The Fall Lull – Yours To Gain

The annual occupancy cycle is typically defined by its peaks and valleys – the December holiday high season, the winter lows (ski resorts excluded), school spring break, Thanksgiving reunions, Valentine’s Day getaways, summer vacations and so on. One of the more fascinating aspects of hotel marketing – and something that has kept me up late at night many-a-times – is how certain properties are able to drive peak revenues during the traditional ‘lulls’ in the annual rotation. One such lull is the period starting roughly post US Thanksgiving (Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on Columbus Day) travel week through the start of Christmas holidays. Though traditionally a slower period, I assert that there are many relatively straightforward ways to build business in these weeks. And for that matter, any period that is weak for your property. For the sake of brevity, here are four ideas to get the ball rolling. Whether you …

Larry MogelonskyThe Fall Lull – Yours To Gain

10 cost-effective ways to invigorate your F&B

Years ago, my sister wrote a book entitled, “Everybody Eats.” While not particularly useful for the average hotelier, the title stuck with me. We spend an inordinate amount of time discussing spas, fitness centers, golf courses and other peripheral components to the hotel/resort complex. Yet, no single facet of your operation is likely to enhance your business more than great food. Based upon my experiences, here are ten cost-effective ways to improve your F&B product. True, these may require operational changes or some new suppliers. But, by shaking up this department, you just might get some improved revenue and enhanced loyalty. 1. Coffee is king. Call in some local suppliers and see if you can get a local roaster to prepare beans for you, because nothing beats the taste of a fresh roast. Train your staff on how to properly make coffee. Review your brewing equipment to ensure it is …

Larry Mogelonsky10 cost-effective ways to invigorate your F&B

TripAdvisor: Mission accomplished

I have some qualms with TripAdvisor, but I can totally understand the merits that go along with its success, as it provides instant feedback to both hotel management and future guests. TripAdvisor has virtually wrestled the star-rating system away from independent review agencies such as Forbes (formerly Mobil) and AAA’s diamond rating system. True, those systems still exist, but apart from the annual press release touting the crème de la crème of top-rated products, do they have any influence on the average traveler? I frankly doubt it. Moreover, the millennials probably don’t give them much thought, let alone understand the rigorous processes that employed professionals adhere to in generating these ratings. I remember the angst GMs felt in anticipation of their AAA and Forbes annual rating. It was much akin to college days waiting for grades to be posted. Now, unless your property is in the 4 or 5-star/diamond category, …

Larry MogelonskyTripAdvisor: Mission accomplished

GMs chat about ultra-luxury experiences

What defines a 5-star resort? What creates that superlative experience, both in terms of physical amenities as well as service offerings? These sorts of questions are always on my mind, and with each new property visited, I get a little bit closer to reaching a definitive answer. A resort starts with its location. Being on the ocean is a natural first step. So, logically, my idea was to compare the best of the West Coast with that of the East Coast. This led me to two year-round, vacation-destination states: California and Florida. Sifting through the wide variety of available product was a daunting task. I have not stayed at every luxury property but have visited many in both of these sun-laden states. I spoke with two GMs at resorts I’ve recently visited to discover differences in their approaches when delivering an ultra-luxury experience: Todd Orlich from Montage Laguna Beach in …

Larry MogelonskyGMs chat about ultra-luxury experiences

The Gateway to Chinese Travellers

We all know Chinese outbound travel is growing. But by how much? How does one get involved? What are the first steps? The process is intimidating, and so I’ve sought the help of experts to help hoteliers understand this business arena. Joining me today is Evan Saunders, the CEO of Attract China (www.AttractChina.com) to discuss how Chinese tourism is impacting the world and how your hotel can get involved. We hear a lot about China in terms of outbound travel. What are the numbers saying? The numbers resonating from outbound Chinese travelers are staggering. Five years ago, they were barely making an impact on the world economy, but as of 2012, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has reported Chinese travelers spent a record $102 billion (US) on international tourism during the year, a 40% rise from $73 billion (US) in 2011. The numbers being predicted for 2015 and 2016 …

Larry MogelonskyThe Gateway to Chinese Travellers

Why Netflix is a hotel game changer

Until I subscribed to Netflix, I never gave it a lot of thought. Its share price, tripling in the past year, has certainly put it on the list of many investors. I, for one, sadly admit I have no Netflix shares; although with performance at that level, I wish I did. For those who do not have Netflix or are not familiar with its utility, let me give you a quick primer. This is an online movie and television subscription service. For roughly US$10 per month, a subscriber gets unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV series. Your subscription allows you to set up multiple devices — for example, your high-def TV, tablet and smartphone. Connection to a dedicated viewing screen requires a box such as an Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation. The setup is so simple even I could do it. Once you’re hooked up to …

Larry MogelonskyWhy Netflix is a hotel game changer

Lessons learned from Bobby Orr

Growing up in the 1960s in Canada meant hockey was not only your pastime, but in fact, a national duty. Living in Montreal implied the Canadiens were your team. Not so fast! There was one player, Number 4 from the archrival Boston Bruins, who was my hero. A Canadian from Parry Sound, about two-and-a-half hours due north of Toronto, Bobby Orr was the best defenseman ever to play the game (and if you don’t agree, I would be pleased to debate this topic anytime). He played eight years of pro hockey, and in that time span he quite literally controlled the game every time he stepped on the ice. The number of records he created is a testament to his domination. Remember those were the days of no helmets, less padding and perhaps a bit more skating. The “neutral zone” defensive trap and all the other shenanigans that take place …

Larry MogelonskyLessons learned from Bobby Orr

Do Loyalty Programs Actually Help Your Brand?

I’ve long held the belief that too many major hospitality brands and too many big names operating in the hotel space can seriously confuse travelers. As a result, this leads to less overall awareness of your brand’s unique qualities and, ultimately, decreasing loyalty. By itself this is a very loose argument. However, a recent study spearheaded by my friend, Laurence Bernstein, managing partner at the research firm, Protean Hospitality Partners, has confirmed this sentiment. For this study, 400 US business travelers participated in an online survey asking them to associate 36 hotel brands not containing the name of their parent chain with one of the following seven loyalty programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) or Wyndham Rewards. Results That May Surprise You On average, only 20% of these pairings were correct. Moreover, participants had the option to tick a ‘Don’t …

Larry MogelonskyDo Loyalty Programs Actually Help Your Brand?

Have you planned your Black Friday?

Black Friday (and Cyber Monday that follows) are the biggest shopping days of the year, and as such there’s a lot of noise. Everyone is in on the action, and if you can’t make yourself conspicuous to consumers in a unique way, then the noise will drown you out. Think game theory. If all properties are playing the same game, then you’re competing against everyone else. Differentiate yourself from the herd and watch your competition dwindle. You can distinguish yourself on promotions offered, either in the form of humungous room-rate reductions or through packages that fully leverage all aspects of your hotel (spa, gym, F&B, etc). Personally, I’m not inclined to believe that aggressively slashing the price is the best approach as it will eat away at your margins. Plus, differentiating on price instills a bad perception in the long run (read: commoditization). I prefer the more tactful art of …

Larry MogelonskyHave you planned your Black Friday?

Halloween: Only a month away!

I love Halloween, and I’m excited that it’s one month away! For you, it’s time to start planning what you are going to do on this occasion for your guests and the community. As All Hallows Eve falls somewhat in a lull between other holidays, people will be excited to dress up and have some fun. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to deliver that fun. This is a great opportunity to reinvigorate positive sentiments about your hotel, and I highly hope you’ll get involved. Fun, like many other facets of the human condition, can be based off of perceptions. What a child perceives as fun may be completely different than what a middle-aged adult feels. Ergo, you must gauge the situation and know your target audience before you act on your plan. Is your hotel a family-oriented hot spot? Or, would you be more inclined to …

Larry MogelonskyHalloween: Only a month away!