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Darrell Schuurman

I need to first acknowledge that this article was inspired from an email I received in response to one of my previous articles. The author of that email, let's call him Mr. Smith, was very upfront and critical of some of my suggestions on how hotels can attract the gay and lesbian market. He was blunt, but I appreciated his comments. Not only did it give me a title for this article, but it made me really take a step back and validate everything that I've been promoting. I decided, as I was responding to his letter, that I should actually share my comments with all of you. If Mr. Smith had these strong concerns, others must as well. I've incorporated bits of his email into this article, which by the end will hopefully give you a better sense of whether or not marketing to the gay and lesbian consumer has truly "gone too far". READ MORE

Gini Dietrich

When people think of public relations, they automatically think "Oh! That person can get me on Oprah!" While someone like Oprah can make you, it's very rare for a company to be on her show, unless it's a company owned by a celebrity. You must think about targeted trade publications and reporters at your daily newspaper and business journal. You also must think about additional tactics you can do that are directly translated back to sales. READ MORE

Richard D. Hanks

All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product. It is wise to remember Sam Walton's famous adage, "There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." Research clearly shows a link between employee performance and customer satisfaction. Put in the reverse, your customer satisfaction level accurately reflects your employees' performance. Thus, who better than your customers to let you know how effective your internal processes are at providing the appropriate levels of customer service? READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

More than a century ago, author Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) reminded us that "we are all wholesale borrowers. In every matter that relates to invention, to use or beauty or form, we are borrowers." Translating into today's highly competitive hotel world, you do not have to literally re-invent the wheel to innovate. With the trends to guide you, you can turn to the twist principle and bend the trend around your hotel's promotions, or you can tweak some aspect of your hotel to build your guest base. In either case, you will develop a product or service that will be right for the time, the place, and the target market. READ MORE

John Arenas

With today's advanced technology, there is no longer a need for your sales team to spend time engaging in lengthy RFP responses for simple meetings for up to 100 participants. Through the use of a web based meeting booking engine, customers and meeting planners can now literally search , compare live quotes and request bookings that include meeting space, catering and amenities themselves. This means hotel sales teams can focus on customers who have already been pre qualified on budget, timing and space needs. This article shows you how to reduce sales and marketing costs associated with meetings up to 100 participants, while serving these high value, customer relationships. READ MORE

Peter Anderson

Residential trends and spa environments lines of demarcation are blurring. Destination spas Such as Mirival, Canyon Ranch and Red Mountain Resorts, are creating residential components highlighting their consumers' desires to have easy, immediate and equity access to a spa lifestyle. Destination resorts with full-service wellness spas like the Montage, La Costa, and the Four Seasons are creating residential components for much the same reason. And to round out the picture private communities such as Big Horn, Laughlin Ranch, and Kiawah Island are developing wellness environments to enhance their residential communities. READ MORE

Casey Olsen

Prior to starting my health spa consulting firm, I was the spa director for glamorous celebrity filled world renowned spas. Being a director of a spa encompasses a myriad of responsibilities, most important of which may be the personal meeting and greeting of guests utilizing the facility. Of course, guest service and care is vital to the success of a spa, and if your spa caters to a sophisticated market, then meeting these guests' expectations can be a bit more challenging. But, has anyone ever revealed what really goes on inside a spa? Here's a peek at some of my experiences behind those tightly closed doors, no names, of course! READ MORE

Jacqueline Clarke

This new "medspa" category is growing - strongly. In the USA, the most developed medspa market, the numbers more than doubled between 2004 and 2006. And in barely more than a decade medspa dollars went from zero to over one billion dollars a year. (There is as much conflict about market sizes as there is about definitions.) The medspas are themselves but one segment of a relatively new category, the day spa. Currently in the USA, revenues in 14,000 "spas" are over $12 billion a year. The spa market is growing faster than wider professional beauty services market. Indeed spa revenues compare to the $60 billion revenues in about 313,000 hair salons/beauty salons in the USA. READ MORE

Dee Dee Dochen

For all of us, communication - both verbal and non-verbal - is an integral part of our daily world. And as the world moves faster, as our fingers do the talking, and as the sense of urgency drives our ability to knock out scores of brief, electronically transmitted messages daily, some of the valuable communication skills that our moms taught us run the risk of being overlooked. Earning an intangible Ph.D. from Mom's School of Communications, and then taking those well-honed skills out into the marketplace, can be the single most influential factor affecting a business relationship. READ MORE

Bruce Fears

Planning and executing a valuable meeting while adhering to a reasonable budget is the goal of every meeting planner. To accomplish this, many turn to Complete Meeting Packages (CMP), the conference center's niche total pricing structure which allows clients to budget an event with confidence, while offering options ranging from budget to upscale. However, today's meeting planners are savvier and striving to find unique venues or add-ins, such as an out-of-the-box team-building activity, when planning their upcoming events. READ MORE

Bruce Fears

This year is going to be one of the most exciting times in the meetings and conference industries to date. With all the changes taking place, it can also be daunting if you're not on top of the competitive arena. The following article outlines some of the most significant trends and opportunities in the industry as projected by myself and my team at ARAMARK Harrison Lodging, a leading provider of professional services to 50 conference and corporate training centers, specialty hotels, national and state parks, resorts and other tourist destinations throughout the United States. READ MORE

Bruce Fears

It has been decades since the Internet and World Wide Web first opened their virtual doors to the world, and although traditionally the meetings industry has tended to lag in adopting new technology, all of this is changing - and fast. Today's world of Blackberry addicted executives, tech-savvy meeting planners and gadget-friendly presenters are forcing conference centers to provide state-of-the-art technology as a standard practice - or else risk competition taking their business. Technology standards within the industry are advancing as quickly as new innovations emerge. Gone are the days when an overhead projector was considered high-tech; wireless connectivity has quickly become the standard. LCD Projectors, video conferencing and computers, once considered luxury pieces of equipment, are now customary. READ MORE

John Poimiroo

According to The Historic/Cultural Traveler, a weathered, but oft-quoted 2003 study by the Travel Industry Association of America and Smithsonian Magazine, more than half of U.S. adults (over 118 million people) include at least one art, history, humanities or heritage activity or event when they travel. You find them swaying to exotic music at cultural events, festivals and fairs. They're drawn to ethnic neighborhoods for authentic foods and imports. Clusters of them are seen looking skyward as they walk through historic districts on guided architectural tours. Others are involved in volunteer projects to both immerse themselves in a destination while helping to preserve it. They walk battlefields, often as knowledgeable about what took place as are local guides. The travel stories they retell are of the cultural treasures they saw and the remarkable local people they met. READ MORE

Richard D. Hanks

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reported this year that customer satisfaction within the hotel industry declined over five percent from last year. The industry's final score? A not so impressive 71 out of 100. That would also be known as a "C minus," if we were still school. Sure, it's a passing grade, but below average, and far below what the industry is capable of. In other words, there is a lot to learn out there - about lodging customers and how to serve them. What if the industry as a whole could earn at least a 90? What if a single chain could score that high? Vacancies would be scarce, revenues would soar, and that chain would gain the reputation as the place to stay. The truth is, it doesn't really take a great deal of effort. In fact, your customers are saying it all the time. The trick is how to hear them. This article discusses how best to go about obtaining actionable feedback from your guests, how it can help you adn what the potential benefits could be. READ MORE

Rob Rush

While the present-day environment may make it difficult to slow down and remove oneself from the renovation arms race, participation will provide no lasting advantage. You may have a slight edge winning the "mind" of the guest... until the guy next door completes his renovation, and it's way cooler. If you launch a parallel arms race by attempting a renovation of the human touch points of the guest experience, however, you have an opportunity to win not only the mind, but the "heart" as well. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2022...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Great Outdoors

There is some welcome good news in the Hotel Group Meetings sector. There seems to be a resurgence in activity - across all sectors and all sizes - from small board meetings to large in-person groups. However, hotels must remain flexible and proactive, as they seek to provide venues and programs that are productive, comfortable, and safe to all parties. One major development is the expansion of outdoor meeting activities. This trend not only serves to meet regulatory health standards, but it also promotes an environment of well-being. According to a recent study from, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reportedly felt invigorated after being in fresh air. Combined with guided physical activities and healthy food and beverage offerings, a sense of wellness and productivity are established. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to accommodate the revitalization of group meeting business in their operations.