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Seventeen Guestroom Pet Peeves

The guestroom is the crux of the hotel experience, and there are many small things that can set a guest off but are often overlooked. Call this my pet peeve list, but see if you don't agree. This list is not in priority order. Complex WiFi set ups. It is bad enough that I have to pay for WiFi, but what's worse is trying to set up a complex WiFi connection. Headache! Even with my MacBook Air, there are connections that just don't seem to work, no matter what you attempt. Poor WiFi signal. I am differentiating this point from the set up and cost. What I am referring to is insufficient bandwidth to operate the basics of the business: loading the internet and downloading basic files (let alone movies or anything of that magnitude). Pay for WiFi. Give me a break. I'm paying $550 per night for the room …

Larry MogelonskySeventeen Guestroom Pet Peeves

When F&B becomes B&F

Every time you think you have seen everything in restaurants, an enterprising chef finds a way to break the mold. Daniel Bruce, executive chef at Meritage in the Boston Harbor Hotel, is one of those innovative chefs who not only understands food, but wine as well. An admitted oenophile, Chef Bruce has turned the restaurant’s menu upside down, segmenting his menu into six distinct categories based upon the best wine to pair with the selections. After all, the word “meritage” is used in wine circles to denote a blend of different varietals. There are six menu segments, three categories based on white wine and three on red. Within each category, there are four selections designed to complement that specific style of wine. There is no such thing as an appetizer or main, as each of the items is available in small or large size. This allows the customer to order, …

Larry MogelonskyWhen F&B becomes B&F
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In vino veritas, part XVI: The importance of vintage

“A 2008 Chateau X? Or how about the 2009? Who cares about the year, just give me the one that tastes the best!” is a conversation you have probably overheard at a restaurant before. It might have even been you uttering these words at one point. Or, instead of asking for the best of multiple options, you’re simply demanding the cheapest. And, importantly, ask yourself how many times multiple vintage years of the same product appear on your wine list? Unless a patron has previously visited a specific winery and participated in a vertical tasting of different vintages from the same vines, he or she probably won’t know very much about the nuanced aesthetic divergences from the same wine sampled year-over-year. Probably the three biggest components of a purchase year are price, varietal and where the grapes were sourced. Vintage year doesn’t really enter the equation. After all, this is …

Larry MogelonskyIn vino veritas, part XVI: The importance of vintage
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A second Black Friday

This time last year, Black Friday set the record in terms of retail revenue earned in a single 24-hour period. Another record was probably set with respect to total advertising dollars spent and promotional costs accrued. There’s no two ways around it — Black Friday is a feeding frenzy, although we’ll have to wait until the dust clears next week for any indication of whether this year will outperform last year’s blockbuster. Amidst all this hoopla, I raise a question I’ve asked in the past: Why bother? With the vast sum of marketing messages lost in the noise and numerous retail goliaths offering steroidal savings, is this really an arena worth competing in? Maybe Black Friday has gotten too big for its own good. Maybe your marketing efforts would be better served by touting another off-holiday 24-hour period for your uber-cheap promotional package. With this as a pretense, I’d like …

Larry MogelonskyA second Black Friday
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IHMRS 2013: A wealth of ideas

IHMRS, held earlier this month in New York City is the granddaddy of hotel trade shows with a long pedigree. I have attended the event off and on for more than 20 years and can recall its heyday, when the show covered almost two complete floors of the Javits Center. The Internet (alternate forms of networking) and the Great Recession (lack of trade show budget) have reduced the show considerably, and the 2013 version is a mere shadow of the former glory years. Nevertheless, organizers corralled some 18,000 visitors to view some 700 booths. This is one show that does not really have a specialty. This omnibus approach allows you to view everything from mobile food trucks and continuous fryers to bedding and POS software. Thankfully, the organizers attempt to cluster products together so there is some order to the bedlam. With a trade show of this nature, everyone will …

Larry MogelonskyIHMRS 2013: A wealth of ideas
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Four tips for today’s hotel websites

As a judge of the HSMAI Adrian Awards, I’ve had the pleasure of gazing at this year’s crop of the best in web design. I do not evaluate nor rank sites built by my own company, although it is refreshing to note that they share a healthy number of the winning traits described below. Judging the world’s finest hotel websites makes for a tough life. Each entry takes at least 15 to 20 minutes of time, reading the proposed communications statements, then exploring the sites themselves. I ended up reviewing more than 40 property sites. Based on the prices specified on the submitted briefs, that translates to well over US$2 million of creative programming. That’s a lot of development time. So, here is my top line takeaway from this investment. Think big This year’s crop is better than ever. For the most part, the frontrunners leveraged photography to maximum effect, …

Larry MogelonskyFour tips for today’s hotel websites
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Auberge & Spa West Brome’s New Website

We are very excited to reveal another launch of a new website today!  The client, Auberge & Spa West Brome is a beautiful countryside hotel located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.  The new website highlights various picturesque photography of the hotel’s surrounds as well as the cozy property itself.  This bilingual site not only features user-friendly navigation for both French and English, it incorporates a warm and welcoming color and texture scheme to give the website a feel of the hotel!  Other features include a local weather widget, TripAdvisor's review widget, and a custom slide-out tabs for reservations and special offers. This website was built using EE2 with full social media and TripAdvisor integration. Click here to take a look at the website.

Jerry GrymekAuberge & Spa West Brome’s New Website
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Five Keys to Millennial Food & Beverage Success

The last decade or so has witnessed the emergence of a new era of dining with profound and dire implications for hotels across the world. Namely, internet-born resources have made it possible for any guest to readily locate a number of local eateries, making it harder for a property’s onsite restaurants to gain traction amongst new customers and retain existing patrons. We are talking about the millennials, of course, along with their swelling buying power now that members of this demographic are entering their 20s or 30s. This trend should compel full-service hotels to realize that substantial revenue can be harvested from their F&B offerings. With exponentially boosted levels of competition, onsite dining isn’t the cash cow that it once. Adaptation is necessary. Even if your restaurant is still a serious earner, I implore to nevertheless reconsider how you approach F&B as there’s a powerful psychological undercurrent to this trend …

Larry MogelonskyFive Keys to Millennial Food & Beverage Success

Better Than Swiss Chocolate

The Kempinski brand name, approaching 100 years old, is renowned throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and yet it still maintains an air of mystery about it. My recent trip to Geneva prompted me to stay at the Grand Kempinski rather than a more recognizable product like the Four Seasons just a few buildings further along the lakefront avenue. With a modern black-tinted glass look, the property is a strong contrast to the powerful stone façades of the other hotels on the row. As this is flagship property for the Kempinski brand, it is indeed most impressive. I met Mr. Theirry LaValley, General Manager, for breakfast in The Restaurant, a room with a flawless view of the fountain that dominates the center of Geneva. While we were in discussion, I could not help but notice the precision and service quality of the breakfast being served in this bustling outlet. …

Larry MogelonskyBetter Than Swiss Chocolate

The Brass Tacks on Chinese Travellers

Chinese is booming and has been for coming up on 25 years now. As you’d expect from that, there’s a proliferating bourgeoisie that demands great traveling experiences. With a population of over 1.4 billion, this nouveau middle class is a demographic that should be pique can keen hotelier. And yet, as a nation, China is shrouded in mystery; one perception to the outside world and something else entirely to its own citizens. But China does not have to be an enigma, nor do its travelers. Here to help bust some myths and inform on reality is Joseph Cooke, the North American Director for Web Presence In China, a company that specializes in helping Western organizations get their names out on the Chinese internet. To dispel any naysayers, could you give some metrics on the growth of outbound travel in China and the importance of appealing to Chinese travelers where they …

Larry MogelonskyThe Brass Tacks on Chinese Travellers