3 Ways to Train Your Team
(Plus Bonus Ideas for Maximum Success)

Attention all properties that face the winter doldrums: Now is the prime time to address one of the most important elements of a well-run establishment–team training.

Is your property currently a bustling holiday/winter destination? The tips below apply to you as well. Take advantage of them during your own seasonal lull:

3 Great Ways to Train Your Team…
…and maximize your hotel ServicePro investment. Install it, train on it, and greet the New Year ready to take on the predicted 2015 uptick in the hospitality business. Team training is a must to keep your guest service and property up to par and make the most of our solutions.

1.  Video Training

  • We recommend that each team member view training videos, then test for certification. This is essential for base knowledge of the hotel ServicePro system.
  • Every team member receives a certificate when successful training is complete.
  • No need for formal, scheduled sessions. Team members can grab a “video snack” at their convenience.
  • Video training is free of charge to all hotel ServicePro users.

2.  Webinar Training

  • Instructor-lead, live webinars can tackle team member orientation, as well as ongoing procedural questions.
  • Structured classes generally last 20-45 minutes.
  • Team members have the opportunity to interact with the trainer.
  • Webinars are also free of charge to all hotel ServicePro users.

3.  On-site Training

hotel ServicePro offers instructor-led, customized on-site training for a nominal fee, which varies according to users’ needs.

Now that you’ve got an ace team in place, make sure your property has the infrastructure to support your hotel ServicePro system:

Cell Phones/Pagers
Want to configure your hotel ServicePro system to send text message alerts to cell phones and pagers? Make sure your devices support messaging and your service coverage reaches your entire property. Contact mobile service providers to check feature availability, functionality, and charges.

Smart Phones/Tablets
We offer ServicePro Mobile specifically for handheld devices that support HTML browsers. There’s a mobile app for iPhones or iPod touch devices. There’s also an app for internet-enabled Windows mobile devices that:

  •  Support HTTP browsers
  • Are JavaScript enabled
  • Have a Windows Mobile operating system
  • Include Internet Explorer Mobile

Internet
Does your property have sufficient bandwidth to support mobile devices? Test your capacity to be sure!

System Administrators
System administrators are critical to a successful rollout and ongoing use of hotel ServicePro. You’ll rely on them to:

  • Customize the system.
  • Create and manage log-in information. The system is role-based, which means each team member accesses only the parts that relate to his/her job responsibilities.
  • Train team members.
  • Maintain the system.

We recommend you choose two of the following positions to execute system administrator responsibilities: general manager, operations manager, chief engineer, or executive housekeeper.

A closing word on training: when employees feel comfortable with hotel ServicePro, they’ll be more confident and produce quality results. That leads to greater customer satisfaction and–you guessed it–increased revenue!

Whether now’s your down time or prime time, we wish you all a safe, merry, and bright holiday season.

Take care and we’ll see you next year,
Larry

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3 Ways to Cash in on the Mobile Boom (and We Mean Cash!)

Customers know best! hotel SystemsPro hosted a focus group on November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Marietta, GA. We listened to the new ideas and feedback of six clients from across the country, including those pictured: Jack Meredith, PhD, and Nichole Doulliard of PHR Hotels and Resorts of Virginia Beach, VA. Their input helps keep hotel ServicePro innovative and competitive.

The writing’s on the wall and it’s all coming true: mobile device sales continue to boom while prices drop. Market researchers detect no signs of a slow-down in either trend in the foreseeable future. This report from Mobiforge breaks down the global details.

So, why is this a reason to give thanks this holiday season?

The mobile revolution means more, better, and less expensive tools to slam dunk your two most important goals: a profitable property and happy guests.

Here are three ways mobile can help:

1.  Boost guest service scores to capture repeat business.

Nothing attracts repeat business like superior guest service. And with mobile devices, staff hold the key to stellar service in the palm of their hands. Here’s the scenario:

A team member graciously greets a guest in the hallway with, “How’s your stay going?” The guest responds, “We need extra towels.” The staff member pulls out her smartphone or tablet and enters the request on hotel ServicePro in three clicks–room number, guest request, and team member assignment.

That’s the kind of response that inspires another phenomenon of the mobile boom–a high rating for your hotel on social media!

2.  Spot maintenance trends before they become major (expensive) issues.

The general manager can snap a smartphone photo of broken equipment and attach it to a work order in hotel ServicePro. The engineer can see exactly where and what the problem is.  No guess work. Then, regional management can run a maintenance report at the end of the month and spot trends that must be addressed. If engineering repaired the AC in room 104 several times last month, you’ll know it’s time to consider a replacement.

3.  Attract and engage the younger members of your workforce.

It’s a fact of modern life–the younger the user, the higher his/her smartphone engagement. That makes mobile devices the perfect on-the-job companions. Team members can pull them out to enter work orders or guest requests in hotel ServicePro. Another plus for employees–our training is available any way you like it—live or recorded videos and webinars streamed to any Internet-enabled device.

And that’s not all…

  • All information entered in hotel ServicePro is accessible via the Internet on any html-enabled device. That includes iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Android, and Galaxy.
  • hotel ServicePro is 100% web-based. No need to invest in servers, backup devices, third-party apps, or outside technical resources.
  • You’ll be the soul of discretion. No more crackling radio messages about last night’s noise in room 423…when you’re in the elevator escorting guests to 425!


Last but not least, I leave you with this insider tip: purchase protective gear for each mobile device. That $50 will be well worth the savings in cracked screens and lost functionality. We recommend www.gumdropcases.com.

Unless your property is a winter destination, December is the perfect time to catch up on staff training and otherwise prepare for the predicted uptick in 2015 travel. Come back next month for practical tips on profiting from winter downtime.

Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all,
Larry

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Plan Well & Prosper: 3 Reasons to Sock Away Savings in Your Capital Budget

Our recent hotel SystemsPro team travels took us to two top brand conferences, where we demonstrated tools to help keep properties up to par and brands competitive. On the left: Sales Manager Natalie Roberts hosts Howard Tennent, Regional Service Manager for Best Western, at the hotel SystemsPro booth. On the right: hotel SystemsPro Owner Lana Perkins meets with Bill Murray, President of Integral Hospitality, at the Hilton Owner’s Conference.

Consider the following question carefully; your competitive edge may depend on it:

What is one of the most overlooked and underfunded areas in
hotel planning?

Answer: the capital budget.

Owners and general managers invest plenty of sweat equity in their annual revenue and expense budget. By comparison, the capital budget often receives little thought–until there’s a pressing need to replace an asset.

Why is this so? Because many owners hesitate to park funds in an escrow account earmarked for long-term spending.

The new capital budget planning season is underway and runs until year’s end. Now is an ideal time to create a reserve or honestly re-evaluate your current savings.

3 Reasons to Sock Away Savings in Your Capital Budget

1. Tech-savvy travelers know whether or not you’re up to par.

The proliferation of online shopping tools allow potential guests to thoroughly vet your property before they make a reservation. Positive social media reviews based on your up-to-date property trump the glossy photos on your website.

2.  Increased competition means more demanding franchise standards.

Newly constructed hotels are aggressive competitors. Brand franchisors often require that funds be available for renovations or to keep furniture, fixtures, and equipment up to standard. Contracts give franchisors the right to put an owner in default if these requirements are not met.

3.  The traditional industry standard reserve may be obsolete for your property.

Even if you’ve dutifully set aside the general industry standard of 4% for capital reserves, you may want to consider an increase. Owners and managers often find that this escrowed percentage does not always adequately cover major initiatives or expensive renovations. Properties are then left to fund projects out of pocket to meet the shortfall.

A best practice is to have a 10-year capital plan for the long term.

Most operators prepare a five-year capital plan. This leaves them vulnerable to expenses that arise 6-8 years out and then again in another five years (see chart below).

hotel ServicePro can streamline your long-term planning process with automated tools and reminders to:

  • Set budget guidelines.
  • Track, age and forecast asset retirement.
  • Create and track a properly executed preventive maintenance plan that helps extend the useful life of your assets.
  • Accurately plan for expensive renovations and large expenditures.
  • Receive automatic alerts at corporate and regional offices.
  • Execute a seamless approval process.

Catch the hotel ServicePro team at the 2014 IHG Americas Investors & Leadership Conference  in Las Vegas this week to discuss how we can help you greet 2015 with a capital budget to cover your needs and keep you competitive.


Plan well and prosper!
Larry

 

 

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2 Simple Steps to Turn a Seasonal Lull into
Revved Up Revenue

If your occupancy peaks during summer, you’re already in shoulder season. Savor the peace and quiet, yes; but use seasonal lulls to re-energize your focus on preventive maintenance. You’ll be ready to maximize guest satisfaction–and your revenue–when travelers return.

Did you know that PKF Consulting predicts a 1.5% increase in average occupancy
for 2015?

Get a jump start on next year right now. Refresh guest rooms, polish public spaces, and check your property’s curb appeal. If you address preventive maintenance during slower months, you’ll reduce peak season repairs and emergencies.

Preventive maintenance can increase guest satisfaction! Here’s why:

Travelers form a first impression of your property in less than 60 seconds. Their criteria vary widely, from parking to signage to even smell. No matter how they judge, a guest’s first impression is influenced by maintenance management. Loyalty is the name of the game and well-maintained facilities are key to a guest’s return intent.

Hotels win or lose on the first stay!

If you’re not convinced, check out results below from a 2014 J.D. Power North America Study of more than 67,000 hotel problem incidence qualified responses. Hotel/room maintenance, HVAC, water pressure/temperature, and shower drainage combine to cause 33% of problems in hotels:

FlyerTalk and Frequent Business Traveler’s Annual Survey also highlights guests’ maintenance complaints as:

  • Difficult to reach or insufficient outlets
  • Climate controls that are hard to adjust
  • Insufficient water pressure
  • Insufficient lighting

Here are two simple steps that take advantage of a seasonal lull to get and stay on top of preventive maintenance–and guest satisfaction:

  1. Inspect 25% of your rooms each month and make necessary repairs/improvements. That translates to an inspection for each room at least three times a year.
  2. Combine inspections with a deep cleaning program to maintain every room in near-perfect condition.

hotel ServicePro automates maintenance schedules for guest rooms, grounds, and equipment. Staff can easily organize a myriad of details and track them on mobile devices. Regional management can check in remotely to monitor progress.

Here’s a basic inspection checklist to enter in hotel ServicePro:

Air conditioners/heaters:

  • Check that switches, control valves, and thermostat dial positions are working properly.
  • Check that the thermostat probe is secure and working properly.
  • Replace filters as necessary.
  • Clean, lubricate, and secure fan and motor as necessary.
  • Clean evaporation and condenser units, condensation pans and drains, and exterior grills.
  • Check for refrigeration system leaks.

Electrical equipment:

  • Check that lamp switches work properly and socket, base, and body are tight and in good repair.
  • Check that lampshades are clean, with no holes.
  • Check light bulbs.
  • Check that all switch/outlet plates are in good repair.

Guest Room Devices:

  • Check TV for clear audio and video.
  • Check that the remote works and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Make sure the telephone works properly.

Whew! Remember–maintenance is an organized, automated, and routine process with hotel ServicePro! Not to mention, whatever you spend on preventive maintenance not only lowers costs in the long run. It also enhances your guests’ experience and your reputation as an attractive, safe place to work.

Come see us at the Best Western, Hilton, and IHG conferences in October and talk about how to maximize the shoulder season…and how hotel ServicePro can help.  What are your thoughts?

Here’s to making down time count,
Larry

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Time to Celebrate?! 5 Ways Your Budget Can Boost Your Revenue

2014 Hotel Data Conference at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, TN. (Photo by Smith Travel Research)

Yes, it’s that time of year again…but wait! Before you reach for the aspirin bottle…

Remember, budget season can lay the groundwork for a well-run property.

August through December marks the period when properties and management companies gather data for their 2015 maintenance budgets.

Why is your maintenance budget particularly important this year?

The industry’s economic uptick stimulated occupancy rates. During a panel at the recent Hotel Data Conference, Dan Hansen from Summit Hotel Properties said “two ways to win with rising occupancy are ‘positive comments on social media’, and ‘quality of asset’.” Rising occupancy means more wear and tear on furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. As you expense your routine recurring repairs, it pays to examine each line item carefully for an accurate dollar estimate.


Here’s why it’s well worth the time and effort:

5 Ways Your Budget Can Boost Your Revenue:

1.  Answer the age old question: repair or replace?
Are repeat repairs justified on equipment that has seen better days? If repair costs are significant, it may make sense to replace equipment. hotel ServicePro allows you to track your work order history through every maintenance ticket. View a year’s worth of entries for accurate, verifiable budget data.

2.  Ensure you’re staffed for optimum maintenance.
Yes, labor is one of the top expenses in your maintenance budget. But adequate staffing is critical to keep building systems in good condition. Strike the right balance in next year’s maintenance budget. Use hotel ServicePro to list out time worked, then project where additional labor hours may be warranted.

3.  Highlight the importance of engineering.
Engineering typically makes up 10%-12% of a property’s total expenses. Do results justify that expense? Engineering staff are now major role players in the financial health of a property. They help manage resources, control costs, and extend the life of assets.

4.  Prove the adage–your profit is in the details.
Routine maintenance activities can add up fast…or add to your bottom line. Use hotel ServicePro to control expenses now and plan for next year:

  • Track inventory control, including spare parts and building equipment.
  • Track contract services, such as pest control, window washing, landscaping,
    and pool maintenance.
  • Save energy (and increase safety and security) with properly
    maintained infrastructure.

5.  Keep guests coming back, and encourage positive social media comments.
From front desk to regional headquarters, managers know that a well-maintained property draws and keeps valued guests.

Did you know there’s a way to keep things up to par without a mountain of paperwork?

hotel ServicePro eases recordkeeping demands with a quicker, more efficient way to track maintenance activities right on your mobile device.

Now that you’ve got reason to celebrate the (budget) season, let me know how your property uses hotel ServicePro to crunch the numbers for the year ahead!

May your balance sheets be in the black,
Larry

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Keep Your Cool This Summer: How One Hour a Month Can Make a Big Impact on Your Bottom Line

What’s the industry buzz this summer? Business is up! As properties exceed budgets and management spreads optimism, the hotel ServicePro team hits the road to help clients boost revenue and profitability. On the left, our team meets with clients during the Hampton Inns of New England Meeting. L-R: Gail Nicholson, Zetta Hampton, Jay Visnjic, Amanda Culhane, yours truly, and Kathy Caisse. On the right, the team welcomes HITEC attendees. L- R: Edie Chandler-Lowe, Phil Beilke, Natalie Roberts, and Patrick Scully.

Summer time and the living’s easy…for your guests, that is!

You and your staff, on the other hand, are hard at work creating the vacation experience your guests dreamed of all year. While they soak in your property’s amenities, you know that behind the scenes, your major equipment systems keep all that fun in the sun running smoothly.

Why make time for a systemic equipment inspection in the heat of your summer season?

  • Because that’s when you most want to eliminate equipment failures and ensure uninterrupted comfort for your guests.
  • Because the more frequently you conduct inspections, the more skillful you become. If you stick to a once-a-month schedule, inspections should take an hour or less.
  • Because hotel ServicePro’s asset management component turns your mobile device into an efficient current and historical database. Toss the clipboards and spreadsheets. Use hotel ServicePro to schedule maintenance, automate work orders, generate notices about past-due maintenance, create equipment-specific checklists…and set up an electronic reminder of your next systemic inspection date.

With mobile device in hand follow…

The 5 Basic Steps for a Major Equipment Inspection

Step 1 – Create an asset list.

Did you know that equipment changes 5%-10% each year due to normal wear and tear?

Want to keep major pieces of equipment running at their optimum and save energy too?

Neglect can compound problems if you delay your cataloging. List all the equipment you will encounter and the parameters you will use to inspect each device. Focus on boilers, motors, pumps, fans, compressors, and cooling towers.

Step 2 - Plan the inspection route and do a preliminary walk through.

Determine a logical route that is as direct as possible.

Step 3 - Create a log.

Categorize all information in hotel ServicePro. Be thorough–type as many notes as needed. Remember to schedule the next inspection.

Step 4 - Walk your route.

Your monthly trek will help you get a feel for your assets. You’ll learn what “normal” looks and sounds like and notice when something has changed. Red flags can include temperature, noise, vibration, and visual conditions. A raised awareness means a more optimized system.

Step 5 - Create a work list.

When you plan inspections and upkeep, you extend your assets’ lifecycles.

Major equipment that is routinely monitored and repaired can achieve a 30-40 year service life.

That’s how one hour a month can make a big impact on your bottom line!

August marks the time of year when many properties shift focus from vacation guests to business travelers. Meet me at the Hotel Data Conference, August 12-14 in Nashville, and tell me about your tips for the seasonal transition.

 
Hope to see you in Music City USA,
Larry

 

 

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How to Orchestrate a PIP and Preserve Your Sanity

Under the glow of Hollywood lights: See hotel ServicePro in action–and much more–at hotel SystemsPro’s HITEC Booth #1151, June 23-26 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Highlights include the international expansion of PropertyPro in the Latin American market and a major new hotel ProposalPro client.

Capital spending continues to buoy the hospitality industry’s buy/sell property trend. When a property changes hands–especially if it’s a franchised hotel–the transaction triggers a Property Improvement Plan (PIP) review. New owners must demonstrate that the hotel meets brand standards.

The opportunity: PIP upgrades can deliver a better guest experience and justify rate increases.

The challenge: How can you implement a PIP and keep it positive for guests and staff?

PIP renovations range from parking lot improvements, to new plumbing, to a total transformation of guest rooms and public spaces.
You can orchestrate a successful renovation–even during your busy summer season–if you make sure to plan, plan, and plan some more. For inspiration I present:

Four Essentials for PIP Success

1.  Pay close attention to timing–it’s everything.

  • Start renovations as soon as possible to meet franchisers’/owners’ mandated PIP completion date. Inform all contractors of project start and stop times.
  • Create a pre-planned execution timetable. Enter it in hotel ServicePro’s Calendar function with reminders as deadlines approach.
  • Identify purchase requirements, vendors, and contractors early on. If you hire an experienced contractor or the company’s asset manager to oversee the renovation, you’ll free your GM to focus on hotel employees and guests.
  • Order early. Major purchase items may have long lead times. Track purchase lists and delivery dates in hotel ServicePro.

2.  Line up an expert team.

  • Pick an experienced contractor with solid references from similar projects.
  • Reach out to a brand representative for recommendations and clarification on
    brand standards.
  • Conduct daily meetings with contractors and staff once renovation begins. Call up your hotel ServicePro schedules and checklists to track the project’s progress.

3.  Sweat the details.

  • Create a plan for on and offsite storage.
  • If guest rooms are part of the PIP requirement, consider doing a test room.
  • Use hotel ServicePro for expense control to stay on budget.

4.  Involve your hotel team and, yes, your guests, in the renovation process.

  • Broadcast the renovation period via your website and social media. Guests should know when they walk in the door that construction is underway.
  • Engage your hotel team to help plan how to minimize guest inconvenience. An involved, attentive staff can win positive guest reviews, even with renovations underway.
  • Order renovation signage and use it to convey the positive improvements and how they will benefit guests.
  • Make the PIP process as pleasant as possible for employees and guests. Consider a project theme. Ask guests and employees for comments on renovations.
Millennials are on the radar and already an influence on PIP renovations. The new generation of travelers has its own ideas about the ideal guest experience. High-speed wifi, modular furniture, carpet squares versus wall-to-wall, and sleek lobbies are all current trends that will grow stronger in coming years. Fortunately, the customizable PIP component from hotel ServicePro adapts easily to incorporate your innovations.

hotel ServicePro can help you keep your PIP on track, from bidding and sourcing through project completion–on time and on budget. See for yourself at HITEC Booth #1151, June 23-26 in Los Angeles.

Until next month,

Larry


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New Beginnings: A hotel ServicePro Welcome to Larry Letter

It was a perfect partnership. We hosted dinner for the Holiday Inn brand standards committee in Dallas last month with Proctor & Gamble, the folks who provide products to keep your property sparkling clean. As you prepare for summer travelers, remember, you can organize cleaning schedules, brand standards, and so much more with hotel ServicePro. Read on for tips to keep your season safe and profitable.

Our friend, Bill Mitchell, recently re-joined his former team at Hilton Brand Performance. We will miss Bill here at hotel SystemsPro, but we wish him all the best in his new endeavors.  Bill has graciously handed over the hotel ServicePro blog reins to me.  As Director of Hotel Performance with hotel SystemsPro, I look forward to talking with you often about how I – and hotel ServicePro – can best help you grow your business.

When I was a GM, and later as a Regional Manager and Director of Owner Support for Hilton Worldwide, I developed solid knowledge of hotel operations, PIPs, and franchise processes and policies. I look forward to sharing my industry perspectives with you along with the unique insights I gained from authoring the Maintenance Planner for Hilton’s Focus Service Brands. I also look forward to hearing from you personally about how I can share this knowledge for your success.  In the meantime, Are You Ready for the Summer Rush?

May I suggest an effective motto?  Be Prepared.

Summer is almost here and it looks to be a record breaker. Bookings are already up from last year, according to the American Express Travel survey. Hotel rates are up as well. The good news is higher rates will not deter winter-weary travelers from seeking the sunshine.

The hotel industry shifts from second to fourth gear during summer months. Your occupancy is about to quadruple as solo business travelers give way to a Mom, Dad, and two kids per room.

What’s the best way to prepare for this epic summer season?
A little investment in the front end will keep your property humming through the heat:

1.  Keep guests cool.
Noisy and/or malfunctioning AC units generate some of the most frequent guest complaints in the hotel industry.

  • Make sure that every AC unit is working…quietly. Schedule PTAC maintenance with automatic reminders in hotel ServicePro.
  • Instruct room attendants to leave the AC on at all times. Enter it into their hotel ServicePro checklist. Every guest wants to cool down after checking in from a 90-degree day.
  • Set the guest room temperature at 78 degrees when unoccupied. This helps keep moisture to a minimum, and prevent mold and mildew.

2.  Stock every room with at least one set of towels per guest.
Be generous. If towels must sit on the shelf, it might as well be in a guest room. Put towel reminders on your room attendants’ checklist in hotel ServicePro.

3.  See that pools and hot tubs are clean and operational.

  • Pool cleanliness is a life safety issue for guests. Fungus can proliferate quickly during summer months.  Keep guests safe.
  • Test pool and hot tub chemical levels daily and record them in hotel ServicePro. If pH levels fall outside an acceptable range, the system will automatically generate an email alert to the General Manager.
  • Schedule pool equipment maintenance in hotel ServicePro.

4.  Make sure the lobby breakfast area is in tip-top condition.
Summer travelers will take advantage of your complimentary breakfast…in droves. Keep equipment on a regular maintenance schedule. And remember to order extra food to accommodate all those kids.

5.  Keep a list of family-oriented amenities handy at the front desk–water parks, movie theaters, kid-friendly restaurants, etc.

And speaking of amenities, stock your lobby with cards, games, books, and other family entertainment for rainy days.

Now that your property is ready, make sure your staff is, too. Throw a tropical-themed ice cream party. Switch from business attire to Hawaiian shirts. Do what it takes to get team members excited about the summer season.

When September rolls around and you’ve survived the summer crunch, keep up your maintenance schedule and checklists in hotel ServicePro. It will save time and money–and help you to provide a pleasant guest experience–no matter the season.

Will you be at HITEC in Los Angeles this year, June 23 – 26, at the Los Angeles Convention Center?  If so, please stop by hotel SystemsPro booth #1151 and let me greet you.

See you soon and good travels.

Larry

 

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A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way: Show Those Road Warriors Some Love!

The positive energy at the Hampton Exploratorium in Orlando on April 1 said it all. These GMs have quality assurance at the top of their list. Corporate travelers can expect warm greetings, helpful hints, and above all, clean and well-functioning rooms. Read on for how you too can properly pamper business clientele.

When corporate travelers walk into your lobby, they’ve likely taken planes, trains, and automobiles to get there. Welcome them with a little TLC.

Why go the extra mile to pamper your business clientele? Because happy guests become highly committed. And highly-committed guests are good for your reputation and your bottom line:

How do you turn corporate travelers into highly-committed guests?

Tips to Make Business Travelers Feel at Home
(Illustrated by true tales from actual business travelers)

1. Prepare a warm welcome and a clean room.


“I took my personal car, then the subway, bus, plane, and rental car–and many hours–to get to the hotel. I finally got to my room to find…mildew on the bathroom ceiling! I switched rooms twice and nobody apologized.”


Business guests often arrive tired and yes, cranky. Unlike leisure travelers, road warriors still have plenty of work ahead. Brief your front desk often, and well–a sympathetic greeting goes a long way. Give guests the room they request whenever possible. Offer a complementary bottle of water from the gift shop. Make sure their sigh upon entering the room is happy relief. Rely on hotel ServicePro checklists and scheduling to keep rooms sparkling.

2. Prepare directional cards and other helpful aids to guide guests during
their stay.


“I asked the hotel’s front desk clerk (in a seafood state) if he knew a good local seafood place for dinner. He replied, ‘Not really.’”


You need a list of places to eat, drink, run, and stroll. Where can guests get a haircut? Fill a prescription? Even in this age of mobile search, guests appreciate a printed card with an address to plug into Google Maps.

3. Make sure your rooms promote a good night’s rest–we all need one to do our best.


“I got back to my room at 11 pm, got into bed, and rolled downhill. The air adjuster on my comfort mattress was broken. I was rolling off the bed all night. And the air conditioner hummed like a motorboat.”


Spend a relatively small amount on hotel ServicePro to make sure the HVAC–and the entire property–is regularly inspected, maintained, and promptly repaired.

When are your amenities more than just a convenience? When guests count on them for business! Are the room irons clean and functional? Is Wi-Fi up and running? Enter it all in hotel ServicePro so your staff can keep a regular checklist.

4. Last, but not least: serve great coffee!


“This hotel had really good coffee in the room. OK, I can forgive a lot when I’ve had a good cup of coffee.”


Enough said!

Speaking of business travel, I’ll be in Memphis on May 4-6 for BITAC Tech & Operations. If you see me, let me know how you’re preparing for summer leisure travelers. Next month, I’ll list my top recommendations for making the most of the summer leisure travel season.

 

Until then, it’s time for barbeque and Elvis!

Bill

 

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Rising Rates and Spring Cleaning!

The InterContinental Montreal–site of the IHG Owners Association Canada Committee Meeting–beautifully blends the historic with luxury state-of-the-art. We had dinner in an underground stone vaults used to store gun powder during the French-British Wars. The dinner conversation among hotel owner/operators? Rising RevPAR and raising rates.

Better than the first sighting of daffodils on an early spring morning? Heartwarming hospitality industry performance stats continue to roll in
from 2013.

According to The Highland Group:

  • RevPAR hit an all-time nominal high of $60.66 for US extended stay hotels during 2013.
  • Upscale and mid-price segments each set new annual RevPAR highs. Highland expects the economy sector to reach record levels in 2014.
  • Extended-stay rooms under construction grew by 45% during 2013. Room supply growth should increase for the foreseeable future.

And 2014 is looking good so far, too. Our friends at Smith Travel Research report across-the-board RevPAR increases during February:

  • The economy segment led the way with 7-9% increases.
  • Upper-upscale, upscale, upper-midscale and midscale segments posted gains of 6-8%.
  • The luxury segment saw a 5-7% jump in RevPAR.

This economic warming trend can mean only one thing - time for
spring cleaning!

Planning to raise room rates and generate your own upswing in RevPAR?
If so, a squeaky clean, well-maintained property is a must!

Guests are much more likely to weather a rate increase with a sunny smile if they get great service and a sparkling room where everything functions smoothly. That’s where hotel ServicePro can help. Use our system to keep on top of guest requests. Create and respond to work orders as quickly as possible. Conduct regular inspections to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Prices for mobile devices are at an all-time low–about the same cost as a hotel room. Take advantage and set up your success cycle: Install hotel ServicePro on your handheld devices, keep your property and service up to par, avoid just one guest refund request, and you’ve paid for a device.

Last – but certainly not least – deep clean every room on at least a
quarterly basis.

You know the drill–clean under the bed, flip the mattress, wash the draperies, shampoo the carpets. The list goes on… And keeping track of it is easy with hotel ServicePro’s deep cleaning reminders and scheduling. The system makes cleaning and post-scrub inspections a routine part of housekeeping’s schedule.

With that in mind, I consulted an esteemed Quality Assurance Expert to bring you…

 The Top 10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Guestrooms

  1. Run a 1:2 vinegar-to-water mixture through guest room coffee makers to remove stains and build up. Then run clean water through the machine for a thorough rinse.
  2. Use an inexpensive disposable electric toothbrush to clean shower grout.
  3. Use melamine foam (magic eraser) and an all-purpose cleaner to make tub bottoms shine like new.
  4. Use “My Little Steamer” to remove build up from glass shower doors and mirrors.
  5. Use canned compressed air to remove crumbs from the cracks in furniture. Store properly; this is a combustible!
  6. Use rubbing alcohol to remove hairspray from mirrors and clean remote controls.
  7. Use an inexpensive paint brush to dust HVAC vents and exhaust fans in bathrooms.
  8. Use “Grout Sensation” to clean discolored bathroom floor grout.
  9. Check to see that first aid kits are properly stocked and up to date.
  10. Spring clean your office. Remove all outdated paper, clean binders, update brand standard notebooks. Or…order hotel ServicePro to skip this step, and
    save time!

Corporate travel is about to jump into full swing and I’ll be right in there with my fellow road warriors. Look for me at the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference this week (Atlanta), the Hampton Exploratorium on April 1 (Orlando), and back in Atlanta for the IHG Owner Summit on April 3.

How does your property make corporate travelers feel welcome and well cared for? Catch me on the road or comment below. Then stay tuned next month for tips on pampering your corporate guests so they keep coming back for more.

Happy Spring!
Bill

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