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Gary Henkin

Today's economic climate requires that spas become more attuned to ways in which they can maximize their net operating income. It is crucial to avoid leaving revenue and profits on the table by not emphasizing the importance of product sales. Many owners and operators neglect this area, and, in doing so, they are cheating their spa out of a potentially large sales opportunity. In addition, the spa guest experience is most satisfying when the consumer not only has a wonderful treatment but when they also gain a measure of knowledge to improve their quality of life. Read on...

Amy Locke

Do you want your hotel to look good, work well, and perform financially? A good place to start is your interior designer. Indeed, your interior designer may not be the first person you think of to add value to your property and your bottom line, but my article shows you five specific ways this member of your team can do exactly that. Read on...

Brian West

Interior designers work hard to sharpen their savvy and well-oiled sales pitches - sales pitches that often seem to include validations of our essential service offerings. As a designer - I myself am often guilty of reasoning over details and well thought out design concepts, which in most cases focus on the end-user and revenue generation. Designer concepts fall all too often on misunderstanding ears as proverbial designer fluff, but within this article I'll present valid scenarios that clearly assuage the misgivings of property developers and owners and in the end validate the work of designers. Read on...

John Tess

Recently, HVS International completed a nationwide study of over 120 historic hotel properties with a total of 27,935 rooms, comparing their operating performance against national averages. Their findings: Historic properties have outperformed national averages in both occupancy and average rate levels. This performance is particularly evident in superior revenue per available room levels. HVS ascribes this result in part to the more affluent nature of the patrons of historic hotels. Of particular value is providing a hotel alternative to "cookie-cutter" lodging experiences, often supported with added value by leveraging the historic character of the property with unique interpretive programs. This perspective is supported by a Travel Industry Association of America 2003 market study that noted a general increase in the travelers' desire to experience cultural, art, historic and heritage activities. The study revealed that 81% of travels who took a trip away from home in 2002 included at least one such activity in their trip. Read on...

John Tess

At first, the notion might be intimidating: Being responsible for properly maintaining a building on the National Register of Historic Places. In this competitive world, isn't it challenging enough just keep the property well-managed to keep the guests and the owners happy? In fact, the maintenance of a historic hotel should not be any more worrisome than any other professionally managed property. It simply requires a bit more for thought. There are three fundamental areas of concern: The first is legal. As a National Register property, what are my legal obligations? The second relates to obligations created with the use of preservation incentives. Third and final is operational. Does being listed on the National Register create any operational issues? Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

Among the many challenges for busy hotel executives is trying to develop new ways to improve the guest experience. From complimentary breakfasts to in-room entertainment, the hospitality industry has earned a reputation for identifying market trends and quickly implementing ideas designed to make a guests' stay more comfortable and enjoyable. Whether a vacation destination for families, or a respite for weary road warriors, hotels serve many different purposes but are unified by the commitment to create a positive experience for each guest. One of the best ways to create a positive guest experience is through the use of smart landscape maintenance. A good way to start thinking about your hotel's landscape is through the eyes of a guest. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

How can you, as a hotel executive, minimize the impact of snow on operations? The first step is to make snow and ice removal a top priority year-round, not just when the weather starts to turn cold. Hotels that experience the best snow removal efficiency are those that begin lining up contractors in the summer and fall. These hotel executives recognize that the best snow removal teams require a comprehensive knowledge of their parking lots - and traffic patterns - before it is buried under a mass of the cold, white stuff. Read on...

John Tess

The future of boutique hotels is bright. The traveling public continues to prosper and have growing discretionary dollars. It has demonstrated a strong appetite for experiential travel with an affinity for cities, architecture, and history that helps provide context for their present day reality. Product supply has not appreciably affected demand and increasingly should segment; as cities increasingly create differentiate their core into specific districts each with their own identity, so too will boutique hotels find new homes. As a product type, boutique hotels are becoming institutionalized with associational representation such as the National Trust's Historic Hotels of America. And finally, they are benefiting from an ever successful marriage of energized marketing and design focus on creating experiences. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

According to a recent study, the U.S. lodging industry continues to benefit from double-digit profit growth in 2006. The data suggests that the gross operating profit for the typical U.S. hotel increased 13.1 percent from the first half of 2005 to the first half of 2006. So, how as a hotel manager, can you make the best use of this profit to create greater value for shareholders? One answer is an upgrade to your property's landscape. An attractive landscape with vibrant plants, flowers and trees makes a positive first impression on hotel visitors. High visibility areas like driveways, paths and entrances are a great place to introduce new plant materials and reinforce your hotel brand through color schemes and/or other design elements. Read on...

John Tess

There was a time when the name said it all: In New York, New York, it was the Waldorf. In San Francisco, California, it was the Fairmount. In Atlanta, Georgia, it was the Winecoff. In McAllen, Texas, it was Casa de Palmas. And in Garden City, Kansas, it was the Windsor. In today's vernacular, these hotels then were the grand dames of the communities. Sadly, the aging grand dames have had a poor survival rate. Such was the saga of the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago... Read on...

Nicole Gould

Hoteliers face two trends which are seemingly at odds with each other, but now a definite winner seems to be emerging. On the one hand, the economics of franchise brands and real estate development call for a uniform product that's easy to build and monitor regardless of where in the country the property is located. It's the "cookie-cutter" or "one size fits all" syndrome. On the other hand, recent surveys show that having a memorable experience - whether at dinner, in a store, or on a trip - is quickly becoming more important to Americans than accumulating material wealth. This is the customer's request to "wow me" or "show me something special." In short, "wow me" is beating out the "cookie-cutter." Here's why and how. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

One of the first things guests notice upon arriving at a hotel is its landscaping. It is also one of the most crucial - and overlooked - aspects of building customer satisfaction. Since repeat guests are your best customers, it is important to maintain a fresh new look that will keep them entertained and returning for years to come. But keeping your landscape fresh and up to date with changing seasonal aesthetics is challenging for many hotel executives - especially in areas like Southern California and Texas where there is little seasonal variation to the landscape. Color, climate and different light exposures all factor into the design and maintenance of an interesting landscape with a year-round aesthetic interest. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

Many hotel executives are aware that wasting water costs money. But with increasing demands on many municipal water supplies, frequent and increasingly severe droughts and a broadening concern for the environment, it has become more important than ever to control the flow of this precious limited resource. Irrigation expertise and advances in irrigation technology, however, provide a ready, proven solution to a major source of water waste. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

With concern about climate change on the rise, consumers expect businesses to do their part to reduce their negative environmental impact. A recent survey by Tripadvisor.com indicates that environmental friendliness is an important travel-planning consideration for many individuals, with 34% of respondents stating they would be willing to pay more money to stay at an environmentally-friendly hotel. For this very reason, hotel executives are beginning to recognize the importance of turning their gardens green by using sustainable landscaping techniques. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

Rather than trying to predict the market, hoteliers can look into the future and make investments that set the stage for explosive growth when the economy takes off. Instead of reacting to today's economy, hotel owners can prepare for tomorrow's. Today's marketplace offers hotel owners a perfect opportunity to work on projects they put on the back burner early, as contractors and suppliers lower building costs in response to dwindling demand for their services. The cost of labor and materials decreases right in line with the economy. As an hotelier, you can take advantage of the economics of an uncertain market. Read on...

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.