Hotel Lessons Learned from Downton Abbey

For those unfamiliar, Downton Abbey is a spectacularly produced period drama set on the titular aristocratic estate just outside of London in the period in and around World War One. The story follows the Earl of Grantham family, the activities of the era and, importantly, the ample cadre of servants with their own explicit hierarchy. As a hotelier, I feel as though this is a meaningful series to watch. And don’t panic, the show, which just wrapped its third season, is available for worldwide rental or purchase in hard and electronic formats. Setting aside any spoilers, my focus today is on the lessons learned applicable to our jobs some one hundred years after the time period of this show. Without any further convincing or buttressing, let’s dive in and see: 1. Staff and guests do not mix, except in specific interactions. It is not appropriate for members of your staff …

Larry MogelonskyHotel Lessons Learned from Downton Abbey

In vino veritas, part XI: What about China?

To open, I must confess: Most of what I describe in this wine-themed series of articles comes from firsthand knowledge that I’ve amassed over decades of curiously tinkering in the viticultural highlife. But occasionally, I’ve had to supplement my prose with some fact checking and research. Lucky for me, “the rigors of research” often involve sampling exotic pedigrees from foreign lands accompanied by a gourmet meal or two. Through my studies, one curiosity I’ve stumbled upon pertains to China. That is, the nation of over one billion people and rapidly proliferating wealth is starting to consume a lot of wine. Not only that, but China currently stands as the fifth-biggest grape wine producer in the world (most for internal consumption), and yet it is still only in the infant stages of developing its own internal haughty viticulture and prizeworthy vintners. In terms of per capita statistics, China currently rests pretty …

Larry MogelonskyIn vino veritas, part XI: What about China?

Giving back to the community, Montage style

Anyone who lives or works in Southern California is well aware of the two ultra-luxurious Montage properties in their midst, located in Laguna and Beverly Hills (in addition to a third property in Deer Valley, Utah). In the 10 short years since the opening of its Laguna property, Montage has worked hard to deliver one of the finest accommodation experiences in the country, rivaling brands many years its senior. The company’s approach to its 10th anniversary celebration is especially interesting. It identifies community support as a priority under the Montage Memory Makers Contest. This program targets adolescents ages 13 to 17 — deemed “young humanitarians” — to win one of five US$10,000 college scholarships. By submitting a summary of their efforts to inspire and provide community service, entrants are judged on key criteria such as creativity, impact of their achievements, service and inspirational value to others. Ten finalists will be …

Larry MogelonskyGiving back to the community, Montage style

Mobile-friendly marketing attracts consumers

New is cool. I get it. With the exponential growth of social media, mobile and all in between, many have prognosticated the extinction of print and even some traditional forms of electronic communication such as telephone and email. To clarify, I lump email into the traditional category because it has been around for more than 20 years now (time flies doesn’t it?) Although some mediums have waned and usage percentages have shuffled, nothing has really died. These channels eventually find a new equilibrium of coexistence as older channels adapt to new niches and utilities. Mediums don’t die, they only evolve. So, even with rampant Facebook messaging, tweets, blogs, forums and smartphones, email still has many justifiable uses, especially for hotel marketers. To start off our talk, though, let’s discuss mail of the more physical kind. Direct mail advertisements Direct mail advertisements hurt trees and hurt marketers’ wallets. With the advent …

Larry MogelonskyMobile-friendly marketing attracts consumers

Insights from Monscierge’s Q3/Q4 2012 GEM Report

Monscierge is an interactive software company that helps hotels connect today’s savvy traveler to trusted local recommendations, understanding that simplicity and rapidity are essential elements of any new technological implementations. It’s always a joy to read their GEM Reports, highlighting the latest and greatest in hospitality trends. Now, you might be asking yourself, “It’s March, why should I care about a report that came out in the fourth quarter of last year?” For this, my answer is simple: repetition. Some of the points made in this particular GEM hit home so hard that they are worth stepping up on my soap box and reiterating with a megaphone. In this case, repetition works all the better now that you’ve had some time for their findings to fade from memory. The GEM Reports are distilled from numerous news stories, individual success cases, research studies, topical essays and firsthand experiences of the Monscierge …

Larry MogelonskyInsights from Monscierge’s Q3/Q4 2012 GEM Report

A tale of Northern California

I’ve known the people at Timber Cove Inn for quite some time now. Maybe it’s the gentle Pacific breeze or the tranquil seclusion of sparsely populated Northern California, but the senior managers and staff at this coastal resort property are some of the nicest you’ll ever met. They also have a lot of wisdom to share when it comes to marketing a hotel that is somewhat off the beaten track — in Jenner, California, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the nearest international airport (San Francisco). It was my pleasure to interview Timber Cove Inn General Manager Keith Hill. Larry Mogelonsky: Tell me a little bit about the history of Timber Cove Inn. Keith Hill: The area surrounding the hotel was originally inhabited by Russian traders over 200 years ago. The coastline of the Timber Cove region is so stunning and inspirational that pioneering photographer Ansel Adams spent a great deal of …

Larry MogelonskyA tale of Northern California

Meeting the demand for healthy meetings

We are what we eat — a pithy statement, but nevertheless, thoroughly and completely true. It has taken us decades — centuries even — to accumulate the dietary acumen and scientific data to point with certainty towards what foods promote wellness and which do not. On the heels of this buildup of nutritional knowledge comes a widening public desire for healthier food options, often during meetings, in particular. I was lucky enough to sit down with Tracy Stuckrath, president and chief connecting officer of Thrive! Meetings & Events, to discuss what hotels can do to get caught up on this all-so-imperative trend. Larry Mogelonsky: How important is food quality to meetings these days? Are a majority of people aware of how food can affect productivity? Tracy Stuckrath: It’s vital. Food quality is becoming more important to meetings each day as sessions and articles on “brain food” are appearing, but the implementation …

Larry MogelonskyMeeting the demand for healthy meetings

Moore’s Law of Demographics

It’s often said that a key problem we face in today’s labor market is not a lack of job opportunities, but a paucity of candidates with the prerequisite skills. Wrapping this sentiment around the prospects of hiring and training someone from the Millennial generation, I add that there’s a scarcity of potential employees with the necessary motivation and passion to succeed at a given position. After all, if someone is properly motivated, they’ll put in the effort to learn and exceed the base skill requirements. I would even go so far as to describe the Millennials as the next ‘Lost Generation’, sharing many of the same characteristics as the boisterous, tawdry youth of the 1920s. With the internet and countless forms of wireless communication at their disposal, Millennials have every opportunity in the world available to them on top of a life largely free from many of the rigors, diseases, …

Larry MogelonskyMoore’s Law of Demographics

Thompson Hotel Site Debut

  LMA is pleased to announce the launch of a website for The Thompson Hotel and Conference Centre in Kamloops, BC. In designing the new site it was very important to match the look and feel of the Thompson brand, and as such a minimal colour palette and design elements were employed. By using large imagery of the hotel as well as stunning photos of Kamloops, we were able to better showcase the BC lifestyle and venue. The design is responsive and will work beautifully on a laptop, desktop or iPad. A mobile companion is in development.  The site features information about the property, a blog, photo gallery and full social media integration. The site was built using Expression Engine and is fully content manageable. Click here to visit the website.

Jerry GrymekThompson Hotel Site Debut

My first meeting: A tale of two cities

Meeting planners. Automated RFPs. Meeting delivery. Ensuring the property delivers for the delegates. These are all concepts hoteliers and their sales teams are well familiar with. But 30 years ago (or thereabouts), I was tasked with the responsibility of being THE meeting planner as part of my job assignment. This was my first big break, and I thought you might enjoy this calamitous tale of two cities. Before I was initiated into the hospitality industry, I worked in packaged goods as a product manager for Procter & Gamble (they called the position brand manager) and next as a category manager for Frito-Lay. Business in those heady days of the early 1980s was all about hoopla and flashiness. Good employees were scarce, and to keep your staff motivated, new product launches were part Ziegfeld Follies, part Disney. It seemed that budgets for these activities were not in the least bit limited …

Larry MogelonskyMy first meeting: A tale of two cities