HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Steven Marx

The industry, as well as the hotel rating agencies and internet intermediaries, have managed to create a sufficient number of "classes" of hotels to not only confuse their guests, but the hotel companies themselves. And depending on to whom you talk, everyone has a different interpretation of what each of these classes mean. Then you add in 4-star, 4-diamond vs 3-star/diamond; we toss those ratings around when describing properties, not even referring to their "official" rating by Mobil and AAA. How many of us have fought with Priceline.com about their classification of our hotels, which directly affect a significant amount of potential revenue? And then we come to boutique hotels; the confusion around what classifies a boutique hotel makes the issue with "conventional" hotels look like a walk in the park. READ MORE

Cid Jenkins

Understanding customer needs has become a critical part of any online sales strategy. The best way for executives in the hotel industry to know whether their company is delivering on brand promises is to gather direct feedback from those their business depends on-their customers. Surveying can be used to answer a variety of questions from how customers navigate a site to what makes them abandon midstream. There are a variety of tools on the market that help non-technical hotel personnel develop targeted questionnaires that are sent to customers upon any type of site transaction. READ MORE

Matthew Rosenberger

Cookies upon arrival won't do it. A bag of "stuff" - not good enough. Tickets to attractions that may not be of interest to your guests (or might be dependent on the weather) is not the answer. So what is necessary to create a perfect family package that will attract customers and keep them coming back again and again? Well... it doesn't require an advanced degree to understand that families look for a package that combines activities and amenities that are both educational and entertaining for themselves and their kids. The bag of "stuff" provides 20 minutes of activity at best and an "unhealthy" snack at check in might have a negative impact on parents who are encouraging healthy diets and lifestyles for their kids. This article will provide you with the information and insights you need to create the perfect family package. READ MORE

Michael Goldstein

Increasing profits, running an efficient hotel operation and maintaining prominence are common goals associated with the hotel industry. Because the ongoing relationship between a hotel franchisor and franchisee often affects each of these aspects of day-to-day hotel operations, that relationship is particularly important to ensuring continual new business, a positive work environment and ultimately, a profitable hotel. READ MORE

Jed Heller

In an ideal relationship, you want your managers and management company to take credit for what they have done right and take responsibility and action when something isn't working. You also must be able to measure the results of the management company's service and, when appropriate, your general manager's performance. Just as you hold any employee accountable, you must hold a management company accountable, which will help your organization run more effectively and efficiently. READ MORE

Jed Heller

The hospitality business is a people business. One person, even the most energetic and skilled CEO, can't be successful alone. Even the smallest limited-service hotel requires at least a few employees to check guests in, clean rooms, and maintain the property. The enthusiasm and competence displayed by those employees determines guest satisfaction, and inevitably, the property's success. That fact makes leadership the most important management skill in determining the success of your business. But when I say leadership, I'm not referring to having a commanding presence or using approaches learned in the latest management books. In my mind, leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek objectives enthusiastically. When this happens, everything else falls into place. READ MORE

Jed Heller

Small hotel owners know that every bit of material waste, every unoccupied room, every inefficient process, and every negative guest experience has a direct impact on the bottom line. While some owners are involved in managing the hotel on a daily basis, others rely almost solely on their managers and employees to operate the hotels around the clock. In the owner's absence, it becomes incumbent upon the onsite manager and hotel employees to carry the ownership flag - you trust them to share your values, implement best practices, and conduct themselves in a manner that creates the best guest experience. Undoubtedly, your hotel employees play the most visible role in making or breaking a positive guest experience, and in turn, making or breaking your profitability. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

As the year 2004 approaches and the historic return of the Olympic games to their ancient birthplace in Greece gears up, athletes will take center stage as we all watch their journey to be the best in the world. Competition will inspire each athlete to excel in each of their endeavors and those that do will wear the gold, silver and bronze while enjoying the world's applause. What motivates these athletes to be the best in their sports and how do they prepare for each increasingly competitive challenge? How can the hospitality world relate to their example and create "service athletes" within their own employee ranks? READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

An effective leader, an evangelist who believes the customer and guest will provide the bottom line profits they need, begins by understanding what to do. Next, he or she accepts, believes, values and internalizes the key concepts they expect of their employees. When both of these take place, these same leaders can "walk the talk." Desired behaviors only will take place when each leader and their respective managers and supervisors start modeling these behaviors to those they manage. When employees see their leaders actually leading by example, they feel good about their work and are more motivated to satisfy their guests. Guests and customers in general feel good when they deal with companies who seem to treat their people well. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

"Windy weather, windy weather, when the wind blows, we all come together." The wind really blew in Florida during Hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne and this simple children's rhyme represents how Florida's hospitality industry responded. Faced with an unusually intense onslaught of this weather phenomenon throughout the whole month of September, the hospitality industry was forced to respond and react, prepare and respond, react and prepare, as each Hurricane seemed to target Florida with a vengeance. What happens to service during a natural disaster or threat or a surprise power loss of extended duration? How do hospitality leaders prepare their employees to deal with impending challenges and what happens to guests who drew the unexpected shorter straw in terms of the timing of their trips? How do hotels in particular prepare, react and respond? Are new policies and procedures put into place or are existing ones modified? How does a hotel ensure the safety of guests while still preserving some type of favorable memory? Does service still play a role and if so, what shape does it take and how are employees prepared to implement revised service scenarios? Do you have a "disaster service plan" in place? READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." Confused yet? Your guests probably are. Are your employees communicating what they want to say or what they want to hear? Are they really paying attention to guest needs and do they know how? Are they truly listening and then responding directly to expectations? For that matter, are they setting up expectations up properly? Take a close look at how communication can conquer or concave on a guest. Actions may speak louder than words but the words can play a big role in guest service outcomes. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

Concierge... the word appears almost everywhere these days as the ultimate symbol of personal service. No longer only the domain of the hotel lobby, the word "concierge" is appearing across all industries as an individual, whole departments and even virtual functions. When "googling" in the word "concierge" for an internet search, almost four and a half million choices appear. This is more than double the two million results of the same search done last year. The profession is hot and the demand is extraordinary. Consumers and guests are driving these increasing numbers with a frenzied desire for more personal service. At the same time, organizations are scrambling to convince a skeptical public that the personal touch still exists. They plug in the word "concierge" with hopes that the public will symbolically appreciate the effort yet many simply use the word or hire an individual without the essence and skills of the professional concierge. The ability to truly deliver exceptional service does not automatically appear by simply adding the word concierge. Organizations that hire properly trained, professional concierges will see significant impact to the bottom line and guest/customer satisfactions levels will soar. READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

When calling hotels and other hospitality organizations about making reservations, guests are often switched over to central reservations. Call centers become essential to managing call volume and efficiently plugging guests in to the appropriate locations. However, without proper training and information, that's where the disconnection can begin. How do off property call centers maintain the service connection and ensure a seamless introduction to the experience which guests' expect? If, as they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, what training and direction towards the quality of that impression at the reservations center level can be most important ? READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

Consider any one of the beautiful colorful postcards that arrive in guest mailboxes, showing new resorts and promising relaxing, memorable experiences. The mailer arouses the guest's curiosity and they call to learn more. The first person who answers the phone is not familiar with the mailing but knows enough to take the reservation. As the guest asks more questions about this new property, they get polite, standard answers that technically fill those guests' needs (restaurants, room profiles, property features, etc). However, they don't get the feeling, the ambiance or the excitement that the mailer was able to communicate with a picture and a few simple words. Those intangible qualities, the promise of service and the possibility of a new, memorable experience are what motivate guests. Now that guest is confused. Which source is to be believed more...the mailer or the person? Will guests get what they really want when they get there? READ MORE

Roberta Nedry

PLEASE light my candle! All the other table candles in the restaurant were lit, except ours. The time was twilight and we had a water view from our table. PERFECT timing for a lit candle. Our nice setting quickly became an incomplete experience. None of the waiters or waitresses noticed nor could we get their attention until several minutes later. Why use the space for a candle that only sits in darkness? We were disappointed that this little gesture was an oversight and a detail that did not seem important. Big service opportunities come in little service gestures. Little efforts can score big with guests. Those hotels and resorts that do take the time to invest thought and effort in the smaller moments and gestures will score big in the overall guest experience. READ MORE

Coming up in November 2023...

Architecture & Design: Work from Anywhere

One major consequence of the pandemic was the necessity of employees to transition to a work-from-home situation. Millions of workers found themselves abruptly exiled from their offices, with a need to set up a workspace in their kitchen or basement. Today, because of advances in communication technology, the remote work phenomenon is widely accepted and people have discovered they can work from anywhere. As a result, hotels are adapting by creating spaces to accommodate those travelers who wish to remain connected to the office while on the go. Lobbies are being transformed into co-working spaces where guests can work, make calls, participate in video conferences, and charge their devices. These spaces also function as social and networking centers. Some are converting to fabulous bars and live entertainment venues. The lobbies also appeal to local remote workers who seek alternative places to work, thereby promoting community engagement, reinforcing brand loyalty, and increasing food and beverage sales. The November issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other notable trends in hotel architecture and design.