young caucasian businessman revealing a hidden tattoo

Are Tattoos Taboo In Hospitality?

This is a topic you should definitely review with your HR director. Does a sentence appear in your hiring policy to specify whether or not a candidate is permitted to have any visible tattoos? Or, while unwritten, have you or someone within your organization ever dismissed potential applicants outright on this basis? If you have answered affirmatively to either of these two statements, it may be time to re-evaluate your hiring practices. While discriminatory cases involving skin art have yet to reach the spotlight in our court systems, modifying an outright ban in your internal policies is nevertheless something to consider. In the past two decades, the tattoo parlor has moved from a badge for military personnel, ex-cons and Hell’s Angels to mainstream, at least in a North American context. Increasingly, millennials – and soon to be post-millennials – regard tattoos as a rite of passage to adulthood. In our …

lmaadminAre Tattoos Taboo In Hospitality?
Pouring water from bottle into glass on blue background

How Much Is Too Much For Hotel Bottled Water?

You’ve trained your bellman, concierge and front desk staff to a tee. Your guests immediately feel welcome at your property with the awful nightmare of security lines, air travel and bag collection finally behind them. They enter their guestroom, just starting to unwind, and then prominently displayed is a bottle of water with an unmistakably exorbitant price tag. And it is all for naught. Why is it that this one markup grinds guests’ gears more than almost everything else? Perhaps the wording of ‘unmistakably exorbitant’ offers a clue. When a commoditized item like bottled water, is commonly understood to be sold at a certain base price – let’s say $1 for 300ml for simplicity’s case – then any inflated price that’s paid forward to the customer will be instantly discernable. And when you charge, say, seven bucks for what generally costs only one in the supermarket, then it is builds …

lmaadminHow Much Is Too Much For Hotel Bottled Water?
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Millennial Revitalization At The Surfjack Hotel

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know that lifestyle hotels are in vogue, with new brands being unfurled at a rocket-pace and more still to come. This trend comes in stride with the blossoming spending power of millennials as well as all those more attuned to the laidback, tech-forward nature of today’s traveler. I have experienced many of these chain variants firsthand, and in my estimation they often fall short in execution and in creating a distinctive sense of place befitting the ‘lifestyle’ descriptor. Many of these concepts have noble intentions but are not different enough from the more traditional hotel model to create a memorable experience. Simply put, what looks great on a website is often not delivered in real life. On a recent trip to Honolulu, a newly opened, 112-room independent in the Waikiki Beach area named the Surfjack Hotel caught my eye. It is …

lmaadminMillennial Revitalization At The Surfjack Hotel
Hotel service. female housekeeping worker maid making bed with bedclothes at inn room

Are Entry Level Jobs At Risk With Airbnb?

Raising the argument that Airbnb’s business model does not directly support the local economy is not anything new for the hospitality industry, and even more so for real estate. However, there appears to be an additional impact on hotels, one that requires a bit of explaining. (Before we get underway, know this Airbnb is simply the largest of these alternate lodging accommodation companies. Its namesake in this article is used as shorthand to represent all others in this category and that Airbnb is not to be singled out in any way.) A hotel represents the combination of both a physical space and an array of services. This range of services includes housekeeping, maintenance, groundskeepers, front desk personnel, valets, reservations staff, bellhops, restaurant servers and kitchen staff. All this amounts to numerous entry level employees – individuals who are looking to better themselves and their families through gainful employment. And due …

lmaadminAre Entry Level Jobs At Risk With Airbnb?
Business pressing Hotel Search button

Control Your Data To Control Your Hotel’s Future

Right as the weather in Canada starts to become actually palatable near the end of June, it is time once again for the annual pilgrimage to the best hospitality technology tradeshow in the world. Taking place this year down in sweaty New Orleans, I entered HITEC 2016 (standing for Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference for the neophytes among us) as a man on a mission. A seasoned veteran of the convention, very little fazes me these days. Not to bloviate too much, but after six immersive years of new product launches, flashy booth designs, artfully worded press releases, an onslaught of collateral materials and enough espresso to make a turtle win the 100-meter dash at the Olympics, it all gets a bit blurry. Instead, the Big Easy was an opportunity for me to address the most important issues facing the hotel industry with the people best poised to make …

lmaadminControl Your Data To Control Your Hotel’s Future
Business concept photo.Businessman working investment project modern office.Touching pad contemporary laptop. Worldwide connection technology,stock exchanges graphics interface.

Building Your Own Hospitality Technology Tool Belt

Renovations on our 35-year-old home pose a never-ending battle of dust and noise. As the carpenters, electricians and plumbers scurried about during the most recent project, I noticed a remarkable corollary to our industry. Each tradesman’s tool belt was uniquely customized to fit the job at hand. While the hammer was a centerpiece of the carpenter’s girdle, it was nowhere to be found on the plumber’s frame or the electrician’s where the respective hallmarks were the pipe wrench and an assortment of pliers. Yes, we all know about specialization of labor and its impacts on hospitality – the revenue manager has a specific skill set completely different from that of the rooms divisions manager, for example, while both act in concert to keep the hotel’s revenues afloat. But we seldom make the connection in terms of a specialization of technology where, like a carpenter’s hammer, each device or piece of …

lmaadminBuilding Your Own Hospitality Technology Tool Belt
Hands of receptionist giving smart card to you

Hot Button Loyalty

An old school sales technique that today is considered somewhat exploitative and sleazy may in fact help you shed some light on how to improve your loyalty program. Hot button selling was a colloquial term to describe first the process of qualifying your leads in order to decipher the emotional motivations underpinning their logic-based decisions, and then second using this information to pressure and coerce these leads into closing the sale on the spot. From a psychology standpoint, the proliferation of this technique makes sense because of how often we humans are slaves to our emotional states of mind. When it comes to purchases, we habitually complete translations based upon our own internal ‘hot buttons’ then back-rationalize these decisions into features and benefits – that is, the logical aspects of traditional sales training. For instance, a woman joins a gym not to be healthier (logic) but because she wants to …

lmaadminHot Button Loyalty
Wine bottles stored in a shelf, very shallof DoF

In Vino Veritas LI: You Wine List Is Too Long

One of the fundamental marketing principles I abide by is: Keep It Simple Stupid. While that fourth word is often incorporated only to make it into a highly memorable acronym (KISS), it is not far from the truth. Perhaps the more apt word is ‘busy’ in that we are all too rushed and distracted to notice everything that’s happening around us. For example, you stand at a busy urban intersection. Have you noted what the make and model of every car that passes by? Have you read every billboard? Do you notice the attention to detail that goes into each person’s fashion sense? We have so much on our minds that concentrating on any one particular thing for an extended period of time or even giving something the attention it deserves is impossible. In this sense, we are all indeed stupid because there are so many worldly fascinations and so …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LI: You Wine List Is Too Long
Guest takes room key card at check-in desk of hotel, close up

Early Birds Are Angry When They Don’t Get Their Worm

A wedding in the family served a worthy excuse for a Saturday night sojourn to a resort hotel in a small city two hours away from my hometown of Toronto. The venue was immaculate, the bride was stunning, the speeches were uproarious, the food was great and the whole shebang went off without a hitch. But an issue arose when I tried to arrange an early breakfast with my sister for the Sunday morning after the festivities. She had to leave relatively early at 9am because she had a grueling seven hours ahead of her for the commute back home. Unfortunately, the main restaurant at our hotel didn’t open until 11am. While not an outright deal-breaker, it was definitely cause for chagrin – a 9am start-time is vastly different than 7am or the crack of dawn when the real ‘early birds’ want their worm. Yet as an active member of …

lmaadminEarly Birds Are Angry When They Don’t Get Their Worm
Top view of four people having dinner together while sitting at the rustic wooden table

Redefining Casual Luxury Dining, LA Style

One of the cities I’m lucky enough to travel to for work on a regular basis is Los Angeles, where style meets substance and innovation abounds, especially where it concerns places frequented by whimsical celebrities or any other shiny-new-toy chaser. During a previous visit to the Montage Beverly Hills – an opulent five-star property in this uber-chic of chic neighborhoods – I sat down with the general manager, Todd Orlich, to discuss the choice to convert their premier and perennially successful restaurant, Scarpetta, into a whole new venture called Georgie. To sum up the rationale in a nutshell, when you are market leader in the luxury segment, sometimes you have to predict (and often create!) new trends in consumer behavior. Georgie is the result of anticipating a turn in the tide and acting before revenues or reputation suffered. On my most recent return to the sprawling metropolis, I finally had …

lmaadminRedefining Casual Luxury Dining, LA Style