D-Day hedgehogs in Normandy, France

Drumming Up Your War Tourism

It’s long been on my bucket list to visit the beaches of Normandy and experience just a sliver of what our fathers and grandfathers went through on June 6, 1944. Coupled with some fine cuisine including exquisite wine and delicious camembert cheeses as well as a few walkabouts through picturesque Northern French towns and other historic sites, this would make for an unforgettable summer vacation. Talking over this dream in conversation, it became apparent that many of my friends and colleagues have similar ambitions or have already completed such a journey. And I’d imagine that you or your friends are in the same boat. In fact, while touring the D-Day Invasion locales may represent the pinnacle of war tourism, it is hardly an anomaly insofar as popular travel motivations. Just consider how much war history is out there and how much effort has been put into preserving these locations and …

lmaadminDrumming Up Your War Tourism
A menu resting on a restaurant table, emphasis placed on the golden embroidery lettering against the black with the image's focus.  Silverware, napkins and glasses sit in the background as blurry shapes at the menu's edge, all resting on a light brown table.

The Proof of Prix Fixe

Choice is a tricky thing. Confronted with too much of it and you are stymied by indecision. Yet faced by too little and you feel shortchanged or indifferent to the whole buying process. It’s all about finding that happy medium, and to help you decipher this golden mean there’s better place to start than by examining how prix fixe menus subtly work to build revenue and customer satisfaction. The best prix fixe menus not only feature a restaurant’s signature dishes as selected and perfected by your chefs, but they also offer a few options within broader course grouping. For instance, if you offer a simple three-course dinner, you might give two choices for appetizers, three as mains and another two for desserts. This way your patrons don’t feel as though they are being coerced to go down one specific track where the perception would be one of inevitable boredom unless, …

lmaadminThe Proof of Prix Fixe
hitec2017

HITEC 2017: A Show About Integration

For those who did not attend the 2017 edition of HITEC, held in Toronto this time around, you may be wondering what you missed. Frankly, the same question may be posed by those who attended as well! Putting aside the exceptional educational seminars, the exhibition show floor now resembles a miniature version of the world’s largest technology trade fair, the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas each January. Some of the HITEC supplier booths have even gone to great lengths to replicate hotel facilities in order to elicit the same levels of customer excitement generated at CES. Most also have ample space for lively conversations and intimate customer presentations. Spending as much as is humanly possible of 15 hours of allotted open time on the actual exhibit floor, I ended up speaking with dozens of vendors. Walking every aisle, I attempted to absorb all the various product and …

lmaadminHITEC 2017: A Show About Integration
travel background, woman tourist walking with suitcase on the street in european city, tourism in Europe

Building Summer Occupancy for City Hotels

Temperatures rise. Humidity creeps up. Sounds like time to pack up and head to the nearest beach. While your team may be thinking ‘vacation’, you should be thinking ‘revenue’ when it comes to your leisure segment. Every resort owner knows that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is peak. The kids are out of school by mid-to-late June, making it family time. For a moment, though, let’s focus on city properties. Bricks and mortar are depreciated all 12 months of the year. There are no summer breaks in your debt service even as the meetings and conference segment wanes. You need a plan to cover your business through a quarter that will see limited, if any, group activity. So, let’s examine the fundamentals of a solid leisure plan. Know and be a part of your market. Product knowledge is essential. Look beyond your property’s walls to see what is …

lmaadminBuilding Summer Occupancy for City Hotels
Symbol of Canada

The Sesquicentennial Sojourn

A long word for something so simple! Canada is gearing up for its 150th anniversary as a nation, being celebrated from coast to coast on July 1st. Leading up to this date, hotels across the country are expecting record numbers that will last throughout the summer. Rather than regurgitate a litany of positive statistics, though, there are a few good takeaways for hoteliers around the world to note. I was inspired to write on this subject after attending the 11th annual Leisure Travel Summit held earlier this June in downtown Toronto and hosted by Best Western. The five-person panel – comprised of all women I might add, and something we should be seeing more often – noted that now more than ever is time to explore the Great White North and that this sort of influx of visitors haven’t been seen since the Expo ’67 days. Rather than proscribing this …

lmaadminThe Sesquicentennial Sojourn
ritz-montreal1

Renovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition

For over 100 years, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been more than just a hotel; it has been a bastion of the city’s ‘Great Gatsby’ society. Through its doors, royalty and those of privilege have passed countless times. The hotel has hosted the finest social functions and weddings including the impromptu nuptials (only two hours’ notice) of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. If these walls could talk, I am sure that they would speak volumes. For those whose knowledge of Montreal is limited, a short history lesson is mandated. The province of Quebec, including Montreal, is predominantly French-speaking. Yet, there is a distinct Anglophone culture in this its largest city which steadfastly had maintained a strong influence over the province through political appointments and strong financial influence. This led to a mini-rebellion (quite significant in a Canadian context) in the late 1970s, ultimately culminating in a vote to separate from Canada …

lmaadminRenovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition
USS Midway and San Diego. USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and San Diego Skyline at Night. California USA.

Messages for Hoteliers from the USS Midway

No trip to San Diego is complete without a trip to CV-41, also known as the USS Midway, the largest ship in the world until 1955. The carrier was since decommissioned in 1992 and has been turned into a floating museum. As basically an entire town in a boat, the sheer size of this craft defies imagination. Touring her decks and viewing the wide variety of aircraft and exhibits can easily take a full day. Not having a military background, I was in total awe and full of admiration all those who had boarded this great vessel and served in the Navy. A tour of the Midway is not complete, though, without listening to the living history provided by the many docents who willingly share their experiences. While the information they provided clearly reflected the life on the ship, significant parallels can nevertheless be formed with the vast array of …

lmaadminMessages for Hoteliers from the USS Midway
Two men talking in a modern office

Developing Your Ownership-Leadership Style

One of the greatest challenges that you face as an owner or asset manager is stepping back from the day-to-day and delegating unencumbered operating responsibility to your on-property team because not doing so can have disastrous effects. Countless times I have witnessed general managers and other senior executives working in full spin mode to accommodate a direct and often-unexplained request from an owner, which ends up being counterproductive to the business’s goals as well as highly demoralizing. There is no set definition as to what constitutes an appropriate demand by an owner for his or her team. After all, it’s your investment! Clearly, issues that would be considered material to the property from a monetary standpoint – such as major CAPEX or significant changes to financial position versus budget – are worthy of a timely discussion. Conversely, an urgent call from an owner to management addressing, for instance, a single …

lmaadminDeveloping Your Ownership-Leadership Style
Electronics and housekeeping concept. Isolated over white. Contains clipping path

The Housekeeping Training Revolution

Modern advances in employee training and ongoing retraining have such profound benefits that it’s near impossible for any senior hotelier to disregard their implementation. First among these advantages is what’s paid forward to your guests – improved compliance with SOPs, faster service, better staff demeanor and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction. Then there are the back-end benefits which also impact the bottom line – better team morale, less employee turnover, greater empowerment, increased productivity and decreased onboarding costs. Of course, this all relates to technology – putting your internal curriculum onto an online portal, thereby enabling e-learning. It works because it fosters an environment of microlearning – that is, allowing your team to learn at their own pace and in bite-sized, modular chunks, both of which are better for knowledge retention over the classical intensive and condensed period of instruction. Additionally, by putting your curriculum online, it frees up your supervisors’ …

lmaadminThe Housekeeping Training Revolution