Singapore, Singapore - February 29, 2016: Fullerton hotel building at Marina Bay in Singapore at night. It is illuminated with light and reflected in the water.

Finding Your Flag

Flag selection is one of the most critical decision you have to make when building a new hotel or rebranding, outside of location and financing. It can have sweeping impacts on just about every operation, and yet there are few guides available, apart from speaking to each firm’s sales folks and eliminating those brands in immediate geographic conflict. Accordingly, I’ve arranged a panel discussion with four individuals representing a broad range of experience in flag selection. Below their brief profiles are eight questions I posed to them during the confab. Rupesh Patel (, CEO of 3Hospitality. Rupesh is an owner/operator of several Dayton Beach properties. Michael Pleninger (, Chairman of Newport Hospitality Group. Michael’s team manages over 40 branded properties primarily in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Vikram Sood (, Principal of Nupala Hospitality Development. Vikram manages critical hospitality projects for owners/operators, primarily in Southern California. Anil Taneja (, President of …

lmaadminFinding Your Flag
Festive place setting for Valentines day

Valentine’s Day Only A Month Away

For hotel directors of sales and marketing, Valentine’s Day is less about romance or showing one’s affection and more about delivering some semblance of occupancy during the traditionally low-revenue winter months (outside of the ‘sun destinations’). Most plans are ideated and drawn out in broad strokes in late fall or prior to the holiday season, with tactical execution beginning in earnest once all the holiday season hoopla dies down in the first week of January. With Valentine’s Day falling a month and a day from this writing, if you haven’t already started acting on your plan, realistically you are only two weeks behind most of your competitors, so there’s still time to attract guests. Below are some ideas to help you do just that. And even if you have kicked your Valentine’s plans into gear, perhaps there’s one that you can tack on to enhance your offerings. 1. Valentine’s Day …

lmaadminValentine’s Day Only A Month Away

In Search of Hotel Excellence: The Meritage Resort & Spa

Just an hour from San Francisco or Oakland International airports and buoyed by Silicon Valley money, California’s Napa Valley is an eclectic mix of boutique inns, quaint B&Bs, chic ultra-luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and, of course, some of the finest vineyards this side of Europe. It’s this last aspect which serves as the main draw, but also perhaps a slight drawback for larger groups that need scale and facilities unavailable this far north of San Francisco. Their loss, really, as this area is home to some spectacular properties with important lessons for all hoteliers. I was fortunate enough to find myself staying at a true Napa gem during my most recent trip there. Checking in at The Meritage Resort and Spa, a member of the Meritage Collection, my initial thought was one of awe. Along with the adjoining timeshare property, this hotel has over 500 guestrooms and suites spread across …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: The Meritage Resort & Spa
Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in Facebook, meeting website. Blogger, journalist writing new article.

Big Picture Questions For Your New Hotel Website

Everyone knows you need a functional website, no matter the business or the locale. For hotels, most of us recognize that often a website may be a customer’s first introduction to your property. As such, it should entice, educate and make them want to stay with you. Hence, for many GMs, one of the largest items on the 2017 marketing budget is likely the development of a new website, or at the very least a refurbishment of the current one to show newcomers that there’s something new to get excited about. This can come in the form of new interfaces or layout schemes, pages, offers, events, exciting visuals, plugins, iframes – whatever it takes to boost the user experience (UX) and keep customers engaged. I say this taking into full account that for many of you, the website is something beyond your control, as dictated by the corporate overlords of …

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Unsung Heroes of Hospitality – Security Director

An interview with Irving “Bulla” Eastman, Senior Director Safety and Security for Aqua-Aston Hospitality While most of us in hospitality focus our efforts on finding ways to enhance our guests’ comfort (and make more revenues!), we can only do so in an environment where both safety and security are assured. We often take the role of our security department for granted. After all, this is a department where reports stating ‘nothing has happened’ are considered the norm, and management tends to respond to incidents versus the status quo. It is also hard to measure the performance of the security department when assessments are largely binary. How do you know if team members are meeting your needs when the expectation is that ‘nothing has happened’? Irving “Bulla” Eastman knows. As Senior Director Safety and Security for Aqua-Aston Hospitality, he works to ensure the safety and security for the group’s nearly 50 …

lmaadminUnsung Heroes of Hospitality – Security Director
Friends Connection Digital Devices Technology Network Concept

Hospitality Technology Predictions for 2017

While there have been many heretofore predictions about the coming year, both for the hospitality industry and for technological advancements, none thus far have effectively bridged the gap between these spaces. When it comes to technology, hotels are often seen as laggards to adoption, but I don’t see this as the case. Quite the opposite in fact, with our resources and the diverse range of operations, we’re very well situated to be the benefactors of many incredible tools soon to be released. Hence, it would serve you well to keep pace with what’s on the forefront so that you can make a better decision about what will work for your particular hotel. Highlighting general industry trends and a few companies that I consider to be game-changers, here are my top five hospitality technology predictions for 2017. Energy efficiency everywhere. Whether or not you are a proponent of climate change is …

lmaadminHospitality Technology Predictions for 2017

There’s More To LED Conversions Than Cost Savings

Converting to LED lighting is a standard practice these days with numerous benefits beginning with energy savings and reduced unit costs. And unlike the curlicue CFCs and other traditional filament bulb predecessors, LEDs now offer a myriad of variations. One of the experts in this field is Douglas Schwartz, the CEO of Planet Awaken (, a worldwide leader in municipal and large-scale installations. In looking to convert my own home to LED lighting, I contacted him for some advice. Our conversation quickly turned away from unit cost or specific manufacturer and onto optimal color temperature, so much so that I arranged for a formal interview so that I could convey his full thoughts on one prominent side effect of LED conversions. According to Schwartz, there are two key parameters when addressing lighting color: temperature and accuracy. Color temperature is described as a method of describing the hue characteristics of light, …

lmaadminThere’s More To LED Conversions Than Cost Savings
Raw Organic Bunch of Bananas Ready to Eat

2017 Is The Year Of Starchy Fruits

Last year – that is, what we will soon refer to as 2016 – was widely proclaimed as ‘The Year of the Pulse’, citing beans’ versatility as both an energy and protein source in addition to their potent health benefits. While many chefs are still searching for new and clever ways to infuse legumes into their menus, it is every hotelier’s duty as a benefactor for food innovation to be on the lookout for the best big thing. The common perception of ‘starchy fruits’ likely pertains to bananas and not much else. But with a bit of research, it should be readily apparent that there are several other contenders worth another glance. These include plantains, breadfruit, jackfruit, plums or even the many different types of squashes, pumpkins or gourds which technically fall into this category even though they are traditionally prepared in a manner similar to root vegetables. While you …

lmaadmin2017 Is The Year Of Starchy Fruits
Glasses of mulled wine in snow

In Vino Veritas Part LIII – Mulled Wine And Other Holiday Spirits

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to help put you in a very merry mood than with a holiday-themed libation. There’s something about this time of year that brings out our indulgent side. It starts with that extra slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and then it’s a slippery slope all the way to through to the inevitable reckoning on January 1st and all the various proclamations of austere diets that only last for roughly two weeks. In any case, knowing that the holiday season is synonymous with decadence means that you should adjust your F&B offerings to better appease this primed audience, all in the pursuit of greater guest satisfaction and hopefully a few more dollars in your wallet. As this is a wine-focused column, I’ll focus on the beverage side of things, but also keep in mind that food has an equal role to …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas Part LIII – Mulled Wine And Other Holiday Spirits
Waitress and waiters posing with food at buffet in restaurant

There’s No Such Thing As A Hotel ‘Job’ Anymore

As the gig economy continues to take hold in various industries, it is also changing how we think about our chosen line of work. The 9-to-5 office is eroding while working from home and working when you want behaviors are gaining widespread acceptance. The impacts for hotels are manifold. At its core, this freelancer economy promotes a transient approach to wage earning. That is, you get the exactly what you put into it and not a penny more. The more you work, the more money you make, with a few demand-based algorithms to keep rates attuned to market pressures. Further, there’s little emotional investment in the parent company – largely due to the disconnectedness of employee-employer relationship – nor are there any incentives to rise within the ranks of the corporate hierarchy. While it’s easy to see how this new system plays out for network-based enterprises like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit …

lmaadminThere’s No Such Thing As A Hotel ‘Job’ Anymore