Library Archives

Lewis Fein

If I were to cite an example of a company that sings the right notes but strikes the wrong chords, a brand that encapsulates this contradiction between authenticity and blatant falsehood, I would point a motley crew of copywriters and art directors, and marketing executives and studio musicians, to the worm coiled within the recesses of my ear; because this commercial, aired during Super Bowl XLVIII, is an unintentional metaphor for business leaders everywhere, including hoteliers who must never convey anything but graciousness and sincerity. READ MORE

Marcus Nicolls

Want people to say good things about your hotel? The key: create a guest experience like this one from the Hyatt Regency in Chesapeake Bay. A colleague of ours had arrived to give a keynote address to a large global audience. He arrived dog-tired after an intense client schedule the prior few weeks. He was exhausted and thoroughly spent—and it turns out he had contracted the norovirus on his trip. Now in Virginia, it hit him in full force at what couldn't have been a less opportune time. At check in, he mentioned he wasn't feeling well, and after barely making it to his room, he dealt with this violent illness as most of us would—curling up on the floor and wondering how he would make it through the night. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

Any given hotel property is subject to a broad range of challenges due to changing market conditions. These competitive factors can impact occupancy rates, the room rates a property can command in the market place, the property's overall revenue stream, and, ultimately, profitability. Often times, challenges that can make a property vulnerable are independent of the overall supply of rooms in a given market. Examples include changing demographics and public safety issues, which may make a property less appealing to a portion of its traditional guest base; the move of a major employer or other entity that was a key demand generator; nearby commercial real estate transactions; swings in consumer tastes; sometimes, just a change in area roadways can make it more difficult for potential guests to reach your property. READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

I suppose I can blame it on my dad. You see, whereas some people have been given the musical gift of perfect pitch (as was my husband), Dad was given the gift of perfect color tonality. While most people will look at two swatches of the same color and see them as identical, he would look at them and see any infinitesimal difference in their shades or tones as easily as you see the difference between a mountain and a molehill. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been given the same gift. READ MORE

Phil Tufano

With markets continually becoming more segmented, the need to differentiate your hotel from your competition in order to appeal to your travelers is increasing. This can be achieved by staying connected to every level of your team by means of constant feedback and financial reports. This intel coupled with an understanding of current trends is critical to keep in stride with your market's needs. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

A continued positive economy, with the 2008-2009 recession firmly in the rear view mirror; excellent levels of business travel; and consumer confidence have all contributed to a sustained strong hospitality marketplace. At the same time, a number of factors, including the ability to acquire existing hotels for below replacement cost, the preference of private and public entities to purchase existing properties with in-place cash flow and the difficulty to finance new hotel construction have, so far, constrained overall growth in supply. With that said, it is important to note that strong recent sales prices have helped encourage some additional supply, especially in strong markets. This is a trend that bears watching. READ MORE

James Houran

The sobering truth is that personal and professional development hinges on the ability to be self-critical. Frankly put, when you're not self-critical - when you do not honestly examine yourself - you'll never be aware of performance blind-spots, much less improve your efficiency and effectiveness over time. Those two elements are the heart of competency. For leaders in hospitality or in any industry for that matter, performance feedback - if given at all - typically consists of summarized or edited comments in a traditional 360-degree appraisal. This article presents candid, insider information that walks you through three fundamental issues on how to use the right type of assessments to yield a personal SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats). READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

Why would anyone think about New Year's Resolutions now when it is more than half way through the year? It's simple. It's never too late to start. But just as this is true for yourself, it is also true for your hotel. But do you even make resolutions for your hotel? If you don't, you should. And it isn't too late to start either. If you could turn the calendar back to January 1st, what resolutions would you make for your property? For your staff? For your marketing plans? In a hats- off-to-David Letterman, here are five to give your thinking a fresh mid-year start. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

Hospitality has a glamour or cachet unlike any other form of real estate, even high-end retail. Partnered with communities and appealing to demanding and sophisticated guests, each hotel property has the dynamics of a small city. Thus, investing in, owning and managing a hotel property can be an exhilarating journey. The key to success is to enjoy the experience, while paying careful attention to choices and decisions that must be made along the entire chain of investment and management. The result can be strong daily operations and competitive posture, in addition to enhanced asset value and return on investment. In this article, we will review in list format some of the key investment and management strategies that go into maximizing the value of a hotel property. In doing so, we will consider the areas of investment and financing, business operations, and management and the competitive environment. Clearly, the factors discussed are not meant to be all-inclusive, but, rather, will focus on common threads we find running through hotel investment, management and valuation. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

The hospitality industry, by its nature, embraces both commerce and community. Positioning one's hotel as a valuable member of the community has many advantages. These advantages include building solidarity within a community and supporting its most valuable programs and identified needs; reinforcing the interests of team members, while building team work and leadership skills; and, also, reinforcing the organization's mission, goals and values. The best community programs result when we can endorse, whenever possible, the genuine interests of team members, while making sure that these efforts reflect the quality and value of the individual property, our organization, ownership and management. READ MORE

Richard Takach, Jr.

Whether we are engaging others at the personal level or representing a hotel property or organization, each of us forms a wide array of relationships. Some are personal or family relationships - our spouse, other family members, our neighbors or the merchants we frequent. Other relationships are created by and impact our professional and business lives. These business relationships include those made with our key executives and other team members, as well as those established with investors, vendors and other strategic partners. READ MORE

Bill Hoffman

With a focus on strengthening our hospitality services, Trigild - a real estate services firm with 35 years of property management, receivership/bankruptcy and consulting expertise - recently announced a strategic alliance with Blu Hotel Investors, a Santa Barbara-based hotel company with extensive expertise in acquisitions and ground-up development. The newly formed alliance enables both companies to share specific resources, services and specialties. READ MORE

Larry Spelts

A significant portion of available lodging supply in the US is condominium hotels and resorts, yet this segment has been largely overlooked by many traditional hotel management companies. Larry Spelts, director of asset management for Charlestowne Hotels, writes about his firm's business model that has the potential to transform the condotel business model and bring a greater degree of professional management to the segment. READ MORE

Rick Gabrielsen

All the initiatives you have bottled up in pursuit of the dream combined with all of the finances set aside to provide the security become the tightrope of emotion. Never at anytime were there naysayers or negative comments, only the pride seen in their faces or the confidence to accomplish a plan. You see small business today is not what it was days, weeks and years ago, because the environment always changes. Self employed gets you recognition, but does not get you financing. Self employment is only you to direct your time. READ MORE

Rick Gabrielsen

Obstacles can be determined by a place, a person or an activity, though the learning from each creates momentum for the future. How often do you face an obstacle in your daily lives, ten or fifty times a day? I am sure that each person has a different meaning for an obstacle, what is yours? The momentum that can be created in both a negative and positive sense is completely driven through an emotional view by the individual facing the challenge. Visualize with me as I embark on my learning's of becoming a high hurdler and finding the meaning of half full. READ MORE

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Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.