LMA presents a revitalized look for Penn Plaza Pavilion

LMA has launched a revitalized web site for Penn Plaza Pavilion, one of New York’s most sought after social and corporate event rental space with over 40,000 square feet in the hear of Manhattan. Built with a WordPress content management system, the site highlights the different the imagery and space of the venue. New features include a Calendar of Upcoming Events and an update Booking Form. To view the site, visit www.pennpavilion.com

Larry MogelonskyLMA presents a revitalized look for Penn Plaza Pavilion

Online Booking Engines Come of Age

I recall a conversation with an owner of a Relais & Chateau affiliated property in the early days of the Internet. He questioned the need for a web site and proclaimed to all, “no one I know will book my property over the Internet.” The first Internet booking engines were somewhat crude, clunky and expensive. Moreover, hoteliers had to load room inventory onto the Internet system, as they did not properly link to the property’s internal PMS. Luckily, those days are long gone, and most Internet booking systems offer 2-way interfaces. There are many providers of Internet booking engines, a field that is dominated by two excellent products: TravelClick’s iHotelier and Sabre’s Synexis. Both of these are widely available and offer a myriad of add-ons and back-end systems designed to enhance connectivity and rooms inventory management. But just as one thought that this was a two-horse race, making your decision …

Larry MogelonskyOnline Booking Engines Come of Age

HKHotels: Value-added charm, real luxury and TripAdvisor gold

A recent trip to New York City demanded a change. Based upon impressive TripAdvisor scores, I decided to eschew my traditional stay in one of the larger, well-known properties. TripAdvisor’s ratings have consistently ranked HKHotels’ four Midtown boutique-style Manhattan properties among its top 10 locally. This feat is somewhat daunting, in particular given the hundreds of accommodation options available. I was determined to see if I could learn more that would shed some light on this incredible success. The websites for the four properties that make up this hotel collection were non-descript. What drew me in was a discussion on the home page regarding the value these hotels offered. More specifically, they explained — in great detail — the value-added services the properties offered: breakfast, free Wi-Fi, all-day coffee, newspaper, sports club membership and an evening reception with wine, all included in the price. While the text was small, and …

Larry MogelonskyHKHotels: Value-added charm, real luxury and TripAdvisor gold

Four Examples of Service Excellence

Here are four examples of service above and beyond the ordinary. I present them here as “GOLD” award winners, something that all hoteliers can aspire to. Hotel Im Palais Schwarzenberg, Vienna, Austria: Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending several nights at this magnificent property. While the hotel is now closed, the service was of such a high standard that one tended overlook the hard and soft good repair issues. An example: While checking out, I was engaged in a conversation with a staff member and departed to the airport without getting my credit card back. I received a call on my cell phone from the hotel and a bellman arranged a rendezvous with us halfway to the airport, costing me only ten minutes of travel time, but saving a much larger headache. Lanesborough Hotel, London, UK: Visiting this world-class property with my wife, we experienced a superlative …

Larry MogelonskyFour Examples of Service Excellence

A Survey Of How Early Career Business Travellers Select Their Hotels

A recently completed survey (Summer 2011) of hotel purchase behavior indicates some potentially troubling news for hoteliers. In particular, this research reveals a significant weakness in hotel brand recognition.   About the Survey When I started my business career, travel arrangements were regimented.  All requests went through the office travel department – our own in-house travel agency.  There were few choices given to the employee.  But it didn't matter, I loved to travel.  I looked forward to the ad agency visit to New York City, the tradeshow in Orlando, or the plant tour in Michigan.  My boss had some pull, and we enjoyed staying in such grand properties as the Waldorf Astoria, the Hay Adams and the Drake.  Loyalty programs, the Internet, and, of course, OTAs did not exist. The world has changed in the past thirty years.  Many companies have disbanded their in-house travel arrangements; recognizing the efficiencies of …

Larry MogelonskyA Survey Of How Early Career Business Travellers Select Their Hotels

Would you spend $189 to improve productivity by 15%?

Okay, I’m a little bit of a technology geek. I have a pretty fast laptop, tablet and smartphone, all from the same manufacturer, whose shares are well above US$500 each. And while I can’t fully keep pace with all of the twenty-somethings in my office, I’m reasonably good at most programs and Internet-related activities. Yet, even a codger like me can learn a trick or two. Our production studio is a terrific team, all using shiny, new computers coupled with great software. But what had differentiated this group from our sales/account staff was that each operating station had a second computer monitor. At first, the “Doubting Thomas” in me said that this was merely for them to stay connected to their friends, with one monitor showing their Facebook and the other showing the task at hand. I was soon proven wrong. We conducted productivity tests on the modification of several …

Larry MogelonskyWould you spend $189 to improve productivity by 15%?

Looking for Mister Goodbar: The search for the ideal director of marketing

In 30 years of being the “outside-agency-consultant-guy” to literally hundreds of GMs and directors of marketing, I’ve seen everything from gifted marketers to the much less so. Our team has served almost every form of relationship, from being the acting marketing head to (quite literally) a supplier of paper or electronic goods/services. It has and continues to be a roller coaster of differing points of view and assignments. Looking at the “forest” rather than individual “trees,” I am able to draw some interesting and useful conclusions on how you as a GM should manage and work with the most critical position on the planning committee: your lead marketer. Here then is my short primer on the subject: 1. Marketing is the lifeblood of your property. Your DofM has to truly understand the fundamentals of marketing: how to separate strategy from tactic and how to balance the entire wheel of marketing, …

Larry MogelonskyLooking for Mister Goodbar: The search for the ideal director of marketing

O Canada, True North Strong, But Not Free

I admit it. I am a proud Canadian. Sorry to offend those who think we’re the 51st state up here. Except for those in Quebec, Canadians speak the same language as our U.S. counterparts, albeit with a different accent. We shop at the same stores — the Gap, Wal-Mart, Old Navy — and we are excited to announce that soon we’ll even have Target! Travel to one of our large cities, and you’ll see the usual hotel chains too: Hilton, Marriott and most of the Starwood varieties. My goodness, you could mistake downtown Toronto for Chicago. Often it is, as many Hollywood films supposedly set in Chicago are really filmed on location in Toronto. Flash back 10 or 20 years, when Canada was a poor cousin to the USA. Our dollar was lucky to hit 80 cents American (at our dollar’s lowest ebb, it was worth 62 U.S. cents). Unemployment …

Larry MogelonskyO Canada, True North Strong, But Not Free

The Year of the Tablet

Why it’s important to integrate computer tablets into your hotel operation You know a lot about them. You might even have one. They’re popular for business and leisure and satisfy the trendy factor consumers seek, but are they right for your property? When it comes to tablets the answer is yes. The real question for most hoteliers is whether or not this new technology is feasible. First-hand experience with the iPad has made me a believer. Initially just a novelty during our courtship, the tablet is now my main point of access for email, web surfing and reading. It handles the functions flawlessly and has happily moved one more reader away from paperbound books. Travelling regularly for short business and leisure trips, the iPad is a good compromise between the 17-inch laptop computer and three-inch smartphone display. And the tablet’s screen, much larger than a mobile phone, makes swapping the lighter …

Larry MogelonskyThe Year of the Tablet

Jump On and Off the Brand Bandwagon

  It seems like the distant past, but every time that I read an article in the press about hotel brands or banding, it reminds me of my old days in Procter & Gamble’s brand department. Yes, it was called the BRAND department, not advertising or marketing. Why? As BRAND managers, our responsibility was to manage the critical equity of the company, namely, their brands. Here’s an example from Crest Toothpaste, a brand that I managed for several years. When P&G wants to market a new oral care product, they don’t create a new brand name. Rather, they use the “umbrella” brand –  Crest 3D Whitestrips,Crest ProHealth, Crest Rinses, and so on. All have a common purpose: better oral care. This makes sense to consumers, as they recognize the brand and make purchases of related products based upon their core knowledge. This is the essence of branding: being instantly known …

Larry MogelonskyJump On and Off the Brand Bandwagon