Library Archives

 
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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

W. Don Turner

Every hotelier has dreams of entrepreneurial endeavors. Every entrepreneur has his own recollection of his successes, the path that lead him to those successes and the challenges that he has faced along the way. CLIA, The California Lodging Industry Association, is made up of many such entrepreneurs. Men and women that have started with a dream, something small, and turned it into a strong, independent, growing and thriving example of the "Great American Success Story" Over the next few articles I will chronicle this process drawing from some of my own experiences as well as some of the stories and experiences that have been shared with me by great people that I have encountered in the Industry. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

With hotel occupancy and revenue growth down overall, it will take some creative thinking to navigate the unchartered economic waters of 2009. Most hotel properties already scaled back on staff and expenses last year. But what to do next? Tough times call for innovative ideas, proactive planning, and daily financial monitoring. They call too for motivating and retraining staff to continue excellent service for loyal customers and to attract new ones. And it means keeping up the property and grounds to maintain attractiveness. Inviting ambiance and top-notch service draws customers. A property must continue to shine - especially in lean economic climes. Read on...

Steven Belmonte

It's hard enough to not worry about our future as we sink into a deepening recession but from these trying times come glimmers of hope from very determined and creative people. Let's face it, when the going gets tough, the tough needs to pull itself up from the bootstraps and get going. And the best way to do that is to out smart your competitor and find creative ways to market your property. I've put together a list of some tools that can be used to help hoteliers make it through the next few years. Read on...

Sanjay Nijhawan

There are two ways of dealing with a severe economic downturn. One is to withdraw - pull back and wait it out. That's the "let's hope and pray" approach. The other is to view the circumstances as opportunity - not to simply forge ahead doing what we've done in the past but the chance to find creative solutions to new realities while remaining realistic about the bottom line. 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.