Checking In at the Grand Budapest Hotel

Like many fans of director Wes Anderson’s oeuvre, I was eagerly awaiting the release of his latest moving picture, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” As the name implies, the hospitality industry takes center stage in this film. It’s also hilarious and well acted, and I’d recommend it to everyone. But what I wasn’t expecting was a full course in proper staff etiquette and guest service ideology, among other things. Without too many spoilers (as this movie hasn’t reached many parts of the world quite yet), here is what I learned. An honorable career Early in the film, Ralph Fiennes’ concierge character, Gustave H, interviews the other lead, the new lobby boy, Zero. He asks why Zero would want to work there. Without hesitation, the rookie employee replies (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Who wouldn’t want to work at the Grand Budapest Hotel?” Working in hospitality should be deemed a venerable, sought-after occupation, …

Larry MogelonskyChecking In at the Grand Budapest Hotel
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New website for Luminozity

Check out our new one-page website for Luminozity.

Larry MogelonskyNew website for Luminozity
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Profiling the Modern Chinese Traveler

Let’s face it: China is a big deal, both in terms of geopolitics and outbound travel. The former is beyond our scope, but the latter will come to influence the way nearly every hotel operates in the coming years. As the country undergoes a monumental ecommerce and consumer revolution, a new middle class is emerging, rife with excess cash of which a sizeable portion will surely be spent on travel. I’m not going to indoctrinate you with statistics that prove how fast Chinese outbound tourism is growing. Rather, our focus should be on strategies to capture this market’s attention. As part of an ongoing series of discussions, I’ve recruited Ernie Diaz, partner and marketing executive at Web Presence in China, who’s on the ground in Beijing. The objective of our latest talk was to formulate a series of four profiles for the typical outbound travelers from China, touching on their interests, …

Larry MogelonskyProfiling the Modern Chinese Traveler
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A Successful Tourism and Hotel Partnership

Visit Philadelphia, the tourism bureau for the City of Brotherly Love, boasts a solid relationship with hotels and boasts it has helped prompt 228% growth in downtown leisure hotel room nights since 1997. I interviewed with the organization’s President and CEO Meryl Levitz to learn more. Larry Mogelonsky: Describe the general relationship that Visit Philadelphia has with the city’s hotels. Meryl Levitz: Visit Philadelphia is supported in part by a county hotel tax, and our staff works with the local hotel community. We have a hotel advisory committee on our company’s board of directors, and three members of our board are general managers of Philadelphia hotels. Several of our staff members sit on the Hotel Initiative Committee and respond to hotel management teams by posting hotel package information, creating press releases about hotel news and packages, sharing hotel information on our social media vehicles and highlighting hotels in all of …

Larry MogelonskyA Successful Tourism and Hotel Partnership
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St. Patrick’s Day Checkup

Top of the mornin’ to ya! Wherever you are and whatever percent Irish you have in your blood, I wish you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from the propensity to enjoy a Guinness, green beer or two (or twelve), what’s great about this holiday is that it’s also a great time to do a quarterly checkup on your New Year’s resolutions. After all, you’d be a fool to do this on April Fools’ Day. So, how are those goals for 2014 looking? Are you on your way? What’s holding you back? We’re nearly one-fourth the year, so if you’ve been procrastinating then now is your chance to kick it into the next gear. Aside from its timing in the year, I want you to pay attention to the colors associated with St. Patrick’s Day – green and orange. Green is the obvious one, and I want to point …

Larry MogelonskySt. Patrick’s Day Checkup
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The medium is NOT the message

A proud claim to marketing fame for Canadians has always been Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 aphorism, “The medium is the message.” Pithy, famous, bold, and now it is wrong. While elements of this statement are still true, they are rapidly waning. This claim requires a pinch of backstory. In the era when McLuhan made this statement, the number of mediums was much smaller. Roughly speaking, you could choose from: radio, movies, television, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, direct mail and billboards. With so few options, each dominated a specific communications niche which bestowed the message with certain presupposed characteristics. For example, if your product appeared on TV, by virtue of the fact that advertising time was limited, and thus very expensive, on this medium, it qualified your message and gave it a certain air of significance. The same bestowals cannot be made for today’s media market because of how many different mediums there …

Larry MogelonskyThe medium is NOT the message
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The (almost) human TripAdvisor

Recently, I was approached by general manager with a highly irregular issue concerning his hotel’s listing on TripAdvisor. That man is Mark Sample, and his property is the Ocean Sands Beach Inn in St. Augustine, Florida. The problem arose when TripAdvisor changed his hotel location to Vilano Beach, a small, unincorporated community just north of downtown St. Augustine. Although the property held a foremost rank in its new locale, 900 (cumulative) unique searches for Vilano Beach is a tad less than the 41,900 metric for St. Augustine. The review site’s listed zip code for the property placed it more than 20 miles (32 km) away from the actual location, and Sample was getting complaints from guests who attempted to use this misleading zip code on their GPS devices. The obvious solution was to contact a senior rep at the aforementioned review site and have the change reverted. That wasn’t so …

Larry MogelonskyThe (almost) human TripAdvisor

How hotels can use YPlan

A ways back, I shared my thoughts on the then-new smartphone app HotelTonight, which allowed users to make quick, same-day bookings at properties in whatever city they were presently located. I argued that even though this app pandered to the OTA crowd, it was not a proponent for guestroom commoditization. Whatever your stance on the issue, what’s most important is for you to recognize that these apps are coming, and sooner or later, there will be one that will be adopted by a widespread user base. YPlan is another entrant in this space for you to consider. It works very similarly to HotelTonight except that it deals in events instead of rooms. Why plan for tonight when you have an app like YPlan that tells you everything that’s going on in your city so you can choose the events you want on the go? Currently the app is only operational …

Larry MogelonskyHow hotels can use YPlan
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VISIT FLORIDA and Partners Host Lively Media Cocktail Event

VISIT FLORIDA® and Partners proudly hosted a lively media cocktail event entitled ‘SUNsets and Surprises: Expect the Unexpected’ on February 27th, 2014 at Hôtel Le Gemain in Calgary, Alberta. 26+ media, Partners and guests from WestJet attended for a total of 37 attendees who sipped, mingled and savoured our signature Floridian beverage – “Kiss of SUNshine” and Floridian inspired with a western touch epicurean delights at Hôtel Le Gemain, while the cocktail unfolded. Tracy Vaughan – Director for International Sales and Marketing, VISIT FLORIDA was on hand to welcome guests. Lily Etemadi – Marketing and Event Planner VISIT FLORIDA coordinated the media reception with the VISIT FLORIDA Canada’s office. 8 Partners were in Calgary for the media event: Discover Daytona Beach Experience Kissimmee Florida Keys and Key West SeaWorld Parks/Busch Gardens/Discover Cove Sonesta ES Suites Orlando Hotel The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel The Walt Disney Company (Canada) Ltd. …

Jerry GrymekVISIT FLORIDA and Partners Host Lively Media Cocktail Event