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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

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    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

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    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

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    HFTP is excited to announce the newly updated “Your HFTP” online account portal. “Your HFTP” allows you to successfully manage your HFTP membership online. This refreshed online interface looks and feels just like the HFTP website and (better yet) is mobile-responsive.

The Hidden Benefits of Tasting Events

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited ·15 February 2019
For the two dozen participants, it was a chance 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 happens to be somewhat of an oddity in the world of viticulture because it is a mutant strain of pinot noir and thus not exactly a red or white. This grape's peculiarity was then played out through a hybrid of a vertical tasting (same varietal, same cellaring technique, different vintage) and a horizontal tasting (same vintage, different winemaking process), with the end result being a thorough positive sentiment from the attendees. Admittedly, though, a few thought it could have involved less talk and more wine!These sorts of education-focused wine tastings are not anything new, but they are not used enough in my humble opinion. While this particular form of pinot gris hybrid tasting may be out of reach, the crux of these events are definitely worth pursuing. Here are two other examples that I've experienced to help get you thinking of all the possibilities.First up, the Boston Harbor Hotel eschews lectures for an extensive series of viticulturally themed dinners in their acclaimed Meritage Restaurant. The property's approach reflects a close relationship with their Executive Chef, Daniel Bruce, and some of the finest vineyards throughout the country. Here, the focus is as much on the showcased wines as it is the accompanying food menu designed to express a perfect complement. This year's program consisted of well over a dozen separate mid-week, offseason events, all of which were well-attended and very highly received by guests.Next, I also quite vividly recall a wine tasting we attended at the Four Seasons Grisham Palace in Budapest about a decade ago. Recommended by the concierge, and with nothing else planned, it seemed to be a great opportunity to sample the local produce. One problem, though, was that the entire tasting was conducted in Hungarian and, as the only English-speaking participants, we missed out on most of the educational aspects of the session. Thankfully, the pours were sizeable, the bottles were exceptional and, in the end, I was grateful that I only had to find my way to the elevator!In all three of these cases - as well as numerous others that you can probably recall from your own experiences - the goal is less about profits and more about establishing a relationship between the property and the local community. With wine now produced in all 50 states and growing in per capita consumption, local vineyards must seek direct relationships with the consumer as a means of differentiating themselves within this increasingly competitive environment.The result is a fertile opportunity for you, as the hotelier 'middleman', to establish a partnership or two with regional growers with the incentive being that you can provide these winemakers with more exclusive access to your clientele. Depending upon your location and any alcohol promotion laws therein proscribed, you may already have the chance to work with a wholesaler who can initiate these conversations for you.Apart from providing the wine for the event at no or little cost (depending upon local regulations), the quid pro quo approach would see you take some or all the sampled products onto your wine list, or provide some sort of comps to the vendors during the event. Accordingly, you should plan your wine sampling program carefully, looking to incorporate the appropriate purchases in a diligent and pervasive manner.Overall, as properties continue to seek means of differentiating themselves, wine tasting events can provide an outstanding opportunity for both community involvement and strategic enhancement of your product offering. While these events may not show an immediate return on investment at the outset, they can pay off tremendously insofar as working to help with your unique branding and guest satisfaction.

Promising Food Trends for 2019

Hotel Online·14 February 2019
Your hotel or resort recommends local dining, stocks popular snacks and hosts an in-house restaurant. With shifts in how people choose food and prefer to be served, evaluating guests' needs and desires is crucial in the hospitality industry.

The Hidden Benefits of Tasting Events

Hotel Online·13 February 2019
Finding myself away at a mountain resort for a food and wine festival last year, it was the perfect opportunity to not only participate in a wine tasting conducted by a vintner from a prominent Oregon winery as well as reflect upon the staying power of these types of events.

Are Chatbots useful for restaurants?

Digital Solutions That Just Work!·13 February 2019
For smaller independent restaurants or chains a chatbot can be the most effective tool to attract new customers and communicate with them on the platform they are already using daily – Facebook Messenger. In combination with a Mobile Wallet pass a chatbot can significantly increase the customer lifetime value by increasing loyalty.

Six Senses Zighy Bay's Approach to Healthy Eating

Hotel Online· 4 February 2019
Six Senses Zighy Bay is in the kitchen with its sleeves rolled up and intentions set—healthy guts inside and healthy land outside. What’s cooking is always mindfully sourced and deliciously prepared with nothing wasted. Out with the palm oil, processed food and plastic. In with the planet. Guests enjoy delicious menus during their stay and learn simple ways they can adopt healthier habits at home.
Article by David Mansbach

The Broken Record Discussion - Boardroom Diversity Within The Restaurant Industry

AETHOS Consulting Group · 4 February 2019
While top governance experts have been promoting greater gender diversity for more than a decade, not much has changed within the restaurant industry. These glum statistics say it all.In 2015, of the 392 board seats available among the 45 U.S. public restaurant chains, only 69 were occupied by women (18%).In 2019, of the 414 board seats available among the 51 U.S. public restaurant chains, only 80 were occupied by women (19%).A 1% increase - seriously? In its simplest form, 80% of all consumer spending is driven by women. Logic dictates a board with more female representation encourages deliberative thinking in critical areas such as strategy culture, governance, risk, diversity and shareholder engagement, especially in the restaurant business.When a concept is broken, influencers step in; powerful groups such as hedge funds and mutual funds and governmental bodies are pushing for non-negotiable change.In 2018, California mandated that companies incorporated in the state and listed on a major U.S. stock exchange have at least one female director by the end of 2019 and at least three female directors by the end of 2021.Starting in 2020, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS - the leading proxy advisory firm) will vote "no" on re-election of a Nominating and Governance Chairman if their company does not have at least one woman on their board.This is not a new concept. In 2008, Norway set quotas of 40% female representation, and other western European countries have set 30% targets for female board representation. A vast majority of our global clients agree that executing on this mandate was not easy, but it has paid off incredibly well.Although these accountability measures will apply predominantly to public restaurant companies, I implore the thousands of private restaurant organizations to take this initiative very seriously. While the current restaurant C-Suite and succession planning pipeline is male-dominated, I have personally worked with many extraordinary female executives throughout the industry who can deliver incredible value within the boardroom. Private companies' "keepers of the castle," such as nominating/governance committees, private equity owners, founders, family offices and executive recruiters, need to hold each other accountable and change their thinking around boardroom diversity initiatives.

U.S. Department of Labor Changes Rule for Tipped and Non Tipped Work

Hotel Business Review by· 3 February 2019
The U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division ("DOL") recently revoked its so-called "80/20 rule" for employees who receive tips. This "rule" had attempted to provide guidance about what happens where restaurant servers and other tipped employees work on tasks that don't directly generate tips, such as rolling silverware or wiping tables. The rule generally stated that where a tipped employee spent a "substantial amount of time (in excess of 20 percent) performing general preparation work or maintenance," the employer could not take a tip credit and needed to pay the employee the full minimum wage.

Requirements And Equipment To Start A Catering Business

Alfaro Aguado ·25 January 2019
If we go back in time, it would feel incredible to say that catering as an alternative to host a feast dates back from China a few thousands of years in the past. At first, it was not meant to be a business, but through time the need for reliable means to regain energy in the Silk Road gave rise to increasing the popularity of catering as an economic enterprise. Roman, greeks, and even medieval monks had their own influence in how catering was perceived throughout history, and it is recorded how Alexis Benoit Soyer, a cook, writer, and inventor of cooking equipment, used a type of boiler as a heater to maintain food warm for a longer time.Nowadays, catering is the name given to a very special food and drinks service directed towards an institution or a collectivity and providing a series of dishes in all types of modern events including familiar encounters, shows, academic talks, and company meetings. But what are the requirements to start this type of business?Are there any requirements to start a catering business?Since this type of business is very wide, and each variant of catering has different requirements, if we are trying to start a successful enterprise, it is important to think about a few recommendations to make it successful. We need to have a business plan with a strategy in mind taking into consideration the audience you want to reach, the legal aspect of this business, some personnel considerations, and the expenditures associated with this business.To start with, it is important to study what's the most significant need in the area, the competitors and providers already active in the catering business. With this in mind, you will have a clear view of what is best to offer, and it will be different to work in catering as a delivery service, in events, for companies, institutions, or as a part of the hospitality industry.What about equipment for catering?When it comes to equipment, there are two things you need to keep in mind: You have tips for buying obvious equipment like knives and pans, and there are certain things people would usually forget or leave to the last minute, and you should not make that mistake. It would be better to be guided by someone who already knows about it and can assist you with your choices. Many catering equipment suppliers in Australia do that as well, and some of them have been in the market for many years, as in the case of AGC Equipment, which provides high-quality equipment to cook and display your culinary masterpieces.Remember you will need a lot of personnel using more than two knives. Since you're buying a myriad of cooking utensils, it will be easy to cheap them out. Don't do that. Quality counts in this business, and you would lose extra time with cheap knives and extra money to replace a cheap spatula that couldn't stand the pressure of your catering business.You will also need plenty of storage containers, and they are quite important, but nobody will see them, and they will serve the same purpose whatever the brand it is. So, don't spend too much on Tupperware.On the other hand, most people starting their own catering business seem to focus on kitchen equipment and do not remember they are also meant to serve food as well. And what's more, the equipment they use to serve is the one that leaves an impression to their customers. So, don't go cheap when buying your cutlery, crockery, serviettes, and glasses, and keep in mind you will serve a large audience, and you don't want your diners to see a mismatch in their knives and forks.

Single-Serve, On-Demand Wine for Hotels: The Future is 'Here' and 'Now'

Plum ·24 January 2019
This trend towards the careful curation of a seamless, customized experience across seemingly every category, has settled with significant weight onto the desks of hospitality leaders. After all, hospitality is, at its core, an industry forged on the principle of establishing a guest connection and exceptional service. Hoteliers are in the business of marketing experience, rather than merely a product or service, that evokes a desired feeling and response in each guest that ultimately drives loyalty and revenue.We are witnessing an exciting shift into a time during which data-driven insights, artificial intelligence, virtual experiences, digital amenities, and mobile solutions are becoming the norm. Guest service, while still holding on to its traditional roots where necessary (i.e., guests who prefer a high-touch experience), is offering a level of instant gratification, self-service and guest-centric convenience that was never before possible.What we're trying to say here, ultimately, is that the future is here -- and it's 'here and now!'Frictionless Service Why does the 'buzzword' frictionless hold so much value in the recent economy? Because the today's consumer simply doesn't want to wait. Rather, they don't have to. Over time (and with the nudge of technology), we have learned to embrace a wide-spread culture of instant gratification. Perhaps primarily inspired by the internet, most of us expect to access information instantly, communicate instantly and make purchases, well... you guessed it: instantly. Look to the rise of Amazon's same-day delivery program, the consumer embrace of virtual voice-activated assistants such as Alexa or Google Mini, AI-powered concierges and self-checkout stores. While some people will continue to show a preference for a conventional shopping process, many of us are making rapid strides towards a future that offers a faster, more seamless path to purchase.In the realm of hospitality, this becomes especially exciting. The age-old complaints surrounding lines at the airport and hotel front desk? Well, those can be easily remedied with the introduction of technology like check-in kiosks and mobile apps. What about losing your room key? That's no longer a concern, for those hotels offering mobile keyless entry. However, it doesn't end there -- the demand for a frictionless service has found its way into hotel rooms as well. What does that look like, you might wonder? Well, it looks like a guest having a perfectly chilled glass of wine after a long day, but without the wait.With new, cutting-edge luxury amenities, more and more hotels are looking to offer guests services that were traditionally limited to more manual processes (room service or restaurant service) within the comfort of their hotel room, at the simple touch of a button. The Plum wine appliance delivers wine by the glass, with consumption that is tracked and billed via integrated cloud-based software and automatically charged to the room. If that's what the future of in-room service looks like, perhaps coupled with a Smart TV and some complimentary Netflix... count us in.Right Time and Place Drives Revenue Never doubt the power of impulse, especially when it comes to buying decisions. The widespread shift to autonomous retail environments isn't just about the needs of the customer; it also benefits companies regarding consumer spending. In fact, 84% of Americans admit to making impulse buys, nine out of 10 millennials have purchased something impulsively, and studies suggest that impulse buying translates to gratification. This pattern is often empowered by 'opportunistic purchasing' desires, meaning that consumers are inspired to make that purchase based on a perceived deal, opportunity or convenience.So, what's the best way to tap into impulse and opportunistic purchasing within the hospitality market? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. With the help of technology, hoteliers have the unique opportunity to remove operational delays that act as obstacles. This is where self-service amenities become especially valuable, and likely represent an exciting area of technological development moving forward. With on-demand conveniences such as Plum, hoteliers can create revenue generating opportunities when and where guests are most likely to indulge their impulses.Looking Ahead Hoteliers can increase their revenues by catering to this trend of instant gratification and learning how to encourage impulsive buying behavior. Though a relatively new concept, it is ultimately a win-win for hotels and guests. Guests are treated to an experience which is consistently more convenient, reliable and personalized, while hotels can benefit from the competitive differentiation, better reviews, increased loyalty and a boost to the bottom line.If you ask us, this frictionless, here and now future sounds pretty exciting.Interested in learning more about Plum to bring on-demand in-room wine by the glass to guests? Click here.

Increasing Productivity with Restaurant Inventory Management Tech

mycloud HOSPITALITY·24 January 2019
In the world of restaurants, managers look forward to many things…but restaurant inventory management is practically never one of them. It is probably safe to say that counting inventory is not as gratifying as nailing the perfect dinner shift, but it is a critical process in your restaurant operation nonetheless.

Eco-Products Offering Cup Lids for Sipping Without a Straw

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek·22 January 2019
With the growth in consumer demand for packaging choices that are both sustainable and innovative, Eco-Products is now offering compostable lids that allow sipping without a straw.

What Corked Wine Teaches You About Service Excellence

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited ·17 January 2019
For all of my fellow oenophiles out there, it's one of the worst feelings in the world. You pop open a bottle, pour yourself a glass, take a sip and your mouth is hit by a musty, astringent splash that eviscerates any lingering flavors. The wine is skunked and utterly worthless.This lesson all comes down to one of the hallmarks of a service culture in that it's not just about how well you provide for your guests but also how well you recover from any errors or experiential gaps, with the term of 'double deviations' epitomizing this concept. This requires some explanation, but the lesson here about skunked wine can be adapted for any other hotel operation or trainable aspect.The biggest worry about a bottle going stale is that you never can tell until it's opened. Of course, you can make assumptions based on the winery, varietal and vintage, but it's still always a question mark. A litmus test of sorts before you even let a guest take a sip is to sniff the wet end of the cork. The aroma will, as per the title, obviously have skunky elements, while other telltale signs of decay are any notes of wood, mold, manure, barnyard, hay potato skins or asparagus. If you have never encountered a corked bottle, you'll know it when you smell it!The taste will follow in stride and more strongly than the funky fragrance, but if the smell is palpably wrong, the last thing you want to then do is let a guest endure the displeasure of having even one drink. Right there, just with a simply whiff, is the chance for your servers to demonstrate their knowledge and deepen their rapport with customers. There are also other visual signs to note so that your team can best service their patrons by preventing them from tasting a skunked drop, including the liquor having a brownish, opaque color, a fizzy structure when it's not a sparkling wine or perhaps the cork is pushed out slightly from the neck.Regardless of when or how the rot is discovered, though, what matters most is what your server does next. The most basic form of follow-up is to go back to the cellar, put out another bottle of the same label and open it to see if it too is off. In all likelihood it'll taste just fine. However, you must keep in mind that by this point the table has been waiting for its drinks for an additional five to ten minutes, delaying the regular course of the collective meal experience and letting frustration set in to reduce overall meal satisfaction.A little something extra is needed to balance the books, even if the deterioration of flavors was in no way your restaurant's fault. The fact remains that guests will perceive this as a slight on your part and they are thus justified in their nonverbal desires for a gratis gift for their troubles. While I'm not suggesting you comp the entire purchase, a free dessert or an extra round at the end of the meal will go a long way to both positively surprising this customer set and building more advocacy for your restaurant than if everything had gone smoothly from the start.Let me know with you the two times this has happened to me at a restaurant. The first was at Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse in Paris Las Vegas where I ordered a bottle of Clos Vougeot 2009. The sommelier tasted it before me - the correct approach - and promptly rejected the bottle before bringing out a second bottle of the same wine which was perfect. The second was at the Le Champlain in the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City where I ordered a bottle of Fixin Premier Cru, an above average burgundy although the vintage escapes me. This time the sommelier poured the wine for me to taste, and when I remarked that it was terrible he too tasted it then concurred that it was off. Afraid to bring out another bottle of the same wine, he upgraded me to a grand cru of an even better year for no additional charge. Although the recovery incentive was better for the latter incident, what's remarkable is that, despite both incidents occurring years ago, the adept handling of events is still quite memorable.The key here is that whenever there is a fault, your recovery efforts must be speedy and forthright. And instead of leaving these types of situations up to the moment whereby a manager is forced to make a decision extemporaneously, you might go about setting up a protocol in advance for how to best compensate guests for their troubles.

What Corked Wine Teaches You About Service Excellence

Hotel Online·16 January 2019
By Larry Mogelonsky - There's an important lesson in the form of what corked bottles - that is, wine that's gone off - can present as an opportunity to wow your restaurant patrons and hotel guests.For all of my fellow oenophiles out there, it's one of the worst feelings in the world. You pop open a bottle, pour yourself a glass, take a sip and your mouth is hit by a musty, astringent splash that eviscerates any lingering flavors. The wine is skunked and utterly worthless.This lesson all comes down to one of the hallmarks of a service culture in that it's not just about how well you provide for your guests but also how well you recover from any errors or experiential gaps, with the term of 'double deviations' epitomizing this concept. This requires some explanation, but the lesson here about skunked wine can be adapted for any other hotel operation or trainable aspect.

Are Food Reviews Noise in a Restaurant's Digital World?

mycloud HOSPITALITY· 4 January 2019
Anyone who has worked in a restaurant kitchen knows its noise. The banging of pots and pans, orders being shouted, and the sizzling din of operations in motion. Kitchens can be a deafening place. Imagine that noise enveloping the dining room to such an extent that guests couldn’t see the menu clearly or enjoy their meal without intrusion

Restaurant Staff: to Tip or not to Tip?

EHL ·27 December 2018
Tipping has even come into the political spotlight In the UK, where the government - which is currently contending with Brexit - has been reportedly considering introducing legislation to ban restaurant owners from keeping tips earned by waiters.EHL Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior Sebastien Fernandez says the UK government's proposed action is well intentioned but questions the way in which it would tackle the issue."For sure, employees who do not receive their fair share of the tips are going to be dissatisfied, but should we really force restaurant owners and managers to do it or should we educate them that if they don't do it, they're going to lose the trust of the employees?"On the plus side, the move should at least make restaurant managers aware that tips belong to the employees and not the restaurant, he says.Dr. Fernandez believes the Swiss system is good as staff don't have to rely so heavily on tips as in the US. Tipping motivates waiters and other staff to "give their best".In Switzerland, he adds, "there is an issue as to whether the employees should share their tips with each other." If the staff - including those working in the kitchen - don't get a share of the tips there's no incentive to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.The fairest way might be to have a common pot or pool, Fernandez says, with the waiting staff taking half, the kitchen staff getting perhaps a quarter, and the remaining quarter going to other employees, so "everyone benefits."If we really want employees to perceive the management as fair, the management should not receive (any of the tips unless) the manager serves the customers like any other employee. But he should not be entitled to receive more tips just because of the position. That's the danger.Tipping: A cause of resentment?A study by an EHL student, Catherina Bosshard, as part of her undergraduate program, highlighted the impact on employee satisfaction if management kept any of the tips. She surveyed some 183 waiters working in 32 restaurants in Switzerland."What was interesting was employees or waiters or waitresses tended to be more dissatisfied by their jobs when the management took even a small part of the tips and they were more likely to say they would try to find another job in the next year," Sebastien Fernandez recalls.The reason for the resentment was that management is usually perceived to have higher salaries, so restaurant employees "have the impression their tips are being stolen by the management. It truly creates resentment and dissatisfaction." In some hotel and restaurant chains, he says, management may even take the biggest share of the tips.Dr. Fernandez has conducted several studies into tipping behavior in Switzerland. In one study, he coached restaurant staff in Switzerland on how they could get bigger tips by, say, adding a personalized 'thank you' note on the bill. When employees used some of these techniques, tips increased on average by a staggering 40 percent. Even if the customers didn't give larger tips, they complimented the staff more. "So there was really a shift to a more positive direction."He is now working on a study comparing tipping behavior in eight European countries, including Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. "We are currently analyzing the data to see if we find some similarities or huge differences between European countries, knowing that most of the research so far has been done in the US or Canada, because in these countries the employees rely on tips to get decent wages.""So far, from the first countries we have analyzed, food quality is again not so important. Service quality is a bit more important in some, but not in other countries."It is expected that the analysis of the data will be completed by the end of 2018, with publication of the findings possibly next year.

The ROI of Exceeding Guest Expectations

Plum ·18 December 2018
The answer is, indisputably, yes.Any hotel that understands the ever-increasing importance of guest satisfaction, can easily recognize the ways in which a more seamless and personalized offering is becoming paramount across the hospitality landscape. Why? Because if you aren't meeting (or ideally, exceeding) guest expectations, you aren't attracting guests or establishing long-term guest loyalty. And if you aren't creating a community of loyal guests, well... another property will.In a recent whitepaper published by Deloitte, it was noted that "In order to win and retain guest preference, hotels should be more thoughtful about how people and technology, powered by insights, weave together to deliver authentic hospitality." After all, building long-term, guest loyalty is an on-going investment, one which can be supported across various touch-points of the hospitality experience.So, let's take this understanding a step beyond guest check-in and operational technology, all the way into the hotel room of each guest. How can hotels affirm their dedication to a more modern, personalized experience with the provision of non-essential, luxury items and in-room services?Guest Relations Manager at The Thief Hotel, Dominic Gorham, explains, "I believe the future of service will be based in informality. It has to be more relaxed, more instantaneous." In fact, today's concept of luxury has evolved in tandem with industry shifts in guest expectations. Moving beyond the high thread-count sheets and impeccable rooms with sprawling design and amenities, modern luxury focuses more on the complete guest experience and provision of instant gratification. And while the cornerstones of 'luxury travel' will remain, the marriage of traditional service and new-age technology allows for a leaner, more accessible version of modern luxury. Because guests today aren't just looking for a bed to sleep in; rather, they crave an experience that allows them to indulge and feel catered to both on and off property.This can be achieved through luxury service staples, as well as the basic amenities. After all, guests expect hotel properties to meet their expectations with luxury upgrades, but if you exceed their expectations on the non-essentials too, demonstrating that you've truly considered every aspect of their stay, they'll surely take notice.Ultimately, non-essential luxury and in-room services represent a wealth of opportunity for hotels to go above and beyond for their guests, which is the true competitive differentiator in today's landscape. This can include a number of amenities and considerations such as free, in-room WiFi, a Smart TV with Netflix etc., extra chargers, in-room Nespresso, a built-in iPad control for lights/temperatures and, our personal favourite, in-room by-the-glass wine. After a hectic day of travel, work or sightseeing, many guests may prefer a low-touch, self-service model that allows them seamless, instant gratification and luxury.Virtualizing an amenity, such as by-the-glass wine, allows hotels to not only significantly reduce labor costs, but appeal to an instantaneous, low-touch service model for each guest. Forget waiting around for room service to serve up a cling-wrapped glass of wine after a 20 minute delay and added surcharges, or scrambling around in the hotel minibar. Instead, hotels can offer each guest an automatic, perfectly preserved and chilled glass of wine on demand. The in-room appliance uses cloud software to automatically track and bill guests, while also alerting housekeeping when it is time to replace an empty bottle. This not only represents a unique and modern offering to hotels of various sizes, but caters to the modern guests' evolving demand for convenience across every touchpoint of their stay.And in case you're not entirely convinced that the inclusion of luxury, non-essential amenities and services will provide your property with the ROI of an enhanced customer experience, consider this:A 2014 study of the Value of Customer Experience amongst two $1 billion+ businesses published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) managed to quantify the effects of good customer experience. The researchers found that "after controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases in the transaction-based business (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services that the company sells), customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience". And considering that 68% of the customers change brands/providers due to poor customer service, the argument for the prioritization of customer service becomes undeniable.So, ask yourself -- are you ready to invest in an enhanced guest experience that paves the way for the long-term ROI of happy, loyal guests? If so, we can help. Click here to learn more.

Developing a concept with blood, sweat and expertise

Savvy IQ ·17 December 2018
Growing up in a family who owned and operated a fast food business, I spent most of my early years working in the family business; from weekend shifts during school term and remembering my school holidays as days in the shop rather than on the beach. Unknowingly I was learning valuable lessons in business operations and management. When completing high school, I continued to work in the family business for some time, whilst studying part time to obtain the theoretical techniques in business which I felt were missing. I finally moved away from the family business and began developing a career in the hotel industry, focusing on F&B. With the ten years of experience I gained, my life savings, and a loan from the bank which my parents were kind enough to guarantee, I decided to open my first cafe. Having a strong eagerness to succeed, an entrepreneurial approach, much motivation, lots of hard work and initiative, the small cafe business grew to a company of twelve restaurants, cafes and retail over a six year period. Three restaurants were accoladed with a one hat rating (Michelin star equivalent in Australia), which I was most proud of. In a quick paragraph, it sounds quite simple, however there were so many factors to obtaining this achievement and success; a great team, an open mindedness, many long hours and stress and most importantly, creative ideas.I later sold the company, and utilised my education, sixteen years hospitality experience and proven track record, to spend the next ten years travelling the world and working in some of the m ost amazing cities at senior level for some great company's. The past ten years has been much about advising and strategizing for companies and individuals; implementing, developing and creating cool concepts globally; and managing organisations with many talented individuals. Savvy IQ (the consulting company I founded), creates concepts and advises in operations on a regular basis to many restaurant groups, hotel chains and small and large businesses. After much advising and a long pause in self-employment, I decided to step back into ownership and implement everything I have been mentoring others. Hence the birth of Bao & Bing in Marylebone, London.I discovered an Italian deli/cafe in Marylebone that was on the market which I managed to turn it into a Taiwanese restaurant in just under ten weeks; which was a challenge to say the least. Now with three weeks of trading, we have been blessed with success and the feedback has been amazing. Everyone is rav ing about the food, the service is on par, the ambience (lighting and music) is exciting and we have created a cool, fun vibe in a neighbourhood that was crying out for something different. The systems (POS, HR, Cost control etc) all running perfectly. The social media is exciting and the reviews have been great. So why is that so? The idea, passion and hunger to succeed was there, coupled with personally touching all aspects of the concept; from design, food, uniforms, lighting, music choice, strategy, IT etc etc....... And all on a budget!Where are we now? We are developing phase two of our menu. Adding our specials that will launch in the new year; creating our secret menu dish which is revealed to guests with a code word written in Mandarin on a light-box on the wall; planning the launch of our prosecco bao brunch; And in the first quarter of 2019, we will launch our breakfast offering. Constant innovation, development and creativity.Creativity breeds excitement and innovation. Constant development and the need to keep touching the business personally. How did we create Bao & Bing?First of all was to let the creativity flow. I had to develop a concept where the gap in the market existed. The need to consider a cuisine that is well renowned for its flavours; and above all, develop a price point so that the venue could become an affordable everyday dining experience; whilst considering a simplified model for operations, cost management and scalability.Ideas were thrown around our 'Savvy IQ think tank', from Cuban, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian; and then together we redefined every cuisine idea to specific localised regions of each country. But then it came to me! I travel to Taiwan regularly, I love the food, I love the culture and I am passionate about the country. Most probably heavily influenced from the beautiful Taiwanese girl I married ten years ago, who I now have two fun loving kids with. Now it was time to develop the idea further and create the concept.To begin, I considered a simple formula many of you may know and one I have lived by: Good food, good service, fun ambience all at the right price. So here are some points on how to develop and create ideas.Write ideas down straight away when they come to mind. In this day and age where we carry our smartphones everywhere, we can take pictures, write notes and record ideas. I have lost so many ideas in my time; and am reminded of them after I see it again a second time round; most times it's too late to use. I now tend to use Pinterest to grab ideas for lighting, finishes, decor, food and beverage; And I look at what attracts me to a picture and constantly update my boards. So begin the concept creation by collating as many inspirations as possible through your travels, the internet or any other form that inspires you.In Bao & Bing, we have a 'Bingo Wh eel'. When your bill arrives, the customer picks a number between 1 and 90 for the chance to have the check on the house. Was it my idea? No. I noted a similar game in an Italian concept during my travels in Beirut. The restaurant used a container with 90 balls, and the game was called tombola. The numbers were shaken in a container and you had a chance to have the meal on the house. it was all very subtle when the waiter came about and there was no real impact from this great offering. My part was document this great idea, for a potential later use. So what did we do differently? We made it a little more exciting. We invite the guests to come to the bar where the Bingo wheel is sitting in top of an old stereo and ask them to pick a number between 1 and 90. When the customer comes to the bar, we turn on the stereo to play an old Taiwanese song (quite loudly to gain attention of the other guests) and slowly spin the wheel. I have never seen so many people happy to see the bill arrive!Stop doing the same thing over and over. Focus on doing something different. Not to say you should not practice and implement everything you have learnt or been taught. However, as I previously mentioned my initiation into the hospitality industry was through my parents business. I soon realised after working in the hotel industry and studying management, that there were many ways my parents could have of improved their business model. Not to say they were not successful, but they did the same thing day in day out for so many years and could have possibly grown their business further if they perhaps made some changes. Look at the success stories in life and in business and put together a pool of items that will make your concept successful. Ideas are always recycled, amended and perfected. But there is always a starting point that sparks the idea. Use people around you to bounce ideas. At Savvy IQ, we have a regular think ta nk on ideas for different focuses. Be it concept creation, marketing, IT systems, business development or just a general catch up as to how we can do things better. In these meetings I have been the developer of many bad ideas; however, around a group of talented people, we have turned an initial not so good idea into an amazing idea. Sometimes it requires a spark to get things going. Everyone involved in generating ideas should know everything about the brief. Do not hold anything back and be transparent. Even if there's something that you think is not relevant, it still should bel included to get ideas moving.Read magazines, articles and industry news. Reading is the best way for creating new thoughts and stimulating great ideas. I constantly read and I subscribe to many publications. Even when I am time poor, I make an effort to skim through magazines or articles on the web. I have added business books to my routine over the years, which has helped me learn more and expand my way of thinking. Try and make time for reading. I am just as guilty as the next person with distraction of social media. However, put a pause on the social media an you'll find plenty of thought stimulation with a book.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How Your Hotel Can Have an Outdoor Fitness Center

The Drifter Collective ·10 December 2018
Hotels often feature indoor fitness areas, which may include a small room with treadmills or an entire facility dedicated to weights and heavy-duty equipment. However, hotels and resorts are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to exercise space.Playworld is one company that is bringing workout equipment to the outdoors, especially with their fitness playgrounds for adults and children. Exterior exercise equipment is encouraging communities and businesses to support healthy living. Hotels are joining the shift toward active lifestyles, and guests can pursue fitness during their visits.Fitness TrailsOutdoor exercise equipment can get placed in easily accessible locations so visitors can enjoy the fixtures with ease. For hotels and resorts that spread across expansive property, trails allow fitness fanatics to jog, bike or walk up to the equipment. Visitors can enhance their regular workouts with resistance training or stretching apparatuses. Instead of a simple cardio routine, they can get a full-body workout.The outdoor designs require stable foundations, so each piece needs to get installed in the ground. The equipment should get set up on a properly drained site. Installation can also happen on a new or existing cement base so that adults can put their full weight on the machinery without it budging. The equipment needs an initial grading which accounts for appropriate depth of safety surfacing.While playgrounds are a lively way to get energy out, an age-appropriate fitness area shifts the attention from entertainment to health. Playworld's fitness equipment is specifically for ages nine and up. The equipment accommodates any level of exercise, from athlete to beginner, and a variety of styles helps adults and older children stretch, body-weight train and integrate exercises.Rooftop Exercise SpacesFor hotels and resorts that prefer a rooftop exercise area, the outdoor equipment must have a stable surface which it can get properly secured to. Surface mount equipment can get attached to a concrete pad if it is deep enough to accommodate the structures. To safely install fitness equipment, consult with a local inspector and professional contractors.Rooftops present different hazards than traditional exterior fitness equipment areas, so sufficiently plan for installation and use. Transporting the fitness equipment to begin installation is also different because most hotels do not have sizable elevators or alternate means of moving it to the roof. Lifting each workout apparatus to the roof may include outside help.Multi-Age Fitness PlaygroundsHotels can also benefit from playgrounds with stations for multiple age groups that feature workout equipment. From adults to older children, outdoor fitness playgrounds can promote active lifestyles for hotel guests of several age groups. While children are playing on the playground, adults can move too.With equipment designed by fitness experts, the stations offer creative ways to tone muscles and heighten athletic ability. The safety measures are thorough, but some facilities use cushioning underneath the playground equipment to add extra support and reduce the risk of injury.Along with multiple age groups, these fitness playgrounds also allow users of different abilities that may be at your hotel to enjoy activity and play. In light of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Playworld considers unique mobility needs and different conditions for all-around inclusive fun.Static vs. Interactive EquipmentHotels can purchase interactive and static equipment to complete their outdoor fitness area. Static equipment that does not budge when guests use it such as a step exercise station provide support. Interactive equipment such as a recumbent bike move in response to users actions to offer dynamic capabilities. Also, outdoor static and interactive workout equipment are built for changing weather conditions.The equipment material is strong and can continue servicing hotel guests for years. Each is designed to withstand weathering, but shade can help keep the equipment cool and dry. Because warm climates can heat up the equipment, Playworld provides several light color options. However, the range of colors also allows for hotels to select whatever option suits the establishment's color scheme.Equip Your Hotel With Outdoor Fitness EquipmentExterior workout equipment is the next step in furnishing hotels with fun and interactive fitness options. Appeal to a wider group of people who want to work on physical fitness with fitness playgrounds or trails. Draw guests outside with a variety of outdoor workout supports to change how they think about hotel fitness areas.

Why Outsourcing Hotel Staff Doesn't Always Work

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited · 3 December 2018
While the two abovementioned advantages of outsourcing are indeed quite lucrative and not to mention the overall decrease in risk involved with all forms of employee care the primary drawback is that service is compromised, especially in the face of the modern trend for personalization.Ultimately, a hotel is dependent on its people. Before the dawn of integrated CRMs and omniscient PMSs, this meant that your frontline workers, in tandem with your senior team, had to have the wherewithal and the passion for the job to remember all the specific preferences of habitus and to go out of their way to properly satisfy each guests requests. With all the data at our disposal nowadays, we seem to be forgetting this time-honored tradition of our industry.Guest-Staff Interactions Matter in the Information AgeYes, data can help you to personalize the guest experience and anticipate service requests, but such systems will never be fully capable of supplanting the emotionally charged, face-to-face encouragement one receives when dealing with a thoroughly knowledgeable and caring staff member.Because they are transient and because they are not solely devoted to your hotel, outsourced employees wont be able to deliver the same level of enthusiasm and exactness in any manner of tasks executed nor will they be able to master your specific SOPs because they may also be shuffled through a few other properties in the region.Add to this that outsourcing agencies have significantly higher rates of employee turnover, and it may be that a guest only encounters new faces every time he or she enters a public area. Not only does this dilute the customers personal connection to the hotel brand and thereby decreases loyalty, but it also poses a slight security risk as you wont know who all these fresh-faced staffers are nor will they be able to recognize suspicious visitors.I find this trend to be particularly concerning as service is one of the core components of all great hotel experiences. When we let it slide, all key monetary performance indicators will suffer over the long run.All the Best Properties Value Long-Serving EmployeesIndeed, all the best properties in the world the ones we all dream of staying or working at are ones where the staff are veterans of all the inner workings of that hotel as well as the local area.As we are all emotional beings, it only takes one convivial and insightful conversation with an attentive server or butler for a guest to overlook a propertys perceived deficiencies and give a five-star rating each and every time. It only takes one benevolent action from a seasoned supervisor who knows how to thoroughly coordinate an effective response in order to nullify any service error. It only takes the conversant fervor of a front desk clerk to motivate a guest to upgrade to a suite or to try out one of your amenities instead of wandering offsite.Only by knowing a property inside out which takes lots of time and onsite experience can a team member truly deliver an outstanding guest experience or feel empowered to go that extra mile and overdeliver on a specific service request. Knowing ones hotel and all manner of specific responses doesnt happen overnight; it requires mastery of ones line of work, which isnt possible via outsourcing.Effective Service is Built on TeamsWhen you contract out labor, the team dynamic fails to develop with trust within and between departments. As social animals, we need to develop some sense of regular contact with those in our tribe in order to be at our most productive and for our morale not to dip.To attain a level of autonomous execution of tasks and to thereby respond in a timely manner to service requests, teams must growth together. You must foster a great corporate culture and support all staff members with internal programs that benefit their wellbeing to instill a strong sense of camaraderie.If on the other hand you have fostered a culture of frequent turnover via outsourcing, any training investments will naturally have a lower return. This is in contrast with the contemporary and comprehensive in-house training teams at select properties whereby valuing each employee reduces turnover and in turn the sunk costs of onboarding and mentoring. In other words, training has a significant hidden expense associated with it, but this is easily recouped over the long run.So, if you have made the move to contract out a certain department, please consider the above downsides. They are subtle and wont be immediately reflected on a P&L, but they will inevitably cost you by eroding guest satisfaction and reducing the number of return visits, social media shares or word-of-mouth recommendations.In a travel landscape where loyalty is already waning by the minute because of the influences of the OTAs and alternate lodging providers, you cannot afford to give consumers any additional reason to not have a thoroughly memorable guest experience. You cannot afford to compromise service for outsourced labor as impeccable service will always be the core of an unforgettable hotel stay.(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, originally published in Hotel News Now on September 18, 2018)

New Strategies for Recapturing the Value of Hotel Food Waste

Hotel Business Review by· 2 December 2018
Food waste wastes money. In the US alone, we waste more than $160 billion worth of food each year. Reducing waste is a perfect example of how more sustainable business practices can sustain people, planet, and prosperity all at the same time. The food waste debate often focuses on how to keep waste out of landfills by diverting it to people, animals or compost (in that order). That's a worthwhile goal, but it's not the best way to save money-or the planet. Rather, preventing food waste is the most effective way to save money and the environment.

4 Things Restaurants Don't Know About Loyalty Programs

Hospitality Technology Magazine·30 November 2018
Nowadays, the restaurants do not fully understand the importance of customer relationship and loyalty for business growth. The fact is they can actually increase their sales with loyalty programs instead of spending a huge amount of money on marketing services.

How Can Restaurants Adapt to Modern Dietary Quirks

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited ·29 November 2018
In my youth, my parents would take me to Joes Steakhouse in Montreal where we would eat massive rib steaks on wooden cutting boards with copious amounts of butter and sour cream lathered on baked potatoes. Posh dining equivalent might include a chateaubriand for two, expertly prepared tableside.While cognizant of my own rose-colored glasses, I still recall that no one back in the day seemed to have any food allergies or restrictions order what you want was the name of the game. Today, however, those who dine unrestricted are in the minority. A dinner amongst friends may include the following: vegan, vegetarian, Jain (no products that end a life cycle including root vegetables), kosher, halal, pescatarian, pollo-pescatarian, ketogenic, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, nut allergies, no carb, shellfish allergies and so on.Everyone eats, yes, but the peculiarities of our own dietary codes have become a constant topic of conversation, as well as a consternation for audacious chefs who must know appease all parties. Nevertheless, as hoteliers who invite and accept all persons of all dispositions into our homes, we must do our best to satisfy our guests. So, what can you do?Train your waitstaff to always ask every diner about dietary restrictions and food allergies. It starts with online reservations. Often a diner with special requests will advise when prompted during the initial booking. Your team should identify these notes at the time of the diners arrival and identify the individuals who are making the special request. It is not up to us as hoteliers and restaurateurs to question why a restriction exists, no matter how unusual the situation. Servers must take particular care to advise the chef and to give the right dish to the right person, as even a minor mistake here can have disastrous consequences.Know all your ingredients. A listing of all components for each dish should be readily available including substitutions that are possible as well as those that are not. This would include soup stock (vegetable, chicken, fish or beef), frying oil (peanut, sesame, coconut or lard), garnishes and sauces. If you are using ready-made products, the ingredient listings are easily identified.Try to have at least one menu item in each category (appetizer, main, dessert) that would satisfy a vegan or strict vegetarian. Next, identify these on the menu accordingly. Similarly, having almond or soy milk on hand is an obvious way to support those who cannot have traditional dairy with their coffee. Part of the fun with all this modern dietary diversification is that it has also paved the way for a myriad of obscure substitute ingredients to now attain mass appeal. As a rather esoteric one, you might even consider carob for those with chocolate sensitivities.If a diner has a special request to modify a menu item by eliminating or replacing an ingredient, encourage your waitstaff to defer that decision to the kitchen. Often it is relatively easy, but one never knows. A chef may feel as though a specific substitution will compromise the integrity of the dish and thus not want to oblige the request. If the kitchen is unable to do so, waitstaff should be trained to respond accordingly by offering a satisfactory explanation as well as another alternative.Its our legal obligation to protect our guests from harm. Its our code as hospitality professionals to make patrons dining with us as comfortable as possible. As our patrons behaviors change, so too must we adapt to meet their expectations. That pertains to dietary habits as well as most every other aspect of operating a hotel.

7 insights for reaching Gen Z

·28 November 2018
If you’re tired of hearing about millennials, here’s some good news: There’s a new group of consumers to study. Members of Generation Z, currently aged 13 to 22, have billions in spending power – and that doesn’t include the influence they have on what their parents buy. Some defining qualities: They have a short attention span; they’re the most likely generation to volunteer; and they’re the most likely to protest a cause they believe in.

Using F&B to Establish a Unique Character for Your Hotel

Hotel Business Review by·25 November 2018
A hotel's restaurants and bars offer one of the best opportunities for the hotel to express its unique character. Food and beverage (F&B) is nothing less than hospitality in motion, on display and interactive in a way that everyone can see. It only makes sense to use F&B to help differentiate hotel properties, now more than ever.

Putting the Magic Back Into Your Restaurant

Modern Restaurant Management·20 November 2018
When you experience a moment that is truly magical, you know it. You know it, because you feel it. I recently felt magic when visiting Disneyland. My wife, two-year-old son and I were up way past bedtime waiting in line for a ride for what felt like forever. As we approached the front of the line, exhausted, a kind ride operator asked how our visit was going. When we told him that it was our first visit ever, he smiled and told us that after we rode, we could stay on the ride for a second round.

Claremont Club & Spa Launches Food Waste Prevention Program

mycloud HOSPITALITY·18 November 2018
Claremont Club & Spa has launched a comprehensive food waste prevention program in partnership with Alameda County’s StopWaste agency and technology provider Leanpath.


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