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Larry K. Kimball

Developers fortunate enough to have an opportunity to develop hotels in or near heritage areas have a duty to incorporate history into their project. Cultural heritage activities are one of tourism's biggest market opportunities but how to capture it? This article outlines five models to profitably attract and retain those visitors and their discretionary dollars. READ MORE

Donald R. Boyken

The Baby Boomer's new "theme park" are now the casino and the spa. In the 1990's, the baby boomer generation - those born between the years 1946 and 1962 -- spent a great deal of their time and money visiting theme parks with their families. Now that their kids have grown, these same thrill-seekers have shifted their focus toward entertaining themselves. One venue that has been a major beneficiary of this trend is the spa. According to the International Spa Association, based in Lexington, Kentucky, some 57 million American adults have been to a spa. There are an estimated 12,000 spas in the United States, and that's up from 5,700 just a few years earlier. Today, spas occupy an estimated 86.7 million square feet of indoor space in the U.S. Spas are this country's fourth largest leisure industry. Collectively, they generate more than $11 billion in revenue each year. READ MORE

Rollin Bell

A well-managed restaurant in your hotel can be a terrific source of revenue. After all, a high quality restaurant will keep guests on your property for meals and can even draw non-guests to your hotel for dinner and/or drinks. But competing with other restaurants, lounges and bars in your area may not be as easy as you think. As great as your food, service and location may be, guests are increasingly seeking out exciting venues. Unless your hotel's restaurant is up to date with the latest design trends, you could very well be letting money walk out the door. If you are considering building or renovating your hotel restaurant, there are several ideas to consider. Read on to learn ten important tips that can help guide your project. READ MORE

Rollin Bell

One of the first things a guest sees when driving onto your property is your hotel's parking lot. A fresh, black coat of asphalt makes a positive first impression. A parking lot exhibiting signs of neglect or disrepair will have a profound negative impact on guests - even before they walk through the front door. Beyond appearances, a cracked parking lot can be a liability for hotel executives and managers if one of your guests becomes injured. So how can you, as a hotel executive, know when it is time to repair your parking lot? Besides planning for recurring inspections and maintenance, there are several trouble spots to look for. READ MORE

Donald R. Boyken

With annual spending exceeding $6 billion, tourism is the world's largest industry. Travel and travel-related industries employ over 234 million people worldwide. That's almost 9 percent of the world's population. By 2016, travel and tourism will account for approximately 10 percent of the global economy. Our success in this rapidly growing and important industry depends on our ability to develop and build high-quality facilities, both domestically and abroad. When considering international expansion, our understanding of cultural differences-whether they be as complex as a tax code or as simple as a personal greeting-is crucial to ensuring future success. READ MORE

Rollin Bell

If your hotel is 'behind the curve,' it might be time to start thinking about revitalizing your design. In addition to what you typically think about when you consider renovating, it's also important to reflect on the present condition of your wall coverings, especially in high-traffic areas such as your lobby. Creating an inviting lobby is crucial. It's an extension of your company's identity and, if it's a successful design, it can work to keep your employees and guests happy and loyal. People are usually willing to pay higher rates in exchange for a positive guest experience. READ MORE

Fred B. Roedel, III

Developing a new hotel property in a historic area presents an exciting opportunity to develop a unique property. It, however, also presents significant challenges that if not kept in mind can become roadblocks to success. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to take on the extra headaches commonly associated with developing a hotel in a historic zone? The answer is that a properly planned and well-thought out hotel development in a historic zone leads to the creation of a truly unique property that often becomes an important focal point for the surrounding community. Both factors result is a positive economic return for investors. READ MORE

Fred B. Roedel, III

Renovation projects are successful only when all involved parties are aware of and plan for the unique challenges they pose. Completing renovations in an operating hotel, making today's standards work in an older building, completing work within a short down period, and effectively dealing with existing and unknown conditions without negatively impacting the budget, the schedule or guests are just a few common challenges. READ MORE

Michael Goldstein

Many properties can not afford the luxury of closing down operations during renovation. As such, one of the biggest challenges that hoteliers across the country face is how to effectively complete either type of renovation while staying profitable and keeping the hotel property open to guests. A quick Internet search shows many disgruntled guests who were unhappy with the quality of service provided to them at various hotels where they stayed while construction took place. They have posted their unflattering experiences and reviews on popular sites where other potential guests are likely to read and be dissuaded from staying at that particular property. Many of the guests' complaints could have been easily resolved, or altogether avoided, had the property adequately planned or known how to deal with guests during a renovation. The following steps and actions can be taken by an hotelier to maintain order, lessen the impact of construction on the guests, and create a more positive environment for everyone involved, including hotel staff. READ MORE

Rollin Bell

Hotel renovations are on the rise. According to a report issued by accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, U.S. Hotels spent a total of $3 billion renovating and upgrading guest rooms and public spaces in 2004. Of this spending, a large percentage was devoted to major structural renovation activities. In its biannual Lodging Survey which includes responses from more than 2,150 hotel managers and owners, the American Hotel and Lodging Association reported that nearly 90 percent of participants said to be planning major structural renovations in the coming year. READ MORE

Rollin Bell

Over the past decade, the hospitality industry - like the rest of the commercial real estate industry - has begun incorporating the use of environmentally friendly, green materials into the design and renovation of existing spaces. The result has been new hotels that are not only aesthetically pleasing - but also sustainable buildings that are making a positive impact on the communities in which they are located. The breakthroughs in green construction have been remarkable. Some international hotels, for example, have been able to reduce energy costs by constructing sod roofs consisting of mud and other organic materials. Other hotels have found ways to minimize waste runoff through innovative engineering techniques, while still others have increased energy efficiency through use of natural and ambient lighting. READ MORE

Fred B. Roedel, III

When developing a hotel, operations must be given priority standing. Operations are essential in order to get a hotel up, running, and producing revenue within a set timeline. Developers must spend the time required to integrate all aspects related to operating the hotel into the overall development plan at its inception. Failure to do so will inevitably result in costly delays. If you do not have an operations expert on staff, hire a consultant. Experienced operators are invaluable when it comes to establishing and meeting performance standards for the design, time, cost and quality of a hotel development. READ MORE

Steven Belmonte

How many extra room nights do you have to sell to make an additional $1.5 million in profit? No matter what size or type of hotel you own/operate or what market you compete in, your answer most likely is "a lot more than I might be able to in today's competitive climate." Ironically, few hotel owner/operators think in terms of extra roomnights needed to be sold when weighing the pros and cons of renovating a property and/or reflagging and repositioning it. This is just one reason why so many renovations and reflaggings fail to recoup an adequate return on investment and why capital markets for such projects today often are deemed too risky. These and dozens of other "cancers" are blackening what otherwise undoubtedly would be a much-brighter profitability picture for lodging. Due diligence means 'do your homework,' which includes many steps along the road to success. Let's look at eight crucial areas that you will need to focus on... READ MORE

Fred B. Roedel, III

There are three options to expanding your portfolio of hotels. You can purchase an existing property and leave it as is, build a new property or purchase an existing one and renovate it. Economics is what will drive your ultimate decision. In order to determine which expansion option best meets your objectives, it is important to properly and reliably evaluate each opportunity by breaking down its time, cost and quality elements in order to ensure success. READ MORE

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Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.