HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Steve Kiesner

Conserving natural resources and protecting the environment make good business sense. For the hotel industry, the recent efforts in many parts of the country to ask guests for their help in conserving water is a compelling example. Hotels that have done so have strengthened relations with their customers by creating a positive connection between the hotel industry and the environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), taking steps to conserve water throughout a hotel property can also cut water and sewer costs by up to 30 percent. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

When uncertainty develops in the nation's power industry, and it certainly has these past few years, the prospect of the local government taking over the power company is sometimes raised. Takeover proponents promise lower prices and greater reliability, questioning the local electric company's ability to deliver what hotels and other customers expect-a reliable and affordable electricity supply. But government takeovers aren't the answer. In the end, government takeovers of the local power company bring with them new risks and potential costs for hotel executives and all electricity customers. To assure your hotel of a competitively priced power supply that is there when you need it, we need a national approach that includes three elements... READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

A significant change in the nation's electricity industry during the past five years revolves around who will supply your hotel with electricity. As with any change, how well your company responds will depend upon how well prepared it is. Competition, now that it is a reality, is here to stay. The U.S. Congress initially looked at mandating a specific date for all states to begin competing. Today, however, they are focusing their attention instead on the issues in the country's wholesale electricity markets that effect the success of competition at the state level. If your company has a hotel in an area that has adopted retail electricity competition or is considering it, how can you prepare for the change? Here are some suggestions. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

Electric company energy efficiency programs are familiar to many hotel executives. These can include incentives to purchase energy-efficient equipment and build energy-efficient facilities. The benefits extend to both your company and the electric utility industry. A closer look at some individual electric company incentive programs, and a glimpse at what the future may hold, will give you a better understanding of how to save energy and money in today's, and tomorrow's, energy markets. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

The extraordinary events that have rippled through the nation's electric power industry during the past few years have touched businesses and consumers alike. Electricity competition. Regional reliability concerns. Enron. In the hotel industry, perhaps the most visible impact has been the energy surcharge that many hotels placed on customer bills. Questions about the cost of power, and in some locations, even its availability, were two issues that caused turmoil for hotel guests and managers alike. Understanding where we are now, and what to expect down the road, will help hotel executives prepare an energy strategy to improve their profitability in the future. READ MORE

Arthur Weissman

As a hotel executive, the last thing you may want to think about is whether your hotel is considered "green." You are worried about filling your rooms, satisfying your guests, and perhaps getting the big business of government and companies. But being designated as "green" can actually help you do all of these things: it can increase your room-nights, enhance your guests' satisfaction, and boost your business with big customers. This series will show you how. We begin by examining what it means for a hotel to be "green." The word is, of course, shorthand for being environmentally responsible (or sustainable) so as to minimize environmental impacts in purchasing, operations, and plant management. READ MORE

Robert Trainor

A diet low in refined carbohydrates is actually not new to many cultures. In fact, in some places in the world, the lifestyle has been around for centuries. Asian cuisines revel in the use of fresh vegetables and fruits. Very little white flour or bread is used. And even though rice is a staple, the most popular form used is brown rice, a source of the good, complex carbohydrates that nutritionist tell us are healthy. Mediterranean cultures also emphasize cuisine based on seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the great seafood that is so abundant in the region. I was reminded of this fact as my team and I were researching the cuisines of the Mediterranean countries - Spain, Italy and France - in preparation for a new concept for our menu in The Terrace, the Hilton Short Hills' more casual dining venue. READ MORE

Steve Kiesner

An issue of interest to the nation's hotel industry-chains as well as independents-is appearing on ballots in a number of city elections this year: Who should be the electricity provider-the existing electric utility or a newly created city department? Iowa is one state where a number of local ballot initiatives are asking residents if their city should municipalize, or more accurately, takeover the role of electricity provider. California is another. And in recent years the question has come up in Florida, Nevada, and New York and elsewhere. The bait is typically lower prices and greater reliability. But government takeovers can't guarantee either. To make improvements here, we must look beyond local control issues and address the national issues that are affecting the country's electricity system. And this can only be accomplished through comprehensive national energy legislation. READ MORE

Johnna Freud

Have you ever asked yourself, "how do travelers decide where to stay?" Did you ever question how travelers view your hotel, resort, bed & breakfast or inn compared to your competition? If these questions sound familiar, then qualitative marketing research may provide some of the answers you seek. This article is the first in a series about qualitative marketing research. It provides a basic overview about this methodology, especially for those in the hospitality industry who are not fully acquainted with it. READ MORE

Kim Hehir

As the world's largest single industry, the hospitality industry as a whole continues to become more complex, competitive, global, and technological. As such, the industry struggles with a high percentage of low-skilled or unskilled workers and a scarcity of well-trained personnel at management levels. In this ever-changing environment, companies are looking for employees who will be successful in tomorrow's economy. These people should possess specialized job skills and should be able to think critically, communicate clearly, manage ethically and contribute to the community. Therefore, attention must be given to improving the level recruitment and training provided to potential managers, especially if they are responsible for delivering the experience demanded by the luxury traveler today. READ MORE

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

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

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