The Innkeeper Lives! Revisiting Les Miserables

A couple months ago, I attended another brilliant performance of Les Miserables. It’s easily my favorite play and I’ve seen it in Toronto, New York and London. Before I come to my point, let me digress for those unfamiliar. Based on a novel written by Victor Hugo in 1862, the musical is set in the time leading up to the French Revolution. One of the more comical characters in this exceptional period piece was the Innkeeper, best known for the song, Masters of the House, which jovially mocked the hotel industry at the time.   I’ll spare you my singing abilities, but a verse near the end definitely isn’t pretty: “Charge 'em for the lice, extra for the mice Two percent for looking in the mirror twice Here a little slice, there a little cut Three percent for sleeping with the window shut When it comes to fixing prices There …

Larry MogelonskyThe Innkeeper Lives! Revisiting Les Miserables
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Top 10 on Santa’s wish list

Would it be too childish to imagine ourselves, grownups, sitting on Santa’s knee and reading off a laundry list of hopes and wishes for our properties? Maybe, yet secretly, I bet GMs would dash at the opportunity if (spoiler alert!) Kris Kringle actually possessed the magical powers he is known for. If I were a GM, here is what my list would probably look like. No shiny new bicycles here. Read on. 1. Stable economy All GMs like stability and predictability. Currency markets with wild fluctuations, political instability, bond devaluations and other macro issues for which there are no local controls all create risks that hoteliers can’t respond to fast enough. A stable economic forecast allows GMs to plan with a higher degree of certainty and allows for better capital-management decisions.    2. Increased consumer confidence A stable economy will certainly help GMs manage their slates of room rates, services …

Larry MogelonskyTop 10 on Santa’s wish list
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In vino veritas, part VIII: South African wines

Staying with our Southern Hemisphere theme, in addition to Australia, another prominent exporter is another former crown colony, South Africa. And as with its Commonwealth counterpart, the nation’s winemaking heritage goes hand-in-hand with European colonization. For starters, sneak a glance at a world map, or recall the nation’s location from memory — specifically, the region around the Cape of Good Hope at the southwestern corner of the nation. This area encompasses the Cape Peninsula and, more broadly, the Western Cape, including the first Dutch colony — and later the first British colony — that would become the city of Cape Town. Special to the Cape Peninsula is the intersection of weather systems from the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean currents with a more-than-generous contribution from the Antarctic that acts to drastically temper humidity.   All this — in addition to some very extraneous mountains, valleys and flatlands — amounts to …

Larry MogelonskyIn vino veritas, part VIII: South African wines
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Opt out may lead to drip pricing

Housekeeping has always been a cornerstone of guest experience, but now it appears hotels rendering opt-out exchanges might change the paradigm behind this integral service. Known as decontenting, guests are prompted at check-in to opt out of daily housekeeping services with primary compensations including additional loyalty points, room discounts or food-and-beverage vouchers. Many independents and a few major brands, notably select Westin hotels, are already employing this alternative tactic. Decontenting can pertain to much more than just housekeeping—bathroom amenities are another obvious occurrence, but also think basic cable, breakfasts, newspapers and even the comfort of meeting a person at check-in instead of completing this process via a mobile device. Ask yourself: At what point does a hotel stop being a hotel and become an a la carte service? The fear is decontenting will act as a preceding action toward drip-pricing accounting models, which means gradually removing all the content from …

Larry MogelonskyOpt out may lead to drip pricing
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Are meeting planners incentivized by points?

Here’s a situation for you to think over. I came across an offer by a major hotel chain aimed at meeting planners and companies looking for a meeting location. The promotion offered triple the quantity of loyalty reward points if you booked your meeting at one of its hotels during a two-month period at the end of the year. It’s simple: give perks to secure more meetings business. On the surface, this seems like a crafty way to create an edge in the RFP marketplace without spending any real money to do so. The points cost little, but they’re worth little as well. In fact, I beg the question: Does anybody care about points when it comes to meetings? What are they really good for? To fully answer this question, you have to first look at who benefits from receiving such points. In the case of meeting planners, their contracts …

Larry MogelonskyAre meeting planners incentivized by points?
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Tech trends to watch in 2013

This year was remarkable in many ways: demographics, economics, politics, education, manufacturing — all are changing. Looking to 2013, what I want to emphasize is technology and, chiefly for hoteliers, the maturity and stabilization of the current platforms and devices that have risen from obscurity to rampant popularity. The prevalence of technology will undoubtedly increase, but for all those not living under rocks, 2013 doesn’t look to be a year where anything truly revolutionary will be introduced. Apply the term “technology satiety.” We have only so much time per day, and thus, only so much we can devote to any one particular device, website or social network. 2013 looks to be a period where hoteliers can get up to speed with what’s out there, and indeed, this is a necessary action to maintain market share. Let’s go piece by piece and get into some specifics.   1. Website It’s a …

Larry MogelonskyTech trends to watch in 2013

Reviewing Tingo and its Price Protection Model

Before I get into my observations and conclusions regarding this online travel agency, TINGO (www.tingo.com), let me take you to a parallel retail experience. Suppose you decide to buy the latest LCD or Plasma television. You go to the local big box electronics retailer and make your selection amongst a myriad of brands, many of which are at best vaguely familiar. They all look great in the showroom. But, how do know if you got the best price? In this case, we’re talking about: Retail Price Protection The retailer generally offers some sort of guarantee that their price will be equal to or better than that advertised for a competitive retailer. Moreover, they’ll give you the difference if you bring an ad to them displaying a better discount. These guarantees often include protection against their own price reduction for up to 90 days in the future. Few buyers are as …

Larry MogelonskyReviewing Tingo and its Price Protection Model
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A New Approach to Online Distribution and Integration

Arising from discussions about Room Key, the OTAs and where online hospitality channels are headed, I had a conversation with Moe Ibrahim, the CEO of the reservation and experiential website Journeyful (www.journeyful.com). It’s a fascinating take on online distribution systems. The platform is designed to be cheaper than a hotel’s existing booking engine so that every channel becomes a direct channel. So, if a hotel generates a booking from its website using Journeyful’s white-labeled booking engine, it’s a small commission. If the booking comes wholly through journeyful.com, it’s the same small commission. Ditto for travel agents that book through the platform’s wholesale booking system and, soon, for mobile. The company’s goal is to consolidate all of a hotel’s bookings on one platform at a very modest transaction fee. Moe Ibrahim anticipates the potential to improve a hotel’s overall profitability by a minimum of 15% to 20%. Now that’s exciting, and …

Larry MogelonskyA New Approach to Online Distribution and Integration

20 Meetings Trends in 2013?

There’s lots to look forward to in 2013, so why not get a head start right now? Head on over to eVenues for some quick words of wisdom from hospitality leaders on what to expect for the upcoming business year.

Larry Mogelonsky20 Meetings Trends in 2013?
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Ode to My Beloved Hockey

I miss hockey. I miss Hockey Night in Canada (a tradition since my childhood). I miss the banter in the office every Monday morning on the weekend’s games. It seems as if the current NHL lockout, now 90+ days old and going strong, has turned this coming winter into a rather dull one up here in Canada. For those residing in the United States, Canada’s love affair with hockey might seem rather incomprehensible.  So, permit me to explain: Up through the 1960’s professional sport in Canada meant hockey. Baseball’s short lived Montreal expos came into being in 1969 until the franchise moved to Washington DC in 2004, and the somewhat-more-successful Toronto Blue Jays broke into the league in 1977. Basketball saw a short-lived Vancouver Grizzlies from 1995 – 2001, leaving the Toronto Raptors to be the sole representative in Canada. Canada’s Canadian football (the CFL) has some ardent supporters, but …

Larry MogelonskyOde to My Beloved Hockey