Your Competition is Your Inspiration

  Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. They’re fun, a promise for change, if not almost rigueur to our society. But with summer winding down, perhaps there’s time to holistically reevaluate on a seasonal basis. September is the back to school month; ergo autumn resolutions make total sense. After all, real change happens in baby steps and a quarterly refresher can go miles towards maintaining the levity and practicality of the impending New Year’s wish list. This year in particular, I’ve been blessed with the freedom and opportunity to travel all over the world for business, staying in accommodations both noble and no frills. One observation I’ve made is that despite all the resources and online media within arm’s reach, many managers have contracted an acute case of tunnel vision. People know their property, or their chain, and that’s about it, something especially true for those curtailing holiday time or vacationing …

Larry MogelonskyYour Competition is Your Inspiration

‘Hotel Hell’ lessons learned, part two

  Early last week, Fox debuted a new reality television series called ‘Hotel Hell’ following Gordon Ramsay as he investigates mismanaged properties then offers his two cents. Having watched the first half of the pilot episode, I scribed a ‘Lessons Learned’ piece to help clue hoteliers into this new show. Read it here. One week later, having watched the second half of the pilot and the second new episode, I now have a chance to see the host’s solution engine in action and pass judgment on its true efficacy. In spite of all the criticism surrounding Ramsay’s character and celebrity, he does indeed offer a legitimate opinion on hotel operations. To lay any doubts to rest, Ramsay even called in a qualified hotel inspector of ‘diamond-rated’ properties to back up his views. TV pilots are generally much more premise-heavy; ergo subsequent episodes are where the show finds its groove. While …

Larry Mogelonsky‘Hotel Hell’ lessons learned, part two

Vroom, Vroom! LMA hosts Media Pit Stop Event in Montreal

Visit Florida Senior VP Eileen Forrow (pictured right), Greater Miami CVB Representative Joanne Scalamogna, and Jerry Grymek, Account Director at LMA Communications Inc., were in Montreal on August 18th to greet the media members for the annual GRAND-AM Rolex race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Visit Florida sponsors the Number 40 and Number 41 Mazda RX-8 cars for Dempsey Racing, owned by Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey.   The Visit Florida team welcomed writers and editors from, Canadian Travel Press, CTV Montreal, enRoute Magazine, Tourisme Plus, Travel Word Radio Show, and West End Times. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has played host to the Nationwide Series since its inaugural Canada race in 2007. The track is named after the late Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1997 Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve. It serves as one of the top venue for Formula One and Champ Car series races. The team organized an action-packed event, including a media …

Jerry GrymekVroom, Vroom! LMA hosts Media Pit Stop Event in Montreal

In Vino Veritas: Part IV – Dessert Wines

I’m quite privileged to live in Toronto, which happens to be just over an hour’s drive from Niagara-on-the-Lake, one of only a few well-known, wine-producing regions in Canada. Although not nearly as prestigious as other APAs in California or France, Niagara is recognized as a world leader when it comes to ice wines – a subcategory of dessert wines where the producers don’t pick the grapes until after the first frost hits the vines. When I last visited the winemaker Stratus ( in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for a tasting, I was awed by their use of such sweet wines. No longer just an accompaniment to a chocolate mousse or crème brûlée, their ice wines were served with cheeses. The unbridled sweetness of a Riesling Icewine matched with piquant cheddar. A fruity Vidal Icewine paired with mellow Gouda. The complex red berry tastes of a Cabernet Franc Icewine contrasted perfectly with a …

Larry MogelonskyIn Vino Veritas: Part IV – Dessert Wines

On Hold? Give Us a Break!

  You know the situation. You call a restaurant or a hotel and are immediately put on hold, often before you get an opportunity to speak to an operator. Annoying at best, but quite understandable given the peaks and valleys in call rate and recognizing that telephone staff has its limits.   But hoteliers have a way of making a bad situation worse. How? By adding a pre-recorded script trying to sell you on a variety of items offered at the property or to give you details about property features. Because these nuggets of useless information are interspersed with bland music, such sound bites become increasingly irascible – the change from music to voice commands your attention as you anticipate a live operator, then the pre-recorded message twists your hopes into frustration.   Having to put a guest on hold is not what anyone of us would call great guest …

Larry MogelonskyOn Hold? Give Us a Break!

Hoteliers are Guilty Until Proven Innocent

  This is an actual case, one that I believe underscores a fundamental flaw in our current social media environment. A relatively new property has an on-going dispute with a neighbor. The dispute has nothing to do with the operation of the property, but rather the concern that the property will cause a reduction in property values due to noise, increased traffic and parking challenges. The neighbor is vocal about his concerns and expresses them to the municipal government, sighting possible bylaw improprieties.  The local government rejects the neighbor’s appeal. Not satisfied with the outcome of the ‘official’ complaint process, this individual resorts to social media as a means of extracting their revenge against the hotel. The approach involves writing extremely negative reviews, which are duly posted. The hotel manager reads these reviews and is puzzled by their context. In particular, the general manager notes the following: • The review …

Larry MogelonskyHoteliers are Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Rethinking the Concierge via Specialization

Anyone who’s taken introductory economics knows the term ‘specialization of labor’ and its financially beneficial implications. As possibly the most celebrated example, Henry Ford put this principle to good use when assembling his automotive manufacturing line. Indeed, specialization and innovation go hand in hand, but you could write a whole book on that!   Recent Concierge Innovations With this as a thematic drive, I want you to rethink the idea of the concierge and how we can further partition this title to enhance a guest’s experience. By giving your patrons an exact channel to address each specific need, you will not only better alleviate any worries, but heighten their perception of how excellent your hotel really is. Here are three contemporary examples for you to consider.   Sleep Concierge Conceived by The Benjamin in New York City (, this person’s task is quite obvious from the name. Inventive and pragmatic, …

Larry MogelonskyRethinking the Concierge via Specialization

Marketing is Dead – A Rebuttal

  Earlier this week, ehotelier published a very poignant article by Bill Lee entitled “Marketing is Dead.” Find the article here: In all likelihood the title was engineered not as an absolute statement of fact but rather a tool to spark debate. And debate we shall! While it’s quite egregious to say outright that traditional marketing channels like newspapers, magazines, television and direct mail are ‘useless,’ Mr. Lee is right to insinuate that the cumulative gravity of these channels is most likely diminishing. The real question then is how much they are diminishing, and this is where I strongly disagree. The problem now is that we’ve overestimated the importance of new electronic channels, while simultaneously relegating traditional channels to the sidelines, without the proper evidence to justify such a shuffle. When it comes to this false frame of mind, we hoteliers are guilty as charged, probably more so than …

Larry MogelonskyMarketing is Dead – A Rebuttal

In Vino Veritas: Part III Microbrews

  ‘In Vino Veritas’, a Latin expression that explicitly references wine. However, taken as a generalization, other alcoholic beverages are easily implied. Specifically, I want to address the growing microbrewery trend as a means of complementing and augmenting your wine list. And for those that aren’t in the know, by microbrewery, I’m referring to a small, craft beer-making company that produces less than 15,000 barrels per year. There are even hobbyist nanobrewers who produce less than 100 barrels and do it because they like the process. The concept of the micro or local brewery has existed for thousands of years, proliferating from the libation’s invention in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia then right through medieval times. However, the beverage was always considered more of a thirst quencher than a taste tester. Then came pasteurization, big national brands, imports and, overall, limited options. Until recently, beer has never really been a mark …

Larry MogelonskyIn Vino Veritas: Part III Microbrews

Stark Lessons from “Hotel Hell”

Last night, FOX NETWORK debuted their new reality series ‘Hotel Hell’ following celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay as he visits borderline-bankrupt properties in an attempt to use his wisdom to resuscitate revenue. The opener sees Ramsay visit the Juniper Hill Inn in bucolic Vermont – a historic, 20-something room lodge that’s in the red by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although edited as a hyperbole of the problems at hand, the premiere nonetheless offers some shrewd insights for hoteliers. Watch and learn. While many may disagree with Ramsay’s abrasiveness, he’s honest and forthright with his opinions, which makes for some highly entertaining conversations. And before you ask, “What could Gordon Ramsay possibly know about the inner workings of a hotel?” let’s brush over some of his biographical details. First, he knows food. Before he became notorious for his foul-mouthed television persona, he was a multiple Michelin Star-ranked chef with several bustling …

Larry MogelonskyStark Lessons from “Hotel Hell”