HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

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Andrew Glincher

How do you explain gender discrimination to someone from a country where women are prohibited from walking in the streets unescorted by a man? How do you explain racial discrimination to someone from a country that is still ruled by a caste system? How do you resolve disputes among supervisors and subordinates when the employees are from countries that have been at war for centuries? There is no industry in which these questions create more of a real-world challenge than the hospitality industry. With many layers of employees - ranging from management to entertainers to housekeeping and maintenance staff, whose formal education may differ and who may be relatively new to this country - the hotel industry has a very diverse personnel structure. READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

Not since the building boom of the late 1980s was followed by the recession of the early 1990s has the hotel industry faced as trying a time as it does today. As then, the period of prosperity in the late 1990s and the seemingly ever-increasing demand for hotel rooms caused significant new construction in markets around the country. Similarly, an economic slide has caused a sharp decrease in business and leisure travel. Today, we have the added factor of the fear of terrorism causing many would-be travelers in the United States and around the world to feel more secure staying closer to home - placing the entire travel and hospitality industry in a precarious position. READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

Many businesses in every industry go through periods in which they have to implement layoffs. The hotel industry is no exception. Since many of a hotel's costs are fixed - the property needs to be maintained, the restaurant needs to stay open - often the only way of reducing costs in the face of revenue shortfalls in through layoffs. Layoffs are always painful, but experienced managers have learned that they are sometimes necessary to protect the long-term viability of the business. Making these situations even more difficult is the possibility that laid off employees - who may be hurt and angry - will argue that they have been victims of discrimination. How do you prevent this type of difficult situation from leading to litigation? READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

The economy is improving, hotel rooms are filling up again, and the marketplace is more competitive than ever. New projects are being planned, investors are looking for opportunities, and hotel owners need to take a hard look at their operations to make sure they are positioned to capture as much market share as possible. Is it time to add onto the property, constructing new guest rooms, or a conference center, or recreational facilities, or a spa? Are there relatively minor expenditures, short of new construction, that can add significant value? As with other aspects of hotel development and management, knowledge of the marketplace, knowledge of your clientele and insight into your own positioning are crucial. For example, upscale isn't always the way to go. What if there is a new convention center? In a large city, with an abundance of luxury hotels within a short distance, perhaps a three-star hotel, offering convenience, accessibility and relatively low cost for business travelers and convention-goers, would be far better. You need to identify your customer and the demands of your location. READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

The condo hotel concept has definitely gained recognition as a way of raising equity and maximizing the value of a property In fact, published reports estimate that there are currently more than 200 of these projects, including over 60,000 condo units, currently under development. There are a number of market forces driving this trend... READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

Hotel operators considering new construction, expansions or major renovation projects are now in the best economic environment in recent memory. That's good news for independent properties in need of expansion or upgrades as well as for larger brands with extensive capital needs across their portfolios. Where the traditional sources of financing were equity participants and banks (which usually required significant equity investment before they would lend money), today we are seeing considerable interest among investment banking firms, pension funds, mutual funds and other entities which have not been as active as the hotel market. But with limited vehicles for delivering the kind of returns they need, these investors are starting to look at hotels as an opportunity with great potential. READ MORE

Andrew Glincher

How do you make your project a reality in the face of organized opposition? Preparation at the outset is one of the keys. Property owners can't simply design the project they think is best and expect to put their heads down and push it through. You need to do your due diligence and truly understand the issues that are likely to arise. Retain local consultants, experts, attorneys and public relations people if necessary to provide insights into the issues the community considers important and where the obstacles are likely to lie. READ MORE

Bruce Fears

With the first of America's 78 million Baby Boomers turning 60 this year, the hospitality industry is bracing themselves for the onslaught of active senior travelers, as well as a plethora of executive positions to fill, both in the hotel business, as well as in corporate America in general. In fact, nearly 8,000 boomers are turning 60 on a daily basis, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. What needs to take place to ensure the successful transition of our retiring Boomers and the next working generation is education. Education comes in multiple forms whether its continuing education, succession planning and training or development of formalized mentorship programs. READ MORE

Jonathan Greenbaum

Developers are increasingly finding alternative uses for their hotel properties, including condominium conversions, fractional, condo-hotels, extended stay and other alternative uses to the traditional hotel. Whether to convert a hotel to another use depends largely on market factors. In the past few years, we have seen many hotels being converted to residential condominiums. We are now starting to see conversions of commercial office space to hotels. Conversions raise a myriad of property, regulatory and zoning issues. Developers often overlook the labor and employment aspects of such transactions and conversions. Conversions of hotel properties are far more complex transactions than a traditional real estate transaction. Hotels are the most labor intensive of all commercial real estate uses. If not handled properly and in a timely fashion, labor and employment issues related to a hotel conversion can derail or significantly delay any contemplated change in the use of the hotel property. READ MORE

Lynn McCullough

Over the last 10 years, many things have changed conference and convention attendees' behavior - the way they travel, and the way they conduct business from the road. Further, there is no question that the rapid advancement of technology has also had a great impact on the way a conference or convention actually operates. Let's take a trip back not too many years ago when an overhead projector was a commonplace presentation tool. Those days seem like ages ago but in reality, not too many years have passed. Now presentations are turning into a form of entertainment. Presentations today involve a wide variety of up-to-the-minute technology that every Convention Service Manager (CSM) and Meeting Planner needs to have a working knowledge of. READ MORE

Gini Dietrich

When people think of public relations, they automatically think "Oh! That person can get me on Oprah!" While someone like Oprah can make you, it's very rare for a company to be on her show, unless it's a company owned by a celebrity. You must think about targeted trade publications and reporters at your daily newspaper and business journal. You also must think about additional tactics you can do that are directly translated back to sales. READ MORE

Richard D. Hanks

All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product. It is wise to remember Sam Walton's famous adage, "There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." Research clearly shows a link between employee performance and customer satisfaction. Put in the reverse, your customer satisfaction level accurately reflects your employees' performance. Thus, who better than your customers to let you know how effective your internal processes are at providing the appropriate levels of customer service? READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

More than a century ago, author Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) reminded us that "we are all wholesale borrowers. In every matter that relates to invention, to use or beauty or form, we are borrowers." Translating into today's highly competitive hotel world, you do not have to literally re-invent the wheel to innovate. With the trends to guide you, you can turn to the twist principle and bend the trend around your hotel's promotions, or you can tweak some aspect of your hotel to build your guest base. In either case, you will develop a product or service that will be right for the time, the place, and the target market. READ MORE

John Arenas

With today's advanced technology, there is no longer a need for your sales team to spend time engaging in lengthy RFP responses for simple meetings for up to 100 participants. Through the use of a web based meeting booking engine, customers and meeting planners can now literally search , compare live quotes and request bookings that include meeting space, catering and amenities themselves. This means hotel sales teams can focus on customers who have already been pre qualified on budget, timing and space needs. This article shows you how to reduce sales and marketing costs associated with meetings up to 100 participants, while serving these high value, customer relationships. READ MORE

Peter Anderson

Residential trends and spa environments lines of demarcation are blurring. Destination spas Such as Mirival, Canyon Ranch and Red Mountain Resorts, are creating residential components highlighting their consumers' desires to have easy, immediate and equity access to a spa lifestyle. Destination resorts with full-service wellness spas like the Montage, La Costa, and the Four Seasons are creating residential components for much the same reason. And to round out the picture private communities such as Big Horn, Laughlin Ranch, and Kiawah Island are developing wellness environments to enhance their residential communities. READ MORE

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