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Roger G. Hill

In difficult economic times, especially in this current downturn that hotel owners find themselves in, investing much needed cash or securing financing for Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment ("FF&E") refurbishments becomes a sensitive topic. Hotel brands require owners to follow brand standards and comply with often strict property improvement plans and timelines. The guest as well has high expectations and often seeks to get more and pay less. This puts a lot of pressure on owners and it becomes critical to make the right decisions for the operation in regard to renovations. It is a fine line between guest expectations and the operation's balance sheet. In the end you cannot put off a renovation, but you can make smart decisions in regard to value for your money, or in other words, return on investment. Read on...

Amy Locke

Among the factors affecting design and purchasing decisions are 1) a tight economy, which is changing plans for both business and leisure travelers while creating price increases in products to be purchased as well as in the transportation costs for delivery of those products, 2) new standards by almost every franchise brand, which have led to considerable hotel renovation as well as property rebranding, and 3) travelers who have become more discriminating and demanding about their hotel accommodations. Nevertheless, the hotel industry certainly knows how to weather a storm - and this article provides specific tips for how owners can lower their risk and raise their chances for profitability by hiring the right FF&E team in this difficult environment. Read on...

Dennis M. Baker

Companies look to utilize diverse-owned suppliers for a variety of reasons ranging from regulatory requirements to constituency expectations to deep-seeded corporate philosophies. As a provider of supply chain management services to the hospitality industry, Avendra has developed an approach to building relationships between customers and diverse-owned businesses that seems to work for all parties. In order to set up, maintain and monitor a successful supplier diversity program, we believe there are three vital steps. Read on...

Amy Locke

First impressions can be effective or disastrous, but they are always lasting. Nowhere is that more true than the highly competitive hotel industry, where the look and feel of a property can immediately turn guests on - or off. But in the months after September 11, occupancy was down dramatically and franchisors relaxed their quality inspections - so hoteliers put many of their purchases for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) "on hold." Here's how you can maximize your FF&E investment and minimize your service interruptions. Read on...

Amy Locke

Buying furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be painful - either for your peace of mind or your bottom line. Yes, you're spending a lot of money to furnish your hotel - but a purchasing professional can help stretch the dollars you spend, while also building the value of your property. By definition, choosing your FF&E means making choices - and the right choice for many owners and property managers is to assign purchasing responsibilities to an outside source. So when people claim that they can do effective buying of products for you, how can you be sure you're selecting a reputable purchasing agent for your FF&E needs? Read on...

Amy Locke

Hotel owners want to stay competitive and in compliance for the least amount of money. For them, "value" means price. Hotel guests want to stay in a place that offers the amenities of home while being friendly, tasteful, and meticulously maintained. For them, "value" means ambiance. An FF&E professional can help meet the expectations of both owners and guests - and that will pretty up your hotel and your bottom line. Here's how to streamline your decisions and your expenses. Read on...

Amy Locke

In recent months, purchases of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) have been on an upswing as hoteliers launch the construction of new properties and the renovation of existing hotels - activities which had slowed down or been put on "hold" since September 11, 2001. FF&E consists of several distinct steps or stages. It starts with design, proceeds to purchasing, then culminates with transportation and installation. Each step requires its own specialized attention to detail, yet too often the most forgotten or overlooked aspect of FF&E purchases is transportation - namely, the costs and logistics of delivery. Read on...

Amy Locke

Many hoteliers are busy tweaking their properties with such basics as better beds, better check-in/check-out procedures, and better staff service. So now is certainly a good time to upgrade another important facet of the hotel experience - public space. The irony is that while lobbies, hallways, and elevators are among the areas most "seen" by hotel guests, their design impact and importance is too often overlooked by hotel owners. But if you give the following public space ideas your attention, you'll get the attention - and repeat business - of your guests. The following includes some of the most affective methods in 'wowing' your hotel gusests... Read on...

Amy Locke

Highlight specific parts of the room that are especially important to travelers and therefore have special FF&E needs ... like the bathroom, work space, and sitting area. A hotel stay doesn't begin when your guests walk into their hotel room - it begins with the design of your d'ecor and the purchase of your FF&E elements. That's why designers and hotel owners are collaborating more closely than ever with their purchasing company. So what are the current "hot" trends in hotel room design? Read on...

Amy Locke

Here's How Works of Art Can Make Your Rooms and Public Space Stand Out. The word "artwork" typically brings to mind paintings, wall hangings, and sculptures. However, there are several other types of decorative elements that you can use to make a positive visual impact on guests. Exactly how you combine these various "artwork" elements will depend on four factors - brand standards, interior design, owner preferences, and budget. More and more hoteliers are using art to add a "picture perfect" final touch to their public and guest room space. If you want artwork to enhance the visitor experience at your property, consider these simple guidelines... Read on...

Amy Locke

Our industry is experiencing one of the strongest travel markets in recent years, so many new properties are being built and many existing ones are being renovated. But great hotel rooms don't just happen - they have to be carefully created with meticulous attention to the four stages of FF&E, namely, design, purchasing, transportation, and installation. Exactly what are today's "hot" trends for "cool" rooms? Here are three "do's" and three "don'ts" that are helping many properties sizzle without burning up their FF&E budgets - and these tips can easily be implemented by you. Read on...

Amy Locke

Our industry must especially adjust its FF&E design and purchasing to the values and habits of younger, more style-conscious travelers. While the older "baby boom" travelers take more trips and fill more rooms than their younger Generation X colleagues, it's the Gen X-ers who spend more money and use more services per stay. Some hotels are trying to straddle the fence with their FF&E decisions and appeal to both categories of business travelers, so that they don't offend either. Other hotels are taking the attitude that Gen X-ers are leading our country's cultural trends while boomers are following, so why not appeal to the cutting edge - and so far, boomers show no sign of backlash to the Gen X-inspired changes. Quite to the contrary, baby boom travelers seem to appreciate the fresh new wave of upscale amenities, comfortable colors and fabrics, and state-of-the art technology that are being offered by hoteliers. So exactly what are today's business travelers looking for? Read on...

Amy Locke

Vacationers used to travel to get away from home, but now they want to feel at home while on the road. And because people have more amenities in their homes - plus are exposed to more ideas in media such as television, magazines, and movies - they expect more when they check into a hotel. Hoteliers, with the help of their FF&E supplier, must be creative and willing to experiment with space allocation, interior design, and basic architecture. Here are some ways you can give your resort property the right warmth, without sacrificing any cool. 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.