Library Archives

 
Andrew Glincher

New rules governing eligibility for overtime pay for various types of employees have significant implications for the hotel industry. Designed to clarify and update what were perceived to be ambiguous and sometimes confusing regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor has redefined what constitutes exempt and non-exempt employees. Although the new regulations do not alter the fundamental rationale behind the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime rules - that employees who work over 40 hours per week must receive overtime pay unless they are otherwise exempt - these new developments are extremely important for hotels, especially those whose workforces are not governed by collective bargaining agreements. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

Under most circumstances, hotel owners want to maximize the value of their properties. However, doing what appears to be the opposite - arguing that your property is worth less - can actually have a positive impact on your bottom line. Having a lower valuation is desirable for the purposes of real estate tax assessment. The lower the valuation, the lower the property taxes. At a time when the economy is weak and the hospitality industry is suffering, any cost-saving can be helpful and a reduction in property taxes can sometimes provide a good financial cushion. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

The economy has caused serious problems for numerous hotel properties across the country, as it has for every segment of the travel and hospitality industries. But challenges for some can mean opportunities for others. With so many properties in distressed financial condition, there are buyers in the marketplace, actively seeking to identify opportunities. There are individuals and companies with the resources to buy and hold onto a promising hotel, and ride out the tough economy. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

What should a hotel manager do, for example, if an individual wearing an objectionable anti-war tee shirt appears in the lobby of the hotel? What if it's a group of people with tee shirts? What if they are carrying signs? What if they are legitimate hotel guests, who have reserved and paid for rooms? Can you ask them to leave the lobby, or the restaurant, or other "public" areas of the hotel? Does it make a difference if the person is simply wearing a tee shirt, but doing so quietly, as opposed to handing out flyers or circulating a petition? With the international political climate being what it is, this incident has some interesting implications for hotels as well, particularly since by their nature, they play host to diverse visitors from every country in the world. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

One of the most difficult decisions a hotel owner can face is whether or not to put a property up for sale - especially during a down economy. Values are less than they would be in a boom time, and there are fewer investors and fewer dollars available for acquisitions. Nevertheless, property owners aren't always lucky enough to be selling in a strong economy; many times, it's necessary to sell under less them optimal circumstances. Lower interest rates and financing costs can sometimes contribute to a greater price or at least help to offset declining revenues. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

How do you explain gender discrimination to someone from a country where women are prohibited from walking in the streets unescorted by a man? How do you explain racial discrimination to someone from a country that is still ruled by a caste system? How do you resolve disputes among supervisors and subordinates when the employees are from countries that have been at war for centuries? There is no industry in which these questions create more of a real-world challenge than the hospitality industry. With many layers of employees - ranging from management to entertainers to housekeeping and maintenance staff, whose formal education may differ and who may be relatively new to this country - the hotel industry has a very diverse personnel structure. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

Not since the building boom of the late 1980s was followed by the recession of the early 1990s has the hotel industry faced as trying a time as it does today. As then, the period of prosperity in the late 1990s and the seemingly ever-increasing demand for hotel rooms caused significant new construction in markets around the country. Similarly, an economic slide has caused a sharp decrease in business and leisure travel. Today, we have the added factor of the fear of terrorism causing many would-be travelers in the United States and around the world to feel more secure staying closer to home - placing the entire travel and hospitality industry in a precarious position. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

Many businesses in every industry go through periods in which they have to implement layoffs. The hotel industry is no exception. Since many of a hotel's costs are fixed - the property needs to be maintained, the restaurant needs to stay open - often the only way of reducing costs in the face of revenue shortfalls in through layoffs. Layoffs are always painful, but experienced managers have learned that they are sometimes necessary to protect the long-term viability of the business. Making these situations even more difficult is the possibility that laid off employees - who may be hurt and angry - will argue that they have been victims of discrimination. How do you prevent this type of difficult situation from leading to litigation? Read on...

Andrew Glincher

The economy is improving, hotel rooms are filling up again, and the marketplace is more competitive than ever. New projects are being planned, investors are looking for opportunities, and hotel owners need to take a hard look at their operations to make sure they are positioned to capture as much market share as possible. Is it time to add onto the property, constructing new guest rooms, or a conference center, or recreational facilities, or a spa? Are there relatively minor expenditures, short of new construction, that can add significant value? As with other aspects of hotel development and management, knowledge of the marketplace, knowledge of your clientele and insight into your own positioning are crucial. For example, upscale isn't always the way to go. What if there is a new convention center? In a large city, with an abundance of luxury hotels within a short distance, perhaps a three-star hotel, offering convenience, accessibility and relatively low cost for business travelers and convention-goers, would be far better. You need to identify your customer and the demands of your location. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

The condo hotel concept has definitely gained recognition as a way of raising equity and maximizing the value of a property In fact, published reports estimate that there are currently more than 200 of these projects, including over 60,000 condo units, currently under development. There are a number of market forces driving this trend... Read on...

Andrew Glincher

Hotel operators considering new construction, expansions or major renovation projects are now in the best economic environment in recent memory. That's good news for independent properties in need of expansion or upgrades as well as for larger brands with extensive capital needs across their portfolios. Where the traditional sources of financing were equity participants and banks (which usually required significant equity investment before they would lend money), today we are seeing considerable interest among investment banking firms, pension funds, mutual funds and other entities which have not been as active as the hotel market. But with limited vehicles for delivering the kind of returns they need, these investors are starting to look at hotels as an opportunity with great potential. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

How do you make your project a reality in the face of organized opposition? Preparation at the outset is one of the keys. Property owners can't simply design the project they think is best and expect to put their heads down and push it through. You need to do your due diligence and truly understand the issues that are likely to arise. Retain local consultants, experts, attorneys and public relations people if necessary to provide insights into the issues the community considers important and where the obstacles are likely to lie. Read on...

Andrew Glincher

The benefits of developing, building and opening a new hotel from the ground up in an urban, downtown metropolitan area are many. Closeness to attractions, whether they are major retail centers or sporting venues, and proximity to hubs of business and tourism are just a few examples of the benefits. However, metropolitan markets present significant barriers to entry for ground up development and construction of a new hotel. These barriers can prohibit and delay a project, which in turn can present significant added cost and unbudgeted expense for new hotel development projects. Read on...

Jonathan Greenbaum

Developers are increasingly finding alternative uses for their hotel properties, including condominium conversions, fractional, condo-hotels, extended stay and other alternative uses to the traditional hotel. Whether to convert a hotel to another use depends largely on market factors. In the past few years, we have seen many hotels being converted to residential condominiums. We are now starting to see conversions of commercial office space to hotels. Conversions raise a myriad of property, regulatory and zoning issues. Developers often overlook the labor and employment aspects of such transactions and conversions. Conversions of hotel properties are far more complex transactions than a traditional real estate transaction. Hotels are the most labor intensive of all commercial real estate uses. If not handled properly and in a timely fashion, labor and employment issues related to a hotel conversion can derail or significantly delay any contemplated change in the use of the hotel property. Read on...

Nelson Migdal

The hospitality industry as a whole, and various sectors within the industry in particular, continue to face challenges arising from changes in the local, regional, national and international marketplace. We will identify and briefly discuss some of these emerging issues. Read on...

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.