happy father's day in vintage wood letterpress printing blocks with a cup of coffee

What Do Hotels And Holidays Have In Common?

The answer: planning with care. Which is different than careful planning, but we’ll get to that. With Father’s Day now behind us, I am going to start this article off by describing what my son had in store for me. And in case you are wondering why this isn’t a surprise, he told me in advance so I wouldn’t skip town on business. (For this instance, had he not told me in advance, I probably would’ve booked a flight out that Sunday night to New Orleans to catch the opening of HITEC which coincided with Father’s Day this year.) My son and daughter know that during the mere weeks of summer warmth that we get here in Toronto I like to maximize my time outdoors – in other words, barbecued dinners savored on the backyard terrace. So they have planned out an assortment of marinated meats for the grill along with fresh …

lmaadminWhat Do Hotels And Holidays Have In Common?
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Balance Sheet Woes in Ten Parts

Through over 30 years of working with both independent and franchise-branded properties, I have regularly heard the phrase, “Ownership is disappointed with the results.” This opens a further discussion as to why top or bottom line financial data is not living up to the plan, which usually then leads to spending cuts in a mad dash to restore the P&L to some sort of fiscal profitability. But why does this have to happen? In the packaged goods business, my vocation prior to entering the hospitality world, cutting expenses was rarely considered a primary solution to a brand’s challenges. Rather, management first focused on trying to understand why business was subpar by reviewing competition, pricing, distribution, promotions, advertising and even product enhancements. Often, the solution was to spend more, rather than simply cut and run. Oftentimes, you have to read the ‘note behind the note’ to fully understand how best to …

lmaadminBalance Sheet Woes in Ten Parts
Simferopol, Russia - July 9, 2014: Google biggest Internet search engine. Google.com domain was registered September 15, 1997.

Does Page Two in Google Even Exist?

“Second place is the first loser.” –Dale Earnhardt, American Racing Legend (1951-2001) We all admire Google. Alphabet, its newfangled parent company, trades places with Apple as the world’s most valuable corporation, with a market value that exceeds half a trillion dollars. Google has its paws into literally everything. While much is made of their self-driving car, Google Glass and other audacious new devices or applications, Google is also hard at work refining its core business – internet search. And this refinement has but one primary goal. However much the company espouses its noble goal of helping people find just about anything on the web, it is accountable to its shareholders and they want to see revenues which in Google’s case means Adwords. Ever get unsolicited email guaranteeing your website to rank first or on the first page in a Google search? I am sure that we all have seen these …

lmaadminDoes Page Two in Google Even Exist?
Friend clinking glasses above dinner table

In Vino Veritas Part XLVII – Wine Is A Story About People

You drink wine. You have a fondness for white or red. You have your favorite producing countries, regions, varietals, blends, vineyards and wineries. Then you can also take into account terroir, age of the vines, vintage, aging process and yearly climatic fluctuations. There’s a reason why good sommeliers must go to school to perfect their expertise. Wine is a complex story with many layers to regale the novice to even the most veteran drinker. Increasingly, though, it’s becoming a story about people above all else. It doesn’t matter about country of origin, the prestige of the winery, microclimate or specific grape planted; if the winemakers are knowledgeable and passionate then they will produce a fantastic drop. The appellation closest to my hometown of Toronto – the Niagara Peninsula – offers an excellent example of this. Due to its geographical position of being between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and in …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas Part XLVII – Wine Is A Story About People
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Can Hilton Break The OTA Stranglehold Through Advertising?

The saying goes, “Misery loves company.” This cultural expression is based on the concept that people who are unhappy may get some consolation from knowing that others are unhappy as well. Does this adage apply to our hotel industry? It appears so! Now, some ten years after the advent of the OTA, hoteliers seem to be finally awakening to the fact that operating hotels with this arduous booking commission structure is a burden then can no longer withstand. Most hoteliers love the bookings the OTAs deliver, though. It’s great ‘billboard’ advertising, and these channels are great for offloading unsold inventory. Hoteliers just can’t stomach the fact that these bookings come with such a huge cost, both directly off the gross via commissions as well as indirectly through the concurrent changes to consumer purchase pathways. Increasingly, we are starting to embrace different ways of looking at our business model in an …

lmaadminCan Hilton Break The OTA Stranglehold Through Advertising?
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Is Your Hotel Advertising During Rio 2016?

With the television landscape becoming increasingly fragmented by cable, satellite, social media and internet streaming options, reaching many people at once via traditional, 20th century media placement methods comes with its fair dose of anxiety. One interesting effect of this channel nichification is that large-scale events and compressions are now all the more precious. Think nationwide and world-sweeping live broadcasts like FIFA, the Super Bowl, the Oscars and, as the title suggests, the Olympics. These annual, biannual or quadrennial events get a lot of attention and a lot of hype, and therefore present a lucrative short run marketing opportunity. As any economist will tell you, though, with a limited supply and demand on the upswing, the advertising price is bound to increase with each passing year. In fact, NBC owns the national coverage rights for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics and has already sold over $1 billion in commercial …

lmaadminIs Your Hotel Advertising During Rio 2016?
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In Vino Veritas Part XLVI: Tomatoes and Cheese

Spring is in the air. And it’s also in the soil! One of my perennial loves is taking the time each year to plant some vegetables and herbs in my backyard. It’s a longstanding hobby, and many hotel properties nowadays also have their own gardens to adequately satisfy the farm-to-table trend, although theirs are probably much larger. In any case, with planting season upon us here in North America, I would highly recommend you dig a few holes for my favorite – tomatoes. They’re delicious, have a wide variety of different cultivars and, like cheese, olives and bread, pair exquisitely with wine. I was inspired to discuss this coupling after many recent nights out at Italian restaurants where a big platter of tomatoes with fresh and aged cheeses were handed out as appetizer. Such communal plates instantly energized the table, heightening the dining experience and hastened our alcohol consumption. Overall, …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas Part XLVI: Tomatoes and Cheese
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An Obituary for the Hotel Business Center

Born in the early days of personal computing, the hotel business center had its peak in the mid-1990s. At its zenith, the facility was a high priority for road warriors who needed to refine presentations, print materials, prepare travel itineraries or work on other business matters, all while hotel staffers stood at the ready to assist wherever they could. Businesspersons from all the world have come to pay their respects, some with bouquets of flowers and freshly dampened handkerchiefs while others ceremonially shovel dirt and obsolete fax machine parts onto the open grave. The advent of mobile devices, tablets and streamlined laptops proved to be the hotel business center’s downfall, rendering it as obsolete as the stapler and three-hole paper punch. Many have come to blame the millennial’s preference for new third space lobby modalities, but it’s likely that the sheer convenience of a smartphone and its numerous apps are …

lmaadminAn Obituary for the Hotel Business Center