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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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

Jeff Guaracino

Considering the state of travel industry and changing travel patterns, is not a surprise to anyone that 2008 is optimistically predicted to be relatively flat. In some markets hotel general managers say they are being asked by corporate headquarters to lower their already budgeted occupancy levels. As the economy dips, hotels and others within the hospitality industry are again turning their attention to what may be this year's shining star, the gay and lesbian traveler. They are loyal, resilient and as a group, they have more discretionary income when compared to other groups, almost $800 billion. More, historically, they continue to travel even in tough economic times, even after 9/11. READ MORE

Jason Ferrara

So what exactly is the difference between a passive jobseeker and an active jobseeker? Active jobseekers are those who are consistently applying for positions networking constantly and vigorously sending out their resumes. According to a recent survey, 23 percent of hospitality workers identify themselves as active jobseekers. So what does all this mean to you, the hotel employer? In short, passive jobseekers make up a significant part of potential candidates, and therefore, are a critical component to your recruitment program. READ MORE

Elaine Oksner

Occupancy numbers appear to be disturbingly lower than usual for this current off season. No doubt that this is due, at least in part, to rising prices across the board, the inevitable reaction to soaring fuel costs. Many of our guests, both the individual travelers and the corporate meeting planners, are finding the need to do some serious belt-tightening. Even our wealthy travelers are reconsidering their vacation plans. What that means to the hotels and resorts is that we need to sell more to the people who are already in our properties. We must encourage everyone on staff to find all the opportunities to "cross sell" our facilities and motivate our guests to spend, spend, spend, beyond just paying the basic room rate. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Hopefully, it will be the only part of your strategic Public Relations plan that you will never have to execute: a crisis plan is often times the most important part of the communications strategy. A crisis is usually referred to as an event that can affect a property in a negative way. This can be anything from a fire, to a guest relations issue, a computer glitch, or it can result from a renovation, a management change, new ownership, etc. The effects of a crisis can be short term or long term, and many times the damage can be irreversible. When a crisis is handled poorly, it affects your reputation, brand management, and most of all your credibility- and when credibility is badly damaged, the affects can be fatal to your business. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

What happens when seafood smells fishy? Or when the smell of French fries shows up where French fries are not being served? Why do guest or even employee noses curl up or curl down when certain smells are encountered? The smells that surround us affect our well-being throughout our lives and hospitality leaders have a "scent-sational" opportunity to guide the impact of smell in guest service delivery and impact. READ MORE

Greg Pesik

The group events business is booming. In fact for hotels such as Fairmont, IHG and Hyatt, group events-everything from corporate events and trade shows to family weddings and reunions-are huge business. To be exact, they represent a $30 billion market that comprises up to 60% of their revenue. As I have stated in previous articles, technology today plays a big role in attracting meeting planners, securing their business and retaining them as long-term customers. In these articles I have looked at the specific types of technologies that hotels should be looking at-everything from collaborative online group management technologies, to Blackberry mobile phones and automated room list solutions. Now it's time to take a step back. What promise and possibilities do these technologies really allow the hotel to offer meeting planner looking to find a home for their next event? READ MORE

Michael Goldstein

"When something stinks, it's usually the head." This fishing phrase has interesting applicability for hoteliers. In fact, when hotel guests receive unsatisfactory service at a restaurant or are displeased with their hotel stay, it could be the result of a number of things, but the most likely reason for these problems is a lack of, or poor leadership team. Although often overlooked, having a strong and knowledgeable leadership team is one of the most important assets at any hotel property. In fact, it is the leadership team that determines the success of the property, particularly during renovation, an economic downturn or a slow season. A hotel's leadership not only affects the guests, but also the entire staff and the overall services provided. READ MORE

Nina Curtis

Through the months, I have written on several aspects of spa retail management and this issue's topic on Creating a Strategic Retail Plan is crucial for the future success and sustainability of the spa as a strategic business unit (sbu) of the hotel. As a sbu of the hotel, the spa's strategic retail plan should consider the overall strategy of the hotel and find ways to create a congruent plan of action so that seamless results are achieved. This sends a dynamic message in the branding of the spa as a cohesive unit. READ MORE

Coming up in November 2021...

Architecture & Design: Wellness is Key

Like every other facet of hotel operations, architecture and design firms are adapting their work to ensure the safety and well-being of both guests and staff. New ways to bring Wellness into hotel spaces are being explored and these solutions are taking on many forms. Hotel designs are incorporating more open floor plans, open air spaces, high ceilings, outdoor areas and operable walls into their spaces. Guests no longer want to be packed into tight areas. More "biophilic" elements are also being incorporated, offering guests the sense of being outdoors. Another trend is the reimagining of guest rooms to support remote work capabilities. Some hotels are converting empty guest rooms into office spaces, complete with effective lighting and suitable backgrounds for video conferencing. Dedicated Zoom Rooms are also becoming increasingly popular. The main goal is to provide guests with a positive experience in a space that feels safe and comfortable. These are some of the architecture and design subjects that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.