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What James Bond Teaches Us About Hotels

With the 24th James Bond film – Spectre – coming out around the end of the month, it seems only fitting that we discuss this iconic character in a hospitality context. Ever the intrepid jetsetter, Agent 007 has stayed at some of the most immaculate hotel and resort properties around the globe on his mission for Queen and Country. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to name a movie in this series that doesn’t involve a hotel! As a quick google search of ‘James Bond hotels’ will yield dozens of websites listing spectacular examples of where our favorite gentleman spy has absconded, I’ll be avoiding specific references. Of note, my two favorites are the Fontainebleau in Goldfinger (a landmark property defining Ocean Drive in Miami Beach) and the Taj Lake Palace in Octopussy (uniquely Indian and definitely on my bucket list). The persona that is James Bond exudes class and his …

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Kiev, Ukraine - February 2, 2013: A seamless pattern with logotype collection of well-known social media brand's printed on paper. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and more other logos.

Gray is the New Green Part 12: Social Media Differences

Young people and old people use different social media platforms and behave differently online. Everyone knows this…or at least they should. And it has powerful implications for your digital marketing strategies. It all started from the very onset of social networks which were peer-to-peer outlets for early millennials while boomers were still completely in the dark. Facebook played a big role in changing this dynamic. What started as an interface for university students soon took on high school pupils, college alumni and then everyone could sign up. As Mark Zuckerberg’s character in The Social Network repeatedly drives home, Facebook was designed to be a ‘cool’ app. But what’s cool about sharing a digital platform with your parents or grandparents for that matter? And so it came to pass that once us ‘old farts’ latched on to Facebook, the teenagers and twentysomethings migrated to newer, cooler social media like Instagram, Snapchat, …

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In Vino Veritas XXXIX: Visit Eataly

I’ve been to Chicago and New York City dozens of times before, and the store locations in both cities have been on my list since their respective openings. During a recent four-hour stopover in Chicago, I had time to do two things: have lunch with my sister who was also traveling for work and visit the titular Italo-foodie Mecca that is Eataly. Founded by the Italian entrepreneur, Oscar Farinetti, in 2007, Eataly takes a William Sonoma approach to grocery shopping whereby high-end products and fancy, spacious displays trump the need to pack every available shelf. They serve food as well; the two-storey space I toured had a Lavazza café, gelateria and a Nutella waffle kiosk on the main floor with formal seating areas and bars (yes, they have a liquor license) mixed in between the grocery aisle on the mezzanine. For those who haven’t graced the halls of an Eataly …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XXXIX: Visit Eataly
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Photobomb Marketing

For those living under a rock, a photobomb is when photograph is ruined by someone unexpectedly appearing in the background, distracting from what was originally intended for the image’s framing. Typically, photobombs occur in crowded areas frequented by oblivious or harried passersby, or interlopers commonly spoil pictures as a practical joke. Definitions aside, photobombs seem like something for drunken college students. What do they have to do with hotels? Photobomb marketing is a very niche tactic housed under the greater banner of experiential marketing, and it harks back to the relationship between the onsite experience and social media usage. The primary goal of this enterprise is to generate positive electronic word of mouth (word of mouse) in order to obtain strong third-party approval for your hotel with heightened brand awareness and new customers as outcomes. With smartphones inseparable from their users nowadays, it’s easy to presume that while guests are …

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Second Assurances

The funny and scary thing about first impressions is that you only get one. One chance to nail that perfect handshake at the start of a job interview. One chance to flash that smile at a girl you’re attracted to. One chance to set the mood for an outstanding hospitality experience upon guest arrival. Back in October of 2012, I penned an articled called ‘First Assurances’ whereby I equated an excellent first impression of a hotel to that of a subconscious assurance for the guests that they are in good hands – that they will be safe within the confines of the property, that their needs will tended to and that they are about to experience something great. There are many aspects involved in a first impression, from cleanliness and striking décor to fast check-in and attentive staff. They all must be honed and flawless because, again, you only get …

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In Search of Hotel Excellence: Halekulani Hotel

A few years ago, I reviewed two resorts, the St. Regis Bal Harbour on the east coast of the United States (Florida), and the Montage Laguna Beach on the west coast (California), comparing these properties as examples of the finest accommodations that America had to offer. Mia culpa. I failed to include Hawaii and Halekulani on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, which just might surpass both of these continental jewels with its own unique blend of services and amenities unlike anything else found beyond this tropical archipelago. A property with a rich history, Halekulani has a reputation that has been developed for almost a century. Putting aside impressive historical anecdotes, what’s most fascinating is the ‘what and how’ that this 453-room property delivers to its guests today. Speaking with Ulrich Krauer, the property’s GM, and leading his team of 823 was an eye-opener. Here is what I gleaned over several days …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: Halekulani Hotel
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Fast Food Restaurants Are Where Food Trends Go To Die

One sunny Saturday afternoon, I find myself walking about through downtown Toronto (my home city) and I pass by an A&W, a popular Canadian fast food restaurant, proudly flaunting its newest menu item: sriracha burgers. I stop, scratching my head, troubled by this discovery. For those of you still strictly in the meat and potatoes camp, sriracha is a fiery Thai chili sauce that has only recently become a table name, largely due to the highly adept marketing and distribution tactics of a Huy Fong Foods, Los Angeles-based producer. I’ve known about sriracha’s unique taste for well over a decade as it’s always been a pervasive condiment offering at one of the numerous hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurants throughout the highly multicultural Toronto city center. Within the past five years or so, however, inventive chefs at hip restaurants and the proprietors of food trucks have embraced the sauce as a novel way …

lmaadminFast Food Restaurants Are Where Food Trends Go To Die