Back view of man presenting to students at a lecture theatre

A Hotel School That Supports Alternate Lodging Providers?

When asked to name a hotel school, what immediately comes to mind? Perhaps your thoughts run to the prestigious École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland or the stateside Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (now a part of The SC Johnson College of Business). Ranking fourth in the QS 2017 World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management is Les Roches Global Hospitality Education with over 3,000 students spread across three campuses, tremendous global diversification in that no single country claims more than 10% of the student population and a very entrepreneurial outlook. Nicolas Graf David Fudge This is a hotel school advocating that its students learn and embrace everything there is to know about alternate lodging providers and all the various ways in which the sharing economy might disrupt the hospitality industry. To elucidate why this is the case and what established hoteliers can glean from this shift in …

lmaadminA Hotel School That Supports Alternate Lodging Providers?
Beautifully multicolored decorated catering banquet table with different food snacks and appetizers with sandwich, caviar, fresh fruits on corporate party event or wedding celebration.

No-Holds-Barred Catering

Events that showcase on-property chefs are not on every hotelier’s calendar, most likely because they typically deliver an expense line well above operating revenues. However, they provide significant value in several indirect ways. First, events like this allow a hotel to demonstrate unbridled culinary excellence. Next, they allow your chefs to demonstrate creativity. Thirdly, they afford your public relations team with great fodder for continued media interest. There’s a powerful fourth attribute that I’ll get to in a moment. Oh, and did I also mention that these events can be a lot of fun? This past July, I had the opportunity to attend the Park City Food & Wine Classic in scorching hot Utah. While there, we attended several wine seminars and dinners, with the signature launch event held at Montage Deer Valley, an ultraluxury property nearby. The 400- attendee, outdoor terrace affair was comprised of a series of four …

lmaadminNo-Holds-Barred Catering
Bangkok, Thailand - June 6, 2016 : Apple iPhone5s showing its screen with popular travel applications.

HAC on the Attack

Anyone who has read my columns on the topic of alternate lodging providers knows that I have my qualms with Airbnb. While I have the utmost respect for this organization and am in awe of its marketing prowess, I am increasingly concerned that its rapid growth is occurring at the expense of the more traditional accommodations industry. Not to be a luddite insofar as stubbornly standing in the way of logical industry disruptors and the inevitability of technological progress, my anxiety stems from the fact that most hoteliers are less worried than I am about the company that just may be the harbinger of their own demise. No matter how much I express concerns regarding Airbnb, in the back of my head it is particularly amusing as I appear to be more apprehensive for the future of the hospitality sector than those individuals who are actually responsible for generating room …

lmaadminHAC on the Attack
Young friends having fun outdoor drinking red wine - Happy people enjoying harvest time at farmhouse vineyard winery - Youth friendship concept with focus on guy toasting in middle frame - Warm filter

In Vino Veritas LIX: The Indirect Value of Wine Tasting Events

Away on vacation for a food and wine festival hosted by a luxury mountain resort, I was fortunate enough to participate in a wine tasting conducted by Amy McCandlish, assistant winemaker at Eyrie Vineyards in MicMinnville, Oregon. The one-hour-plus presentation provided a quick overview on the winery and included a tasting of five of their top products. For the two dozen participants, it was an opportunity to get close and personal with the wine. Here, we were guided through the nuances of several wines of the same grape variety, allowing us to understand the nuances created by the vintage and cellaring processes as well as furthering our knowledge and appreciation of this omnipotent elixir. After all, learning is a lifelong process and should not be restricted to a classroom setting, unless that classroom setting involves a healthy amount of libations. For reference, the varietal in question was pinot gris which …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LIX: The Indirect Value of Wine Tasting Events
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In Search of Hotel Excellence: The William Vale

The millennial revolution has turned Brooklyn from a place you came from to a highly sought-after destination. And no part of Brooklyn has witnessed a broader transformation than Williamsburg. The William Vale is located at the northernmost edge of this part of the borough, on land that once housed waterside manufacturing facilities. Despite its newfound hipness, Williamsburg’s street life is still in its infancy. Hence, to build a 183-room hotel in an area that has no considerable amount of pre-existing sidewalk life or nearby landmark attractions is risky business. So, as Sebastien Maingourd, the property’s general manager, remarked, “From an architectural standpoint alone, The William Vale attracts an audience just to check us out. We are creating our own foot traffic!” The sheer brilliance of the property’s imposing facade is evident from very far away. In fact, the design is so iconic that I was easily able to identify the …

lmaadminIn Search of Hotel Excellence: The William Vale
Tractor leveling soccer field grass using heavy metal lawn roller

Leveling the Sharing Economy Playing Field

I attended an interesting travel panel earlier this month in my hometown of Toronto. The topic was the leisure segment, with the panelists all senior members of tourism bureaus and hotel organizations, while their presentations quoted the usual ream of statistical gobbledegook. The mood was rosy as Canadian travel statistics have never been better with the nation approaching its 150th anniversary. The ebullience in the room was so thick that I felt that it couldn’t be cut with even the finest Japanese samurai sword. Bu then I asked the question with a somewhat naïve tone, “Have you seen any impact on the hotel sector from alternate lodgings?” The responses revealed a sharp dichotomy. Those representing the tourism sector clearly want more accommodations, with Airbnb and the like fitting that bill to a tee. A hotel can take several years to build while Airbnb rooms can be added almost instantaneously. Contrarily, those …

lmaadminLeveling the Sharing Economy Playing Field
Cancel Button - Enter Key

Thoughts on the Major Chains’ Cancellation Policy Change

The slew of recent announcements that major chains including Marriott, Hilton and IHG will now require a minimum notice (48 hours for the first two and 24 hours for the other) to cancel a reservation and avoid a penalty should come as no surprise to anyone. There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course, but overall the policy is fair and appropriate given the current business landscape and the ever-vital need to maximize revenue. Taken together, these three chains dominate the largest segments of the hospitality marketplace and one should anticipate that many additional hotel companies operating in other niches will soon follow suit. And for good reason, too! But first, you must understand why policies have been undertaken at this particular moment in time rather than, say, ten years ago or even five decades ago when they were equally applicable. It all has to do with the …

lmaadminThoughts on the Major Chains’ Cancellation Policy Change
Charts and analytical data on the tablet screen with a cup of coffee on a wooden vintage table.

The Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM

Want to hold the top spot on Google for everyone searching an accommodation in your area? I am sure that this is the dream of every hotelier on earth. Somehow, there would be a magic potion or genius company that could drive us to the top of the listings for both the lower funnel (branded terms) as well the top of funnel (broader travel terms). Deep down, though, we all know that this is pretty much impossible all the while Google (traded under its parent company’s name, Alphabet) is showing record profits and commensurate share prices. But does this all make sense? Why is it that our budgets for this activity are constantly growing yet we don’t seem to be making any real progress in this regard? Our industry spends billions of dollars, not just on these so-called ads but we also employ a cadre of internal experts both and …

lmaadminThe Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM