HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Donald R. Smith

Logical arguments can be made for and against the 800 numbers. But ultimately consumers want a choice, and they want to know that a human can assist with their decision making and travel booking process. While some hotel groups have hidden their toll free numbers, others have made them prominent for the following reasons... READ MORE

Joanna Harralson

There are times we wonder just how important it is to constantly demand adherence to the rules we've put in place in our bars and lounges. For instance, just what can the negative impact be of a bartender becoming lax in reviewing servers' checks? To forget that guidelines such as this were established for definite reasons is, of course, foolhardy. For one, when a bartender is diligent about 'redlining' or otherwise reviewing checks created from a server's drink/food orders, the server tends to be more diligent about maintaining accountability and accuracy with those same orders. By the same token, the bartender is encouraged to travel a straighter path, as well. And collusion between a bartender and server is not an unheard of scenario in many bars and lounges. READ MORE

Georgi Bohrod

A key factor in the expanding niche of vacation options is a coherent and targeted public relations strategy designed to strengthen the identity and position a Private Residence Club (PRC) or Fractional Vacation Real Estate Property. Fractional Properties and Private Residence Clubs differ from resorts and hotels in that the challenge is not to get some one to spend a couple of nights at a hotel, but to purchase a membership or real estate. With that in mind, let us consider the primary aim in a sales supporting PR effort. READ MORE

Elaine Fenard

The ultimate goal of spa design and programming is to create an environment that not only keeps guests at the spa for a longer period, but also drives them to come back for a second, third and eventually ongoing experience. Smith Travel 2007 research on the luxury spa market shows that a well executed hotel spa increases occupancy and rate, thereby increasing the value of the asset. But of course, the spa must be designed to take advantage of these notions. And this begs the question, where to begin? The answer: develop a plan. READ MORE

Jeffrey Catrett

The full-line producers like Marriott, Intercontinental, Starwood, Hilton and Hyatt may be thinking that they simply need to have one or more product offerings with features appropriate to Generation X or the emerging Generation Y, preventing competitors from nicheing away market-share or new entrants from gaining a foothold. What may be escaping the attention of many of these companies is that the boutique revolution very likely means a whole new way of doing business in the hospitality field. READ MORE

Donald R. Smith

Many hotel companies prefer a CPA model since it can be tracked to an actual stay; thus, the individual hotels pay for actual business received. CPA is a lower-risk option than CPC and much easier to manage, however, both have benefits depending on the needs of the company. Regardless of the distribution model used, it is important for hotel/hotel groups to carefully analyze the ROI before and during each campaign. Within the next five years, online advertising will take the majority the advertising budget so the pressure is on now to figure out which distribution model works best. When deciding, a key success factor will be working with online companies that understand each model and have experience successfully implementing them. READ MORE

Andy Dolce

Meeting industry veterans know lodging is a cyclical business and the good times cannot continue without end. The meeting business has weathered many storms over the past ten years. From the fallout of September 11th to the more recent stock market fluctuations and mortgage crisis, a decline in the health of our nation's economy often affects top meeting and conference facilities and drive-in markets alike. READ MORE

Brenda Fields

The past decade has been unprecedented in the hotel industry. All success indicators (occupancy, average rate, and RevPAR) have climbed steadily year after year and owners have enjoyed record profits. So what are your sales people doing? During these "feast" periods in full service hotels, it is likely that the sales person is turning away more business than is booked. And in limited service hotels, is it likely that the sales person is at the front desk with little or no, direct sales activity. READ MORE

Fred B. Roedel, III

Developing a new hotel property in a historic area presents an exciting opportunity to develop a unique property. It, however, also presents significant challenges that if not kept in mind can become roadblocks to success. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to take on the extra headaches commonly associated with developing a hotel in a historic zone? The answer is that a properly planned and well-thought out hotel development in a historic zone leads to the creation of a truly unique property that often becomes an important focal point for the surrounding community. Both factors result is a positive economic return for investors. READ MORE

John Ely

A new trend is shaping customer service, and it goes well beyond simply providing what guests expect. Today, customer service is being measured against a guest's experience in total - all of your guest's interactions with your company, your facilities, your products, your services and, most importantly, your people. While customer experience has fast become the industry's new buzz phrase, most are still having a difficult time differentiating between good customer service and a legendary customer experience. The following story helps separate the two. READ MORE

Christopher G. Hurn

In the hyper-competitive hotel business, keeping pace with the major flags and industry giants can be a daunting task for small hoteliers and franchise operators. Banks and other lenders take very close and careful assessments of the small hoteliers' track record and personal credit history when considering financing. Access to capital, which is essential for the small hotel owner/operator to maintain and enhance their property and amenities, is extremely difficult, and ultimately this prevents many of these smaller businesses and properties from reaching their fullest potential. One of the best solutions for the small owner/operator is the Small Business Administration's 504 loan program, which enabled 753 hoteliers to borrow $802 million during the 2006 federal fiscal year. READ MORE

Nina Curtis

Why does the word "selling" get such a negative response? Mainly because no one really wants to talk about it in the spa world where we believe it is only our position to make people feel good, well at least when it comes from the therapist's mouth. I had this thought at one time as a therapist but only because during my basic cosmetology training no one presented sales as a part of my soon to be career. The same was true of my massage training. Nowhere during my training did any of my instructors present the importance of product selling in one of their lessons. READ MORE

Kurt A. Broadhag

With current trends towards the greening of the hospitality industry it seems like a logical step to include hotel fitness centers as environmental models for sustainable design and operations. After all, these two sectors share a common thread - achieving optimal health, be it personal or environmental. It seems ironic to think that fitness centers of the past, created to support health and well being, could have adversely affected both its inhabitants and the environment. With proper planning, design, and operations your hotel fitness center can achieve the stewardship needed to be at the forefront of an ever-important shift to the incorporation of green practices within the fitness industry. READ MORE

Richard D. Hanks

As much as we all like positive feedback, negative comments have the opposite reaction. It cuts us personally when a departing guest tells us that they had a bad visit. How you react to their feedback is the key. Do you shrug it off and chalk it up to one customer who won't come back? Or do you see an opportunity? I hope it's the latter. Let me explain the benefits of having flaws exposed by disgruntled customers, how to make them right, and then turn a disappointed guest into a lifetime advocate for your hotel. READ MORE

Andrew Freeman

Reality Bites. Let's face it, most hotel restaurants aren't typically destination hot spots and in fact, many are still decorated as "garden terraces" and have the sort of vibe that is most attractive to the drowsy breakfast crowd. Yet, hotel operators know they have a real opportunity to create restaurants with destination caliber cuisine that are both social centers and culinary experiences. These operators are bringing in experienced restaurateurs, consulting/rising star chefs, mixologists, as well as public relations and branding experts to help them develop clearly defined (and appealing) concepts, create enticing menus and identify innovative ways to build the buzz, covers and revenue. By making their hotel restaurants sexy, fun and delicious, these smart operators are creating hot spots that entice both locals and hotel guests alike. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2022...

Sales & Marketing: Promoting Peace of Mind


As the hotel industry transitions to a more familiar position, it is still necessary for hotels to emphasize in their marketing the health protocols they have implemented to ensure guest safety and wellness. Above all, guests need to be reassured that every precaution is being taken to safeguard their well-being. Additionally, there are other marketing strategies that hotels can implement as a way to boost their business. For example, neighborhood marketing is a tactic that relies heavily on appealing to local audiences. Incentives targeting locals can fulfill the craving that some people have for time away from home, but aren't ready to hop on a plane. Another viable strategy is to promote experiences in nature. After being stuck inside for so long, many people are looking for hotels to help them re-connect with the great outdoors. The June Hotel Business Review will focus on the marketing strategies that some hotels are adopting and how they are benefiting from them.