HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 CareerBuilder.com 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

Coming up in July 2022...

Hotel Spa: Now More Than Ever


In the aftermath of the global health crisis, there is a newfound appreciation for the need to be fit - both in body and mind - and hotels that provide a spa or wellness clinic will reap the rewards. What are clients seeking? Better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness. It is no longer sufficient for spas to only offer massages or facials; clients are demanding more for the benefit of their overall well-being. For example, a medical spa might offer services such as botox, dermal fillers, body sculpting, and microdermabrasion. Other spas are emphasizing the importance of preventative therapeutics and are using technologies such as body scanners to evaluate their clients' health. Some spas are enlisting osteopaths, naturopaths, fitness coaches, yoga masters, even psychologists, to promote vitality, stress management, and emotional balance. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other advancements, and document how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.