The Hotel Mogel’s 2015 Hotel of the Year Awards

With an eye on this season’s Academy Awards that aired yesterday, I present my own version of the Oscars, admittedly on a narrower field of entries! This past year saw a little bit more travel than normal for your humble scribe, with hotels visited across Europe, North America and Oceania. In total, I had the pleasure of staying in some 45 different properties covering a fairly wide range of accommodation types from budget to ultra luxury. While few hoteliers have the opportunity to visit so many unique locations and brands within a single 12-month span, I do my best to pay these experiences forward and pass along any lessons so that all will benefit. One might also think that the hotels all become a blur; that after a while, you cannot differentiate one bed from another. I beg to differ! Each of the properties I stayed at was highly memorable …

lmaadminThe Hotel Mogel’s 2015 Hotel of the Year Awards
Glass of cider with apples and bottle on rustic wooden background

In Vino Veritas XLIII – Are You A Cider Provider?

Yes, this column is supposed to be about wine. But ever since humankind discovered that the sugars in ANY fruit juice can be fermented to generate enough alcohol to ward off cholera and dysentery (common side effects of drinking water way back in the day), we’ve been tinkering and experimenting to conjure up even tastier beverages. Wine from grapes is the most popular, but we also have such delightful libations as blueberry wine, raspberry icewine, gin from juniper berries, schnapps, brandy, sherry, perry from pears and a whole rainbow of liquers. Thirsty yet? Then there’s cider, made from apples and especially popular in the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth nations, Germany (where it is called Apfelwein), Ireland and the United States. It’s this last territory which fascinates me the most as the US has a total population greater than all the others combined and its cider sales are currently on a …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XLIII – Are You A Cider Provider?

When Time is Money, Drop the Restaurant WiFi

The title of this article may puzzle a few of you as I’ve been a longstanding backer of offering WiFi to hotel guests for free as a means of increasing guest satisfaction. However, this is a specific instance where promoting complimentary wireless internet access may not be the prudent method of garnering consumer advocacy. Unlike hotels, where the primary components amounting to profitability are ADR and occupancy, many eateries live and die on the number of turns per day. And what we are seeing now is that due to the prevalence of smartphones, ready access to the internet is slowing down how quickly a server can deliver meals and turning tables over for the next group of patrons. Even minor, incremental distractions add up to an insurmountable sum of lost time, including: Diner is seated and immediately checks, say, a social network instead of looking at the menu and deciding …

lmaadminWhen Time is Money, Drop the Restaurant WiFi

The Suite Life

I’ve been spoiled… Over the past year, I’ve stayed in 40 hotels and many fine properties have upgraded me to their suite products. With a nod to all those hoteliers who have graciously provided this bonus, I say thank you. Attempting to learn from these experiences, I ask: what makes a suite special? And, if properly differentiated, how can you fashion your suites as a truly differentiated product set? First, let’s define a suite. Whereas many hoteliers may consider it as just a larger guestroom, a true suite has a door that physically separates the sleeping quarters from the living/dining area. Note, many hoteliers try to define a larger room as a mini-suite, but without the true separation this does not meet the actual criteria. In effect, a suite provides the guest with both private and public spaces, making it ideal for many lodging circumstances where a standard room would …

lmaadminThe Suite Life

Gray is the New Green Part 14: Old School Advertising

When was the last time you took a serious look at a traditional advertising campaign, by which I mean print (newspapers and magazines), broadcast (radio and television) and outdoor (billboards, bus shelters, posters and so on)? Given that we are well into the digital age, you may be under the belief that advertising has moved exclusively into the online domain where automated programs such as Google Adwords, retargeting and SEO programs dominate. With traditional dissemination continuing to subside in perceived value year-over-year, many have come to rely solely on digital channels which allow for smaller, ad hoc budgets and more direct monitoring. While electronic promotions’ efficacy is not in dispute, the mass departure from traditional media has opened an opportunity for those who are game to re-enter the fold. In other words, go where others are not in order to stand apart from the herd. This Sunday, if you don’t …

lmaadminGray is the New Green Part 14: Old School Advertising

What’s In the Super Bowl?

Are you ready for ‘The Big Game’? As you may already be aware, marketers are not allowed to use the term ‘Super Bowl’ as it’s trademarked. Hence, the far more generic ‘Big Game’ title is what we’re left with. All cynicism aside, this is a huge sporting event…at least in North America. And oftentimes, the best part about it isn’t the actual sportsmanship but the television advertisements! In fact, the ads have become such an attraction in their own right that the blogosphere erupts post-game with critiques, commentary and rankings of what each company presented. It’s a sink or swim world; producing a great TV spot for a brand often results in a lot of new eyeballs and viral dissemination, whereas a bad commercial can turn a company into a temporary laughing stock. Additionally, as the Super Bowl becomes more and more popular in terms of annual viewership, the ad …

lmaadminWhat’s In the Super Bowl?

Becoming a Gastronomic Destination

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to stay at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (MOB) where I remarked upon their exceptional service culture. Lucky enough to recently find myself in the Spanish metropolis, I returned to MOB where my mission was to assess their new approach to food and beverage. Having experienced their 36-seat, two-star Michelin restaurant, Moments, during my last visit, I was now ready for the signature 15-course tasting menu. Suitably priced well into the upper atmosphere, I waded through each Catalan-inspired dish with bliss, reverence, satiety and anticipation for what would come next. For those who have not yet had the privilege to consume a two-star Michelin meal, know that each course was magical with an extraordinary confluence of elements and senses. But does a property really need to strive for a two-star Michelin rating for its signature restaurant? Even with the exorbitant prices charged and staffing …

lmaadminBecoming a Gastronomic Destination
A Beautiful Sunset over a Barossa Vineyard

In Vino Veritas XLII: Biodynamic Wines

One topic discussed in a previous series was organic wines and how they may be leveraged to enhance alcohol sales through their health and wellness appeal. Given that January is the month of dietary pledges and austere new regimens, the time is ripe (pun intended!) to talk a little about biodynamic wines and their prospects as another weapon in your F&B arsenal. Essentially, this is organic taken to the nth level with soil, plant and livestock health all considered ecologically interlinked. And the numbers reflect the obscurity of this practice as there are only some 450 wine producers worldwide following biodynamic practices. It all revolves around what is best for the health of the soil, especially during the off-months when the grapevines are hibernating. Key principles include diverse crop rotations, a lack of herbicides or pesticides, the use of cover crops and the cultivation of green manures to enrich mineral …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XLII: Biodynamic Wines

Refocus on the Voice Channel

A long, long time ago in an article far, far away, I introduced the concept of the ‘Communications Hierarchy’ which inscribed certain degrees of emotional commitment to each form of contemporary communication, ranging from group emails and direct messages to conference calls and face-to-face meetings. What was made readily apparent was that the more intimate the form of communication, the better it was for securing business and building rapport. If it isn’t obvious from the title, you should know that I am a staunch proponent of talking to clients and customers over the phone. Yes, email and text messages are often significantly faster, but the written word (outside of novelistic expressions) will always fail to grasp the full inflection, subtle cues, mannerisms and hidden desires of the opposite party. Importantly, the 21st century has seen the proliferation of these digital forms of communication, therein making phone calls rarer by comparison. …

lmaadminRefocus on the Voice Channel