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Melinda Minton

A decade ago when the spa concept was just becoming popular in the United States and hotels were essentially devoid of adequate health and beauty facilities, many lodging establishments settled for taking a loss with their spas. Spas were thought to be amentias that put "heads in beds." Like having a sizeable indoor pool, fluffy pillows, plush carpeting and a complimentary cocktail at happy hour, spas were thought to attract more of the core business which is lodging guests. Interestingly, no element of this equation really worked...for any of the players. Hotels put in spa facilities in all sorts of shapes and sizes from ultra posh to the ultra Spartan. Some hired the management of the spa out to expensive specialty services, while others had their Food and Beverage manager oversee the new area. Spa-goers started the '90's off fairly confused about what to expect from a spa facility and wound out the decade by becoming more and more demanding. Hotels did what they do best; they marketed their facilities showing off the new amenities in glossy brochures and interactive websites, on television commercials and through travel agents. What started as a na"ive and well-intentioned foray into more comprehensive amenities and customer service, turned into a money hungry monster. An unchecked, mismanaged, unruly monster turned lose upon the masses. READ MORE

Melinda Minton

Creating a hotel spa that attracts and enhances a guest's experience is not as hard as one might think. The guests experience at the property should be comprehensive, seamless, and without a flaw. This means that each step of the way the guest should be surrounded in theme and consistent branding. While many hotels are still not giving their spas the attention they should some hotels are creating a spa brand that is unique, able to stand alone as a profit center and bankable as an extended product. READ MORE

Todd D. Scholl

The city is Little Rock, Arkansas. The catalyst for an unprecedented Little Rock tourism boom is a library. Known in Little Rock as the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. It is an attraction unique to the presidential library system, because it's not an attraction at all; it's a destination. The Peabody Little Rock, which opened a few years before is the bookend to this National Treasure. The meat in this sandwich is the wonderful River Market District, which is very pedestrian friendly and connected by a wonderful trolley system that is a throwback to days gone by. The triple treat of the Peabody Little Rock, William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park and the River Market District have placed "La Petite Roche" in the hearts and minds of both meeting planners and leisure travelers alike signaling a new age of tourism in what is being described as the "New South". READ MORE

Steven Ferry

Without wanting to undermine application of the dictum, "The customer is always right"-invaluable in gracefully resolving genuine customer complaints from guests who are merely poorly served, cantankerous, or difficult...even if they do often embellish their complaints with hyperbole for effect-I feel the time is ripe for a counterattack on those whose intent is not to right a wrong but who make a habit of trying to obtain something for nothing. For such is the definition of a criminal, whether bopping one on the head and running off with one's wallet; "making" vast fortunes through hedge funds and other manipulations of virtual money at the expense of the actual, physical economy; or hopping from one hotel to another without exchanging the valuables required to pay the wages and bills. READ MORE

Lynn McCullough

No matter what your guests are in town for -- whether it is a convention, an educational workshop or an awards event - professionals in the hospitality industry have a chance to make a lasting impression on a large group of people all at once. Regardless of the program or career-related benefits of these events, planners know that attendance is at its highest when professionals have the opportunity to travel to an interesting destination offering a truly unique experience. And, while actual location plays a role, planners value even the little things like one-of-a-kind hotel giveaways or room amenities that will make their attendees' visit memorable. Guests and meeting planners respond well when the venue's staff pays extra attention to detail and goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure repeat business. READ MORE

Scott B. Brickman

How can you, as a hotel executive, minimize the impact of snow on operations? The first step is to make snow and ice removal a top priority year-round, not just when the weather starts to turn cold. Hotels that experience the best snow removal efficiency are those that begin lining up contractors in the summer and fall. These hotel executives recognize that the best snow removal teams require a comprehensive knowledge of their parking lots - and traffic patterns - before it is buried under a mass of the cold, white stuff. READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

Chances are you have rarely - if ever - heard love associated with any business, let alone the hotel business. The "L" word is too warm, too fuzzy, and too mushy. Business has to be hard-nosed, bottom line oriented. Right? Well, maybe that has been true in the past. But all that is beginning to change because consumers have changed. They are far more sophisticated and more demanding; they are no longer content just be satisfied. Your guests want to be WOW-ed. They want a great hotel experience. They want a relationship with the hotel brand to who they give their business. They want to love you. READ MORE

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

For ten years, MFHA has been promoting the concept of diversity and inclusion as a key management strategy in the hospitality and foodservice industry. During this time, we have seen significant progress made in the areas of minority worker recruitment, diverse and under-leveraged community marketing and minority franchising. According to NABHOOD (National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers) there are more than 200 African-American owned hotels. Consider that it was less than a dozen just ten years ago. Why has Black hotel ownership increased so dramatically? I believe that there are seven reasons for this success. READ MORE

Melinda Minton

Turning rooms into havens for spa pleasures is quickly becoming a way to generate additional revenue both within and outside of the immediate realm of your property's spa. Assuming that you are doing everything correctly to drive your spa, the suite is the next untapped and obvious choice to mix things up a bit. Promoting the spa suite concept is rather easily done but must be comprehensive to include guests, parties, corporate events and local guests simply looking for a new spa excursion. The best way to define your method of attack is to literally org-chart the pathways that lead to the ultimate sale to the guest. READ MORE

Andrew Freeman

The power of a well-executed public relations plan can go a long way in promoting your brand, telling people what you are doing, and ultimately driving business to your hotel, all with more credibility than advertising and at a fraction of the cost. Building a relationship with your public relations team will allow you to be successful in these goals and bring you the fifteen minutes - and more - that your hotel deserves. What is public relations? Most immediately associate it with media relations, working with journalists to secure coverage about your hotel, a significant part of any public relations plan. On a greater scale, public relations encompasses all of your "publics," including new and repeat guests, employees, media, community and vendors. READ MORE

Gary Henkin

If you're like most hotel and resort developers, it is likely that your site(s) already have or will have a reasonably sophisticated exercise or fitness center for your guests and/or members. But have you considered adding spa services as well? Growth in the spa industry over the past five years has been dramatic to say the least. A few statistics are worth considering. The spa business is today the fourth largest leisure industry in the U.S. with over $11 billion in annual revenues. There are an estimated 12,000 spas in the U.S. (inclusive of resort and hotel spas, day spas, medical spas and destination spas) which is up 25% from only three years ago. Consumers can now find spa treatments at hotels and resorts, doctor's and dental offices, health clubs, airports, cruise ships and malls. Women account for slightly more than 70% of the market, but spa utilization by the male population has been growing at a rapid rate during the past several years. Currently, about 20% of all spa goers are 55 years of age and older, but the average age of the spa consumer is 40. READ MORE

Jacqueline Clarke

I have coined the term "the Spa Effect"(TM) to refer to a major growth driver not just in spas, but in the wider personal care services market. That driver is the belief that an investment in a personal care regime, like an investment in a health care regime, is beneficial for well-being in the short term, and for the quality of life in the long term. Personal care regimes, like other regimes, are more effective when used in conjunction with products. Spas are one of the biggest winners of this new consumer attitude. The expectation of a beneficial payoff from a personal care regime is the result of a combination of a number of different factors and of social developments. Among these factors are the larger numbers of appearance-conscious but ageing baby boomers, and higher levels of health-awareness, along with knowledge of product development in related fields. The latter is due to the enormous media attention devoted to, for example, in the health field the "wonder drugs" (such as Botox and Viagra), in skincare to new anti-ageing products, and in food to the many nutritionals (that promise the added value of health). READ MORE

Paul Feeney

Top executives agree that the "good old days" of rewarding employees for 35 years of loyal service are a thing of the past. Years ago, individuals who had experience at several companies were considered "job-hoppers". Potential employers wondered what was wrong with them and why they couldn't hold a job. Today, changing jobs has become a necessity if individuals expect to advance their careers. The very traits that made them unstable are now hallmarks of a well-rounded, ambitious and assertive professional. Change and its associated risks are never easy. To quit or not to quit is often a gut-wrenching decision - requiring careful consideration and soul-searching. READ MORE

Paul Feeney

It seems to be an employer's dream come true: tens of thousands of resumes out there in cyberspace, waiting to be plucked. Need more? Then list your position on the Internet and They Will Come. Alas, while companies across the country have experimented and implemented electronic recruiting as a very beneficial and cost effective tool, results can be decidedly mixed for recruiting for all positions. In order to understand the potential and the pitfalls of on-line searches, those who are considering a cruise on the Internet may appreciate a few words of explanation first. Much of this business presence is found on the Internet, the "Yellow Pages" of cyberspace. All sorts of for-profit and nonprofit organizations have established Home Pages on the Web to promote their products and services (and, in some cases, to advertise for job applicants). READ MORE

Paul Feeney

Certainly, anyone who works in today's corporations knows that far too few employees are trying to do far too much work with far too limited resources. At some point in the last century, people were those companies' most important resource - but that was then and this is now, dude. If not ignored or placed on hold by corporate edict, hiring has become a necessary evil as opposed to a golden opportunity. And with every possible ounce of cost being wrung from corporate budgets, it seems to make sense to hire on the cheap: waste-not, want-not. This has led to the creation of computerized "vendor management systems" for personnel procurement; applicant-tracking software that classifies, files and retrieves r'esum'es electronically; "preferred recruiter" lists based largely on search firms' willingness to discount their services; increased reliance on online job boards, and so on. READ MORE

Coming up in January 2024...