Tips for hoteliers from an experienced travel writer

As the founder of ENTRÉE newsletter, William Tomicki (Bill as he prefers) is a well-heeled, globetrotting travel writer, he has provided readers with insider knowledge on hotels and restaurants. He started his travel newsletter some 32 years ago, before the internet and blogging were invented. During this time, he’s witnessed a revolution in Russia, played polo with maharajahs and cooked with Julia Child, alongside a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Bill knows travel. He’s been around the world many times over and stayed in the world’s best hotels. As such, he’s developed an acute sense of what defines luxury and excellent guest service, and his advice should be taken very seriously. It’s an honor for me to know and be able to interview such an expert. Tell me a little bit about ENTREE, its origins and how you got into the business. As a founding broker of Sotheby’s …

Larry MogelonskyTips for hoteliers from an experienced travel writer
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In Vino Veritas, Part XVIII: Tales of the Austrian Alps

Confession: The vast majority of Austrian wines aren’t produced in the western, alpine portion of this landlocked nation. Nonetheless, I thought it would be good to start by planting the image of the snowy Austrian Alps in your mind, as it is one of the most picturesque settings in the world — a refreshing January reminder that winter isn’t all doom and gloom, especially when you’re cozying up in a chalet overlooking some softly powdered ski slopes. When it comes to viticulture, we are more or less talking about the lowland regions in and around Vienna in the eastern half of the country bordering Slovakia and Hungary — the Weinland Osterreich — just in case you want to fit in a few quick tours. Even though Austria might not have the same lofty prestige as French or Italian vintners, the winemaking heritage predates Roman times. And it shows! With strict …

Larry MogelonskyIn Vino Veritas, Part XVIII: Tales of the Austrian Alps
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The art of diplomacy

Ah yes, the art of diplomacy. Having been through several rounds of contract negotiations over the years, I’ve learned that what you hear is not necessarily what is meant by the comment. Quite often, what you believe to be an agreement is a stall, or worse, the exact opposite. Many are familiar with the notion that the word ‘yes’ does not even mean affirmative support, especially when the opposite party does not wish to offend. If only people would be honest with one another. But alas, we are rather sly creatures. Often we use opaque language because we don’t want to offend the other party, but it might also be because we have altering motivations or are entertaining multiple offers. This becomes all the more confusing when you consider businesspeople whose mother tongue is not English or those with different cultural upbringings. Either way, communication is difficult; mastering its subtleties …

Larry MogelonskyThe art of diplomacy
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Ten steps to building successful group sales promotions

Recently, I was asked to be a part of an online seminar conducted by a leading online group sales RFP provider. For the benefit of those who were not part of the 300 or so hotel sales professionals who attended that day, here is the gist of my presentation – a 10-step formula for making better sales promotions. 1. Set your objectives. We’ve all heard of SMAC principles (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Comparable) as an approach to business management. Start by stating objectives and defining them holistically. Take your time with this one because if you start off on the wrong path, changing course is all the harder to do. 2. Identify the competition. Do your research. Understand the properties that you compete with for groups. Note that this may be a completely different set than what you use for STR analysis. Understand not only what they are offering to their …

Larry MogelonskyTen steps to building successful group sales promotions

Gearing your engineering

Engineering is one of the domains of “unsung heroes” amongst a hotel’s staff. They work behind the scenes — in the back rooms, in the basements, in dark corridors — to provide seamlessly pleasant experiences for guests as well as fellow employees. For many, the challenges faced by a property’s engineering team are so far removed from the mainstays of hospitality journals (for example, sales and marketing, social media techniques or the latest in F&B) that they’re practically unfathomable. To me, this is all the more reason to investigate these issues, and to help me out is Montage Laguna Beach Director of Engineering Paul Singen. Larry Mogelonsky: What is the role of the chief engineer? Paul Singen: I oversee all engineering operations including property-wide capital project enhancements. I am a member of the executive committee, environmental impact committee and safety committee, and I play an integral role in strategic planning …

Larry MogelonskyGearing your engineering
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Standing in front of the locomotive

Among my favorite television shows is “Moyers & Company,” which plays Sunday mornings on PBS. In a recent episode, Bill Moyers interviewed environmentalist, poet and farmer Wendell Berry. The complete interview addresses some of the challenges involved with agri-business and environmental issues. One of the lines Mr. Berry identifies himself with is that of “standing in front of a locomotive,” referring to the need for someone to speak out about environmental and conservation issues while fully expecting to be driven over by multinational concerns. I draw an immediate parallel to our industry when I suggest the OTAs are having the same effect on hospitality as agri-business has on the family farm. Can we not equate the independent property to that family farmer, with commoditization of the industry being the net result? Or, for that matter, are brands that do not use advertising as a tool for differentiation doomed to a …

Larry MogelonskyStanding in front of the locomotive
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Seven habits of highly effective hoteliers

There’s little doubt that you’ve read or at least heard of the famous business and self-help book entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. Fitting for the fresh start that the New Year grants us, it’s time for a little homage — adapting the title of this book and giving hoteliers seven ideals to strive for in this coming 12-month cycle. This isn’t the definitive, be-all-end-all “Seven Habits” list for hoteliers — just something to start you off on the right foot. 1. Know thy customer It’s easy for consumers to break up with a faceless organization, but much harder for them to part ways with a business that understands who they are. With website analytics, customer surveys, third-party review sites and social media all at your disposal, it’s now easier than ever to build dossiers for every client — or, at least, consumer archetype …

Larry MogelonskySeven habits of highly effective hoteliers
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Third spaces enrich guests’ lives and loyalty

You’ve probably heard the term “third space,” and you’ve probably given it some thought. With all the recent shifts in consumer behavior, however, it’s important that you understand this concept in full and how you might use it to enhance a property’s atmosphere. To summarize, the third space describes a place where people congregate outside of the home (first space) and the office (second space). If you can engineer parts of your hotel—the lobby, the restaurant, the bar, the café and so forth—as flourishing third spaces, then it will play to your advantage for higher occupancy levels and hotel cachet. Originally coined by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his book “The Great Good Place,” the term is formally used to represent public or neutral centers for community building, civic engagement, intellectual discourse, peer encouragement and group validation. Cafés, markets, bazaars, pubs, bars, clubs, shopping malls, plazas, gyms, spas, barber shops, …

Larry MogelonskyThird spaces enrich guests’ lives and loyalty
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Gr2 Consulting Site Launch

Gr2 Consulting LLC. needed a new web site for the launch of their business. Gr2 helps clients  improve their organizational performance and achieve their business goals by ensuring they have HR practices that work, and the working relationships needed to achieve results. LMA crafted a site built in WordPress content management system so the client could easily update and build the blog content themselves. This effective combination provides a fully responsive design and a site that meets the user's visual needs.  Visit the site at gr2consultants.com.

Jerry GrymekGr2 Consulting Site Launch
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Thinking Little: Why Hotels Must Use Little Data

By now, we’re all familiar with the term ‘Big Data’ – the deluge of information afforded to us by modern computers and any consumer behavioral patterns therein derived. Big Data has barely been on the main stage for a decade now and already it’s had an omnipresent effect. Organizations across the board are measuring the minutia of everything from the flow-through traffic on individual web pages to aggregated past purchase histories, all with the hope of finding methods to better market to customers. The obligatory example that comes to mind here is Target’s mining of millions of shopper profiles to infer if a consumer is pregnant or not. But hotels cannot harness the power of Big Data in much the same way. While Target mostly deals with an elastic clientele – that is, a highly price-sensitive group with a greater likelihood of switching to a direct competitor like Walmart – …

Larry MogelonskyThinking Little: Why Hotels Must Use Little Data