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Jed Heller

Strong communications between an owner and general manager are vital to the success of any property. The general manager needs to share the owner's vision while clearly understanding business strategy, objectives, accountability and metrics for success. In many cases, the owner and general manager will have already developed a broad based business plan that documents the goals and objectives of the property. Once these goals and guidelines have been established, it is incumbent upon the general manager to create a detailed operating plan to fulfill the vision. Read on...

Jane Segerberg

As 2008 continues to unfold, the current economic environment reminds us that making smart investments is paramount to the sustainability of our businesses. The most recent spa industry study conducted for the International Spa Association (ISPA) reveals that while the industry is very healthy, it is maturing and the previous exponential growth in locations and revenues is slowing down, yet individual spa net profits are improving. It is clear that spa properties that have not kept up with quality expectations are suffering from increased competition. Never has there been a better time than the present to invest wisely for the future and be poised on the brink of excellence as the economy returns to robust levels. Read on...

Elaine Fenard

Historically, the spa industry hasn't been known as a bastion of marketing prowess, but to be fair, much of that has to do with the fact that most full-service spas (day spas notwithstanding) are embedded into better known and marketed hotels, leaving them as a value-add for various packages and specials. However, some spas are doing wonderful things on their own to build the spa's brand and drive traffic. These efforts help to drive hotel rate and occupancy from both traveling and local audiences, and when expectations are met, a great spa experience can do much for building brand loyalty for the property, helping to keep your customers tied to you on both an emotional and practical level. To build brand loyalty and traffic for your hotel spa, take a look at what works. The following is our list of top-ten "buzz builders" for marketing spa. Read on...

Greg Pesik

When it comes to a successful meeting, a hotel has to bring more to the table than just a stellar reputation, luxurious amenities and the most informed employees. These qualities are clearly important success drivers but they alone do not guarantee success. Adding key technologies to the process can help ensure your meeting goes off without a hitch and will keep planner coming back. Technology is a key catalyst to group meeting success and hotels should embrace these solutions to make their venue more attractive to planners - whether for large groups and corporations, private weddings and parties. Here is a look at some of the must have technologies of today. Read on...

Tara K. Gorman

In the traditional hotel owner/operator relationship the lines are drawn in the sand and the roles are clear. Just as the titles imply - the hotel owner owns the hotel and the hotel operator operates the hotel. The hotel management agreement governs the relationship and that's that. When a joint venture enters into the equation, these lines are not so clear and which party is taking on which role at which time gets to be an interesting, and often complicated question. Before a joint venture can be formed, several basic questions must be asked and answered. Read on...

Scott B. Brickman

In a business where appearance truly matters, hotel landscapes are expected to look good year 'round - no matter what. But in many cities across the U.S., frequent droughts and stringent water restrictions can present a real challenge when it comes to keeping landscapes healthy and beautiful. And as the environment continues to change and the effects of global warming are felt on an even larger scale, the issue will only become more important over time. The good news is that, with the help of a qualified landscape contractor, there are ways to keep your hotel landscape green, even during the driest months. Consider the following advice as you work with a trusted professional to develop a drought-tolerant landscape plan that's right for your hotel property. Read on...

Gini Dietrich

As a business owner, your main concern is the success of your operation. Whether you operate a single property or own 100 full-service hotels, an outside public relations firm can help you reach your goals. Outside support is especially helpful as you undergo rapid growth or a major transition. Is your business poised for expansion where your best people are needed in other areas? Are you growing too quickly to capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves? Is your staff overwhelmed with other areas of the business and letting public relations slip? Do you need a team who has experience and a proven track record to assist you in reaching your goals? Read on...

Fred B. Roedel, III

Renovation projects are successful only when all involved parties are aware of and plan for the unique challenges they pose. Completing renovations in an operating hotel, making today's standards work in an older building, completing work within a short down period, and effectively dealing with existing and unknown conditions without negatively impacting the budget, the schedule or guests are just a few common challenges. Read on...

Roberta Nedry

Nervous Service! Call it shaky, call it uneasy, call it anxious, high-strung, sensitive or walking on pins and needles. These kinds of service experiences make the guest want to TWIST and SHOUT!!! What happens when employees are so focused on their duties, so concerned about management's expectations, so worried about letting co-workers down? Nervous service can bumble the job! Walking the line between expectations and service delivery can be challenging. How can employees better understand the seamless delivery of service and how they can have fun doing it without the jitters? Can hotels and hospitality organizations "work it on out"? Read on...

Tom LaTour

In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive hospitality industry, there are many different roads that can lead top managers to new career heights and greater achievements. One increasingly popular route paving the way to expanded personal growth and professional success is via fractional resort management. One of the fastest growing and most fascinating segments of the lodging industry is shared-ownership vacation resorts, including fractional interest, private residence clubs and destination clubs. According to the latest figures released by Ragatz Associates, this segment grew 8.3 percent in 2007 with sales volume estimated at $2.3 billion -- this despite the dramatic decrease in the country's overall residential resort industry. Read on...

Joanna Harralson

As every hotel manager knows, a good buffet can be a tremendous marketing tool for promoting a hotel's banquet and catering services, as well as being a magnet to attract a constant crowd of discriminating guests willing to pay for great food, attentive service and pleasant, relaxed surroundings. But what defines a good buffet? And how does one realize healthy profits while avoiding huge losses, including those suffered through employee theft or carelessness? Read on...

Jane Segerberg

The current economic downturn makes us all look at our businesses differently and realize the importance of good planning and execution. Your property's commitment to a new spa build, expansion or renovation during the current economic climate not only is a strategically smart maneuver, but also one that requires a talented team. When this short-term downturn begins to level out and improve, your property will be poised with a compelling edge on the market. In this article we will briefly examine the state of the spa industry and indications for spa development, then focus on the team of services and what each should bring to the project. The intention is for you, the reader, to have a clear understanding of "who does what", why each is important and what to expect from each area of expertise. Read on...

Bryan Green

In the world of high-end hospitality, unique services and luxury amenities can make or break guest satisfaction and retention, and a fitness facility is certainly not an exception. As consumers continue to focus on active, fitness-friendly getaways, it's all the more critical for spa and fitness center managers to stay on top of the innovations that can set them apart from the competition in the ongoing battle to win and retain new customers. Currently, the hottest new technologies in the fitness world are challenging hospitality professionals to enter the digital age, as virtual-reality-based, and other new digital technologies and software are re-shaping the way people exercise. Read on...

Jed Heller

By following basic accounting principles, hotel owners and managers have the information they need to identify trends before they can have a negative impact on the business. They can reduce expenses, readily accommodate anticipated peak business times, and scale back operations during slow periods. Rather than relying on intuition and reacting to events, successful owners have the financial facts they need on a daily basis to proactively make the right decisions at the right time. Staying on top of the hotel financials also provides an accurate measurement of management performance in every operational area and gives owners a mechanism to see where they stand against the competition. Read on...

John Poimiroo

In response to increasing financial and cultural ties between China and the United States, both countries have eased travel restrictions. The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is intended to boost travel between the two countries and serve to "strengthen relations and forge new friendships." The MOU opens China's growing market to U.S. travel and tourism industries with a push toward expanding group leisure travel from China to the U.S. CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei sees it as broadening exchange and cooperation between the countries in economic, cultural and air service areas. Read on...

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Coming up in August 2019...

Food & Beverage: Millennial Chefs Lead the Way

Led by Millennial chefs, hotels continue to foster sustainability, sourcing and wellness within their dining rooms and banquet spaces, and by all measures, this is responsible for an increase in their revenues. In many hotels, the food & beverage division contributes 50 per cent or more to hotel sales and they are currently experiencing double-digit growth. As a result, hotel owners are allocating an increasing amount of square footage for F&B operations. The biggest area of investment is in catering, which is thriving due to weddings, social events and business conferences. Hotels are also investing in on-site market or convenience stores that offer fresh/refrigerated foods, and buffet concepts also continue to expand. Other popular food trends include a rise of fermented offerings such as kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir and pickles - all to produce the least processed food possible, and to boost probiotics to improve the immune system. Tea is also enjoying something of a renaissance. More people are thinking of tea with the same reverence as coffee due to its many varieties, applications and benefits. Craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and even tea cocktails are beginning to appear on some hotel menus. Another trend concerns creating a unique, individualized and memorable experience for guests. This could be a small consumable item that is specific to a property or event, such as house-made snack mixes, gourmet popcorn, macaroons, or jars of house-made jams, chutneys, and mustards -all produced and customized in house. One staple that is in decline is the in-room minibar which seems to have fallen out of favor. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.