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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
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Moving Up The Ranks Of The Guest Experience Hierarchy

I’m mystified, or should I say confused. Perhaps you can help me solve this conundrum… In most annual budget processes, hotel managers go into immaculate detail on spreadsheets for such line items as capital for renovations, expense allocations for operations, personnel, and sales and marketing. Yet rarely is there a section, nay more than a single row devoted to training or any of its other more elaborate forms such as ‘service culture development’, ‘associate engagement’, ‘team improvement’ or ‘guest experience enhancement’. If we are truly in the hospitality industry, why do we neglect the fundamental service function that is our namesake? Giving more thought to your internal service R&D also means you are working to substantially distinguish your hotel when more extravagant facility upgrades are far outside of budgetary scope. Through continuous technological installations and judicious procurement, most limited-service properties now have quiet HVAC, comfortable beds and ample bathroom facilities. …

lmaadminMoving Up The Ranks Of The Guest Experience Hierarchy
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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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So You’ve Hired an Intern, Now What?

Interns are far more than just temporary recruits brought aboard to finish all the menial jobs piling up around the office. In many cases, there are laws preventing this kind of treatment – the sorts of laws stipulating that interns must complete ‘meaningful labor’ and that’s inscribed by that terminology. Recently, I was approached by an eager hotelier looking to get the most of her shiny new summer intern fresh from a premier university. This hotelier was in essence seeking a road map to help direct her own efforts in guiding the intern on a path of meaningful labor. After some deliberation, I gave her eight questions to aid in her treatment of this intern. Given that summer is upon us, these are seven that I will share with you as well. 1. Do you have an overall plan for the intern? In other words, what do you hope the …

lmaadminSo You’ve Hired an Intern, Now What?
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Bring the Glamor Back

Even though it’s been nearly a year since it first hit theatres, Wes Anderson’s masterpiece “The Grand Budapest Hotel” still remains top of mind whenever a friend asks for a movie recommendation. It’s funny, well-acted and beautifully shot, so what’s not to love? But more than that, the film is a tribute to a bygone era of travel and ‘Old World’ hospitality when guests were eminently respected for their individual preferences and experienced managers were revered for their wisdom and commitment to their craft. I compare an everyday walk through the lobby of a branded, four-star property with those fantastical shots of Anderson’s titular hotel and my immediate thought is: we’ve lost something. Nowadays, we concern ourselves less with a sharp focus on developing strong person-to-person relationships and more with the multitude of number crunching tasks designed to squeeze as much profit out of our ever-dwindling margins. Yes, we should …

lmaadminBring the Glamor Back
University Building

Visit a Hotel School and Reinvigorate Your Passions for Hospitality

Attending this year’s Cornell Hospitality Research Summit and listening to a plethora of hotel ‘intelligentsia’ speak on various topics was very inspirational. As a think tank on the industry at large, there was much learning to be had and I’d recommend the conference to anyone looking for a worthwhile networking event or to catch up on some of the latest research hitting the hospitality airwaves. However, this being held at a hotel school had an unintended effect. It put me face to face with many young, bright minds who will soon enter the workforce, most likely in the hospitality field. Meeting students is always a positive experience, especially when they are enthusiastically volunteering to help orchestrate a symposium of this nature or willingly serving you at a restaurant. These encounters are opportunities for you to invigorate the next generation of hoteliers with your passion and wisdom, but they are also …

lmaadminVisit a Hotel School and Reinvigorate Your Passions for Hospitality
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Leadership Mentoring – What’s Most Important

According to a benchmark study in 2012, US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development with the cost of customized offerings from top business schools reaching upwards of $150,000 per person. No one can doubt that it’s important. But molding the next generation of hospitality leaders (keeping this price tag in mind) is far easier said than done. There are lots of tricks to develop and coach leaders without spending excruciating amounts of money, as highlighted in a recent article, “Why Leadership Development Programs Fail” by Pierre Gurdjian, Thomas Halbeisen and Kevin Lane. You start by choosing only those individuals who possess the most essential capabilities for business success such as strong decision making or coaching skills. Then, you have to match specific traits to the current context, ensuring that the cycle of leadership and mentorship is completed in real time with real work. Beyond this, I …

Larry MogelonskyLeadership Mentoring – What’s Most Important
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Hospitality Veterans: Step Up and Mentor Before You Retire

Attending the recent HITEC tradeshow in Los Angeles, I was quick to point out that there weren’t a lot of ‘grey hairs’. Okay, my hair isn’t gray; it’s just that there is so little remaining that you won’t appreciate the color! What I mean is that the technology of our industry has advanced leaps and bounds, and those driving this progression tend to be younger. If I had to guess, I would say a median age at the conference was around 38. That got me thinking. Why am I, now just past the ripe age of 60, a senior fellow at this show? Is it that the older generation isn’t interested in all the latest technological advances, or is it that there is no one left my age still working in our industry? Or, shudder to think, is it that those who reach the golden years of their career are …

Larry MogelonskyHospitality Veterans: Step Up and Mentor Before You Retire
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“Talent” in the Hospitality World

Originally, I had set out to write a short, inspirational manifesto about the nature of innate talent versus the merits of hard work. But as more and more evidence mounted, I realized that there is a lot more behind the word ‘talent’, especially when applied to the hospitality industry. Even though the simple conclusion, in a strict business sense, is that hard work and dedication to one’s job will always trump talent, the real answer is mired in gray. For starters, how would you describe a ‘talented hotelier’? Does this modifier imply the same attributes when compared to that of a talented athlete or a talented entertainer? Can the term even be applied to the world of hotel operations and management? If you’ll have me, let’s take a closer look at some of the lurking qualities of talent to see if perhaps there is more we can do to foster …

Larry Mogelonsky“Talent” in the Hospitality World
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The Manager of Guest Mentorship

Maybe it’s stating the obvious when I say that retaining an existing customer is vastly easier than trying to get a new one. Corroborating statistics aside, if consumers possessing established rapport with your brand are so valuable, then that means your guest relations activities must be paramount to your success. And indeed they are. Every hotel and hoteliers understands – on some level at least – the importance of continuing guest relations or appreciation. So, if that’s the case, and everyone is in on the take, then how can you gain an advantage over your competition? A key issue with guest relations, in my opinion, is that too few managers and staff members are elevating the rapport beyond small talk and sycophantic ‘thank you for your stay’ follow-ups. They ask where guests are from, what they do and where they went to school, but never dig down to learn about …

Larry MogelonskyThe Manager of Guest Mentorship