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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...

Didi Lutz

From my experience, the saying "any publicity is great publicity" does not hold true. Unless you want your hotel to be at the mercy of the media, investing in strategic public relations is the best way to go. We have elaborated on the subject of public relations quite extensively over the last three years, and discussed the best ways to tailor a plan that fits your property, how to protect against potential crises, how to host events, and of course we have talked about ways to choose the best professional to represent your hotel and company. But what about broadcast PR? While I think that for long term branding purposes print placements may work better, depending on your property, there is quite a lot that can be accomplished with a television spot. Read on...

Didi Lutz

Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC, is a strategic management process that encourages the blending of Advertising, Public Relations, Sales Promotion and all aspects of the traditional Marketing mix. As we gallop and conquer the digital information age, IMC has become an effective way to communicate across various industries and is particulary successful within the hospitality industry. Read on...

Kurt A. Broadhag

In the traditional health club business model gyms either succeed or fail based upon membership numbers. Smart gym owners realize the importance of providing a service that satisfies their customers and view the facility maintenance as an integral component in customer satisfaction. This train of thought is right in line with many current surveys. Studies show that prospective clients rank maintenance and upkeep of a fitness center second in terms of their decision-making process, just below facility location and convenience. Studies also show that current members place even more of an importance on facility cleanliness, ranking it #1 in customer satisfaction. Since the hospitality industry places such great emphasis on providing guests with the best possible customer service it is easy to see the connection of facility maintenance within the hotels fitness center. Read on...

Jim Poad

When you consider the number of washers, dryers, vacuums, lighting fixtures, elevators, and other electronic devices needed to run a hotel, it's no wonder electric bills have become a towering expense for operators. Indeed, the hotel industry uses 69 billion kilowatts of electricity a year, at a cost of $5.3 billion annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it one of the highest expenditures for hotel franchisees. It's also one of the most overlooked expenses of running a hotel. Hotel operators are most concerned with buying amenities that ensure a pleasant stay for their customers, and increase return business. They excel at purchasing appliances, wall decor, furniture, carpeting, even restaurant equipment. But when tasked with finding the best rate for their electric needs, since it doesn't directly affect the customer experience, the job tends to fall to the wayside. Read on...

Jim Poad

The "No Vacancy" sign is the hotel operator's best friend. No matter where it's shining-from the top of Maine to the tip of Florida; from the Hudson River to the Grand Canyon; or from the Seattle Space Needle to the San Diego Zoo - the neon light signals a strong industry. It also indicates a stable economy. The more rooms that are booked means more cars on the road, and more people traveling on planes and trains. And it means restaurants, shops, and amusement centers packed full with visitors. But there's an underlying component that, if not addressed, can limit an operator's end profit. A crucial element here is energy costs. Read on...

Jim Poad

Many hotel operators calculate their energy usage in a vacuum. The singular focus on achieving the highest possible 'heads-to-beds' rate leaves little time for tracking energy usage. Some hotel managers commit to tracking this data but without the thorough understanding of how these usage rates vary across multiple site locations. Others have no idea how their rates compare to those of competitors in the hotel marketplace. This offers little insight into what their organization is doing well, or, more importantly, where they can improve. The result: Exorbitant energy costs negatively offset the profits from strong heads-to-beds rates, leaving operators to wonder where they went wrong. And if they don't figure it out soon, their business-and their bottom line-will pay. Literally. Read on...

Jim Poad

Small hotel franchisees and independent hotel operators concerns are the same as larger chains, in that they must pay employees, stock inventory, buy furnishings, and deal with heads-to-beds issues. Also like larger hotels, smaller operators have little time to manage the costs of the one thing hotels couldn't be without: utilities. But unlike larger establishments, they often don't have the capital to spend on full-service solutions that manage utility expenditures. That's about to change. Some energy management companies are providing a solution that gets smaller operators in on the ground floor of energy management. In fact it's so easy to use, all they need is a fax machine or a scanner. Read on...

Steven Marx

The hot topic at every hotel conference over the last year has been "financing"; i.e., how to get it! It is clear that the credit crisis has now infiltrated and affected literally every industry that requires real estate financing, from residential to hospitality. So what hope do we boutique hotel developers have if more "conventional" hotels are running into trouble? Well, with a lot of ingenuity, collaboration, talent, friends in high places, a compelling project, and, of course, at least a "sliver" equity capability, boutique hotels can be developed. Read on...

Roger G. Hill

One of the biggest challenges to break into the international market is recognizing, preparing for, and embracing the differences between the hospitality industry in the U.S. and other countries around the globe. Distinguishing the differences among these different cultures is vital and recognizing and adapting to the needs will place you way ahead of the pack as you go global. 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.