgi Bohrod Principal, GBG & Associates | October 28, 2008

Are you in the condo-hotel business? There are already reports surfacing regarding legal issues stemming from poor asset management. Although condo-hotels are sexy, popular and full of promise, they come with their own set of challenges.

Jeff Yamaguchi, EVP, Global Resorts Inc. (Las Vegas) cautions that there are sure fire ways to ensure a good reputation for your Condo-Hotel:

Not only can your PR "people" ensure that the message is transmitted accurately, but there are nuts and bolts procedures that can preserve the reputation of your property.

Whether a Condo-Hotel, Private Residence Club, Timeshare or Fractional Property, shared ownership has become a luxury commodity; lifestyle experiences have replaced budget vacations; and reserves are not just for replacing the roof any more. Unless resort and hotel managers have the proper financial tools to manage the assets, they could be faced with a rude awakening in the coming years.

In the past, establishing reserve budget costs was little more than estimating a fixed percentage of the operating fees at the start of a project and then crossing your fingers. The time of the traditional "WAG" (loosely translated as wild ass guessing) is long gone. Welcome to the world of Association reserve shortfalls, special assessments and even law suits.

In the world of shared ownership and mixed-use development, the introduction of brands has substantially changed the playing field. Customers' trust in traditional hospitality brands such as Marriott, Starwood, and Four Seasons along (in the timeshare world) of brands such as Bluegreen, Vistana, and Sunterra has propelled shared ownership into a multi-billion dollar industry. But along with that added credibility comes added responsibility; both brands and independents are charged with living up to a series of higher standards.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.