Who's Watching Your Asset?

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | January 12, 2010

Sound familiar in your business? Unlike Waldo, owners wear many hats - especially multi-property owners and those with supplemental real estate investments outside of hospitality. Managing a vast portfolio can't be done alone, so oftentimes these owners hire a management company to oversee day-to-day operations.

But who's watching the watchdog when the asset isn't performing and investment objectives aren't being met?

Enter the role of the asset manager. Selecting an asset manager from among a sea of look-alikes, however, is a risky business for owners and institutional investors. Neither party, not even those who own a lodging property on a temporary basis, wants to turn over a hotel's operation to someone who is a rank amateur at the task.

Asset Management Defined

Understanding the role of an asset manager can be confusing. To many, there is a fine, almost invisible line between an asset management company and a hotel management company-especially when a hotel management company offers asset management services. The differences, however, are distinctive, as the asset manager provides more of a protective layer between owners and third-party management companies.

An impartial, third-party asset management company becomes the eyes and ears of owners, identifying quickly if the management company is overseeing the property skillfully and professionally, meeting operational efficiencies and charging appropriate fees. Likewise, an asset manager acts as a knowledgeable intermediary between the owner, the franchise company and management company to generate the best returns on their investments.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.