Fountain pen on  antique  letters and empty sheet

Handwritten Notes Will Elevate The Service Bar

On a recent Delta Airlines trip from Boston to Minneapolis, I was surprised by a folded paper napkin handed to me by the flight attendant. Odd, I thought, as I had not made any requests. Handwritten was a simple instruction providing details regarding my connecting flight. Legibly signed, I could not help but be both appreciative and duly impressed. Handwritten notes are an excellent way to build a rapport with guests – this we should all be well-familiar with by now. But they can also be counterproductive if done wrong. Looking back, there was nothing out of the ordinary on that flight. As expected, the business class meal was just above cafeteria-basic while the wine was barely palatable. Yet, this one simple act transformed a seemingly mundane journey into something remarkable. Thus, this note which could have been more easily relayed through a quick chat was successful in elevating the …

lmaadminHandwritten Notes Will Elevate The Service Bar
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In Search of Hotel Excellence: Kapalua Bay

In the rarefied world of uber-luxury resorts, $1,000+ nightly rates are de rigueur (in season). Rooms, facilities, amenities, F&B, and guest services must be delivered flawlessly and all in perfect harmony. The GM tends to be more symphony conductor than hotelier in the traditional sense, as every member of the resort’s team hones their performance daily, knowing all too well the importance of delivering consistent, quality service. Maui, recognized as the jewel in the Hawaiian archipelago, serves as ground zero for several examples of the world’s finest resort chains, notably Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria. A recent entry (opened mid-2014) by Montage provides a further refinement to the definition of the ultimate resort. Located at Kapalua Bay and next door to the Ritz-Carlton, the property comprises just 50 residences tucked into a larger residential complex. All accommodations face the ocean with spectacular views of the property’s grounds and, in …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: Kapalua Bay
Ties in a man fashion store.

Is The Necktie Making A Comeback?

Call me a traditionalist. Each morning as I walk past my tie rack, I pause to admire the vividly colored collection of Ferragamo and Brioni masterpieces, all neatly hanging in ordered rows and beckoning me to ‘tie one on’. Alas, though, the office-casual nature at my workplace is far more amiable to the sweater and jeans attire, with nary a collared shirt even under the slightest of considerations. And so whenever the opportunity comes my way, a tie is knotted around my neck without a moment’s hesitation, partly for the pleasure of dressing up but also for the nostalgia of a bygone era when this piece was all but compulsory. Being of a more ‘scholarly’ age, donning a suit and tie comes naturally to me. Looking in the mirror, I selfishly feel at least a bit more professional in demeanor with a psychological boost in tow. What is equally refreshing …

lmaadminIs The Necktie Making A Comeback?
Folded umbrellas on the beach before the storm on the coast of Greek , pefkohori.

Goal for 2018 – No More Offseason

Consider this your quarterly performance audit, but thinking a bit more ambitiously, it is already time to look ahead to 2018! Now that we have gone through three whole months of 2017, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate the goal we proclaimed at the beginning of January, but there’s also enough time to plan something bold for next year. A major issue that many hotels confront is the cyclical nature of their revenues and occupancies. Although seasonality affects resorts and rural properties more so than urban hotels, the latter can also suffer from week-to-week or intra-week fluctuations due to their targeting of primarily the corporate and groups segment. Even though most of these suggestions pertain to the leisure segment where the highs and lows are more pronounced, making weekend traffic at business-catering urban hotels should still be a foremost initiative. In fact, regardless of your particular situation and however much …

lmaadminGoal for 2018 – No More Offseason
Chiang Mai, Thailand - April 26, 2016: man hand holding screen shot of Uber application showing on Asus Zenfone 2 mobile phone. Uber is an American multinational online transportation network company.

How the Sharing Economy Impacts Select-Service Hotels

Outer space may be the only place to escape the onslaught of the newly famous cadre of alternative lodging companies categorized as a part of the sharing economy, including but not limited to HomeAway (owned by Expedia), HomeToGo, Vacation Rentals By Owner (otherwise known as VRBO), Couchsurfing, onefinestay (recently acquired by Accor), FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and, of course, the behemoth that is Airbnb. Even those select service, limited service and all other hotels that primarily cater to the business crowd have largely escaped the direct impact on their occupancies and ADRs from this rapidly burgeoning section, it is only a matter of time before the alternative lodging industry starts to influence every hospitality establishment in every corner of the earth and becomes a direct competitor for your property. On its most fundamental level, the sharing economy is changing the way consumers think about travel and how to go about …

lmaadminHow the Sharing Economy Impacts Select-Service Hotels
fire in a high-rise building.

Mitigating the Risk of a Fire

In the past few months, my neighborhood in Toronto has seen two, five-alarm fires. Fortunately, in both cases, there was no loss of life nor personal injuries reported. In one instance, a residence only a few months after completion experienced an attic conflagration, destroying a family’s dream of a domestic paradise. As for the other, a recently renovated, century-old racquet club inferno left more than a thousand members ‘in the cold’ with no preferred meeting place or exercise facility. Not being a member of the fire marshal’s office, I can only surmise the causes and the full extent of structural damage. Both events share a common result, though – unanticipated displacement and a loss in revenue for the business. As a hotel general manager, no doubt a property fire would be among your worst nightmares. In your position, you have a dual responsibility. First is to mitigate any risk of …

lmaadminMitigating the Risk of a Fire
Group of green sprouts growing out from soil

Spring Is Here! What Are You Doing About It?

With daylight savings flipping our clocks an hour forward on the 12th and with the sun crossing the equator this past weekend during the March equinox, we are now officially into spring. This stretch of time can be quite variable for the books so it is deserving of particular attention so that you can set a precedent for recurrent stability and healthy occupancy. While corporate and groups are perennially strong during this time with the zenith of group activity coming only after the schools have resumed the tail end of their semesters, the season can be meddlesome for the leisure front excluding any spring break family or college student getaways. Still, though, there is much that can be done to drum up sales between now and Memorial Day which traditionally marks the beginning of summer and the peak travel period. First off, there aren’t many ‘rallying points’ during this stretch …

lmaadminSpring Is Here! What Are You Doing About It?
Statue of Bacchus the Roman god of agriculture and wine, similar to the Greek Dionysus

In Vino Veritas LVI: Happy Liberalia

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This is something I extol with a grain of salt as today’s holiday, which is supposed to be a heartfelt celebration of Irish history and culture, has been somewhat hijacked in recent years by rowdy revelers and college kids in search of their next excuse for intoxication. There is, however, a defunct Roman holiday – the Liberalia – which also occurs on this day. While the modern leprechaun is keen on beer, the Roman counterpart upheld wine as its hallowed libation, and therein lies a profound takeaway by contrasting the two occasions and their beverage of choice. Without going into specifics about the weird and hypersexualized rituals that the ancient Italians had for the Liberalia, what’s interesting is that it was not just a celebration to honor the god of viticulture – that is, Liber Pater, but not Bacchus or Dionysus who were the Roman gods …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVI: Happy Liberalia
Happy female workers cleaning company ready to start work

Housekeeping is a Contact Sport

Every hotelier knows that housekeeping is a vital aspect of any property’s operations. All it takes is just one look at an online review site to see just how sensitive guests are to errors in this regard. Even though we all know how important the role of the housekeeper is, seldom do we managers know how to actually do what they do so that we can truly empathize with the issues they encounter on a daily basis. I decided to change that this past month by spending a day working alongside (shadowing, really) an experienced team member of a luxury hotel property. I was asked not to reveal the name of the property nor the housekeeping staff member who I will refer to as Donna (obviously not her real name). Nursing a single malt as I write this, my back is still aching and I remain in awe of her …

lmaadminHousekeeping is a Contact Sport
Renovation

Cheap And Cheerful Renovations

There are many indicators that might tell you it’s time to renovate. Your TripAdvisor scores are dropping with guest complaints skewing increasingly towards facilities and maintenance rather than service. Or say you just received a conditional score on your annual inspection. It can even be as obvious as the faded green floral wallpaper that used to match the emerald porcelain tiles or the white shag carpeting now sporting various shades of gray. The wear and tear on hotels far exceeds that of a personal residence. You might repaint rooms in your home once every decade depending on taste or changes in family needs. In the hotel business, though, that schedule would be seriously inadequate. Bedrooms, lobbies, hallways and the outside areas closest to the front door are under continuous guest scrutiny. Of course, CAPEX funds for renovations are always tight. Most budgets are built around covering yearly overhead and variable …

lmaadminCheap And Cheerful Renovations