HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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John Tess

Recently, HVS International completed a nationwide study of over 120 historic hotel properties with a total of 27,935 rooms, comparing their operating performance against national averages. Their findings: Historic properties have outperformed national averages in both occupancy and average rate levels. This performance is particularly evident in superior revenue per available room levels. HVS ascribes this result in part to the more affluent nature of the patrons of historic hotels. Of particular value is providing a hotel alternative to "cookie-cutter" lodging experiences, often supported with added value by leveraging the historic character of the property with unique interpretive programs. This perspective is supported by a Travel Industry Association of America 2003 market study that noted a general increase in the travelers' desire to experience cultural, art, historic and heritage activities. The study revealed that 81% of travels who took a trip away from home in 2002 included at least one such activity in their trip. READ MORE

Peter Goldmann

Hotels, restaurants, casinos and resorts are notoriously desirable targets for thieves and con artists, mainly because of the large sums of cash flowing through these businesses. And, indeed, statistics do show that theft and fraud take a serious financial toll on the bottom lines of most hospitality entities. According to industry statistics, as much as 5% of annual food and beverage revenue is lost to fraud by hospitality companies. The good news is that there is a lot that hotel management can do to prevent and detect illegal activity that they're not doing now. READ MORE

Lynn McCullough

More often than not, your meeting planner clients will come to you with a set budget for their event-with set parameters for what they want in terms of food and beverage, decor and logistics. While it is good when clients know what they want, it is also good to suggest ways to enhance their event so that they look even better-and equally as important, these enhancements can improve a facility's bottom line. That is where upselling comes in. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

With the cost of all energy supplies rising, the nation's electric power industry is committed to ensuring that electricity, one of our most versatile energy sources, remains affordable and reliable. We are investing in the nation's electricity system today. And we are advocating public policy positions to ensure that the supply of electricity can meet the country's ever-growing demand tomorrow. These supply-side measures will take time, but they are essential to keeping electricity affordable and reliable. In the meantime, hotels, and indeed all electricity customers, can help by making sure that they are getting the most value they can from each dollar they spend on electricity. READ MORE

Jane Segerberg

During the current era of "infatuation with anything spa", it seems contradictory to mention the possibility of the implosion of spa businesses. After all, spas are still the "hot topic" and a highly desired and sought after travel and vacation experience. The reality is the Spa Industry has crossed the bridge from "build it and they will come" to consumer accountability, internal controls and business sustainability. Spas are more prolific now than five years ago. Spa consumers are increasing in numbers and spa consumer expectations are rising. With more spas and more savvy spa consumers, it is a time in the Spa Industry in which the cream will rise to the top and all others will fall by the wayside. READ MORE

Laura K. Christa

Across the United States municipalities are suing Internet travel companies including Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity over hotel bookings. The reason? What they claim is a substantial underpayment of occupancy taxes. Cities like Los Angeles claim that the online sites pay occupancy taxes to the hotels based on the discounted rate at which they purchase or arrange rooms for the hotel, not at the alleged "retail" rate that they charge the customer. They claim the difference can amount to millions that rightfully belong in city coffers. Are the lawsuits a slam dunk? Not according to the Internet companies. They claim they merely add a service fee to the room rate and pass that charge on to the customer. READ MORE

Bruce Fears

Are your company's training sessions designed to inspire maximum creativity, innovation and productivity? In a successful session, participants are actively engaged, groups are collaborating successfully and energy levels are high. A successful meeting or training can help improve overall quality and produce results that ultimately contribute to the bottom line of your organization. Don't expect this article to give you the usual dry academic concepts. My goal is to share with you ideas that have sprung from real-life situations where goals have been met in new and exciting-and sometimes unconventional-ways. READ MORE

Peter Anderson

Medical spas today are highly inclusive and are anchored in various health care modalities, best described as something that is "more significant than" the traditional fluff and buff spas (i.e., small pores, great hair and perfect nails), and "less serious than" medical procedures that manually redistribute ones fat cells. "Medical Spas" and "Wellness" are first cousins with some very interesting family ties. Simply put, the definition of "spa" and "medicine" are both developing into areas that have a huge amount of tangible overlap. A savvy resort operator and hotelier can use this trend to his or her advantage to extend demand during low and shoulder periods, increase rate premiums with minimal capital expenses, enhance revenue from other profit centers at the hotel or resort, and double or even triple the average length of stay. READ MORE

Lynn McCullough

No matter how organized you are, or how much advance preparation you put into a show or how much attention to detail you apply, sometimes it is impossible to avoid the proverbial operations snafu. Or is it? As a fellow show organizer, I follow virtually the same routine as you do when planning a meeting and it's a safe bet that we use a similar checklist. However, whether you have five years of experience or 25, when it comes to show operations, everyone can use some help avoiding simple and possibly costly mistakes. In this article, members of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM) share a few seemingly obvious but often overlooked tips which you can use when planning your next event. READ MORE

Jane Segerberg

Is it a "Spa Experience" or is it a concert - a well-orchestrated event? The live performance delivered in both the concert experience and the spa experience are intended to be meaningful, soothing, inspiring, effective and individual. Including a spa in a hotel or resort has become a requirement. However, the spa's existence alone will not distinguish your property. A spa that orchestrates a delightful and harmonious program and service delivery will give your property a highly competitive edge that is also profitable. Effectively producing a well-orchestrated spa experience requires thoughtful consideration along each step in the planning process. Following are the elements that combine to deliver a highly acclaimed experience or event. READ MORE

Nelson Migdal

The SNDA or Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreement is a common and familiar document in the financing arena. Even with some of the more interesting transaction structures in the REIT environment with operating leases and a careful segregation of the ownership of the real estate from the operation of the hotel, there will be an instrument intended to govern how the hotel owner, hotel manager and owner's lender will behave in the event of the hotel owner's default under its loan instruments with the lender. It is not just about Foreclosure. The form of the SNDA is often the first battleground. In the negotiation of the hotel management agreement, the owner and manager will often pre-negotiate the form of the SNDA and attach it as an exhibit to the hotel management agreement. READ MORE

Alan Villaverde

In part one of this series, I discussed the importance of hotel industry awards and why I believe they are of the utmost importance. There was a time when the awards themselves were not too highly regarded because it seemed just about any hotel could get a four-star or four-diamond rating. That was then. It is very, very different now. Today's hotel awards are highly prized and are increasingly difficult to win. They represent an independent, public acknowledgment of our efforts to produce consistent, top-level service across the board, from check-in to check-out. This is how we nurture repeat business. READ MORE

John Tess

At first, the notion might be intimidating: Being responsible for properly maintaining a building on the National Register of Historic Places. In this competitive world, isn't it challenging enough just keep the property well-managed to keep the guests and the owners happy? In fact, the maintenance of a historic hotel should not be any more worrisome than any other professionally managed property. It simply requires a bit more for thought. There are three fundamental areas of concern: The first is legal. As a National Register property, what are my legal obligations? The second relates to obligations created with the use of preservation incentives. Third and final is operational. Does being listed on the National Register create any operational issues? READ MORE

Doug Luciani

Good news is great, but handle a bad news story poorly and the negative publicity can be severe. A successful media relations campaign is valuable to any business, including hotels and resorts. Positive exposure of a property can generate reservations, increase profits, and give a business a competitive edge. However, the press isn't always going to be good. Bad news is a reality and negative publicity can erase any positive exposure. Hotels are extremely susceptible to negative news... READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

The influx of new and interesting wines to accompany gastronomical innovations has produced a hunger for learning and experimenting with pairings of wine and food. Dessert wines provide an open window to delightfully sweet and powerful experiences. They are also so varied that you can present them in any number of ways. Dessert wines are produced in limited quantities throughout the world and tend to be more expensive than the average bottle of everyday drinking wine. Yet, a single glass of these wines, at any moment of the day, is capable of giving great satisfaction. READ MORE

Coming up in March 1970...