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The Year of the Pulse

At the beginning of the calendar year, the General Assembly of the United Nations proudly declared that 2016 would be the ‘International Year of Pulses’. Before your mind wonders onto thoughts of impending electromagnetic pulses and what not, know that a pulse is simply another, more encompassing term for a bean. And the timing couldn’t be better to bring these powerhouse foods back into the limelight. As the saying goes, beans are good for your heart; the more you eat them, the more you…like them! And this is without-a-doubt true. Beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas are all fibrous carbohydrates with lower glycemic indexes than wheat or rice and many species are packed with antioxidants. The fiber and oligosaccharides in pulses are also good for culturing healthy gut bacteria to stave off colon cancer, boost nutrient absorption and a host of other positive effects. It’s also been found that one’s diet …

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The Technology Has Caught Up With The Ideation

Great hotel managers not only work incredibly hard to lead their teams and propel their respective properties to new levels of success, but they must also keep a pulse on where the industry is headed, especially with regard to technology. This ‘tech’ word can be fairly broad, though, with so many new devices and software coming available each quarter to help managers increase guest service delivery and make better business decisions. It can be hard to narrow your field of vision and focus on any one particular aspect of emergent technology. However, where I’ve spent the bulk of my career – and where it is imperative for all managers to have at least a basic understanding – are the evolving electronic tools to actually get guests to stay at your property. Because if you can’t get consumers onsite, then no other technological upgrade matters. To this end, I was fortunate …

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In Vino Veritas XLIV: Should You Have Your Own Private Label?

Private labeling of wine at restaurants, clubs or hotel properties can be incredibly lucrative but it also comes with its own set of challenges and caveats. Operators all over the world are already engaged in this ‘curated wines’ practices, and so to answer the titular question: a resounding yes! You should definitely have your own branded wine – one red and one white for a start, and with no premium options – as long as you understand what you are getting into as it is far from a catch-all solution. Let’s start with the positives. Private labeling gives you complete control from a pricing perspective, allowing you to avoid comparison shopping on the menu because it’s a product that’s unique to only you. That and your margins will be better. Second and even more significant are its effects towards brand reinforcement. Private labeling means putting your property’s name on one …

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Hotels As Community Leaders – Two Canadian Examples

Canada happens to be my home, and like the other 33 million residents, I’m proud of my country. Of course, we express this is in our own Canadian sort of way: reserved, quiet and without much boasting. On the hotel front, there are some really great things happening in Canada. And by great, I don’t mean the creation of more ‘soft’ or ‘lifestyle’ hotel brands. Goodness knows we have enough of those. There are some incredible stories of kindness and community spirit being undertaken north of the 49th parallel that underscore what makes my country great. While we’ve all read about hotel chains rallying their staff (and guests) to make charitable efforts – and these are quite respectable in every way – here are two independent efforts worth mentioning from the ‘Great White North’. Cranberry Village Located in Collingwood, Ontario about two hours north of my hometown of Toronto, Cranberry …

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The Snowman

The hospitality industry is presently witnessing a seemingly exponential growth in brands – branded houses, soft brands, hotel collections and so on. A jocular hypothesis of mine is that one day we will even have properties dedicated to cat owners and dog owners only. I’ve long espoused my thoughts on the value of a brand with a crystal clear voice and the willingness to disseminate this message in a precise, transparent manner. From my standpoint, a brand without marketing support is merely an interesting logo or creative diddle. But building a support plan for a brand can be costly. Advertising (TV, radio, print, outdoor, banner ads, SEM, retargeting) has traditionally been the way to create the connection between  customers. But most businesses have neither the inclination nor the funding to undertake programs in the traditional, physical realm. Digital media, in particular social media, provides a cost-effective way to support a …

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Hosting a Chefs’ Competition

In early January, I was invited up to the BMO Institute for Learning (IFL) in the suburbs of my hometown of Toronto. The purpose of my visit was to guest judge the regional IACC Copper Skillet Competition for Ontario whereby chefs operating in conference centers were given all the same ingredients and only two skillets in order to complete dishes in less than 45 minutes. As one of two evaluators alongside Rose Reisman, we marked each chef’s creation based upon taste, presentation and applicability to a banqueting or catering scenario. This year’s contest included: Luc McCabe from the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario Rebecca Lynore Marett and Alvin Guilas from the IFL in Scarborough, Ontario Alexsandra Lalonde and Barrington Graham from St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre in downtown Toronto, Ontario James Van Hagen and Kent Phillips from the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre in London, Ontario To sum it up, …

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The Hunt for Book Now

Every marketing manager you employ will tell you a version of the same story: Your website needs to have a ‘Booking Bar’ prominently stapled onto the home page and every page thereafter – big, flashy and impossible to ignore. The central concept is that your site visitors will be compelled to immediately interact with the banner to see what spaces are available, compare guestrooms and even select value-added options to enhance their stays. Another assumption is that site visitors are just too naïve or blind to click a smaller button that says ‘Reservations’ and that revenues will be lost as a result. This mandatory element, espoused by most of the leading hospitality web design agencies, may in fact be a big mistake. My belief is that this is one of the key reasons why hotel property websites are losing ground to the OTAs and Airbnb. Before you call me a …

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Swimming with the Big Fish at Longboat Key Club

For most, arriving in South Florida is a warm embrace of fresh summer air that hits you the moment you descend the airport gate ramp. Peak season for Floridian resorts runs pretty much full steam beginning in December and continuing through spring break with near full occupancies and high ADR pretty much the norm. The name resorts along the water are complicated entities, though, each featuring marquis amenities such as golf courses, tennis complexes, marinas, spas, children’s camps and a diverse array of F&B outlets. Often encompassing hundreds of acres, these resorts are always impressive in their own right. Moreover, property management structures in these laid-back paradisiacal enclaves are increasingly horizontal, with the general manager often wearing multiple hats representing a combination of town mayor, urban planner and financial guru. It takes little time to realize that all senior managers require more than one hat to be successful. Thus, it …

lmaadminSwimming with the Big Fish at Longboat Key Club
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Gray is the New Green Part 15: Appealing to the Go Go Generation

A recent newspaper articled dedicated to the financial requirements of retirees proposed a treatise on the matter with three key phases: The first was defined as ‘Go Go’ where the individual, as if making up for lost time, was perpetually traveling to compensate for all those years raising a family and building a career. The middle phase was called ‘Go Slow’ with said individual still traveling, but typically at a more reserved pace and on a localized basis. With a profound sense of melancholy, the last stage, the ‘No Go’ travel era, characterized those who were restricted or unable to explore the globe, mainly for medical reasons. For the hotelier, the ‘Go Go’ generation represents a significant business opportunity, and the best of these three late-life phases. These are potential guests who are literally itching to get out and discover new things. Free of kids and other serious obligations, you …

lmaadminGray is the New Green Part 15: Appealing to the Go Go Generation
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It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

McDonald’s posted an impressive 5.7% annual growth for 2015, largely due to a simple change in its operations. The food giant started offering its mouth-watering Egg McMuffin sandwich on a 24/7 basis instead of ending its availability at 11am. Great news for the shareholders and McMuffin fans! In a similar fashion, my company’s ‘executive cafeteria’ is a delicatessen located within our Toronto office structure called the Pickle Barrel. Here, breakfast is on the menu at lunch as well as dinner. When I inquired with the general manager, he told me that breakfasts are the third best-selling item category behind traditional deli sandwiches and salads. What is more remarkable about this data is that the Pickle Barrel opens everyday at 9am, well past the typical breakfast rush hour. Lastly, I’ve been known to frequent Las Vegas casino restaurants and ordering breakfast at times that would not be considered traditional for this …

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