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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...

Steven Belmonte

It's tough out there nowadays and there's no denying it. This miserable economic climate that prevails has caused most hoteliers to write off 2009 with only hope that 2010 will be much better. But we can't afford to keep our heads in the sand for a year and expect to pop it out and everything will be fine and dandy, as though we are waking up from a bad dream. That type of fairy dust just doesn't occur in the real world. Hoteliers need to keep their head above water and do more than tread it-they need to find tools to build a proverbial raft to stay afloat. Read on...

Michael Goldstein

"When something stinks, it's usually the head." This fishing phrase has interesting applicability for hoteliers. In fact, when hotel guests receive unsatisfactory service at a restaurant or are displeased with their hotel stay, it could be the result of a number of things, but the most likely reason for these problems is a lack of, or poor leadership team. Although often overlooked, having a strong and knowledgeable leadership team is one of the most important assets at any hotel property. In fact, it is the leadership team that determines the success of the property, particularly during renovation, an economic downturn or a slow season. A hotel's leadership not only affects the guests, but also the entire staff and the overall services provided. Read on...

Jed Heller

Rejuvenation of your hotel, whether it be new carpets and drapes in guest rooms or an upgrade in the ambience and functionality of the common areas, goes a long way towards protecting your assets as well as maintaining superior guest services. However, to achieve or exceed your long term ROI goals, it is crucial that renovation costs stay in line with your budget. It is very easy for even the smallest project to get out of control and create a "money pit" of unexpected expenses, cost overruns, labor issues and inconvenient delays. Read on...

Greg Pesik

It is undeniable that hotels have become significantly more efficient and technology savvy over last decade, with the wider deployment of technology being a primary driver for positive progress. However, there is much room for improvement, particularly in the group side of the house. In light of today's economic uncertainty, hotels now more than ever need to make sure that they are operating as efficiently as possible, taking advantage of the latest technologies to get there. The question really boils down to, how can you do more with less, how can you generate more revenue and save costs, even in a downturn? Read on...

Joshua Miller

As most companies wrap up their 2009 financial planning season, many creative and impressive strategies have been developed to maintain ownership's expected levels of return. As I travel to meet with clients, the bigger issue I see is not how to create an aggressive plan, but how to turn it into reality. A great plan is only as good as its execution, and this starts with the training of the people who are going to actually execute it. Read on...

Scott D. Hollis

Today, the best advice anyone in charge of supply chain management can give is take a strategic, long-term view of your contracting efforts. All of us want to save money, but it takes more than hard bargaining to get the best deals. It takes vision and the ability to look at the entire supply chain from field to table to identify the most effective ways to make the overall supply chain more productive. Based on many years of experience in dealing with over 900 suppliers and a team of 50 commodity experts, I would suggest working with suppliers, not working at odds with them, to take costs out of the system. Based on this, here are some ideas... Read on...

Arthur Weissman

By integrating software tools that are now available on the market for real estate management and project performance, many hotels are becoming more and more reliant on computerized databases to monitor, assess, and report on their companies' environmental and social goals. In this article we will try to explain how making improvements in hotel management software systems and other types of workflow management systems can enable hospitality managers and property owners to adopt a life-cycle management approach within their brand or property. Read on...

John Ely

It is nearly impossible to escape the talk about today's economy. Everywhere you turn, people are constantly discussing the recession-like atmosphere of our nation. During the presidential race, polls showed that the economy was the number one issue on people's minds. And as we inched closer to Election Day in November, many media outlets focused heavily on the crisis. From the initial meltdown of the housing industry, the nation's credit crunch, and the increasing stock market woes, we were (and are) continually bombarded with negative messages about our future. Read on...

Steven Belmonte

I'm amazed at the current turn-over rate at a majority of hotels. It's almost as though the personnel department is like a revolving door. Instead of offering career development for leaders, hotels tend to be offering jobs for lackeys. It's my opinion that there seems to be a real disconnect between hotel owners and their staff. Throughout my career I have been approached by a multitude of owners who would brag to me that they hired a general manager for a pittance wage. On top of that, they would be tickled pink because they were able to schedule the GM to pull a shift or two at the front desk. Read on...

Steven Belmonte

The consumer marketplace is being transformed by a generation of socially-aware individuals who would like to see companies they patronize and work for take the lead in making the world a better place. Surveys have long validated the growing power of the baby boomer generation, and businesses should not dismiss those unique wants and needs. On top of that, the younger Generation Y members are voicing their desire to embrace causes they are passionate about. To the hotelier, this means that guests and employees want a promise of social vision and to be a part of a brand that advocates social improvement. Read on...

Dawn Walzak

Meeting the Generation X business traveler's ever evolving needs is keeping hoteliers awake at night. I toss and turn wondering what needs to be done to stay ahead of my competitors while meeting and exceeding travelers' expectations. Determining business traveler's interests and managing costs effectively is what keeps making hoteliers sleep deprived. With the demographics of travelers constantly changing, the hospitality industry is charged with one of its most challenging tasks to date and there is no clear-cut answer. The face of the traveler is changing so dramatically by age, sex, nationality and other factors that present additional challenges to the hospitality industry. Times seemed much simpler 10 years ago when it was easier to predict what the business and leisure traveler expected. Today, hoteliers not only deal with the changing face of the traveler but with the amount of knowledge they educate themselves with prior to arrival. In today's world there is no longer an uneducated traveler. I jokingly state to my associates that this began with the launch of USA Today and it becoming one of the most read newspapers by travelers. Read on...

Edward Donaldson

An ongoing issue facing an older generation of hotel owners/operators is how to best prepare and plan for the continuing growth and future of one's property after retirement. If you are intending to retire from a life managing hotels, how do you plan for it? How can an individual owner prepare all the statistics that will facilitate a sale? How can a hotel be marketed to potential buyers? What if the owner does want to sell at all, but his children do not want to manage? How can an owner retain possession and not have to run the business or rely on another individual to manage the operation on his behalf? Read on...

Steven Belmonte

You read the trades, talk to fellow hoteliers, make the conference circuit and hear all the good news. Times are good right now. Rates are up, occupancy is up, RevPAR is up, it's all turned around from the doldrums of recent years and everybody's happy: Your creditors are happy, your lender is happy, and best of all, you're happy. You're making more money, you're playing more golf and you're taking bigger and better vacations. Life is good-and if you listen to most industry pundits, it's going to get even better. It won't be long before you'll be able to do the things you've been putting off . . . like trading up to that Lexus, building your dream house, maybe even buying or building your next hotel. Talk about Heaven on earth, right? And isn't it about time? Actually, it's about time to wake up from that dream. Read on...

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Coming up in October 2019...

Revenue Management: Focus On Profit

Revenue Management is still a relatively new profession within hotel operations and as such, it continues to evolve. One significant trend in this area is a shift away from using revenue as the foundation to generate key performance indicators (KPIs) and to instead place the emphasis on profit. Traditionally, revenue managers have relied on total revenue per available room (TrevPAR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) as the basis of their KPIs. Now, some revenue managers are using gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) as their primary KPI. This puts profit at the center of revenue management strategy, and managers are increasingly searching for new ways to increase the profitability of their hotels. Return on Investment is the objective of any hotel investment, so it is only logical that profitability and ROI will be emphasized going forward. Another trend is an expanded focus on direct hotel bookings. Revenue managers know that one way to increase profitability is to steer guests away from online travel agencies (OTAs) and book directly with the hotel. This tactic also reinforces brand identity and loyalty, and encourages repeat business. In addition, it provides a valuable platform to market the hotel directly to the customer, and to upsell room upgrades or other services to them. Another trend for revenue managers involves automation in their software programs. Revenue management systems with automation are far more desirable than those without it. Automating data entry and logistics increases efficiency, allowing managers to spend more time on formulating strategy. As a bonus, an automated system helps with aggregating and interpreting data. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.