wine barrels in wineyard cellar *** barriles de vino en bodega de vi–edo

In Vino Veritas XL: Aging Barrels

When discussing wine and what differentiates one bottle from another, the three most common topics are grape varietal, place of origin (country, appellation, terroir) and vintage year. From a sales perspective, having confidence in your knowledge of these three will go a long way towards developing a ‘wine story’ to woo and sell to patrons. Just in case those three can’t seal the deal, aging barrels represent a fourth element you can add to this conversation. (Fermenting in barrels is also done but that’s a separate topic from aging.) After all, aging wine in wood barrels can drastically alter the taste profile and often make the beverage unrecognizable to its un-aged counterpart. Discussing a particular label in terms of its unique aging process (or by talking about this in process terms) is a great way to deepen the guest-staff rapport, especially given that the effect of barreling isn’t common knowledge. …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XL: Aging Barrels
iStock_000016914339_Small

Hotel Exterior Restorations to Enhance Sense of Place

Hotel architecture is one of the more intricate and creative aspects of our industry. Even though most of us will never have any input in the design of a new property from the ground up (leave that to the accredited architects), there are still numerous opportunities to leave your mark on a hotel via smaller-scale refurbishments projects – necessary tasks to keep up with the times. Guestrooms need reconfiguration and new furniture purchases to better accommodate the modern, tech-centric business traveler. Lobby spaces require alterations to enhance their ‘third space’ hybrid functionality. Restaurants that feel dated should be renovated as should their menus. Bathrooms are constantly audited. And all other soft elements must go through the necessary cycle at least once a decade. An aspect of architecture and design that is often neglected, though, pertains to that of a hotel’s exterior and how you populate these spaces to create dramatic …

lmaadminHotel Exterior Restorations to Enhance Sense of Place
Closeup of burger made ​​from beaf and fresh vegetables

What is Modern American Cuisine?

The United States of America: 50 states, East Coast, West Coast, Heartland, over 320 million people and a heck of a lot going on everywhere at all times. On the food front, you have clam chowder in New England, burritos in the Southwest, fried chicken in the South, deep dish pizza in Chicago and so on. How are we supposed to summarize the culinary habits of this gigantic nation under the banner of ‘Modern American Cuisine’ let alone ‘American Cuisine’ when there is so much diversity? In the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, before the rise of craft enterprises and our present food revolution, perhaps we could have written about the homogeneity of American cuisine – doughnuts, hamburgers, apple pie, thick-cut steaks, mac’n’cheese, corndogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bland coffee or whatever else was sold at the quintessential roadside diners. While these dishes could all easily fit within the …

lmaadminWhat is Modern American Cuisine?
Casual smiling businessman showing thumbs up to camera in his office

Converting OTA Customers

If you’ve been following my writing over the years, you’re well aware that I’m not a fan of the OTAs. They are strong marketers, and exceptionally well run. In a way, I’m awed by their clout. But, nothing personal, I see their business model as contrary to many hospitality organization’s long-term goals. Three key arguments I’ve inculcated are margin erosion, commoditization and brand dilution. To sum them all up in a neat bow: the design of an OTA website subliminally conditions a user to search for the cheapest room available and not to take into consideration the unique qualities of each particular hotel brand. Although the OTAs extol the fact that they are taking on a big chunk of the marketing burden on behalf of hotels, this does not negate the often-gigantic commissions they command, nor does it remedy the psychological effects of becoming accustomed to using one website for …

lmaadminConverting OTA Customers
iStock_000009891463_Small

Four Horsemen of the Hotel Post-Apocalypse

A short while ago, I wrote a sensationalist article playing off of the common religious story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Giving each a hotel inference, the four became: PLAGUE (red horse) – The OTAs WAR (white horse) – Airbnb FAMINE (black horse) – Too Many Brands DEATH (pale horse) – Lack of Entrepreneurship While there was some disagreement over what the four hospitality horsemen actually were, one truly insightful complaint was that I only identified and explained the issues without offering any clear and present solutions. Thus, this sequel article is what’s needed with a salient and actionable step to mitigate each potential problem. The OTAs. While they can dilute your brand and drive customers away from booking direct, the OTAs do have a few pronounced advantages. Particularly for independent or small-chain properties, they allow hotels to gain exposure in territories and languages beyond the capacities of …

lmaadminFour Horsemen of the Hotel Post-Apocalypse
iStock_000001777443_Small

Use Kairos To Improve Your Voice Channel Sales

I can’t speak to the buyer. I can’t reach their event planner. I can’t even get to a hold of a manager! This article is specifically addressed to your sales team members. In particular, those individuals who are charged with the daunting task of continually filling in your meetings space for group events. In this era of electronic communication, where faceless automated RFPs prevail, the challenge of booking corporate groups has exploded. With the advent of the electronic RFP, the number of actual submissions has increased exponentially, making it incredibly difficult for a single property to standout. How do sales team members differentiate your property from competitors? How do they express your property’s USP in any sort of targeted manner? And most importantly, how do they improve their conversion rate on business presentations? Now, more than ever, there is a need to go beyond automation and rekindle one-to-one communications. But …

lmaadminUse Kairos To Improve Your Voice Channel Sales
Roasted turkey with vegs and greenery

Thanksgiving Special 2015

The shopping spree that is Black Friday is a fascinating beast, and it’s a fun study, as its trends and dollar figures change dramatically year-over-year. The Cyber Week – as it is often called these days – for 2015 nonetheless stands as a good opportunity for you to help a few more rooms directly from your website, even if electronic goods and retail are top of mind for this spending period. Hopefully by writing this early in the month there is enough time for you to act. The big question on my mind is: has the fad faded? As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Black Friday is now synonymous with Cyber Week – ‘cyber’ because of the rampant increases in online sales versus in-person, and ‘week’ because of how marketers have stretched the savings from one 24-hour period to a whole seven days. There’s Cyber Monday, Green Monday and even …

lmaadminThanksgiving Special 2015
halloween-cuisine1

Halloween Cuisine

My interest in Halloween-centric foods piqued early this year when I visited the annual late summer exhibition in my hometown of Toronto where one of the latest oddities was a bloomin’ candy apple. Inspired by the fairground staple that is the deep-fried bloomin’ onion, this super sweet cavity culprit brought me back to my early childhood when candied apples were still handed out by loving parents in the neighborhood while trick or treating. Yes, I’m that old. When you think of Halloween cuisine, besides the aforementioned syrup-dipped fruit, you’ll likely conjure up images of cookies, chocolates and any other confectionaries, all decorated to fit this spooky theme. And getting the basics right of this theme isn’t hard either – crack out the orange food coloring, layer it over some black or brown treats, add in marshmallows, lather in one iteration of sugar or another, and then shape it all into …

lmaadminHalloween Cuisine
Chateau Frontenac in the day with colorful buildings on street in Quebec City

Fighting Back Against Airbnb, French Canadian Style

The Canadian province of Quebec, with a population of some 8,200,000, is known as the last great bastion of the French language in North America. French Canadians, as they are better known, enjoy a joie de vivre unique to this continent – thousands of square kilometers of untouched wilderness, great skiing and cheeses that rival even that of their ancestral nation of France. While you’ve all marveled at pictures (or had the pleasure of visiting) the Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac, other visitors with more modest resources stay at smaller bed and breakfast establishments that the province is known for. These fiercely independent properties are regulated by Quebec law as well as through licenses which cover safety, health and other related matters. These B&B owners also pay commercial property tax, contribute to local tourism contributions (in essence, another tax), and provincial and federal sales taxes. In a nutshell, these are good …

lmaadminFighting Back Against Airbnb, French Canadian Style