Symbol of Canada

The Sesquicentennial Sojourn

A long word for something so simple! Canada is gearing up for its 150th anniversary as a nation, being celebrated from coast to coast on July 1st. Leading up to this date, hotels across the country are expecting record numbers that will last throughout the summer. Rather than regurgitate a litany of positive statistics, though, there are a few good takeaways for hoteliers around the world to note. I was inspired to write on this subject after attending the 11th annual Leisure Travel Summit held earlier this June in downtown Toronto and hosted by Best Western. The five-person panel – comprised of all women I might add, and something we should be seeing more often – noted that now more than ever is time to explore the Great White North and that this sort of influx of visitors haven’t been seen since the Expo ’67 days. Rather than proscribing this …

lmaadminThe Sesquicentennial Sojourn
ritz-montreal1

Renovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition

For over 100 years, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been more than just a hotel; it has been a bastion of the city’s ‘Great Gatsby’ society. Through its doors, royalty and those of privilege have passed countless times. The hotel has hosted the finest social functions and weddings including the impromptu nuptials (only two hours’ notice) of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. If these walls could talk, I am sure that they would speak volumes. For those whose knowledge of Montreal is limited, a short history lesson is mandated. The province of Quebec, including Montreal, is predominantly French-speaking. Yet, there is a distinct Anglophone culture in this its largest city which steadfastly had maintained a strong influence over the province through political appointments and strong financial influence. This led to a mini-rebellion (quite significant in a Canadian context) in the late 1970s, ultimately culminating in a vote to separate from Canada …

lmaadminRenovation While Treading Lightly on Tradition
USS Midway and San Diego. USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and San Diego Skyline at Night. California USA.

Messages for Hoteliers from the USS Midway

No trip to San Diego is complete without a trip to CV-41, also known as the USS Midway, the largest ship in the world until 1955. The carrier was since decommissioned in 1992 and has been turned into a floating museum. As basically an entire town in a boat, the sheer size of this craft defies imagination. Touring her decks and viewing the wide variety of aircraft and exhibits can easily take a full day. Not having a military background, I was in total awe and full of admiration all those who had boarded this great vessel and served in the Navy. A tour of the Midway is not complete, though, without listening to the living history provided by the many docents who willingly share their experiences. While the information they provided clearly reflected the life on the ship, significant parallels can nevertheless be formed with the vast array of …

lmaadminMessages for Hoteliers from the USS Midway
Two men talking in a modern office

Developing Your Ownership-Leadership Style

One of the greatest challenges that you face as an owner or asset manager is stepping back from the day-to-day and delegating unencumbered operating responsibility to your on-property team because not doing so can have disastrous effects. Countless times I have witnessed general managers and other senior executives working in full spin mode to accommodate a direct and often-unexplained request from an owner, which ends up being counterproductive to the business’s goals as well as highly demoralizing. There is no set definition as to what constitutes an appropriate demand by an owner for his or her team. After all, it’s your investment! Clearly, issues that would be considered material to the property from a monetary standpoint – such as major CAPEX or significant changes to financial position versus budget – are worthy of a timely discussion. Conversely, an urgent call from an owner to management addressing, for instance, a single …

lmaadminDeveloping Your Ownership-Leadership Style
Electronics and housekeeping concept. Isolated over white. Contains clipping path

The Housekeeping Training Revolution

Modern advances in employee training and ongoing retraining have such profound benefits that it’s near impossible for any senior hotelier to disregard their implementation. First among these advantages is what’s paid forward to your guests – improved compliance with SOPs, faster service, better staff demeanor and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction. Then there are the back-end benefits which also impact the bottom line – better team morale, less employee turnover, greater empowerment, increased productivity and decreased onboarding costs. Of course, this all relates to technology – putting your internal curriculum onto an online portal, thereby enabling e-learning. It works because it fosters an environment of microlearning – that is, allowing your team to learn at their own pace and in bite-sized, modular chunks, both of which are better for knowledge retention over the classical intensive and condensed period of instruction. Additionally, by putting your curriculum online, it frees up your supervisors’ …

lmaadminThe Housekeeping Training Revolution
Toast with avocado, tomatoes and basil on rustic wooden background

Breakfast of Champions

I’m sick of boring breakfasts, aren’t you? It’s about time that our chefs in the hotel industry woke up to something different than the same old bacon and eggs or oatmeal and raisins. In this sense, breakfast is another overlooked opportunity to wow your guests and leave a lasting impression. Here’s a simple test to see if your morning foodservice is staid. Order breakfast in your own restaurant and take a picture of what’s served on the plate. Now, go to any Denny’s – or any other well-known diner of this ilk – and order their Grand Slam or equivalent. This meal delivers a plethora of plate-filling carbs and all at a very reasonable price. If your plate looks similar to this, then it’s time to seriously rethink your approach. Remember, Denny’s price is well under ten bucks including coffee. That’s the baseline your customers have in the back of …

lmaadminBreakfast of Champions
Business Team Meeting Strategy Marketing Cafe Concept

Enhancing Your Public Relations Success

As a card–carrying member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), I am literally bombarded with emails from those interested in garnering just an ounce of my attention to have me publish their materials. Keeping score this past week – nothing out of the ordinary – I received a total of 82 different press releases from hotel suppliers, properties, travel bureaus and destinations. How can any single release stand out? Thinking of all the hours that are spent by hotel managers and public relations agencies in preparing this material is mortifying, especially since 99% of these well-crafted pieces of literature will be trashed without the recipient ever getting beyond the headline. What a waste! Moving forward, as the general manager or director of communications, you must find a way to get a better return on your PR investments. When public relations works, it is a fantastic use of your financial …

lmaadminEnhancing Your Public Relations Success
Welcome to Oregon

In Vino Veritas LVII: Cascade Wines

The New World, and North America have come a long way in the past few decades. Since the Judgment of Paris in 1976, vintners beyond of the hallowed soils of the northern Mediterranean have sought to grow their stocks as far more than jug wine. It is the knowledge and passion for the process of winemaking that gives live to the end product, not just where you are on a map. Some 40 years later and exceptional viticulture flourishes in every corner of the continent where vines will grow, especially California where it all began. But just north of the Golden State, in Oregon and in Washington, they are doing incredible things as well, and for a fraction of the cost to consumers when compared to the some of the outrageous price tags on renowned Californian labels. While the appellations vary wildly across these two territories when it comes to …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas LVII: Cascade Wines
Smiling female receptionist

Why We Love the Hotel Business in Ten Parts

Have you ever sat back for a moment to reflect on the profession of hospitality? With all its ups and downs, could you think of any other business you would rather be in? As someone who admittedly has never been at the helm of a property with the exception of short term MOD responsibilities, I feel as close as anyone can be to hotel management. Yet I recognize that it is not the same as the burden of being general manager, where day-to-day decisions can make or break the budget as well as destroy hard-earned asset values. I am humbled by many of the GMs I’ve met and in awe of their ability to stay calm in the midst of multiple mayhem constantly surrounding them. Perhaps this is why hotel management is such an adrenaline rush – the landscape changes hourly and there is no time to get bored. It’s …

lmaadminWhy We Love the Hotel Business in Ten Parts
A tropical modern villa exterior view with built in sofa

Defining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts

How many times have you heard the word ‘luxury’ in a hotel description? It seems to be one of the most abused words in the hoteliers’ dictionary! I’ve seen many hotels claim to be luxurious, when at most they are just slightly better than average. There seems to be no clear definition for luxury. Looking for some clarity in the dictionary, the word ‘luxury’ come from Old French luxurie and the Latin luxuria or luxus, meaning excess. In other words, something that is luxurious is an inessential – a desirable item that is more than basic but not a necessity. In keeping with this definition, the basics of our product/service offerings are definitely not luxuries. These include cleanliness both for rooms and public areas, free and fast wifi, comfortable beds, sufficient amenities, generous hot water for showers, enough towels, quiet HVAC, good lighting for all needs, entertainment facilities, and security. …

lmaadminDefining Modern Hotel Luxury In Five Parts