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Nobody Asked Me, But….No. 7
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By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
March 24, 2006

1.  Just in case you missed it:  The Wolfsonian Museum - Florida International University is exhibiting an insightful exploration of American hotels in the early 20th century.  “In Pursuit of Pleasure:  Schultze & Weaver and the American Hotel” will run at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach through May 28, 2006.  (www.wolfsonian.org).  The exhibit is accompanied by two beautifully illustrated books:  1) Grand Hotels of the Jazz Age:  The Hotels of Schultze & Weaver  2)  25th issue of the Wolfsonian’s award- winning Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts devoted to the American hotel.

2.  Hats off to Starwood Hotels and Resorts for converting all 77 Westin Hotels to an all-smoke-free format, the first upscale hotel chain to ban indoor smoking.  According to Christopher Boyd of the Orlando Sentinal, Fla., “hotel rooms are among the few remaining redoubts for cigarette smokers whose habit increasingly is relegated to benches on the peripheries of parking lots.”

3.  When does amenity creep become amenity rush?  A recent headline in Hotel & Management magazine “Brands Push Standards to Stay Competitive” made reference to the continuously evolving hotel brand standards imposed on franchisees by franchise companies.  Each lodging company includes most of the following upgrades:  new signage, bedding, bath products, new breakfast package, larger televisions, curved shower rods, etc. After all is said and done a) the cost for all these improvements are borne by the hotel owners/franchisees not the franchise company  b) the franchise advisory councils merely rubberstamp the upgrades  c) guestrooms still have poor lighting and blackout drapes that do not keep the morning light out  d) most chain hotel rooms still are undistinguishable from the competition and, therefore, fail the Turkel blindfold test.  

4.  Want to break through the automated interactive voice-response systems and speak to a real human being?  Go online to www.gethuman.com.  Then make sure that your company is really listening to the “voice of the customer”.  It turns out that customers who interact with human beings are more likely than other callers to volunteer useful information, try out a new product and come away with a strong sense of loyalty- positive outcomes that are eliminated by excessive automation with frustrating robot voices.

5.  Did you see that Lawrence “Doc” Cohen, a franchisee of the Great American Cookie Co. and Pretzel Time, became the second franchisee to be named chairman of the International Franchise Association?  IFA states that it serves as the “Voice of Franchising” with a membership that includes more than 1000 franchise parent companies, 8000 franchisees who operate the establishments and 400 firms that supply goods and services to the sector. 

Now, perhaps, the next IFA convention will discuss the following critical franchisee issues:  encroachment; liquidated damages; choice of law clause; integration clause; non-committal disclaimer; sales/ assignment/ transferability clause; preferred vendor and sole-source procurement; obligation of good faith and fair dealing, etc.

6.  Did know that, in a 2005 hotel guest-satisfaction study, J.D. Power and Associates found that an in-room refrigerator ranked third among desired amenities (after free continental breakfast and an in-room coffee maker)?  The following hotels are heeding the message:

  • New York’s 1946 room Marriott Marquis has replaced its minibars with refrigerators
  • Gaylord Hotels provides refrigerators with free bottled water in response to guests who want cold water and space for medications and dietary needs.  Shades of Ellsworth M. Statler’s ice water faucet in every bathroom.
  • The Hilton McLean in suburban Washington D.C. has eliminated 458 minibars which are being converted to plain old refrigerators.
  • Holiday Inn’s new prototype hotel will feature in-room refrigerators.
It seems that $5 sodas, $10 chocolate bars and $12 jars of nuts are finally getting what they deserve: elimination.

7.  Since I came into the hotel business through “the back-of-the-house,” I am one of the few hotel consultants who respect and value the housekeeping, laundry and night cleaning employees.  To me it is axiomatic that your hotel is only a good as the cleaning crew.  I recently spoke at the Americas Best Value Inn conference in Las Vegas on the subject “Making a Good First Impression:  The Direct Correlation Between Renovations and Increased ROI.”  Also on the program was the dynamic Don Aslett, America’s #1 Cleaning Expert.  His presentation was spectacular in every way: smart, informative and humorous.  If you have never heard of him, I urge you to go online to www.educationalentertainers.com.

8.  More than 450 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”


Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC, is a New York-based hotel consultant specializing in hotel franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  He is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and can be reached at stanturkel@aol.com and 917-628-8549.  If you need a due diligence study for a proposed acquisition, a third-party audit of a marketing or operational problem, an asset manager to monitor a management contract or franchise agreement, don’t hesitate to contact him.

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Contact:

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
stanturkel@aol.com
917-628-8549

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Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / February 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / January 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / December 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / November 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / October 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / September 2005

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