Boca Rotan

Unsung Heroes of Hospitality: Rooms Division Director

When one thinks of senior hotel management, the first thought is usually of the general manager. Yet, within the typical executive committee, the rooms division director (and positions with equivalent names) is the one who really serves as the ‘people’s leader’. Celebrating its 90th anniversary, the Boca Raton Resort & Club is physically split into two distinct locations. The Resort incorporates the original structure and several expansions as well as the conference center, marina, six pools, spa, 12 restaurants, retail, tennis academy/courts and two golf courses. The Club is a much newer structure, completed in 2009, situated about half a mile away along the Atlantic Ocean with its own management complex of facilities, management team and staff. I’ve stayed several times at this property in both the Club and the Resort. Each on their own is impressive, but together, they form one of America’s very special destinations. Recently, I had …

lmaadminUnsung Heroes of Hospitality: Rooms Division Director

In Search of Hotel Excellence: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort

I admit, I am a Four Seasons junkie. Having worked for them for seven years during my former life at an advertising agency, you could say that I’ve drunk the Kool Aid. It’s also worth noting that Forbes has bestowed their prestigious five-star rating on more Four Seasons properties than any other chain in the world (and every property in the brand is at least a four-star). Every Four Seasons marks an improvement from the last. When the company opens a new resort property, it is something that one takes seriously as it is an opportunity to observe the latest standards of excellence. Opened in August 2014, Four Seasons Resort Orlando raises the bar even further. With 443 rooms, this makes the Orlando property one of the largest properties in the chain. For those who have been to the hometown of Disney World® and the amazing series of related theme …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
Portrait senior stressed man working on laptop sitting at table isolated on gray wall background

Gray is the New Green Part 16 – Technological Ageism

Ageism has always been a part of our social fabric, but whereas in the past it was standard to venerate the old for their experience and sagacity, nowadays the situation has been flipped somewhat due to the rapid proliferation of technology. With all the new devices, new media and new apps, it has become increasingly difficult for those who are proverbially ‘set in their ways’ and without young, sponge-like brains to keep up. Much like how we abridge complex social stratifications into ‘the have and the have-nots’, we are likewise experiencing a generational movement with regard to ‘the techies and the tech-nots’. For those who were born into a world where the internet and social media has already been ubiquitous aspects of our environment (circa 1985 and beyond), most digital interactions are readily intuitive. For instance, a tail-end millennial or post-millennial may not know how to code HTML, but give …

lmaadminGray is the New Green Part 16 – Technological Ageism
Handshake. Closeup shot of hands. The business center on the background.

Brands Are More Than A Promise; They Are A Guarantee

Right now, the hotel industry is experiencing a virtual gusher of new brands. There are so many new faces on the logo tree that even as a keen observer of our niche in the world, I am having difficulty placing what brand goes with what house. I imagine that launching a new brand registers some excitement in the corporate head office, adding a somewhat pleasant diversion for the c-suite executives from the real work of fighting the real issues such as the encroachment of alternate lodging providers, elusive millennial travel desires, waning loyalty or the market domination of the OTAs. While these new brands offer intriguing ‘lifestyle’ bolt-ons such as improved lobbies, fancy cappuccino makers and shiny exercise facilities, lost in the designer mirage is the need to focus on the brands that got us to this point in the first place. For a moment, let’s address those core brands: …

lmaadminBrands Are More Than A Promise; They Are A Guarantee

Local Foods for Limited Service

Like many of you, I have fond childhood memories of idyllic trips from to farm country where my family would stop at roadside stands during harvest time to buy some produce. Nowadays, I rekindle these summertime outings with frequent visits to urban farmers’ markets. What these experiences have in common is that they are both all about fresh fruits and vegetables with unrivaled flavor, seasonal variations and a far deeper trust as you exchange money directly with the farmer. Now apply this sense of nostalgia to your hotel and you arrive at one of the fundamental rationales for the local food or locavore movement. Spend a few minutes with any chef and he or she will quickly tell you that the success of any dish is based upon the ingredients used. If fresher results in a better taste as well as better visual appeal and nutritional value, then locavore is …

lmaadminLocal Foods for Limited Service
Portrait Of Maid Tidying Hotel Room

The Power of Hello

Hello. Bonjour. Hola. Buongiorno. Ni hao. As salam Alaykom. A basic greeting from hotel staffer to hotel guest can never go wrong. It’s easy; it’s fast; it’s a sign that you are always welcome. Even better would be to follow-up the salutation with a simple, “How are you?” or “Can I help you with anything?” And yet, at many establishments outside of the five-star or ultra-luxury snack bracket, the only hello I get is the perfunctory one at check-in – an instance where I approach the front desk and not the other way around where an employee goes out of his or her way to offer assistance. While I wouldn’t expect a housekeeper or maintenance worker to drop everything to cater to my every immediate whim, stopping for a second to greet me is nonetheless uplifting. Questions without a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer are even better as they imply a …

lmaadminThe Power of Hello
Business People Team Teamwork Working Meeting Concept

Set Your Creative Team Free If You Dare

Start by reading the following text of the attached creative brief for a record cover, addressed to Andy Warhol from Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. Photo Credit: Letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol, April 21, 1969 Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Now think for a moment. Apart from the somewhat impolite language used, have you ever given your team similar levels of freedom in their idea execution? Have you ever empowered a department – whether creatively focused like marketing or not – to produce whatever they wanted prior to the ‘design by committee’ excisions? Out of respect for individuals currently working in the field, I’ve rewritten this music industry-centric letter using the names of two well-known figures in both the advertising and hospitality fields. David Ogilvy (1911-1999) was the incredible proprietor of Ogilvy & Mather and Ellsworth M. Statler (1863-1928) was one of the founders of …

lmaadminSet Your Creative Team Free If You Dare

Every Brand Is Now A Lifestyle Brand

Did you read the news this morning? Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood just announced that they are reinvesting in their core brands by folding all the new names in their respective houses and transforming all of their hotels into lifestyle brands. Hilton’s Canopy is no longer; Hyatt has sent Andaz packing; InterContinental is giving Hotel Indigo the heave-ho; Edition has been excised by Marriott; and Aloft and Element are no longer elements of the Starwood family. United these corporations stand with a ‘one brand, one name’ policy. As a house of brands, Starwood’s position on this is a tad more complex, but that’s nothing a few Chinese investors can’t fix! Gone are the days of niche sub-brands with cool yet ambiguous names (and less than ten properties worldwide). Every hotel will now experience the benefits of having ‘lifestyle’ features no matter if they appeal to millennials demanding perfection for …

lmaadminEvery Brand Is Now A Lifestyle Brand
bright modern interior of hotel room or condominium

A Floridian Audit of What Defines Luxury

In the pre-internet-domination days, Forbes star ratings or AAA’s diamond ratings provided an immediate litmus test of luxury, with a five star or diamond as an immediate indicator. Regrettably, the sun has set on these traditional bulwarks of quality control. TripAdvisor and other online review agencies have now assumed the mantle of being the traveling public’s quality thermometer. As a hotelier, it may seem counterintuitive that limited-service or economy properties can achieve a prestigious TripAdvisor rating of 4.5+ out of 5. And yet somehow, the public now equates free WiFi and waffles to be more important than evening turndown service or 24/7 concierge availability. The standards for third-party approval are now based upon emotional whims rather than logical systems and checklists. However much I gripe, the situation is what it is, and instead of fighting the current, we must accept this paradigm shift and adapt accordingly. I recently set out …

lmaadminA Floridian Audit of What Defines Luxury
Valentines Day background with hearts.

One Love: Keeping Brands United and Limiting Consumer Choice

A recent trend in our industry that I’m quite suspicious of has been the vast proliferation of new brands, sub-brands and soft brands. Starting my career off at Procter & Gamble, effective branding is in my DNA, and it makes my blood boil to see these events unfold, as they will certainly have a dilutive effect on customer awareness. It seems as though the solution nowadays to any brand problem is to simply make a new brand. How can we in all honesty believe this to be the best option for every situation? Fuming with anger, I switch on the satellite radio and on comes the perfect song for this moment – “One Love” by Bob Marley. I doubt this 1977 reggae legend had the hospitality industry in mind when he wrote this classic, even if it makes for the perfect title to this diatribe. While I acknowledge that only …

lmaadminOne Love: Keeping Brands United and Limiting Consumer Choice