A tropical modern villa exterior view with built in sofa

Defining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts

How many times have you heard the word ‘luxury’ in a hotel description? It seems to be one of the most abused words in the hoteliers’ dictionary! I’ve seen many hotels claim to be luxurious, when at most they are just slightly better than average. There seems to be no clear definition for luxury. Looking for some clarity in the dictionary, the word ‘luxury’ come from Old French luxurie and the Latin luxuria or luxus, meaning excess. In other words, something that is luxurious is an inessential – a desirable item that is more than basic but not a necessity. In keeping with this definition, the basics of our product/service offerings are definitely not luxuries. These include cleanliness both for rooms and public areas, free and fast wifi, comfortable beds, sufficient amenities, generous hot water for showers, enough towels, quiet HVAC, good lighting for all needs, entertainment facilities, and security. …

lmaadminDefining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts
Arrangement of different types of baked foods

Give Us Each Day Our Daily Bread Basket

I intentionally played upon this line from The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11: 1-4) for the title of this article in order to underscore the importance that bread plays in Western culture. When we go into a restaurant, a bread basket is all but an expectation. If we must ask for it, then there is a service problem! And for those restaurants who feel as though they can charge extra for this item, be warned that you certainly aren’t winning customers over with your penny-pinching approach to F&B. Knowing how profound a role bread has played throughout the course of civilization, still to this day nothing sets the stage for a great meal better than a freshly prepared loaf. The smell of baked bread and the satisfaction of physically handling its chewy texture are both as communal as they are primal. Yet, for many hoteliers, bread is given mere ‘lip service’ …

lmaadminGive Us Each Day Our Daily Bread Basket
Irritated young businessman at the office, feeling his back tired after working at laptop, uncomfortable chair, feeling itching, difficulty sitting, touching his left side with pained face expression

Raising Awareness For RSIs

An important issue affecting many hotels that merits further discussion is repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), especially those with an aging workforce. A combined aggravation of both the nervous and musculoskeletal system, an RSI is typically caused by repetitive tasks or those which put the body in an awkward position. There are many different types of RSIs, but as I am not a doctor, the diagnoses and exact syndromes are not the focus here. Rather, it is vital that all hoteliers recognize how RSIs may develop in a workplace setting so that steps can then be taken to reduce or prevent their occurrence altogether. RSIs can not only hamper an employee’s ability to perform at his or her best but they can also have a toxic effect on those closest to the afflicted individual. Being a true leader means caring for your team and their health, and thus corrective actions must be …

lmaadminRaising Awareness For RSIs
Dubai, UAE - September 11, 2013: The Atlantis the Palm hotel and limousines. It is located on man-made island Palm Jumeirah.

Mutual Success Through Product Placement

Have you ever watched a movie and noticed that all the cops and robbers were driving only one brand of car? Or that every actor on a television show only drinks exclusively Coke or Pepsi but never both? Product placement has been part of the Hollywood scene for decades as savvy producers must find ever-creative ways to squeeze every ounce of profit out of their films – something that looks especially worthwhile when such brands are willing to pay upfront and thereby offset the usual cashflow issues of movie production. After all, if the script doesn’t specify the specific type of automobile being driven, smartphone adjacent to the name actor’s ear or beverage being consumed, why not earn some decent bucks in the process? More recently, hoteliers have started to realize that hotels can offer perfect symmetry with many brands that want trial from their target audience, especially when those …

lmaadminMutual Success Through Product Placement
Maslow pyramid with five levels hierarchy of needs in flat colours

Moving Up The Ranks Of The Guest Experience Hierarchy

I’m mystified, or should I say confused. Perhaps you can help me solve this conundrum… In most annual budget processes, hotel managers go into immaculate detail on spreadsheets for such line items as capital for renovations, expense allocations for operations, personnel, and sales and marketing. Yet rarely is there a section, nay more than a single row devoted to training or any of its other more elaborate forms such as ‘service culture development’, ‘associate engagement’, ‘team improvement’ or ‘guest experience enhancement’. If we are truly in the hospitality industry, why do we neglect the fundamental service function that is our namesake? Giving more thought to your internal service R&D also means you are working to substantially distinguish your hotel when more extravagant facility upgrades are far outside of budgetary scope. Through continuous technological installations and judicious procurement, most limited-service properties now have quiet HVAC, comfortable beds and ample bathroom facilities. …

lmaadminMoving Up The Ranks Of The Guest Experience Hierarchy
Vancouver, Canada - December 11, 2011: The starship Enterprise from the Star Trek television franchise, against a black background. The model was made by Micro Machines, from Galoob.

Lessons for Hotels from the Final Frontier

Beam me up, Scotty! The original television series Star Trek ran 79 episodes in the late 1960s. After being canceled due to poor ratings, it was revived and has since spawned a slew of popular TV shows coupled with 13 high-budget movies as well as a barrage of novels, comics and other ancillary IP. To this day, thousands call themselves ‘Trekkies’ with the remarkable ability to regurgitate every line from those original episodes. Most everyone, Trekkie or not, knows Captain James T. Kirk, the fearless leader of the Starship Enterprise. Played by William Shatner, Captain Kirk was known for his remarkable capability of keeping the ship and its seemingly hundreds of crew members safe as the ship hurtled through the galaxy and faced impossible odds. To me as a pre-teen, this was heady stuff! But what does this have to do with the world of hospitality? And what can we …

lmaadminLessons for Hotels from the Final Frontier
Photo of businessman in expensive hotel. Aged businessman wearing suit, standing in nice hotel room, using tablet computer and looking at camera

Learning From ‘Old School’ Hoteliers

Hans J. Gerhardt Klaus D. Tenter Recently, I had the delightful opportunity to sit down with two ‘old school’ hoteliers. While both continue to have their hand in the game via part-time consulting projects, their days of managing luxurious properties are behind them. The goal of my interview was to get their perspective on the current state of our profession and see what lessons could be gleaned that are applicable to those of us still in the trenches. Both born in Germany and with classical European hotel school instruction, their work experiences include a myriad of properties. Klaus Tenter spent most of his time with various Four Seasons hotels then latterly to the luxurious Hazelton Hotel in Toronto. Hans Gerhardt’s experience rests primarily with the Sutton Place Hotel, also in Toronto. What do you see as the greatest issue facing hoteliers today? Tenter: The ability to attract good, and even …

lmaadminLearning From ‘Old School’ Hoteliers
feedback concept, write review online, rating on internet

Close The Feedback Loop

Does any hotel still offer customer satisfaction surveys? Do you, as a hotelier, rely upon comment cards as a quality control for your operations? A decade ago, the answer would undoubtedly be yes, but now it isn’t so black-and-white. Let’s reflect on what’s happened, specifically related to the advent of internet-born travel websites. With the success of online review sites, including the behemoth that is TripAdvisor, it’s all too easy to surmise that their growth was primarily because of how they aggregated hotels and cross-linked to OTA booking engines. However, we must also stomach the fact that it’s our own fault that these channels proliferated. We gave these watchdogs an abundance of meat to chew on because our properties were rife with unchecked service errors. These sites gave angry customers a place to vent. Eventually we woke up, realized we had created a monstrously powerful beast, then attempted to rein …

lmaadminClose The Feedback Loop
Architectural project construction project concept

The Dirty Dozen Of Hotel Renovation

With the kids gone, it was time to follow the footsteps of many other boomers and downsize to a condominium. What started as a mere paint job, however, morphed into a $150-per-square-foot renovation of the entire apartment comprising appliances, lighting, flooring, soft goods, mirrors, kitchen and plumbing fixtures. What we ended up having on our hands was a genuine case of ‘scope creep’ – something not uncommon in any property refurbishment. Hotel renovations are a necessary dread of our industry in order to keep apace with the constantly giving décor trends, star rating requirements and technological advancements. They are also stressful and frustrating. Having gone through dozens of this large-scale projects over the past four decades, I was able to navigate the treacherous waters of my own apartment’s scope creep by following a general guideline of these twelve tips. Define your objectives. Be as specific as possible, and make sure …

lmaadminThe Dirty Dozen Of Hotel Renovation
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