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Amy Locke

Hoteliers are always looking for those little touches that can make a big difference, for their guests and for their bottom line. My article this month suggests how some answers can be found through creative attention to art and accessories. We know that when a hotel looks special, guests feel special - so I offer ideas that can transform a nice hotel into a breath-taking hotel. Ideas that combine an uptown look with a down-home feel. Ideas that make your rooms anything but square. Many of my suggestions are easy to implement, all are easy on the eyes. Read on...

Amy Locke

As competition in the hospitality industry intensifies, success becomes increasingly difficult to achieve. Therefore, it's more important than ever that FF&E selections be made intelligently and for specific business reasons. Color is one of those vital design decisions. Our world is visual, so color dramatically affects emotions and attitudes - attitudes which in turn affect guest satisfaction, brand loyalty, and return visits. While the fashion world sees a color palette change approximately every two years, the interior design color palette has a slower cycle, changing every three to five years. My article examines this "vocabulary of color" and how you can use it to most effectively speak with your guests. Enjoy these ideas and the benefits they can bring to your property. Read on...

Amy Locke

Quick - how much was the freight cost for your most recent FF&E order? You can probably remember the price you paid for each of your television sets or for the carpeting in each of your hotel rooms, but shipping is usually like sales tax - it's an "invisible" charge that seems to disappear or blend into the overall invoice. So how you can keep your freight costs reasonable, avoid shipping surprises, and stretch your FF&E budget? Consider these suggestions. Read on...

Amy Locke

Our travel choices are shaped by today's lifestyles, fashions, and economy. At home, we're used to upscale amenities and technological conveniences - and we don't want to give them up when we're on the road. That's why today, there's more to hotel design than just coordinating wall colors and furniture. The goal of every hotelier and interior designer is to create space which is practical yet appealing... intimate yet dramatic... elegant yet everyday. Read on...

Amy Locke

Design is constantly changing - there's always something new and better to try. As a designer, this inspires me. Currently, one of the hottest trends is the merging of residential and hotel design. This article explores this trend in detail - and suggests ways you can capitalize on it for the benefit of your hotel property and your bottom line. Certainly it's a trend that's not only changing the way we travel, but changing the way we enjoy travel. Read on...

Amy Locke

Every hotelier is familiar with the "furniture, fixtures and equipment" process but not every hotelier approaches it the same way. Some people are more structured in handling FF&E while others are more casual. Regardless of your approach, remember that FF&E is one of the largest categories of expenses, behind only the real estate your hotel sits on and the "bricks and mortar" used to build it. Unfortunately, when certain aspects of design and purchasing get overlooked, both your budget and your property suffer. Read on...

Amy Locke

Why can the manufacturer of the Dr. Skud flyswatter, which was crafted by famous French designer Philippe Starck, sell five cents worth of plastic for $12? Why has the Motorola Razr V3 set sales records when it doesn't work any better or differently than other cell phones? Why does Apple's iPod dominate the MP3 player market when there are many similar devices available from other manufacturers? The answer to all three questions is the same - smart, striking design. Now, more and more hoteliers are coming to the same conclusion - that good design is good business. But it's been a long, slow process and some hotel owners are still reluctant to invest in anything beyond minimal design. To understand why, let's look at the difference between "design" and "purchasing." Read on...

Dennis M. Baker

Partnering with companies in order to maximize various business processes is a topic top of mind across many industries. For years it has been done successfully with payroll operations (think ADP), various technology providers (EDS, IBM) and even more recently with human resource operations (Hewitt). Now, the concept of outsourcing various procurement functions is gaining momentum in a variety of hospitality-centric industries, like lodging, cruise, golf and gaming. What exactly is a procurement service provider? There are a variety of descriptions that these organizations take on - procurement service provider (PSP), group purchasing organization (GPO), purchasing consortiums - and so on. While their products and services vary tremendously - a fundamental goal of these organizations is to enable more efficient and informed supply chain management and purchasing behavior for its aggregate customer base. Read on...

Nicole Gould

Hotels have a rich history of shaping American society - and a hotel's public space is a crucial part of its service to travelers and to the local community. So now's a good time to re-think, re-shape, and re-new your lobby. Whether your hotel is economy or extravagant, your interior design professional can help make more effective use of your available public space - through architecture, through selection and placement of furniture, and through use of artwork and accessories. In the process, you'll make some living history of your own! Read on...

Amy Locke

"Design" is the new buzz word in hotel FF&E, but exactly how does an interior designer add value? The textbook definition tells us that an interior designer enhances a hotel with better space planning, more stylish decorating, and more effective furniture placement. The property is worth more and guests rate their visits more highly. That should probably be enough to consider using the skills of an interior designer in your next hotel project. However, the marketplace reality goes much further - in today's crowded hospitality environment, an interior designer is vital in helping your hotel not just stay competitive but actually increase market share. A more up-to-date property generates more return visits and can achieve higher room rates. Read on...

Dennis M. Baker

Tired of the disruption? Upset that you keep paying hundreds of dollars fixing unreliable equipment? At what point do you stop repairing that 10 year old piece of kitchen equipment and make the decision to buy something new? Making these decisions can be difficult and buying the right piece of replacement equipment can be more challenging than just purchasing the same item you currently own. Obviously, you want a great price, but there are other considerations as well. Before you buy, here are some ideas. Read on...

Amy Locke

High tech, high touch, and high energy continue to characterize the hotel industry - owners are designing and furnishing their properties to keep guests comfortable, efficient, and coming back. Let's look at what this means for your furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) decisions as you plan new construction and renovation projects in 2008. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

The acronym FF&E hardly seems adequate to describe such an important part of hotel development. Furniture, fixtures, and equipment can make or break your guests' experiences - and your budget. Cost overruns and time delays are typical in the FF&E purchasing process, and mismanagement of procurement can even set back the opening of your hotel. Read on...

Amy Locke

What puts you in a good mood? Hotel owners and designers are constantly looking for new answers to that question because they know today's travelers want their hotel to be as pleasing as their trip. Colors, music, and artwork are among the popular ways hoteliers try to create a special environment. However, two especially effective techniques are within reach and under foot, literally - in the form of lighting and flooring. Read on...

Amy Locke

In recent years, it has become trendy for some Westerners to use feng shui in making life decisions. Of course, feng shui has guided the lives of many people in the Orient for more than 3,000 years. Yes, feng shui is a complex concept, but its implementation is based in large part on common sense; such as correlating form with function or selecting and positioning objects in a way that is smart as well as aesthetically pleasing. My article explores some basics of feng shui and then applies them in a simple, useful, practical manner to the interior design of a hotel. 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.