iStock_000050064072_Small

In Vino Veritas XXXIV: Aperitif or Digestif

My typical day at the office: two hundred emails, back-to-back meetings, and a constant barrage of phone calls to interrupt any and all down time. By the time I dredge myself off the office floor around 6pm, I’m loopy, hungry and in need of a stiff drink. Sound familiar? While some call this ‘mandatory pre-dinner throat and brain lubricant’, the French were kind enough to bestow us with a more elegant term: the apéritif. And for symmetry’s sake, they also gave us a word for its after-dinner counterpart: the digestif. As beverage sales have tremendous markups and represent a fundamental part of any restaurant revenue stream, understanding these two terms and how to leverage them may just be the ticket. Let’s start with some simple questions. How many of your guests actually know what these two words mean (and can differentiate between them)? How you do, as a restaurant, visually …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XXXIV: Aperitif or Digestif
basket with food

The Subtle and Overlooked Benefits of Welcome Baskets

“Welcome to our hotel! Help yourself to some complimentary drinks and snacks. ” This is what’s being communicated on the surface whenever a guest arrives at his or her room and is delightfully surprised by a welcome bag or basket of food and beverages. But beneath the surface, it sounds a lot more like this: “Your business is truly appreciated. We understand that you’re tired and perhaps mildly stressed from traveling, so relax and recharge your system in the tranquility of your own room while you plan your next move.” In this sense, free in-room welcome baskets go a long way to build rapport with guests. As shown by the under-the-surface inner monologue above, such snacks demonstrate that your hotel is highly empathetic to the plight of travelers. And the explanation for why a paltry-sized chocolate candy, granola bar or handful of potato chips works so well has to do …

lmaadminThe Subtle and Overlooked Benefits of Welcome Baskets
iStock_000043170766_Small

Officially Into Summer

With Memorial Day hitting this weekend, we now find ourselves unofficially entering the summer travel season. Even though the technical start of summer falls more in line with the solstices and equinoxes that govern over celestial positioning, the long weekend we are confronted with right now serves as a better marker – the weather is amiable and that extra day off work helps justify a lengthy road trip. But I’m not here to discuss Memorial Day. I’m here to talk about Memorial Day kicking off a whole season and a paradigm shift in how you do business. What do you have planned for the summer in terms of events, promotions, packages or new amenities? To simply this a touch, what your USP for this summer? What’s that one cool thing that will linger in people’s minds and get them talking? The buzz word I use to distill all this is …

lmaadminOfficially Into Summer
iStock_000035968242_Small

Weird Wellness Coming To A Hotel Near You

The 20th century was filled with prominent science fiction writers constantly throwing wild and prophetic ideas out to the world. The 21st century is where (some of) those ideas become reality. We’ve already seen the rise of smart phones, smart watches and tablets – all predicted in some way or shape long before their mass market acceptance – and many more useful devices will reach our consumerist in due time. Now it is time for hotels and smart hoteliers to be the true benefactors and incubators for all these emergent technologies. Those that survive and thrive tend to be those that enrich our livelihoods in one way or another, whether it’s through enhanced communication, entertainment value or increased productivity. One area where we are just beginning to make a dent with all our fancy new electronics is in personal health care. Yes, we already have powerful MRI machines at the …

lmaadminWeird Wellness Coming To A Hotel Near You
Group of Multiethnic Busy People Working in an Office

Guest Service Perfection Through Team Actualization

Perfecting your guest service delivery is a perpetual task. As consumer behaviors change and expectations rise, so too must we adapt to the times. Thus, improving guest service should be a foremost thought each and every day. This area of operations – which I deem paramount to customer satisfaction and, directly related to this, long-term success on the balance sheet – involves many inanimate elements such as inscribed protocols, available resources and technological enablers. However, your effectiveness inevitably comes down to your personnel and their intrinsic motivations to do their jobs to the best of their abilities – primarily in this case, making guests feel satisfied with their hotel selection. Hospitality is about people interacting with people. No new features, nuanced details or technological innovations will change this core precept. If a staff member isn’t motivated to help guests to his or her fullest, then everything else unravels. As seasoned …

lmaadminGuest Service Perfection Through Team Actualization
royal-monceau2

Emotional Luxury at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris

When an hotelier thinks of Paris, they naturally make references to the ostensible palace properties: Bristol, George V, Ritz, Crillion (under renovation), Peninsula (a recent addition) and Le Royal Monceau. So, it was not too much hardship when I had the pleasure of meeting the latter hotel’s General Manager, Serge Ethuin, to learn more about this property, what makes it distinctive and to see what lessons we as ‘mere mortal hoteliers’ could take away from one of these citadels of European service culture. Mr. Ethuin is relatively new to the property, having come from the Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in Rome, and looking forward to the challenge of ‘palace-management.’ But first, a little bit about the property: 149 room and suites; two restaurants, bar, private 99-seat movie cinema, art gallery, spa (with the largest indoor hotel pool in the City), cigar and smoking lounges. bespoke stores (one for fashion, the other …

lmaadminEmotional Luxury at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris
Heart shaped mothers day card

Be A Mother To Your Team

This Sunday, May 10th, is a very dear time for many of us as we celebrate the women who have cared for us, nurtured us, pampered us, nagged us, educated us, clothed us, fed us and smothered us all the way from infancy until well into adulthood. My own mother passed away over a decade ago and since that time, I’ve played a supporting role for my two kids in their annual attempts to making my wife feels special for a day before reverting back to their typical independent and apathetic millennial selves. Mother’s Day isn’t what it used to be though. To start and finish this subject matter, in my experience your mother would best be served with a big hug and appreciation on the other 364 days of the year in addition to a little something nice this Sunday. Yet, nowadays this day rolls around and we are …

lmaadminBe A Mother To Your Team
iStock_000055416242_Small

Another Day, Another Brand

It seems that you cannot read an industry periodical without perusing an article about another brand being launched within the hotel industry. Off the top of my head: Centric, OE Collection, Ritz Reserve, Canopy – need I go on? Meanwhile, there are the acquisitions: Kimpton has been sold to IHG, Starwood making moves in the luxury collection business with Design Hotels and Delta (my fellow Canadian brand) has become part of Marriott. Why is all this happening now, and what does this foretell of our industry? Here is my take on this cavalcade of marketplace shuffles and shifts. Let’s look at this from a purely economic sense with, of course, a healthy dose of financial and marketing considerations. From basic business theory, we know that there are economies of scale that can be attributed to larger entities. In our industry the more rooms in the fold, the easier it is …

lmaadminAnother Day, Another Brand
Traditional Mexican fiesta poncho rug  in bright colors with sombrero

Lessons for Hotels from Puebla, Mexico

Feliz cinco de mayo a todos mis colegas hoteleros! Forgive me for any grammatical mistakes – Spanish is not my first or even my second language (French is…I’m Canadian). However, it’s nonetheless crucial that we highlight the nation of Mexico – and all native Spanish speakers for that matter – on this, one of the country’s most important holidays. But first, a history lesson. The significance of May the 5th stems from the city of Puebla where, on this day in 1862, the Mexican partisans defeated the French forces on the road to regaining sovereign control of their land. Wait, the French? But, they’re an ocean away. Yes, well, as it turns out, while America was busy slaughtering itself over the issue of slavery, the French decided to ‘intervene’ in Mexican affairs (led by Napoleon’s nephew, of course) over some unpaid debts. And by intervene, I mean send over around …

lmaadminLessons for Hotels from Puebla, Mexico
iStock_000016169892_Small

From May Day to Labor Day

Congratulations, we’re now five months into 2015. That means summer, and summer travel, is right around the corner. Although the official start of this sizzling season doesn’t kick off until the end of the month, with the way global warming is going, the beginning of May is rapidly edging out that much-vaunted gap between too chilly and unbearably hot. Hence, as today is May Day, that gives you four months of great weather until the summer vending machines close in and around Labor Day. (Note that this is coming from a North American perspective. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, bookmark this article or make a few mental notes for when your summer creeps in around late October. And if you live in the tropics where seasonal fluctuations are as palpable as the taste of rum in your next strawberry daiquiri, take what you can from this article and …

lmaadminFrom May Day to Labor Day