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Roger G. Hill

Rather than trying to predict the market, hoteliers can look into the future and make investments that set the stage for explosive growth when the economy takes off. Instead of reacting to today's economy, hotel owners can prepare for tomorrow's. Today's marketplace offers hotel owners a perfect opportunity to work on projects they put on the back burner early, as contractors and suppliers lower building costs in response to dwindling demand for their services. The cost of labor and materials decreases right in line with the economy. As an hotelier, you can take advantage of the economics of an uncertain market. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

Developers of boutique hotels are experts in leveraging design to create unique guest experiences. Historic hotels are perfectly poised for redevelopment as boutique hotels, and they offer that something extra that guests seek. Don't be afraid to invest in a historical property, especially if it's designated a landmark. The design challenges inherent to historical properties are surmountable, and even the most dilapidated properties can be restored to glory. The end result is a modern hotel infused with a narrative, and the cachet of staying in a historical property can make for an unforgettable guest experience. When you embrace a hotel's past and restore its glamour, guests feel the magic. 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...

Roger G. Hill

Walking into a hotel lobby is like shaking the hand of someone you just met. It's all about the first impression. Just like people, hotel lobbies embody distinct personalities. A lobby can be aloof, inviting, intimidating, or unbelievably cool. As an hotelier, you cannot stand by your front door greeting all the guests that make their way onto your property, but you can choreograph initial experiences by transforming your lobby into an oasis. Read on...

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...

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Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.