Tom Guay

In Search of Hotel Excellence: The Sagamore Resort on Lake George

Recall the movie “Dirty Dancing” (1987) starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze to put you in the mood. Now fast forward 25 years and modernize by adding a lakeside setting with multiple dining and leisure options, and you have The Sagamore Resort. (For the record, “Dirty Dancing” was actually filmed in North Carolina and Virginia.) This 375-room historic property spread out amongst a main building and a series of lodges located on its very own 70-acre (28-hectare) island just off Bolton Landing on Lake George (about three hours north of New York City) seems like the idyllic summer getaway. With several pools, a spa, tennis courts and a massive family-oriented recreation center, the resort just may be the perfect destination to take the family for a July or August sojourn. My two-night stay confirmed this; I’ve haven’t seen so many families with kids since my last trip to Disney World …

Larry MogelonskyIn Search of Hotel Excellence: The Sagamore Resort on Lake George

Embrace the Weird

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admin_newEmbrace the Weird
Raw Fancy Pumpkin

Embrace the Weird

Now that it’s Halloween, it seems only fitting that we discuss holidays and what they can do to boost revenues for your hotels. In the past, I’ve talked about what you can do to create excitement around the mainstay holidays – at least in a North American sense these include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Father and Mother’s Day, Easter, Memorial/Victoria Day, Independence/Canada Day, Labor Day and, as of today, Halloween. While it may be a tad late to execute a plan for that last holiday, I’d highly suggest you get a plan together for some or all of the other ones. But these common holidays raise a profound marketing question: if every hotel is working on some form of promotion or event for these abovementioned celebrations, how do you stand apart? It’s like when you are at a Halloween party, having slaved for hours over your unique …

Larry MogelonskyEmbrace the Weird
Asian Chinese hotel manager welcomes arriving VIP guests

Single-minded Focus on Guest Services Delivers Results

Let’s say hypothetically that you had no legacy commitments to OTAs and other commission-hungry third party relationships. (I know this is impossible, but bear with me for a moment.) Now, what would you do? If we make the assumption that you would still have guests, how would your service delivery change? What would you do differently if you did not have the pressures of margin-eroding distribution systems? Chances are that you would put your efforts back into doing what we, as hoteliers, are trained to do: provide true and meaningful guest experiences. Guest service taken to its extreme connotes providing experiences that exceed your customers’ expectations. Service of this caliber is generally reserved for exclusive (read expensive) five-star, five-diamond professionally rated properties, the ones you read about in Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveller, generally inaccessible to the average or even somewhat above average traveler. Yet, in my travels, …

Larry MogelonskySingle-minded Focus on Guest Services Delivers Results
Grapes vines in a vineyard

In Vino Veritas, Part XXVII: Focus on Terroir

There are many aspects of viticulture that distinguish two bottles of wine from one another. Laypeople will focus on the grape varietal, the vintage and the country of origin (including that region’s established growing practices) as the three primary factors. They seldom direct their attention to the combination of specific geography and geology as well as the resultant microclimates that help bestow each region’s soil with unique properties ultimately expressed in the grapes. The word that best describes this topographical consideration is terroir, and it makes for a good talking point with patrons. Many people won’t be familiar or have even heard of the word, so it’s up to your waitstaff to educate guests (if prompted) in as simple a manner as possible. Who doesn’t like to learn something new after all? , Terroir will flesh out a bottle’s story in an entertaining way and thereby enrich the overall dining …

admin_newIn Vino Veritas, Part XXVII: Focus on Terroir
Grappe de raisin

In Vino Veritas, Part XXVII: Focus on Terroir

There are many aspects of viticulture that distinguish two bottles of wine from one another. Laypeople will focus on the grape varietal, the vintage and the country of origin (including that region’s established growing practices) as the three primary factors. They seldom direct their attention to the combination of specific geography and geology as well as the resultant microclimates that help bestow each region’s soil with unique properties ultimately expressed in the grapes. The word that best describes this topographical consideration is terroir, and it makes for a good talking point with patrons. Many people won’t be familiar or have even heard of the word, so it’s up to your waitstaff to educate guests (if prompted) in as simple a manner as possible. Who doesn’t like to learn something new after all? , Terroir will flesh out a bottle’s story in an entertaining way and thereby enrich the overall dining …

Larry MogelonskyIn Vino Veritas, Part XXVII: Focus on Terroir
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Think Qualitatively About Guest Reviews

Life used to be simple and somewhat orderly. Hotels were classified as 1 through 5 stars (or diamonds) by reputable agencies such as AAA or Mobil/Forbes. Classification was based upon a specific set of criteria for both service and physical operations. Annual inspections were exciting times on property with staff anxiously awaiting any changes in classification, for better or worse. No one believes that inspections only take place once or twice per year. All guests who cross your transom are inspectors, fully capable of providing an instantaneous blow-by-blow of their stay. Furthermore, these ratings often include personal or emotional bias, something that would never be included by a professional evaluator. I have read many of these oft-slapdash or maligned reviews, and perhaps you have your own war stories in this regard. Take, for example, a one-time billing incident, leading to an assignment of a 3-star rating, even though the guest …

Larry MogelonskyThink Qualitatively About Guest Reviews
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Sitting Is the New Smoking – Get Your Team Moving

A healthy staff means a healthy business. The numbers show that healthy, more active employees have lower health claims, are more productive, take less sick days per year and are less likely to quit. While there’s lots of data to support these claims, getting into an exercise groove is still quite intimidating. I’m of the belief that physical activity and proper nutrition can not only improve energy levels during office hours, but also elevate mood, brainpower and overall life satisfaction. To help elucidate what hotels can do to help their employees get on the right track, I’ve recruited Martha Switzer (right), CEO and Co-Founder of Sprout At Work, a company that is at the forefront of self-directed employee fitness programs. You use the line ‘sitting is the new smoking’. What does it mean? People are spending more and more hours in front of their computers and it’s killing them. Over the …

Larry MogelonskySitting Is the New Smoking – Get Your Team Moving