HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Peggy Borgman

Spa guests seem to be shopping virtually everywhere but their favorite spa. Mass marketers understand this, and have slapped the word "spa" on everything from dish soap to shoes. Spa guests are ready, willing and able to shop your Stay Spa. But what motivates them to buy? Will retail be merely an afterthought in your spa facility? The "Stay" Spa's notoriously weak retail performance-as low as 2% of revenues in some facilities-- has created a chicken-or-egg dilemma for spa designers. Do Stay Spas retail poorly because their clients aren't interested in home care products, or because the spas themselves make it difficult to shop? Here's how to ensure that you reap the rewards of retail. READ MORE

Naseem Javed

Today, there is a major shift in thinking on how to build a major corporate personality. To play the game, one must clearly figure out the secret powers of e-commerce and the role of new technologies in contrast to traditional print and old-fashioned, mass-advertising driven models. During the last century, mega corporations throughout the world followed the prime rules of building corporate image and name identity in the strictest sense. Their goal was simply to achieve an elite, world-class image by having their name and logo brightly displayed on skyscrapers in every city. They ran massive advertising campaigns to promote their identity and claimed ownership to specific colors and designs, all in an effort to create a single visual global icon. They used every opportunity, from naming stadiums to sponsoring parades.The objective was simple: to demonstrate their exclusive power and their domination by big image. READ MORE

Peter Goldmann

Despite the growing attraction and convenience of purchasing goods and services by credit card, businesses of all kinds - including hospitality companies - are sitting ducks for credit card fraudsters. The problem is two-fold: While until recently, most credit card fraud involved "guests" using stolen or fraudulently obtained credit cards to pay for hotel charges, now the Internet has added a new dimension of credit card fraud threatening hospitality businesses. For example, cyber criminals can hack into a company's customer database and steal large batches of guest credit card information that they then sell on the black market. Or, they can use the stolen credit card information to manufacture counterfeit credit cards, which they then use to fraudulently purchase goods or services. Making matters worse, like companies in other industries that have been hacked by information thieves, hospitality companies could suddenly find themselves on the receiving end of lawsuits claiming damages for liability related to the theft of confidential guest information. To prevent incidents such as these, optimizing the company's information security defenses is the obvious first step. READ MORE

Darrell Schuurman

The gay and lesbian market is one market that hotels and other tourism-based companies have for too long overlooked, or simply chose to ignore. But can the industry continue to ignore this market? Can you? The simple answer, in my opinion, is no. And why would you want to? Most hoteliers understand the importance of diversifying their markets, but many aren't completely sold on the gay and lesbian market. I've identified three main reasons for why you and your hotel should choose to target this market. READ MORE

Susie Ross

Statistics show that, instead of complaining to an organization directly, 96% of dis-satisfied customers will gripe to an average of nine other people. I'm sure our group fulfilled that statistic and then some! You never know whom you're serving. Appearances can be deceiving. When you're serving a party of 65 for the holidays, know who the host is, whether it is an individual or a company. Also remember that the rest of the people, nameless as they may appear, all have names, careers, influence on others, and many have reasons and means to pay for a party of their own someday. Bad hair or a cheap-looking suit should not be taken for a bad person who has no value or influence. Besides being extremely rude to someone who is a guest and doesn't deserve to be ignored, you may be quashing a future opportunity to make money and promote your business. READ MORE

Dawn Walzak

While the Spa Inspired Guestroom concept is still very new, it is answering the needs that today's travelers are requesting - a true experience. This is a request that the hospitality industry cannot ignore. Many hoteliers do not want to hear that it is not about just the guestroom as travelers feel that most brands are equal when it comes to accommodations. Travelers today are time starved and as marketers we must begin to cater specifically to the traveler that fits within your hotels demographics. If you are marketing to a Baby Boomer, the services, amenities and training standards should be different than if marketing to a high power female executive who travels constantly and has children at home. No longer does one size fit all. READ MORE

Peter Anderson

Most hoteliers rely on third party feasibility analysis prior to building or expanding their rooms or related infrastructure, but they often turn a blind eye when developing or expanding their spa. Spas have gone from being the "red-haired step child of the resort world,"an amenity that we hope might break even, to the "must have amenity" if we want to be taken seriously. This proliferation of spas is both good and bad for the developer. Clearly, the market has embraced the need for spas--which is good. The dramatic building (and in many cases overbuilding) has made competition for the spa dollar fierce, and the spa user savvy--which can be bad if you don't do your homework. Now more than ever is why spa feasibility is a necessary part of the spa development process. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

With the U.S. Senate expected to consider the 'Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2005' and other bills this summer that address the global climate change issue, every hotel executive should be paying attention. The 'Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act', being offered by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Lieberman (D-CT), would cap the nation's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at year 2000 levels by 2010. To do that, it would impose limits on how much CO2 the economy could produce in activities such as generating electricity, refining and importing transportation fuels, and manufacturing. Putting a mandatory cap on the country's CO2 emissions would lead to higher energy bills for you, and it would also most likely put a cap on the economy as a whole, which would slow down your guest traffic as well. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), here's what could happen if the McCain/Lieberman bill was passed... READ MORE

Kim Hehir

We have seen an interesting evolution in hotel design over past several decades. At the beginning of the 20th century, the wealthy traveled in grand style at a leisurely pace, with vast amounts of luggage and, quite frequently, large numbers of staff. The design of the hotels that catered to them reflected that style, in size, proportion and atmosphere. The tumult of the 20s, 30s, and 40s disrupted travel patterns, but when people began traveling more consistently in the ensuing years, the look and feel of hotels changed. As travelers became more sophisticated, the demand arose for hotels with design elements that spoke of the destination; that used indigenous concepts and materials to help create a total experience. This demand for authenticity is very strong today. READ MORE

Peggy Borgman

A memorable and satisfying spa experience is never an accident. Great service organizations combine three crucial ingredients to ensure that guests are "wowed" on every visit. The spa director must masterfully coordinate a trilogy of Values, Structure, and Aesthetics. Values and Structure are absolute essentials to good service, but Aesthetics is the "cherry on top" that makes the spa experience a delight and elevates it to the level of World Class. READ MORE

Gayle Bulls Dixon

In the not so distant past, resort spas were an added bonus for those few guests interested in soothing mind and body during their week of rest and relaxation, or were a special treat while away at a business meeting. Even though potential guests or meeting planners would often inquire, "Do you have a spa?" few would take advantage of the offering. Just knowing it was there and available was important; whether or not it was actually used was a different story. My how times have changed! Today, spas are the reason that many guests select specific resorts... in fact, consumers seek out the trendiest treatments and programs. So, while yesterday's spa was a wonderful property amenity, although not necessarily a money maker, today's spa should be viewed as a profit center just like other hotel divisions such as rooms and food & beverage, and it should be operated under many of the same guiding principles and philosophies. READ MORE

William A. Brewer III

Condo hotels are creating quite a buzz in the hospitality industry. Although the concept is not particularly new, the recent stir over the conversion of New York's Plaza Hotel to condominiums has focused the spotlight on this industry phenomenon. Owners, management companies, investors and analysts are all taking a hard look at the potential rewards of this latest development craze. However, developers and investors may want to proceed with caution, because in the hospitality industry everything that goes up must come down - which promises lots of litigation will follow. READ MORE

Robert Trainor

Like clothing or hair styles in the fashion world, china in the restaurant business is ever changing. Twenty years ago when I participated in culinary competitions, judges told us the china would not make a difference in scoring. I disagreed then and still feel strongly about the effect china has on the presentation and overall guest experience. The table top, especially the china, is the herald of the dining experience to come, giving guests their fist hint of what to expect from the meal. In a 1987 competition in Boston, a connection at a German china company allowed me to borrow several different plates in exchange for promoting their product after the judging when the salon was open to the public. I finished in first place with a gold medal and high score. My menu and food were very good, but so were the entries of many of my competitors. It was the way the food was presented on this great line of china that gave my presentation that little extra touch that pushed me ahead of the others. READ MORE

Dawn Walzak

Meeting the Generation X business traveler's ever evolving needs is keeping hoteliers awake at night. I toss and turn wondering what needs to be done to stay ahead of my competitors while meeting and exceeding travelers' expectations. Determining business traveler's interests and managing costs effectively is what keeps making hoteliers sleep deprived. With the demographics of travelers constantly changing, the hospitality industry is charged with one of its most challenging tasks to date and there is no clear-cut answer. The face of the traveler is changing so dramatically by age, sex, nationality and other factors that present additional challenges to the hospitality industry. Times seemed much simpler 10 years ago when it was easier to predict what the business and leisure traveler expected. Today, hoteliers not only deal with the changing face of the traveler but with the amount of knowledge they educate themselves with prior to arrival. In today's world there is no longer an uneducated traveler. I jokingly state to my associates that this began with the launch of USA Today and it becoming one of the most read newspapers by travelers. READ MORE

Peter Anderson

First and foremost, if you are contemplating the development of a spa at your lodging facility, do you already have an unused or underutilized space in your hotel, or will you need to build the additional facility? The cost difference between the two can be significant and because it is all about the revenue per square foot that your spa will generate, and its ability to enhance your existing revenue sources so that you can justify your construction costs. A spa in a lodging environment must compliment and enhance your current operations. Spas are no longer amenities reserved for 4 and 5 star resorts. They are found in many varied lodging products, and when done correctly significantly bolster room rate, extend length-of-stay, fill in low- and shoulder-season demand, augment food and beverage revenues and create added spa and related retail revenue. READ MORE

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