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A Very TV Christmas

The holidays are a season of family get-togethers, sumptuous feasts and, increasingly, binge-watching your favorite TV shows. Yes, it’s a great time to cozy up in your sweats and get swept away in hours upon hours of DVR, Netflix, Hulu, HBO or Amazon Prime, all but forgetting the world outside exists until the inevitable return to work come January. Binge-watching, streaming and cord cutting are trends that are here to stay. It’s a new way of absorbing the medium where viewers watch what they want, when they want it, and with the ability to pause and resume at any point. We live in an era of media access, not media ownership, after all, and streaming videos of any kind is an incredibly easy task nowadays. Indeed, filmmakers have even adjusted the way they tell stories through heightened serialization to accommodate this behavioral progression. But this mostly affects the home front; …

lmaadminA Very TV Christmas
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In Vino Veritas XLI: Beautiful Bordeaux

I’m surprised that I haven’t had Bordeaux in this series before, but now that it’s gifting season, it seems only fair that we discuss wines from perhaps the most prestigious growing region in the world (just don’t make that claim to anyone from Burgundy, Italy or NorCal). Bordeaux wines range in price from ten dollars for table drinkers to tens of thousands of dollars for a well-aged first growth vintage. Even though these esteemed premier cru bottles are mind-blowing in flavor and complexity, Bordeaux has over 7,000 recognized chateaux, and there are many gems at the mid to low tier. With huge production spread across 60 appellations, it takes a sommelier course to learn all the intricacies of Bordeaux wines. But for the average drinker, most of that doesn’t mean anything. Occupying the southwestern portion of France, Bordeaux is renowned for having the ‘perfect’ climate for wine – not scorching …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XLI: Beautiful Bordeaux
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A New Year Means A New Third Space

The modern hotel is not only a place for a good night’s sleep; it’s a place to see and be seen. Lobbies all over the world are being refitted to accommodate a renewed vigor for what is popularly known as ‘The Third Space’ or ‘The Third Place’, both denoting a public locale that serves a hybrid role somewhere between the home and the office. The third space is one of productivity but also relaxation; one of quiet reflection but also socialization; one of sustenance but also libation. As the average workday trends away from a strict nine-to-five protocol, we are witnessing the rise of a labor force that thrives on this blending of the first and second spaces. Now, with the New Year’s clock ticking down, undoubtedly a lobby remodeling (or modifying of another well-trafficked space) to fit this new standard is on many of your resolution lists. Rightfully so, …

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The Power of I Don’t Know

At the present time, the hospitality industry is facing some highly complex issues with no obvious answers – the OTAs, third-party review sites, Airbnb, dilutive brand expansions, thrifty millennial purchasing habits and many more. Take your pick; there’s always something to groan about with colleagues and fellow hoteliers. And yet, managers and consultants are still under the gun, expected to weather these storms like a titanium-hull icebreaker with a clear trajectory that cracks through any obstacle. While it would be great to have a crystal ball and speak with absolute confidence as to how events will unfold, alas that is never the case. We’re humans, not gods, after all. We mortals can never say for certain that a given strategy will work or that certain actions will guarantee a specific outcome. As such, when probed about the abovementioned threats to our business practices, there is a power to being honest …

lmaadminThe Power of I Don’t Know
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Weddings Done To Perfection at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Weddings are often viewed as an orphan kid of our industry, and special attention to this stream is only given at a narrow set of dedicated properties. Lest I remind you, however, that weddings are ‘recession proof’ whereby every bride wants her day to be as immaculate as possible. But it takes time and commitment to develop a successful weddings program, and to this end there’s no better place to look for inspiration then a five-star, five-diamond hotel with a stellar reputation in this arena. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a majestic, sprawling property tucked away in the foothills north of San Diego. When I first visited the resort, I instantly noticed how important weddings were as a major source of revenue. And so I reached out to the Director of Catering and Conference Services, Charles Stuart, to elucidate some key details as to what makes their wedding program …

lmaadminWeddings Done To Perfection at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar
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An Article A Day Keeps The Ignorance Away

December is a time of gifts, holiday feasts and resolutions for the coming New Year. Instead of posting a listicle of sorts with a dozen viable self-improvement tips in the days leading up the ball drop, I want you to focus on just one. And in order for it to properly sink in, unencumbered by the noise of thousands of other resolution articles, I’m giving it to you now. In order to be a smart hoteliers, you have to read the news and op-ed pieces. You have to stay abreast with the latest developments, keep up with what thought leaders are saying about the hot issues and familiarize yourself with trending industry jargon. Looking beyond industry publications, you have to expand your comfort zone and seek out some variety by extending your horizons to related fields like real estate, technology, cuisine, wellness and entertainment. This prevents tunnel vision and allows …

lmaadminAn Article A Day Keeps The Ignorance Away
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In Search of Hotel Excellence: Crown Towers Melbourne

During a brisk tour of the Land Down Under, I found myself in the Australia’s Second City – the begrudging nickname belonging to none other than Melbourne, a metropolis that’s in a near perpetual rival with Sydney. While conducting travel research for downtown hotels, it’s all but impossible to avoid hearing or clicking on one of the many Crown Resorts properties in the greater Melbourne area. As an entertainment and gaming corporation that is characteristically Australian, it was an easy choice to decide to stay in the heart of the action with a local hospitality provider. That choice was the Crown Towers, a five-star property with over 480 rooms. Needless as it is to say, the experience floored me and left a fantastic first impression on a city that I must now visit again. As is customary, I sought out the upper echelons of the hotel’s management to delve into …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: Crown Towers Melbourne
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Using Uber to Understand the Airbnb Challenge

In late July 2015, Ontario taxi cab and limousine drivers filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber seeking over $400 million in compensatory and punitive damages. This marks one of the latest in a long series of opposing activities against this game changing and rapidly proliferating company. Putting aside personal judgments on this case or any preceding one, I can’t help but think of the parallels this has with Airbnb and its disruptive impact on the hospitality industry. Even though they exist in mutually exclusive spaces, a snapshot comparison between the two organizations yields uncanny similarities. Both founded around 2008-2009, they now operate on a global scale with valuations in the tens of billions of dollars and strong growth fueled by mounting consumer acceptance and new product offerings. Uber is a usurper to traditional car services while Airbnb challenges traditional accommodations, and yet they are both largely mobile and urban-centric with …

lmaadminUsing Uber to Understand the Airbnb Challenge
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A Tale of Three Italies

A recent trip to Italy for a speaking engagement afforded me the opportunity to stay several nights at three different properties in three different cities…and in a way, three different eras! While documenting a travelogue for other hoteliers might be of some interest, the learning and applicability to hoteliers around the world is the focus here. After landing in Bologna, the Grand Hotel Rimini on the Adriatic Coast literally transported me back to La Dolce Vita as this property was a perennial hang out for Federico Fellini, the director of this classic 1960 Italian film. The property décor, with a few modern technical touches added in, looks unchanged from the 1950s. It’s a bit of a shock to someone used to the vanilla, made-in-China-décor of today’s typical North American resort or any newly constructed chain address. Everything about the property (108 rooms) says grandeur insofar as size and personality. Of …

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