Editorial Board   

Mr. Kalanda

Jan Kalanda

Co-Founder, Morgansheer Hospitality

Jan Kalanda is a co-founder of Morgansheer Hospitality, an in-house hospitality team at Level Group, an innovative, full-service commercial and residential New York real estate brokerage company. Born in Czechoslovakia, Mr Kalanda emigrated to the U.S. in 1983, becoming an American Citizen in 1989. Mr. Kalanda began his 32-year hospitality career as Chief Engineer at the Garden City Hotel in New York. This experience at an iconic, 1874 Long Island landmark, with 272 rooms, multiple restaurants, conference facilities and a spa, laid the foundation for his successful career in property and hotel management. In 2002, Mr. Kalanda became a founding member of HK Hotels. As Executive Vice President he oversaw the development, opening and operations of six properties over a 15 year span in New York and Prague. With HK Hotels, Kalanda was responsible for all aspects of the pre-opening from design, to construction, to coordinating the opening with the property supporting and operations teams. The luxury properties became premiere boutique hotels in NYC and Prague, including the 100-room Wales Hotel, the 103-room Elysee Hotel, 50-room Casablanca Hotel, 60-room Library Hotel, 73-room Giraffe Hotel and the 52-room Aria Hotel in Prague. In 2008 Mr. Kalanda joined the Gansevoort Hotel Group, a young and dynamic company that had the vision to develop its first property in New York's Meatpacking District. The hotel became the company's flagship and led to a complete renaissance in the area. As part of the Executive team, he was instrumental in searching, developing and opening new properties. A further three properties were added to the Gansevoort portfolio: the Gansevoort South in South Beach, Florida; the ultra deluxe Gansevoort Turks & Caicos; and the 249-room Gansevoort Park in Midtown, New York City. All properties are now globally established, thriving financially and remain stable. Recently, Kalanda helped to found the in-house hospitality team, Morgensheer Hospitality, at Level Group. Backed up by Level Group's commercial brokerage resources, Kalanda and his partner, Trica Jean-Baptiste, are uniquely positioned to address the full scope of the hospitality industry's real estate needs.

Mr. Kalanda can be contacted at 917-593 3037 or jan@kalanda.us

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.