Library Archives

Steven Belmonte

"Are product upgrades and renovations really needed during hard economic times?" That's a question I used to get asked a lot. But, as always, things change-and, obviously, not for the better, at least economically speaking these days. And so the question has changed. In these almost unprecedented hard economic times, the question isn't so much whether a renovation is needed-rather, it's whether a renovation is, first, viable and, second, whether it's a smart thing to do. READ MORE

Todd Walter

In general, a company's culture is defined by the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors of the people who represent it. While strategies and specific objectives may change or evolve over time, a company's core values and beliefs, and hence its culture, should not. But what if they do? This year, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Over the course of the last century, the company's history has been marked by three distinct periods, each bringing its own set of priorities and cultures. READ MORE

Shaun Burchard

2009 is finally behind us. Now what? According to PhocusWright, demand won't reach 2007 levels until 2011, supply will fall less than 1% from 2011 - 2013, occupancy will not get back to 60% nationally until 2012, preventing rates from trending upward until 2011 and RevPAR will reach only 90-95% of 2007 peak levels sometime in 2012. So what do hotels and hotel companies do to not only survive, but also thrive in the two years ahead? How do you win going forward then? By changing the rules and the application of those rules to change the competitive landscape. READ MORE

Robert O'Halloran

The average manager in the hospitality industry makes hundreds if not thousands of decisions every day. There are few industries with as much human interaction with guests, employees, vendors, potential clients and community. Making the right decision is a critical part of management. This article examines the decision making process and offer a framework for managerial decision making. READ MORE

Sanjay Nijhawan

The last year has proved to be one of the most challenging sales environments in decades, not only for hotels and resorts but for all industries. In such a competitive environment, it is those organizations that can develop (or retain) a strong brand identity and reputation that will perform most strongly, ensuring not only their survival but setting themselves to benefit most from the resulting upturn. Strong brands will secure guest loyalty, and with existing customers up to 7 times more profitable to deal with than new customers this is vital in efficiently utilizing the organization's resources and keeping costs down. Here's a few ideas for developing your brand and its reputation. READ MORE

Mike Kistner

Recessionary economies historically lead to the demise of small businesses faced with competing against industry giants. Hospitality isn't immune. The recent downturn has affected everyone, but independent hotels are faced with potentially making already lean budgets even leaner. As major brands trim a portion of a budget to adapt, the independent is often faced with eliminating key business building operations altogether. In the down market, when demand reaches historically low levels, how does the independent hotel cope? The answer is to refocus and invest - in revenue management, distribution, rate structures and strategies, travel agent programs, marketing programs, online strategies, corporate travel programs.securing and building core business to ensure they obtain their fair share of the market. READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

I am a marketer. One of my close friends is an accountant. We love to banter back and forth about which function is the most important in a hospitality business. "Marketing, "I declare. "Marketers make the money." "Accounting," my friend counters. "Accountants manage the money." This friendly rivalry has been going on for years with each of us constantly looking for arguments to bolster our respective claims. One day, he is ahead; the next day, I am ahead. While we both know that marketing and accounting are mutually important to any hotel company, we still have a lot of fun playing "one-upmanship." So it was with particular glee that I found the ultimate truth to confirm the fact that marketing rules, the wise Marketing Sage told me. READ MORE

Jeffrey Catrett

How will generational effects determine the successful hotel concepts of the next decades? As the influential Y Generation begins to have economic power and as the still influential Baby Boom enters yet another life stage, the question is essential for hotel marketers to consider. The past has proven eloquently that the company able to anticipate generational tastes (until now more through intuition than through planning) will be the company that defines one or more decades. It is easy enough to see how generational effects in conjunction with life-stage elements, technological advancements, business cycles, and historical events have shaped the hotel products of the past. READ MORE

Bill Morrissey

There are many external factors that can unexpectedly and negatively affect the business and brand, such as a food borne illness outbreak, labor dispute, or traumatic newsworthy event. Acts or situations that oftentimes happen outside the control of hotel management can have long-lasting damaging effects on the property. How the management team and brand respond to such issues when they happen is critical, and having a trained team with a crisis or issues management preparedness plan at the ready can be the difference between defending the brand versus seeing it destroyed when under attack. READ MORE

Jed Heller

The hospitality business is a people business. One person, even the most energetic and skilled CEO, can't be successful alone. Even the smallest limited-service hotel requires at least a few employees to check guests in, clean rooms, and maintain the property. The enthusiasm and competence displayed by those employees determines guest satisfaction, and inevitably, the property's success. That fact makes leadership the most important management skill in determining the success of your business. But when I say leadership, I'm not referring to having a commanding presence or using approaches learned in the latest management books. In my mind, leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek objectives enthusiastically. When this happens, everything else falls into place. READ MORE

Olivier Bottois

While it is true that the general manager's role has changed radically over the past 30 years, this new role is really an amalgam of old and new. In today's luxury hotel and private residence club, this person plays the innkeeper role, as homeowners have brought about the need for the traditional innkeeper to maintain personal relationships for the property. The new general manager also has to handle a more complex business model, so all operations, from finance to marketing, require different knowledge and management. Now, too, this person serves as a real estate professional because the entire project thrives on this knowledge and sensibility. Entering the industry with the mindset of a traditional hotelier, one focused solely on managing the hotel, no longer makes sense with the advent of new, more productive models. READ MORE

Jeffrey Catrett

Imagine a world in which Hilton, and Sheraton, and Marriott join Howard Johnson's, Statler, and Americana as fading icons of a time gone by. What started as product niching, through concept restaurants and boutique hotels supported by internet, is now a sea change in how the buying public is perceiving hospitality. The benefits of yesterday's standardization - reliable cleanliness and reservations - are now simply the expected attributes of any player in the game. Today's increasingly travelled and savvy mid-scale and high-end customer no longer settles for "no bad surprises," seeking instead to be delighted outright. Increasingly, it is design, lifestyle harmonization, ambience, service style and delivery, creativity, flare and finesse that distinguish the winners from the losers. READ MORE

Mike Kistner

As executives and decision-makers in global distribution for hotels, we have an obligation to the next generation of professionals to impart our knowledge and experience. By participating in university programs and trade associations, and mentoring young professionals, we can (and should) share our understanding of topics like revenue management, look-to-books, CRS reliability and response, Web site design and content, channel management and career development. Our influence will help develop the best talent to address today's industry challenges, while also helping define and shape the future global distribution landscape for the better. READ MORE

Steven Belmonte

Singer Bob Dylan said it best when he penned the now-famous catchphrase - these times are a'changing. I'm a big advocate on change. I like the challenges and advancement it brings to my personal and professional life. The business world is evolving with the advent of technological advances; the financial industry is changing its course to adapt with the growing global marketplace and unification of currencies; and the hospitality industry is incorporating all of the abovementioned changes into its mission plans to better serve its guests. It goes without saying that in order for enterprises to be successful, there need to be leaders at the helm. Some say leaders are born, others believe they are trained; but I believe that with the right tools and encouragement, leaders can come into their own in the hospitality industry. READ MORE

Steven Belmonte

When I started in the lodging industry more than 30 years ago at the age of 18 as the youngest general manager of a Holiday Inn, it was generally believed that the road to the franchising ivory tower was the straight and narrow. And at the time, that was probably true - as there were fewer big name hotels around, the travel industry was not as robust as it today, and the concept of capitalism had not reached global proportions of the 21st century. Franchising, in those days, was a new concept and was cautiously and steadily making the American dream a reality for young entrepreneurs. 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.