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Peter Anderson

Today in most resorts the inclusion of a spa is no longer a luxury, but rather a standard amenity, expected and ubiquitous. Significant cross pollinating among the day, medical, amenity, and destination spas has created a competitive and comprehensive spa environment that here-to-fore that has never been experienced. This dynamic has created the phenomenon of Spa Wars, where product differentiation is subtle and the competitive edge can be paper thin. It is ironic that as the spa industry matures, distinctions between spa types are becoming blurred, resulting in subtle levels of segmentation and product differentiation that provide "options" to the savvy spa goer and "confusion" to the rest of us. Historically, hotel and resort spas have been classified as either "destination" or "amenity", meaning they were either the specific reason to travel to a remote location or they were and an added amenity (sometimes created as an after thought) for the an indulgent resort clientele. READ MORE

John Tess

Federal tax law allows a 10% investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of a non-historic building placed in service before 1936. To be "non-historic" a building cannot be individually listed on the National Register. A building located within a National Register historic district is presumed to be historic; to use the 10% tax credit, the Park Service must determine that the building in question is not historic. READ MORE

Lynn McCullough

It is important for meeting planners to be aware of the many ways they can plan for and conduct highly effective, memorable meetings, while simultaneously taking their organization's budgetary parameters into consideration. Now is the ideal time-especially as we embark on a new year-to start a clean slate comprised of cost-savings strategies and planning decisions that ensure both financial benefits for your client's organization while also generating a successful meeting for their audience. So, if you or your client need to plan big with a budget that's small, let the following tips from ACOM-the Association for Convention Operations Management-serve as a helpful guide to achieve both objectives. READ MORE

Doug Luciani

In the hospitality industry, there are numerous ways to work with the media. You can send out news releases to alert the media to new amenities or packages. You can host travel writers who will then include you in their stories. If your releases and hosting go well, writers may then follow up with you for an interview. This may all sound easy to deal with. But, take it from someone who has been a journalist and now works with them daily, the media can be finicky. Let's start with sending your news to journalists. READ MORE

Darrell Schuurman

By now, since reading my last article, you've already started to take the first step in the product development phase: providing diversity training to your staff. With this training, you have the basics you need to offer the gay and lesbian traveller an experience where they can feel comfortable and the service they receive meets their expectations. But how do you build on that? How do you enhance that to really make your property appeal to, and capture, the market? Product development and packaging is where you get to be creative and have fun. Through the development of new products that are created specifically for the gay and lesbian market, you can provide them with the tailored experience that they are looking for. You might be thinking to yourself that you don't have any "gay" product to work with; that you have nothing that would be appealing for a gay and lesbian package. Where do you look? READ MORE

Jeff Slye

We all know that when it comes to setting the style standards for hospitality, boutique hotels are among the industry's most formidable trendsetters. Often, Kimpton Hotels have led the pack with innovative design and unique programs such as in-room yoga, tall rooms, and goldfish to keep the guest company. In 2005, they decided to make one statement that will never go out of style - green is the new black. READ MORE

Doug Luciani

As a public relations professional, one thing is very clear to me. Most people do not fully understand or appreciate the benefits of PR to their business. PR is perhaps the most under utilized tool in a marketing tool box. Public relations takes time and commitment. Sending out one release won't get you on the cover of Southern Living or the front page of the NY Times. However, handle a crisis poorly and it will. Understanding public relations is important to any business. Effective PR can help you gain exposure and increase revenues. Sure, PR can be maddening. It's hard to measure the ROI sometimes, but it can be done. It's time consuming, but the results are very gratifying. READ MORE

Peggy Borgman

Do you consider your most popular services your most "profitable"? Just because you sell a lot of something doesn't make it profitable. Service profit is produced by careful control of your direct costs to produce that service. Profit is never just a happy accident in a spa business. Despite the seemingly lavish price tags for services in resort and hotel spas, our expenses and overhead are equally lavish. Spa directors must be constantly monitoring the actual expenses of producing their services, as well as looking for opportunities to simplify their menu and their operation, while adding value. READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Half of the US populace is on psychiatric drugs, and the vast majority of them do not need to be. But having taken these mind-altering drugs, they develop a biochemical personality that cuts them off from others, either making them wooden and unemotional; or causing great discomfort, making them into walking time-bombs who blow up from time to time. The hospitality industry is based on the concept of hospitality. It is hard to be friendly to anyone when one feels half dead, drugged, or when one is seething with upset... READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Whether or not Mr Horst Schulze, former chairman of Ritz-Carlton, was serious when he announced his plans to introduce a six-star hotel chain that was defined in part by private butlers, he was signaling a recognition of the value of a certain something that classic British butlers bring to the guest experience. So what's the connection between the British butler of the past and present, and the future hospitality professional? How does one move service employees from transient lower-paid wage earners to professional service providers acting with pride and knowledge, more akin to Life Consultants than room service and caring as much for guests as their own mothers? READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Rare is the week that goes by without word of some upscale hotel offering butler service as a way to improve service and retain or gain that coveted 5-star or diamond status. That's as it should be. But then consider the story broken recently by the Wall Street Journal of industry veteran Horst Schulze's declaration that he intends to establish a line of hotels with a six-star rating. What does he specify as the criteria for such an august label? Private swimming pools. And personal butlers. It seems butlers are really not just for the wealthy in their private estates, but also for their convenience when they travel. So, in providing butler service, a pertinent question might be "What exactly is a butler?" Or more to the point, "What are butlers in a hotel setting?" READ MORE

Jane Segerberg

The statement is true..."Like swimming pools, a spa is considered to be a necessity for hotels and resorts." If you are contemplating investing dollars in building a spa or undertaking a spa at your hotel or resort, take some time to plan for the longevity of your spa brand. A long-term winner is born when a clear picture of the spa industry is combined with a concise concept and a plan to manage the concept. First, let's take a look at the spa industry. The spa industry has "arrived" and definitely proven itself. It has had the right formula at the right time - just when stress is high and the world wants a time out - a time to slip away - a time to escape. The latest Spa Industry survey prepared for the International Spa Association by The Association Research Centre Inc. quotes... READ MORE

Jane Segerberg

Does your property have a compelling spa program that captures your hotel guests' sophisticated spa expectations? Today's spa customers are more knowledgeable, more discerning and less tolerant of a mediocre spa experience. There are more spas vying for their money and business. Decisions on where to spend their dollars will be determined by how well their needs are met. Spa guests are seeking an honest experience that supports a sense of escape while at the same time, offers meaningful results. READ MORE

Johnna Freud

How do consumers think about your hotel's restaurant? Why do people eat there? Is it only a convenience for overnight hotel guests, or is it a destination for non-guests as well? In consumers' minds, what does it compete with, and how does it compare to the competition? Why do some people return after their initial trial, but others do not? Is it the food, ambiance, staff or a completely different reason? What does the restaurant do well? What needs improvement? Qualitative research has been used to answer such questions and gain an in-depth understanding of consumers' attitudes toward restaurants -- elegant, casual, take-out/fast food, independent restaurants and/or chains. READ MORE

Steven Ferry

For spa directors in hotels and resorts offering spa services, there is the constant pressure to excel even further and so differentiate themselves in the minds of their guests; to find compelling ways to entice guests to return when there are many other venues for them to choose from. The same could be said of the butler service offered by many such hotels and resorts. Both programs add value and prestige, but is there a way to improve these service offerings? The short answer is, "Yes!" READ MORE

Coming up in June 2023...

Sales & Marketing: Integrating Technology

The Sales & Marketing department is responsible for maximizing a hotel's revenue by developing programs to increase occupancy and to make profitable use of its meeting and leisure facilities. Increasingly, managers are utilizing sophisticated digital technology to help them achieve those goals. Virtual Reality is being integrated into booking engines which provide potential guests the opportunity to tour a property from afar, including wedding, event and food & beverage facilities. Voice Search has also become a popular marketing tool. Using smart home devices, it's now possible for customers to book hotels entirely through voice commands. Chatbots are becoming more ubiquitous as hotels seek to refine their online customer service. Chatbots can answer common questions, push key marketing messages, increase direct bookings, and even guide customers through the booking process. Finally, hotels are already preparing for the debut of the Metaverse and planning how sales and marketing departments will fully participate. The June Hotel Business Review will focus on the sales and marketing strategies that some hotels are adopting and how they are benefiting from them.