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Flawlessly Boring – An Industry Challenge

A recent stay at a big brand’s ‘core’ product reinforced a key flaw that ails many properties around the world. The property in question was located in the heart of a major city close to the convention center. The non-descript hotel edifice had easy street access with a standard yet intuitive front desk, elevator and signature restaurant layout within the lobby. Door and front desk staff were both courteous and personable. The guestrooms were likewise typical in their design, carved out of the directory of some long-passed interior decorator’s dream of ergonomic living. The idea here is that based upon years of road warrior travel and clad in total darkness, any businessperson could easily navigate his or her way from the front door to the desk, bathroom or bed. On the same note, everything in the room worked correctly – no housekeeping or maintenance shortcomings, a 42” LED TV dominating …

lmaadminFlawlessly Boring – An Industry Challenge

In Vino Veritas XLVIII – Bourbon Dynasty

With the 4th of July come and gone, it seems only apt for this libation-centric column to discuss the spirit that is perhaps the quintessential American contribution to the world. Even though California produces some spectacular wines and local craft beers have taken the nation by storm, no other country on the planet makes bourbon. Yes, it is comparable to scotch, Irish whisky or Canadian ryes in all but the primary ingredient – maize instead of malted barley or wheat – but no other country has even a remotely sophisticated corn whiskey culture or variety of world-class distilleries up and running. It is uniquely American, and like its counterparts stemming from the British Isles, bourbon can help boost your F&B revenues. For the record, bourbon can be made anywhere within the United States so long as maize comprising a minimum of 51% of the raw constituents. Despite this broad stipulation, …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas XLVIII – Bourbon Dynasty
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Hotel Lessons from Muhammed Ali

In early June, we all watched the news as a titan of professional sports passed away. Muhammed Ali was one of the most colorful athletes that ever lived – as entertaining in the ring as he was in the press box, and not without his own dose of controversy. Whether it was a Thrilla in Manila or a Rumble in the Jungle, he was always more than just a boxer, striving to win the hearts and minds of his audience well before facing his opponent. And as winning hearts and minds is the name of the hotel game, we can all benefit from a careful reflection on his career and what made the late, great Ali shine above his peers. Here are five for you to consider. Never Level The Playing Field So often in business, success comes from not simply eviscerating your competition in a straight head-to-head matchup, but …

lmaadminHotel Lessons from Muhammed Ali
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CEO and Chairmen’s Views on the OTA Challenge

A recently published white paper on the state of the hospitality industry by Egon Zehnder’s executive search and leadership consulting team brings into focus the need for senior managers in the hotel industry to holistically re-examine how they approach their business, and ultimately their hiring practices, to meet their future needs. I had an opportunity to carry on a three-way conversation with the authors, Hicham Sharaa from the Dubai office and Paul Liu in Shanghai. The paper is based upon interviews with CEOs and Chairmen of two dozen major hospitality companies around the world. Their research in the sector highlights three major trends. First, digital engagement with customers is the game-changer for the hospitality industry, even though the interviewees admit to falling short in this area. Elaborating further, it was stated that CEOs must now have both the curiosity and insights to drive functionality digital strategies for revenue management, financial …

lmaadminCEO and Chairmen’s Views on the OTA Challenge
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The Best of HiTec 2016

Late June in New Orleans, Louisiana. Outside is sweltering, but the air conditioning is on full blast to cool the convention center as throngs of eager hoteliers walk the aisles to learn about the latest and greatest in hospitality technology. While the evenings would find my stomach hungering for crayfish remoulade and Cajun-spiced gumbo, my two days at the eponymous tradeshow were a flurry of amazing new devices and software that can help hotels solve their business needs. Unlike previous years where I came in with fresh eyes, this time I attacked HiTec with a singular purpose. I wanted to know specifically how each product or company would help alleviate problems associated with OTA dependency and the proliferation of alternate lodging providers. Several dozen interviews later, I am eager to share six companies with you that I see as viable candidates for helping you drive online direct bookings and improving …

lmaadminThe Best of HiTec 2016
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The Magic Eleven Qualities of Successful Hotel Owners

There have been so many books written on leadership and management styles that you can fill a bookshelf. In fact, my personal library has half of its shelves devoted to this very topic. There is no question that, apart from financial acumen, leadership is what will most certainly make or break the success of your property investment. In many cases, you have a general or hotel manager that deals with the day-to-day responsibilities of your property. This short essay is devoted to how you, as an owner, can demonstrate leadership to members of your team in order to build a better, more effective team. In my 35 years of working with both individually and corporately owned properties, I have distilled the essence of leadership down to a few simple qualities, which I call the Magic Eleven. While I cannot guarantee immediate improvement to your P&L, you most certainly will be …

lmaadminThe Magic Eleven Qualities of Successful Hotel Owners
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It’s Never Been A Better Time to Join Associations

For most independent hoteliers, the decision to join an association such as Leading, Preferred, Small Luxury or Relais & Chateaux is a critical and complex decision. All of these organizations have stepped up their game of late, with grand improvements to both their web and sales offerings so that they can all stay relevant as traveler behavior changes. Moreover, the impetus to participate is exacerbated by the proliferation of inventory in the alternate lodging sector – that is, Airbnb – coupled with the marketing behemoths that are the OTAs. The costs of joining an association are not inconsequential, nor are the rebranding and conversion overhead costs, especially with regard to hard and soft goods upgrades to meet predetermined brand standards. For many smaller properties, this association relationship may represent the single largest component of the annual marketing budget. Accordingly, the decision requires due consideration from multiple departments. Here are some …

lmaadminIt’s Never Been A Better Time to Join Associations
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An Inside Look at the Millennial Approach to Hotel Selection

A recent focus group of a dozen late-stage millennial travelers – that is, between the ages of 27 and 33 with no children and healthy median salaries – yielded some exceptional insights. In all, they averaged eight trips outside of home annually encompassing both business and leisure. Even more so than enjoying travel, it is an important part of their lifestyles, and as such they had a lot to say on the matter… Airbnb is the major force in accommodations selection. All participants had stayed multiple times at Airbnb properties with generally positive experiences throughout. One also placed her apartment in the Airbnb pool when traveling. When probed, the group noted that their habits had changed over the past 18-24 months, as Airbnb had assumed the primary reference during the research phase ahead of hotels. Interestingly, the behavior was one of comparing hotel rates to those listed on Airbnb with …

lmaadminAn Inside Look at the Millennial Approach to Hotel Selection
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How The NYC Housing Market Will Help Hotels Fight Airbnb

As a marketer prognosticating doom and bloom for the hotel industry in its fight against alternate lodging companies, it is with great relief to read that the New York state legislature is moving this week to enact a law that forbids the advertising of short-term rental accommodations such as Airbnb. Of note, advertising as outlined in this bill includes websites and other mainstream digital channels. The law also comes with some very sharp teeth, with fines ranging from $1,000 for the first offense, and up to $7,500 for the third or any subsequent violations. Enforcement for cities with over one million citizens – in essence, New York City, the market which brought this issue to the foreground – is done at the municipal level, ensuring a nimbler and more effective level of compliance. Alas, while we as hoteliers have long trumpeted the deleterious impact that alternate lodgings have had on …

lmaadminHow The NYC Housing Market Will Help Hotels Fight Airbnb