Library Archives

 
Steven Belmonte

Maybe not yet, but I predict soon, the stodgy, old hotel franchises with the "our way or the highway" mentality will be a thing of the past. They will be as useless, and broken-down as the coin-operated vibrating beds that were once popular at hotels and motels across the country. With the advent of the Internet and advanced technology, hotel membership brands and new, loosely structured franchises are flourishing. Third-party websites, Global Distribution Systems, and strategic alliances allow these new hotel companies to operate at a fraction of the cost of a typical franchise. Read on...

Steven Belmonte

We all know the first rule of thumb for survival in the service industry is "customer service is king'; and we have heard the complaints lately about how it's deteriorating at rapid speed. Most companies are finally realizing that cost-cutting methods may work in the short run (i.e. automated phone messages as opposed to a live person on the other end to take calls), but they tend to fail in maintaining customer loyalty in the long run. We've been there, done that, and learned from it. But what's not really being addressed is the customer service that takes place within the corporate office. 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...

Bill Boyar

You're a relatively small, privately-owned, well-managed hotel operating company. You manage for institutional owners, and have solidly built a core business. But you have limited distribution and don't control the assets you manage. You might even be concentrated geographically. You're concerned that if you don't gain control of the assets you manage and grow your portfolio, you'll have difficulty keeping your key management team. Worse yet, you're concerned that you'll lose market share, your revenues will decline and your profitability will be reduced. You risk watching the enterprise value that you worked so hard to build deteriorate. Not a pretty picture. What are your options? Read on...

Victor P. Haley

The hospitality industry has yet to recover from the events of 9/11. Since that tragic day, the revenues of the major hotel operating companies have declined sharply. Only now is the industry seeing a return to profitability and increasing ADR and occupancy. However, a lingering issue continues to haunt the industry - the fear that a terrorist attack could target a hotel and the realization that the prevention of such an attack is a daunting task. Hotels can no longer do business as they once did. They must confront the new reality of terrorism and take measures to protect their guests from harm and themselves from liability. In confronting the very real threat of a terrorist attack, hotels also face a range of complicated related issues. What is a hotel's liability to its guests if an attack occurs on the hotel premises? How proactive must hotel management be in anticipating and thwarting an attack? How do the additional security measures taken by hotel management get funded? Read on...

Victor P. Haley

Hotel owners and operators have grown more sophisticated in crafting standards with which to project and then gauge the performance of their properties. As a result, these parties are also negotiating increasingly complex performance test provisions in operating agreements. What is a performance test? Essentially, a performance test sets objective criteria for minimally acceptable financial performance of a hotel and, ultimately, provides the hotel owner with the right to terminate the management contract if the operator fails to achieve the goal. Beyond these basic concepts, performance tests come in all shapes and sizes. A savvy hotel owner will always demand that the hotel management agreement contain some type of performance test. Most hotel operators accept, albeit grudgingly, that such performance standards come with the territory of management contracts. Operators are usually concerned with limiting the scope of the test as much as possible and with negotiating cure rights that protect them from loss of the management agreement. Read on...

Dennis M. Baker

Whether it's a five-star resort or a two-star hotel, customers rate location as the number one deciding factor when booking a hotel according to a recent consumer survey by HotelClub, a leading online accommodation specialist. But as everyone knows, within the "location" category there are many choices. With today's online virtual tours customers can get a fairly accurate evaluation of the details of your location in advance. Obviously room size and d'ecor, attractiveness of common areas and available amenities are critical in that evaluation, but the exterior appearance of the grounds, everything from flowers to plantings to trees, is also important to your hotel's image. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

From a financial perspective, the lodging sector in the United States is healthy, according to PKF Hospitality Research. The current market and industry conditions dictate some tightening in the lending community, however, and there's certainly no lack of competition for funding. Capital just isn't as abundant as it's been for the past few years, and you'll need a more aggressive and comprehensive method to attract these investors. Following are 10 powerhouse steps to attract investors to your property. I encourage you to evaluate every aspect of your hotel, including its overall appearance, functionality, operations, and profitability. Readying your property for new opportunities is a lot of work, but once you have investors lined up, it'll be worth all the effort. 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...

Neale Redington

In a recent New York Times article, it was reported that a 74 year old traveler spent the past several years on various adventure vacations, including climbing the 19,300 foot Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro and pitching a tent in a sandstorm in the Gobi Desert. She has also traveled to Mongolia, Madagascar and Peru in recent years and is planning trips to the Andes and Ethiopia. What does this mean for the travel industry? Increasing longevity creates new economic opportunities in the near term. According to a U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, consumers age 50+ have accumulated more wealth and have more spending power than any other age group in history. In addition, they spend more than $1.7 trillion on goods and services each year. Read on...

Didi Lutz

Clearly, we all take for granted the immediate access to information with just the click of a mouse. Email has replaced snail mail, most face-to-face contact, and it is beginning to substitute voicemail. "Google" has become an action verb synonymous to finding instantaneous information. Nowadays, dinner can be ordered without picking up the phone. Anything from theatre and baseball tickets, to golf clubs and contact lenses, even groceries are available to purchase via the Internet. Essentially, everything has been converted for online use. There are many interesting theories on the evolution of technology and the socioeconomic impact it has to nearly every industry. Hoteliers read and analyze opinions and case studies to help them make the appropriate technology decisions for their property, whether it involves installing a complicated Wi-Fi system, an innovative computer in the business center, or just a simple guestroom analog phone. It pays to be ahead of the game. Read on...

Didi Lutz

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a relatively new concept in the field of Marketing and Public Relations. The idea is to combine all promotional efforts in order to expand the organization's market, explore additional sales possibilities, secure market share, and maximize revenue potential. If practiced properly, Integrated Marketing Communications is a healthy balance that can yield unlimited results beneficial to the organization's goals. Defining IMC has been controversial and has caused a lot of argument among experts, but generally it is described as the mix of all promotional efforts into "whatever works." With that in mind, hotels have begun applying this notion as part of their everyday outreach. Read on...

Didi Lutz

Choosing a successful publicist in hospitality can be difficult because there are not that many agencies or independent consultants who specialize in the hotel industry and know its media environment well. To begin with, when recognizing the need to outsource, hoteliers must establish a budget for public relations that will not only include service fees, but also the traditional "wining and dining", complimentary room nights for media, subsidizing press trips, and the cost of article reprints and permissions for their use on websites and press kits. Read on...

Didi Lutz

Blogs (traditionally called Web Logs): A fairly recent type of medium, created at will for sharing news, opinions and information. Hotels are slowly beginning to realize the importance of these authoritarian online outlets that are taking the Internet by storm with postings of accurate and sometimes very inaccurate information. The worst of it is, blogs are most times not objective and heavily biased sources of news, but since they are so widespread they become an alarming concern. It is no surprise why PR professionals should keep this emerging type of media on their radar screens to protect the branding and image of their clients. Read on...

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.