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A Silicon Valley North for Hotels

Toronto, my home town, has long held the title ‘Hollywood North’ to express its close relationship with Los Angeles, the film capital of the world. The movie and television industry has been a leading employer and economic boon for the city for decades, but now Toronto appears to be double-dipping in Californian namesakes, all because of its tech sector’s flourishing growth. The city is filled with passionate entrepreneurs who are rapidly developing the mobile and digital utilities of tomorrow, and many of these products have direct applications for the hospitality industry. Fueled by hearty government grant programs and admirable living conditions (amongst a slew of other factors), Toronto shares many of the characteristics that helped turn the Bay Area into the innovation powerhouse that it is today. This metropolis of nearly six million is now a roaring cluster of highly skilled teams and even bigger dreams. Even in a virtual, …

Larry MogelonskyA Silicon Valley North for Hotels
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Accommodating female leisure travelers

Women are emerging as influencers in the leisure travel sector, and hoteliers need to modify their offerings to accommodate this growing demographic. Is there a gender bias in leisure travel? Or, is it an equal split? All arrows point to women as the clear leaders in this travel sector. Women are surmounting their traditional roles of mother and caregiver with disposable income per capita experiencing a 6.1% real growth over the 2007 to 2012 period with an 18.2% growth projected for the next seven years from 2013 to 2020, according to Euromonitor International. Moreover, in developed nations, the salary gap continues to narrow, helping to further erode any entrenched glass-ceiling effect. In short, more influence and more spending power means more female-driven consumption. Looking closer to home are some even more profound markers. According to Road & Travel Magazine, women comprise 40% of all business travelers. Importantly, they are said …

Larry MogelonskyAccommodating female leisure travelers

Leading an up-and-coming luxury brand

Montage Hotels & Resorts has only been around for a decade, and it is already a trendsetter in contemporary North American luxury. I was fortunate recently to interview the brand’s founder and CEO Alan Fuerstman, who in late June was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Larry Mogelonsky: In a luxury segment dominated by such heralded names as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, what differentiates the Montage experience? Alan Fuerstman: While we have a great appreciation for legacy hospitality brands, Montage Hotels & Resorts was founded to be the next iteration of luxury hospitality, with a greater emphasis on comfortable luxury, a highly engaged service culture and truly local experiences. Each hotel has an immensely strong sense of place, celebrating its location and drawing inspiration from local culture. Laguna’s rich history as an artist colony, for example, inspires the craftsman-style architecture and airy interiors of Montage …

Larry MogelonskyLeading an up-and-coming luxury brand
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UV lights for housekeeping

Discussing dirty rooms isn’t exactly a new topic. But with the explosion of available electronica to broadcast criticism, guestroom cleanliness is something I run across multiple times an hour. It’s a salient reason behind negative reviews and something you have to monitor vigilantly. Most complaints against dirt are targeted at what’s on the surface — that is, what can be seen with your own two eyes: rug stains, ceiling mold, dusty lampshades, yellow blotches on pillow covers, spots on glasses in the bathroom and so on. Grievances have yet to really touch on what our eyes cannot detect outright such as germs on the remote control or residual blots on the bed sheets. These should not be ignored, however, as consumers are growing wise to these neglected areas, especially now that UV flashlights are not only cheap and but also readily available at a convenience store near you. And people …

Larry MogelonskyUV lights for housekeeping
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In vino veritas, part XIV: Rosé for summer

Everyone knows what rosé wine looks like and that it’s great for summer dining. Beyond matching the name and the season, though, the rest is an enigma. One goal of this running wine education series has been to bestow you with some basic wine facts so you can pass that knowledge on to your patrons with the hope of building rapport and initiating a sale. That said, if your customers have a little more insight about rosé, perhaps it won’t be an intimidating line of text on the menu, and you’ll soon find yourself out of stock! The first myth to bust: rosé is not a blend of white-skinned and dark-skinned varietals, at least not real rosé. Instead, think of it as an incomplete red. The grapes are crushed and allowed to soak for a few days, but then the skins are drained away from the juice as opposed to …

Larry MogelonskyIn vino veritas, part XIV: Rosé for summer

Using Music to Heighten Guest Satisfaction

Music can have a profound psychological effect on your mood and how you experience your surroundings. Not hard to understand. With this as a precedent, it is very important to match your selection of music to the experience you want your guests to have when they are present in a certain room or part of the hotel. Playing distinct and identifiable songs at the right moments can help solidify a memory in a guest’s brain so they remember your property in a more positive light and so the memories remain vivid for a longer period of time (thus aiding with word of mouth). Via these pathways, music can be used to increase overall guest satisfaction. With this as the purpose, I sought out Noel Steen, Creative Director at Music Direction (www.musicdirection.com), to talk about some of the work his company is doing to build branded playlists for hotels and venues, …

Larry MogelonskyUsing Music to Heighten Guest Satisfaction
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Hotel 540 Site Debut

LMA has proudly launched a new website for Hotel 540. Our website highlights photography of the Kamloops hotel, and incorporates a unique colour scheme to give the page its own feel. The new website is built in EE2 and features a responsive design as well as full social media incorporation. New to this website is a “Faces of 540” section that will let guests get to know the staff before they even arrive. Click here to visit the website.

Jerry GrymekHotel 540 Site Debut
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No room service: The straw that breaks the camel’s back?

The kerfuffle over Hilton Midtown New York’s decision to eliminate room service is not dying down. From feedback received here and on various blogs, there appears to be a divide between those who see room service as obsolete versus those who see it as the last bastion of traditional hospitality. Let’s not get into that argument, but instead examine the issue on a broader basis. In today’s world of hotels, the lines between the number of stars or diamonds achieved are blurred. Hilton Midtown New York’s cancellation of room service makes the lines all but disappear. What separates a 2-star Manhattan hotel from a 4-star property? Based on my 30-plus years of experience, I can tell you that on an operational basis, the answer is almost nothing! As a matter of fact, most operators I have spoken to said they would rather operate a 4-star property. Why? Prestige aside, because …

Larry MogelonskyNo room service: The straw that breaks the camel’s back?
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Canadian technology scores at HITEC 2013

Some 18 Canadian companies were represented at this year’s HITEC trade show held last month in Minneapolis, a record for Canadian exhibitors. Since 1994, this annual event showcases the latest in technology for the hospitality industry. Apart from the seminars, the exhibit floor offered attendees the opportunity to receive hands-on demonstrations and learn more about how technology can enhance operations and profitability. For suppliers, HITEC provides a means of meeting current customers, as well as generating new leads. “HITEC is the ‘COMDEX’ of our industry.” noted Saar Fabrikant, CEO of B4Checkin of Halifax, “The show has paid off handsomely for us in the past, and this year has continued to show positive results.” Do view more photos visit the article on Canadian Lodging News. (Originally published in Canadian Lodging News on June 27, 2013)

Larry MogelonskyCanadian technology scores at HITEC 2013
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Hilton’s room service ploy: The aftermath

Last month, I published a post detailing my thoughts about the recent move by Hilton to eliminate room service from its flagship property in Manhattan. Although many presaged this as the start of a sweeping shift in industry practices, I opined that this decision would not work for anything close to all hotel instances, but only for a niche subset that matches the circumstances of the Hilton New York Midtown. Excising room service from operations is feasible for properties in the hearts of metropolises where there’s a close proximity to a variety of restaurants with a takeout or delivery capacity. However, for places lacking the 24-hour lifestyle, room service must be sustained as a fundamental tenet of proper hospitality. Readers were quite divided on the impact of Hilton’s decision, and many had a lot of interesting points to add to the conversation. Talking the time to review these comments, I’d …

Larry MogelonskyHilton’s room service ploy: The aftermath