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Holly Stiel

The big buzz these days is to talk all about the customer Experience. It is pass'e to use the term customer service and all the rage to sing the praises of the customer's experience. I am all for delivering memorable and pleasurable experiences, especially in the hospitality industry. I have been advocating being a "Memory Maker" for many years. It is just that no matter what you call it, the route to the customer's experience comes through the employee. If we only focus on the customers and do not give equal focus to the employees, we do not have a prayer of delivering the experience we are striving for or promising in our branding and advertising. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

On January 20, 2009 our country witnessed a transition in power as Barack Obama took the Oath of Office and pledged bold action and change as President of the United States during a time of fiscal crises. As President Obama shared his remarks and vision, the country seemed revitalized through his commitment. Hoteliers and hospitality leaders can use this momentum as an opportunity to revitalize their commitment and inaugurate positive changes in service into their respective worlds of guest expectations. What are the top five things your hospitality business could change now and how would you go about it? READ MORE

Richard D. Hanks

It is, actually, the "small stuff" that separates the winners from the losers. It is mistakes with the small stuff that the customer uses to make future purchasing decisions. If my towels aren't fresh smelling, or the fish is greasy, or the remote control battery for my TV is dead... I don't really care how great your hotel's branding is, how impactful your advertising appears, or how attractive your d'ecor. Little mistakes can have large consequences. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

How many times does the guest feel like they are the one waiting versus the wait staff waiting on them? What are the timing issues that make or break a service encounter? How does timing impact the overall guest experience as a service factor? Consider making time to analyze 'time' with employees who have "time" with guests. The 'weight' of the wait in the world of service delivery should not be underweight or overweight! READ MORE

Joshua Miller

While hotels spend tremendous time and energy looking for strategic ways to make the most of their operation, they often fail to look at the fact that the property sits in the middle of a large parking facility. This facility often takes up as much real estate as the hotel itself, but because parking is outside of the core focus of the industry, hotel parking facilities are rarely strategically managed. Utilizing an asset management approach for parking is equally as effective as it is for rooms income, and can often make a significant improvement to an asset's overall value. READ MORE

Edward Donaldson

As hotel guests in every sector of the industry, whether it is middle market or luxury, become more and more educated and discerning, there are two key elements that guests look for and will make a property stand out: personalized service and perceived value. Not only do guests want to feel special but they want to think they are getting value. In this case it is not necessarily about financial savings but about an experience worthy of those hard earned dollars. With the hotel industry beginning to show signs of an overall recovery and travel options abound, guest service and satisfaction will be critical elements in not only maintaining current guests, but attracting new ones. READ MORE

John Ely

This article provides just a few ways to help promote your hotel's brand by utilizing the reservations staff - there are many more. The Internet has changed the way we shop and research services and products. It represents a better opportunity to promote your brand than the old days when mass advertising was all that existed. Remember, even with online booking services, many potential guests still make a call into the property to learn more. Either way, by personalizing the experience you can raise your chances of landing that prospect. READ MORE

Dawn Walzak

Tourism executives are being put to the test to anticipate guests needs before their competitors. A hotel room is truly becoming a home away from home and a refuge for travelers regardless of the purpose of their hotel stay. Guest's expectations for a stress-free hassle-free visit are increasing. Which begs the question: What is being done to afford comfortable guest experiences? READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Half of the US populace is on psychiatric drugs, and the vast majority of them do not need to be. But having taken these mind-altering drugs, they develop a biochemical personality that cuts them off from others, either making them wooden and unemotional; or causing great discomfort, making them into walking time-bombs who blow up from time to time. The hospitality industry is based on the concept of hospitality. It is hard to be friendly to anyone when one feels half dead, drugged, or when one is seething with upset... READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Whether or not Mr Horst Schulze, former chairman of Ritz-Carlton, was serious when he announced his plans to introduce a six-star hotel chain that was defined in part by private butlers, he was signaling a recognition of the value of a certain something that classic British butlers bring to the guest experience. So what's the connection between the British butler of the past and present, and the future hospitality professional? How does one move service employees from transient lower-paid wage earners to professional service providers acting with pride and knowledge, more akin to Life Consultants than room service and caring as much for guests as their own mothers? READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Nearly two-thirds of affluent travelers surveyed in a Pepperdine study last summer stated they set their sites primarily on being pampered-luxury and premium service being key elements-when deciding where to stay while away from home. This is good news for those hotels and resorts with spas that have invested in the latest industry concept of spa butlers. READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Rare is the week that goes by without word of some upscale hotel offering butler service as a way to improve service and retain or gain that coveted 5-star or diamond status. That's as it should be. But then consider the story broken recently by the Wall Street Journal of industry veteran Horst Schulze's declaration that he intends to establish a line of hotels with a six-star rating. What does he specify as the criteria for such an august label? Private swimming pools. And personal butlers. It seems butlers are really not just for the wealthy in their private estates, but also for their convenience when they travel. So, in providing butler service, a pertinent question might be "What exactly is a butler?" Or more to the point, "What are butlers in a hotel setting?" READ MORE

Steven Ferry

For spa directors in hotels and resorts offering spa services, there is the constant pressure to excel even further and so differentiate themselves in the minds of their guests; to find compelling ways to entice guests to return when there are many other venues for them to choose from. The same could be said of the butler service offered by many such hotels and resorts. Both programs add value and prestige, but is there a way to improve these service offerings? The short answer is, "Yes!" READ MORE

Steven Ferry

In an industry that is completely premised on the idea of service, and in which service is a key differentiator, it's a no-brainer to institute butler service. Butlers have always represented the pinnacle in service quality. After the initial required training, the running of a butler service is not much more expensive to provide than regular service, yet it allows rack rates to be raised and creates a loyal following of repeat visitors, as well as enhancing word of mouth and thus new business that make the investment most sound. Instituting butler service can be done gradually, perhaps instituting it on one floor, and at not such a great cost, especially when considering the return on investment. Fifteen rooms can be well serviced by four butlers on three shifts, for instance, with one of them assigned as Head butler. If service is to be 24-hour, then a fifth butler would be needed. Assuming an owner or manager decides to institute butler service, the next question is, "How?" READ MORE

Steven Ferry

The likelihood that any single hotel will be the target of a terrorist act is very small indeed, given the number of hotels in the world. The risks increase with the size of the hotel, its location, it being a trophy building or the destination of guests whose views are antipathetic to those of any of a variety of terrorist groups. Or perhaps the fact that it is an easy, soft target and offers a way of doing what terrorists do best: destroy buildings and lives, undermine the peace of mind and economies of whole nations. So how safe does that make any hotel? READ MORE

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Coming up in May 2020...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Creative Innovation

Being eco-friendly is no longer a fad. It is an urgent planetary need and hotels are actively doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint by implementing sustainable, green practices. In addition to the goodwill derived from doing the right thing, hotels are also realizing the benefits to their business. A large percentage of Millennials expect hotels to be eco-friendly and will only patronize those properties that are proudly conforming. Consequently, more hotels are realizing that sustainability is a key element in a successful branding strategy. In addition, going green can lead to a more profitable bottom line, as savings on electricity, water and cleaning materials can add up. Also, there are other advantages that come with being an eco-friendly business, such as government subsidies and tax and loan incentives. As a result, many hotels are finding innovative ways to integrate eco-friendly practices into their business. Geo-thermal energy systems, along with energy-from-waste systems, are being used to heat and cool the property. Passive solar panels, green roofs, natural lighting and natural ventilation strategies also assist in energy conservation. Low-flow water systems and plumbing fixtures make a contribution, as does eco-friendly hardwood flooring, and energy efficient televisions and appliances throughout the property. In addition, some hotels have implemented in-room recycling programs, and only provide all-natural, personal care items. One hotel has actually constructed a bee-keeping operation on their grounds. Not only is this good for the bees but the hotel also produces products from the operation which they sell. This kind of creative innovation also holds enormous appeal to guests. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.