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Brian West

The sagging face of our economy has forced each and every one of us to reconsider our lifestyle choices. No one is exempt from the distress of the economy and therefore no industry has been able to maneuver the tragedy of cutbacks. However bleak the economy may be, the need for hotel properties to march forward is paramount in at least the maintenance of existing properties. Hotels can't just rely on their core product and services to compete. They need something extra - Added-Value Design - to help differentiate them from the competition, tempt new customers and keep the ones they've already got. Read on...

Brian West

As a developer, real estate is, by its nature, an expensive non-liquid asset. It costs a lot of money to own it, and it can be difficult to sell. In development activity, there are also added costs of improvements and included are the fees of various consultants necessary to get the development work done, but with more than three trillion dollars annually feeding the global hospitality industry there remains considerable motivation for developers to continue to build. As a designer I am challenged daily with a multitude of new global projects, and though each project varies significantly in it's scope, - the five considerations highlighted in this article serve as guides in the design execution process. Read on...

Dennis M. Baker

Whether it's a five-star resort or a two-star hotel, customers rate location as the number one deciding factor when booking a hotel according to a recent consumer survey by HotelClub, a leading online accommodation specialist. But as everyone knows, within the "location" category there are many choices. With today's online virtual tours customers can get a fairly accurate evaluation of the details of your location in advance. Obviously room size and d'ecor, attractiveness of common areas and available amenities are critical in that evaluation, but the exterior appearance of the grounds, everything from flowers to plantings to trees, is also important to your hotel's image. Read on...

Andrew Freeman

What once served almost solely as a waiting place - a place to kill the time before check-in or after check-out, the hotel lobby is now becoming a destination in and of itself. Many of the greatest moments in film and literature have taken place in hotel lobbies --- from the lazy summer days at The Plaza in The Great Gatsby, to The Graduate's Benjamin Braddock's realization that Mrs. Robinson was indeed trying to seduce him in the lobby of the Taft Hotel. And now great moments can happen again each and everyday, as lobbies are no longer just quiet waiting spots, they are becoming the "it" spots at the best hotels around the world. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

From a financial perspective, the lodging sector in the United States is healthy, according to PKF Hospitality Research. The current market and industry conditions dictate some tightening in the lending community, however, and there's certainly no lack of competition for funding. Capital just isn't as abundant as it's been for the past few years, and you'll need a more aggressive and comprehensive method to attract these investors. Following are 10 powerhouse steps to attract investors to your property. I encourage you to evaluate every aspect of your hotel, including its overall appearance, functionality, operations, and profitability. Readying your property for new opportunities is a lot of work, but once you have investors lined up, it'll be worth all the effort. Read on...

Michael Bedner

Some soar 30 stories high. With banks of elevators around the perimeter. Towering palms or pines or lush flowering tropical plants. And "surround-sound" and showcase lighting. Others are much more reserved and sedate. Elegant, with exotic Persian rugs, expensive tapestries and museum quality artifacts. While others tastefully blend accents of marble and onyx with clean, contemporary furnishings. Whether you favor grandiose atrium style lobbies, smaller, club-style lobbies or scaled-down, simplistic but ultra-sleek foyers, one thing is certain: lobbies have the power to charm, dazzle and entice you... luring you in and seducing you to stay. Guests' impressions of what they are about to experience both start and end with the hotel lobby. That's why lobby design - the visual images, the total sensory experience - is so important. Read on...

Brian West

To the misfortune of the designer many properties entering the market face considerable negative criticism due in part to many things like the shang-bang construction, ostentatious colorizing or architectural theme and even more caustic in today's market is the irresponsible landscaping surrounding the building. Creating unique, memorable and economically viable hotel environments is what hospitality designers do, however we are not the financiers of the dreams, we are merely the dream weavers that have the enviable task of creating the folly of others. As a designer my intent in this article is to pinpoint three very important considerations when working with an owner to build, renovate or re-flag a property. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

One of the biggest challenges to break into the international market is recognizing, preparing for, and embracing the differences between the hospitality industry in the U.S. and other countries around the globe. Distinguishing the differences among these different cultures is vital and recognizing and adapting to the needs will place you way ahead of the pack as you go global. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

It's no secret that the most successful projects consist of teams that communicate well and work seamlessly together. Having a clear vision for a project is critical for success. It is vitally important that the design and procurement professionals work in a collaborative manner to ensure design continuity. When the design and procurement aspects of a given project are combined under one umbrella, you create a synergy in achieving the right design at the right cost. Read on...

Amy Locke

First impressions can be effective or disastrous, but they are always lasting. Nowhere is that more true than the highly competitive hotel industry, where the look and feel of a property can immediately turn guests on - or off. That's precisely why hoteliers are increasingly turning to professional design and purchasing for their furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E). Buying FF&E can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be painful - either for your peace of mind or your bottom line. Read on...

Amy Locke

Thousands of properties are undergoing refurbishment every year, so owners are challenged to minimize the impact to operations - and to guests. Renovation is the lifeblood of the hotel business - properties must stay fresh in order to attract today's sophisticated and demanding travelers. Lose appeal and you lose guests - lose guests and you lose revenues. In fact, today's slowed economy provides the ideal opportunity to undertake renovation projects at a time that occupancy may be slightly lower. Projects launched now will result in less lost revenue nights and will position your hotel for the travel upturn. Read on...

Michael Bedner

If the lobby is the heart and the guestrooms the soul, the foyer serves as the connective tissue of a hotel or resort. A series of pathways and vistas that break the guests' visual experience in a way that doesn't give everything away all at once while, a foyer, at the same time, prepares and connects them to what comes next. Here are five elements that must be taken into consideration when designing foyers for their maximize impact and efficiency. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

What is Practical vs. Beautiful Design? As I considered this question while preparing to write on this topic, it occurred to me that practicality is so many things when it comes to executing beautiful design. It doesn't always mean that a piece of furniture "doubles" as two. (It's a desk that also serves as a coat stand.) It doesn't even necessarily mean that every element of the design is even useful in a literal sense. Read on...

Brian West

Having working in the Meeting and Incentive industry my comprehension of hotel design has been enriched. From the meeting planners perspective my consideration of the hotel facility was based on a properties flexability, and overall apperance. Pairing my meeting planner experience with my knowledge as a designer I am equally aware that the durability of the FF&E within a hotel property is paramount to the success of the hotel and I strive to place as much intelligently designed product within a property. In this article I bring to the forefront a few concepts designers should keep in mind when working with the operators of hotel properties. These considerations should assist in assuring that both the designer and the operator are working toward the same goal - to create spaces that achieve the greatest ROI. Read on...

John Tess

It is an extreme example, but in the 1970s, grain silos in downtown Akron, Ohio were transformed into a Hilton Hotel. Though the example is quirky, it illustrates how hotel architecture is responding to the desire of a seemingly ever growing market of urban adventurers looking for memorable spaces. This affinity for "character" has led to the rise of boutique hotels, defined not only by size, but by design - typically historic in nature. One of the pioneers was Bill Kimpton, whose foresight created the Kimpton Group. Others leaders in the field include Ian Shrager and Andre Balazs. This affinity for character has also prompted larger projects, such as Sage Development's proposed Marriott Renaissance in a redeveloped Portland, Oregon department store which will have 330 rooms. As a result of the success of these and other pioneers, hotel developers are often on the prowl of unique opportunities, thinking about the hotel potential of transforming warehouses, office buildings, Masonic temples, train stations and more. 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.