Pillow Talk – July, August 2015

Dear Amita,

In today’s world we simply cannot live without technology. Lord help me if I ever lost my iPhone. However, technology does comes with it’s quirks. When this newsletter sent out yesterday, the contact name did not populate much to my chagrin. I am such a stickler for the details. So here we go again…Please enjoy!

Welcome to the July/August 2015 issue of Pillow Talk.

OMG! Time has flown by in 2015! RFP season has arrived… so the question is: ‘Are You Ready?’

Pillow Mint Partners specializes in the RFP process with both  Lanyon and  Sabre. We also offerAgency 360‘ drill down’ on the data, so your sales team can focus on selling vs. data mining. For more information and additional services provided, simply email us at: amita@pillowmintpartners.com.

As hoteliers strategize for 2016, it is important to reflect on what worked and did not work in 2015.  This issue focuses on travel statistics to consider for marketing strategies in 2016; how hoteliers can influence the booking decision and boost bookings online.

There are two great events scheduled this Fall: The NYC Tradeshow and BLLA’s Leadership Symposium. These events are designed specifically for boutique and lifestyle hotels. Register today!

This is a great time to schedule brainstorming sessions with your teams. Fresh ideas; constructive feedback on what worked in 2015 and what did not is a great way to start…but do not limit there…think about what makes your hotel unique from the competitive set and use that as leverage to target/secure new business.

Pillow Mint Partners extends full range of sales and marketing services that will address any needs you may have. The goal is to have your sales team focus on selling … let someone else take care of the ‘grunt’ work. Contact us at: amita@pillowmintpartners.com for a complimentary consultation.

Check out the Pillow Mint Partners Blog page for more content that can guide you, your sales team and the hotel

Thank you for reading Pillow Talk; we would love to hear from you. Your feedback, questions or comments are welcome! Please forward this newsletter to anyone you believe could benefit from our services.

AmitaAmita


What Factors Trigger Hotel Bookings and How Hoteliers Can Influence  the Booking Decision

Book HotelAccording to study by TrustYou, 95% of travelers read reviews.

The study was designed to understand which factors (e.g.

cleanliness, service, Wi-Fi, etc.) mentioned within those reviews

have the greatest influence on travelers’ booking decisions.

Eight travel scenarios (romantic get-away to business travel) were provided to US travelers in simulated booking environments. Pricing and quality variables were kept constant. Respondents were asked to choose a hotel in each scenario based only on a short review snippet containing a couple of words about hotel attributes, such as “great service,” “free Wi-Fi,” “clean rooms,” etc.

The findings showed the complexity of the booking process. For a hotel to be considered it must provide the basics such as cleanliness and comfort – the two most important factors in determining where to stay. However, when presented review ‘snippets’ or excerpts within a booking scenario, travelers often choose a hotel based on other factors relevant to the context in which they are traveling.

 To read more click here


Drive profitable bookings by building a loyal customer base 

eCommerceToday e-commerce is redefining the buying pattern of consumers. Its impact is evidently felt in the hospitality industry too. Online hotel booking is growing in significance, especially with a bulk of it being driven by online travel agents. However, while hotels are ensuring occupancy through third party distribution, a recent industry report states that customer acquisition costs in the hotel industry are on average 15% to 25% of total revenue, more than four times the 3% to 6% seen in airlines and the 4% to 6% in car rentals.

As a hotelier, how can you address this challenge?

We suggest you transform your own hotel website into a powerful online channel, to drive direct bookings and ensure repeat business. Brand.com site can significantly lower your customer acquisition cost as well as improve you guest relationship management. Powered with an advanced guest-centric booking technology, a hotel website can let you interact with your guests personally, understand their preferences and create custom packages and rates, build loyalty through promo-codes, and provide opportunity to select multiple services in a single transaction – thereby enhancing guest experience right from the first touch point.

To read more click here


NYC Trade ShowOctober 5 to 7, 2015

The NYC  Tradeshow is the perfect event for a boutique and lifestyle hotel to participate in. The   show producers are deeply invested in the boutique world and  under- stand the different needs  and nuances of this growing segment.

Brought to you by the LA Trade Show team, event will be the corporate, entertainment, and high touch travel industry’s celebrity for the week of October 5, 2015. The event will welcome more than 500  qualified clients and more throughout the week for 2 days of sales calls presentations throughout the city, plus the tradeshow, and capping it off with their famous annual corporate panel lunch at Below 54. The luncheon is k own for its networking and educational programming with corporate buyers as the panelists (the exhibitors are the audience) and cutting edge moderator.

Your hotel can participate in pre-arranged appointments and sales calls. These appointment based calls combine entertainment, corporate, production, small group and leisure clients.

This is always convenient for the client!

The sales calls are:

  • Held in collaboration with the trade show, panel discussion and sales workshops.
  • Always held during the first two days of the trade show week in the host city, the presentations preempt the trade show and esteemed panel discussion.
  • The team schedules and confirms hard to get appointments for travel related buyer companies.
  • The Registration Fees cover this cost – Just mark the correct box and pay ahead!
  • Board Room style presentations for you and your team of 5 persons are the rule.

The Team Leader for each sales team has years of marketplace experience with conducting sales calls & presentations, ensuring professionalism and networking beyond the expectations.

Catered Presentations are included with the big accounts during meal times.

Director – Jody Flowers – Jody@thelatradeshow.com

Sales for Sponsorships & Exhibitors – Kerry Cooper – cooper@hotelpaparazzi.com
Accounting – Mary-Ann Selvaggio –maryann@thelatradeshow.com


 

SAVE THE DATE

BLLAOctober 21 – 23, 2015 

Santa Monica, CA – Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Leadership Symposium

To be added to the list for BLLA Conference updates email: info@blla.org and indicate which conference or conferences you are interested in. 
Click here for more information on how BLLA services the boutique and lifestyle hospitality industry


 

Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels
Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

No New Hotels Added

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – May, June 2015

Dear Amita,
Welcome to the first issue of Pillow Talk for 2015.

I took a few months off from the newsletter due to a busy schedule and a self analysis of what I want to accomplish in 2015.

As we approach the middle of 2015 – so much has happened in the industry. OTA’s are back in the news fiercer than ever, industry disruptors such as Airbnb and Homeaway have grown tremendously, Uber is fighting legislation insisting that its drivers have additional insurance when operating in the service capacity as well as drivers undergo a through background check.

However, despite all of these ‘changes’, we must remain focused on the number one issue – running a profitable hotel.

This month the focus is the OTA sector – which we all have a love /hate relationship – but one cannot argue the dominance they command. However, with strategic finesse, you can have a balanced relationship with the OTA.

Female travelers account for almost 50% of travel in the US. It is an ever growing segment with its unique needs.

I have outlined a few tips based on my travel this past year.

More and more travelers will use online reviews of hotels before making a final selection. I am one of those individuals. So how do you protect your hotel’s online reputation – follow the tips below as a guideline.

The mid-point of the year is also is good time to reflect the accomplishments of the first half of the year and to determine if your goals are on target – or if you need to reassess. I know I have – and I am in a much place because of it…

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
How To Protect Your Online Reputation
Tips On How To Reduce Reliance On OTA’s
What Female Travelers Seek
LLA Events – Save the Dates
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP
Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


 How To Protect Your Hotel’s Online Reputation

Reputation ManagementOn a daily basis we often ask, “How should I respond to a negative online review”? As

well as “Do I need to respond to positive reviews”? We have to accept both the positive and negative reviews. Though we love it when we get a positive review, we must equally embrace the negative review and seize the opportunity to improve.

The challenge that hoteliers face is that today guest feedback is no longer private. Hotel guests are writing about their experiences on social media and sites likeTripAdvisor and Expedia. It is a proven fact that prospective guests are reading these public reviews before they make their decision to book the selected hotel. I do when I travel. According to a TripAdvisorstudy, 93% of travelers say online reviews have an impact on their booking decisions.

According to a TripAdvisor study published September 2014, responding to both positive and negative reviews offers additional benefits: Hotels that respond to over 50% of their online reviews increase their likelihood of receiving a booking by 24%, compared to properties that did not respond to guest reviews.

To continue reading click here.


Tips On How To Reduce Reliance On OTA Business

Expedia, etc.When I re-entered the hotel world after my decade long stint at Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, I quickly learned of a ‘new’ phenomenon known as the OTA. OTA’s was just gaining recognition in the early 2000’s when I left the hotel world and entered the Bureau world where I predominantly focused on building the group market.

Upon my reemergence into the hotel world, it was time to play catch up…in less than a decade everything I knew about hotel revenue management changed and I had to relearn. I quickly researched what an OTA was and its impact in today’s economy. I absorbed as much knowledge as I could.

What I found out was that hotels have an unhealthy reliance on OTA business – especially independent boutique and lifestyle hotels. In many cases, these hotels do not realize the huge impact these OTA room nights have on the hotel’s bottom line. Margins of up 30% are quite common especially when developing a promotion with an OTA such as TravelZoo.

Currently, one of the hottest topics in hotel distribution is the abundance of last-minute booking services. Offerings include HotelTonightBooking.com’sBookingNow and HotelsbyDay.

To continue reading click here.


What Female Travelers Seekin Hotel Guestroom

2014 was the year of travel for me. I made 13 trips and stayed in a variety of hotels nationwide. Every hotel was different as well as the amenities they provided in the guestroom. What I realized is that overall many independent boutique and lifestyle hotels need to take into consideration their female traveler.According to research conducted by Judi Brownell, Ph.D., and professor at Cornell University in the Management & Organizational Behavior Program, shows that women are the fastest growing market of business travelers in the United States and account for nearly half of all business travelers.In addition, her research uncovered that only 27% of hotel managers surveyed indicated that their business made accommodations for women travelers, while 60% of respondents indicated that this was of burgeoning importance in the travel industry.

Hotels are constantly fretting over operating costs. What they do not realize is that while they may be cutting corners, these cost measures may cost occupancy and loyalty. If you fall into the premium/ luxury segment or an independent operator, I recommend that you consider the suggestions below for these are what I look for when I check into a hotel:

  1. Feeling Safe in the Hotel: This is the most important item. We want to feel safe when traveling. There have been many occasions when I was given a room with an adjoining door – a complete no -no!
  2. Or when the front desk agent says, “You are in Room 123″, loud enough for others in the area to hear.

Research directly from a study of 13,000 women from Fortune 1,000 companies confirmed that women wanted to know how hotels were concerned with their safety while away from home. Specifically: covered parking, deadbolts on doors, thoughtful room location and well-lit hallways are of extreme importance.

To continue reading click here.


 NYC Trade Show
October 2015

The NYC  Tradeshow is the perfect event for a boutique and lifestyle hotel to participate in. The show producers are deeply invested in the boutique world and  under- stand the different needs and nuances of this growing segment.

Brought to you by the LA Trade Show team, event will be the corporate, entertainment, and high touch travel industry’s celebrity for the week of October 5, 2015. The event will welcome more than 500  qualified clients and more throughout the week for 2 days of sales calls presentations throughout the city, plus the trade show, and capping off with their famous annual corporate panel lunch at Below 54.  The lunch is known for its  networking and educational programming, with the corporate buyers as our panelists (the exhibitors will be the audience) and a cutting edge moderator.

Your hotel can participate in pre-arranged appointments and sales calls. These appointment-based calls combine entertainment, corporate, production, small group & leisure presentations, and sales calls at the client office.This is always convenient for the client!

The sales calls are:

  • Held in collaboration with the trade show, panel discussion and sales workshops.
  • Always held during the first two days of the trade show week in the host city, the presentations preempt the trade show and esteemed panel discussion.
  • The team schedules and confirms hard to get appointments for travel related buyer companies.
  • The Registration Fees cover this cost – Just mark the correct box and pay ahead!
  • Board Room style presentations for you and your team of 5 persons are the rule.

The Team Leader for each sales team has years of marketplace experience with conducting sales calls & presentations, ensuring professionalism and networking beyond the expectation.

Catered Presentations are included with the big accounts during meal times.

Contacts:
Director -Jody Flowers
Jody@TheLATradeshow.com
Accounting – Mary Ann Selvaggio
MaryAnn@TheLATradeshow.com
Telephone: (323) 664-4472


Save the Dates

BLLA

June 3, 2015
New York City – Boutique Hotel Investment Conference

October 21 – 23, 2015
Santa Monica, CA – Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Leadership Symposium

To be added to the list for BLLA Conference updates email: info@blla.org and indicate which conference or conferences you are interested in.

Click here for more information on how BLLA services the boutique and lifestyle hospitality industry


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

Essex House – Miami Beach, FL
Iconic South Beach Flavor!

Clevelander Hotel – Miami Beach, FL
Best Party On The Beach!

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here


Prepare to be surprised!

Tropicana Las VegasTropicana Hotel Room

The New Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas redefines the expectations of today’s global travelers with a recently completed $200 million transformation that provides a casually elegant experience on the Las Vegas Strip.

With a unique South Beach vibe, the resort features all-new rooms, suites and luxury villas that evoke the sentiment of a breezy beach house or penthouse in Miami, a fresh redesign of the 50,000-square-foot casino, several award-winning restaurants, a new race and sports book, and Glow®, a Mandara Spa and fitness center. First-class entertainment includes headliners in the all-new Tropicana Theater, Laugh Factory comedy club and live music in the Tropicana Lounge.

Check out our Pool Villa Suite! 

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – September, October 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the September/October 2014 issue of Pillow Talk.

We are now officially into Fall as we continue to develop our Sales and Marketing Plans, while strategizing our marketing campaigns for 2015. As we determine how much of the hotel’s business mix comes from OTA’s, we also must understand that this business is necessary, but cannot replace all revenue channels. We are fully aware that to increase/maintain our online presence, we must maximize our exposure efficiently. We need to understand and be aware of the technology trends for 2015.

The impending New Year is also the best time to evaluate who we are as individuals and determine if we are the best we can be. How are you remembered? Are you someone who has impact and influence or simply someone who only makes a good impression? Below are tips on how to be someone who makes more than a good impression.

To get you motivated – I have shared a few more tweets on leadership…nothing better than a jolt of inspiration from a great leader!

In September, I was honored to be an integral part of theBLLA Leadership Symposium at the brand new SLS Vegas. There were over 300 in attendance as the symposium focused on a variety of topics especially industry disruptors and the upcoming trends in the industry. Read all about the event and pencil in your attendance for September 2015!

The 2nd Annual NYC Tradeshow was wildly successful as over 350 travel agents attended the event with over 70 exhibitors! Hosted at 230-Fifth, the theme was the Roaring 20’s. Read about the event and how you can participate in 2015.

The Annual LA Tradeshow is scheduled for February 24, 2015 at Sony Pictures Studios, with sales calls on February 23 and 24. The lunch panel on February 25 will be held at Musso and Frank Grill in Hollywood.

And the best for last – Some really exciting news – Pillow Mint Partners has entered into a partnership with Genre Hotels. We recently launched a program called genRev.This program provides three options:

  • Sales and Marketing Audit of the hotels current strategies to determine its effectiveness as well as determining other possible revenue streams.
  • A complete Brand Audit to determine how well your business is performing. It will assist you determine the hotel’s position and provide strategies to improve image and brand awareness in all channels. It will assist uncover the strengths and weakness’ of your brand strategy.
  • Conduct both audits for more depth and added value!

Warmest Regards

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
Effectively Maximize Your Online Brand Presence
Technology Trends For 2015
The LA Tradeshow – February 2015
2015 – BLLA Events – Save the Date
Leadership Tweets
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


Effectively Maximize Your Online Brand Presence

Tips to Build your Online Brand

In this day and age, online presence = brand awareness. Most marketing experts agree that how you present your brand online is the 21st century equivalent of your first meeting with a customer.

Your online brand is what people think of you when you are not available. In fact, your online brand is as important as any of the traditional forms of branding and becoming more important each day. Most customers today are technologically savvy and typically rely on a company’s online presence as a validity test of its credibility in the market.

In order for your brand to succeed online, in this highly competitive environment, the brand must be highly recognizable, relatable, and authentic; setting itself apart from the competition. High visibility of your brand increases credibility and customers will be more willing to retain your product/services.

Creating and sustaining an online brand presence is about capturing the attention of the targeted audience. Consumer’s today look to connect directly with business owners and hear their stories before they make a decision on whether to buy their products/services. With that in mind, these key insights outline how to effectively maximize your online brand presence.

Click Here to continue reading


Technology Trends For 2015

tech TrendsThe Lodging Technology Study by Hospitality Technology reveals trends and future development in the industry spurted by the increasing amount of Wi-Fi-enabled guest devices. The 7 trends summarized below are the most relevant from the study.

1. Mobile Apps: Ranked 2nd  (behind mobile websites) among Customer Engagement Technology (CET), the most common mobile app functions for hotels are:

  • 72% have the ability to make room reservations
  • 50% provide property searching without GPS
  • 44% collect real-time guest feedback
  • 41% provide local information or a concierge-type function
  • 38% offer GPS-based property search and loyalty account access
  • 34% include the ability to book restaurant and spa reservations

Mobile is definitely a must in the hospitality industry. To be successful, properties need to re-architect and streamline, including optimizing personalized services across devices in a consistent and non-cumbersome manner.

2. Digital Signage:  In 2013, static signage remained the most popular with 5% growth and adoption of interactive signage didn’t change from 2012. However, by 2015, it is projected that digital signage adoption will to grow 66% for static signage and 56% for interactive signage. Popular features include event listings, weather and news feeds, and maps. Interactive devices also include concierge-type functionality and on-property navigation.

3. Kiosks and Guest Computers: Hoteliers are finding value in providing computers and/or kiosks in the lobby or other public spaces for check in and out and local information on the fly. Hoteliers project continuous adoption of kiosks and guest computers through 2015.

4. Tablets: As an in-room amenity, tablets grew only to 8% in 2013 ( from 6% in 2012), it is projected that in 2014 usage is expected to grow near 28%. Although luxury and boutique hotels are leading in providing in-room tablets, the personalized nature of the devices (for music, reading, etc.) suggest guests may prefer to bring their own devices. Meaning that the Wi-Fi experience should be optimized for mobile devices.

5. Mobile Payments: This technology is still in the experimental stages and there are a few early adopters. But over the next 2 years, a projected 39% of hotels are planning to implement mobile payment solutions.

6. Mobile Room Keys: In 2012 no U.S. properties reported use of mobile room keys, but for 2013, 8% reported adoption. By 2015, 34% of hoteliers will be seeking to replace and upgrade their guest room door locks.

7. Social Media: In 2012 73% of hoteliers said they used social media as a marketing tool. For 2013, that figure grew to 91% – outranking any other interactive marketing tool measured, including traditional loyalty programs. In 2014, the trend has continued to skyrocket.

So which Social Media Networks work best?

  • Pinterest is seriously under-used by the hotel industry in their social media marketing efforts. It’s crazy as there are so many great uses for it. Imagine a board for your events, one for your beautiful rooms, a board for your outside spaces, a board for local attractions, I could go on. Take great photos and get them on Pinterest, it’s simple and extremely effective. 
  • Instagram is like a visual Twitter, every time you have an event or special occasion, shout about it on Instagram. It takes seconds from a smart phone to take a quick photo or video and upload it. If you build up an Instagram following, you build up your reputation! 
  • YouTube is another under-used network. Videos don’t need to be a huge production;
    you can upload videos just a few seconds long and share them across all your networks for an instant impact. If you are not confident about your film making skills, use a professional or use your beautiful photos to make a slide show with captions and music in the background. 
  • Twitter of course is the fastest way to share your content etc. Building up your following can take some time, but with a little dedication and just a few minutes a day you can build an amazing network of support. 
  • Facebook is a given. People often use Facebook like a search engine so if you can’t be found on there, they may give up and look elsewhere. It’s great for instant engagement with your customers and allows them to have access to you for their questions instantly.

The LA Tradeshow – February 2015

LA Trade ShowThe LA Tradeshow is the perfect event for a boutique and lifestyle hotel to participate in. The show producers are deeply invested in the boutique world and understand the different needs and nuances of this growing segment.

Brought to you by the LA Trade Show team, event will be the corporate, entertainment, and high touch travel industry’s celebrity for the week of February 23, 2015. The event will welcome more than 500  qualified clients and more throughout the week for 2 days of sales calls presentations throughout the city, plus the trade show, and capping off with their famous annual corporate panel lunch at Musso and Frank in Hollywood.  The lunch is known for its  networking and educational programming, with the corporate buyers as our panelists (the exhibitors will be the audience) and a cutting edge moderator.

Your hotel can participate in pre-arranged appointments and sales calls. These appointment-based calls combine entertainment, corporate, production, small group & leisure presentations, and sales calls at the client office. This is always convenient for the client!

The sales calls are:

  • Held in collaboration with the trade show, panel discussion and sales workshops.
  • Always held during the first two days of the trade show week in the host city, the presentations preempt the trade show and esteemed panel discussion.
  • The team schedules and confirms hard to get appointments for travel related buyer companies.
  • The Registration Fees cover this cost – Just mark the correct box and pay ahead!
  • Board Room style presentations for you and your team of 5 persons are the rule.

The Team Leader for each sales team has years of marketplace experience with conducting sales calls & presentations, ensuring professionalism and networking beyond the expectation.

Catered Presentations are included with the big accounts during meal times.

Contacts:
Director -Jody Flowers
Jody@TheLATradeshow.com

Sponsorships and Exhibitors – Chris Willard
Chris@TheLATradeshow.com

Accounting – Mary Ann Selvaggio
MaryAnn@TheLATradeshow.com

Telephone: (323) 664-4472


2015 – SAVE THE DATE

BLLAJanuary 28, 2015 
Los Angeles downtown – Travel Industry Executive Women’s Conference

June 3, 2015
New York City – Boutique Hotel Investment Conference

September 7-11, 2015 –
Los Angeles (Hollywood) – Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Leadership Symposium

To be added to the list for BLLA Conference updates email: info@blla.org and indicate which conference or conferences you are interested in.

Click here for more information on how BLLA services the boutique and lifestyle hospitality industry


Invaluable Tweets on LeadershipInvaluable Tweets on Leadership

Good leaders drive, amazing leaders inspire –  @tsitovich

Great leadership comes from the right mix of heart & mind…neither is good enough on its own to earn both trust and respect –@eileen1651

People prefer their leaders with flaws, because it makes leadership attainable for the rest of us – @IntuitBrad

The best leaders make you believe you can achieve anything, and coach you to make it happen – @divinecassie


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

Nothing to add this month.
Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here 


Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – August 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the slightly delayed August 2014 issue of Pillow Talk.

August marks the last month of summer…and the beginning of a new school year!  We continue to develop our Sales and Marketing Plans, while reviewing marketing strategy for various channels and reviewing the latest travel trends and data.

For those who want to ‘Turbo Charge’ their marketing campaigns for 2015, there are a few great tips below.

To get you motivated – I have shared a few tweets on leadership…nothing better than a jolt of inspiration from a great leader!

As sales team plot out their strategy and action plans for the New Year, I have shared an article by Lori Richardson with Business 2 Community on how to reach key people.

In October, The NYC Tradeshow is hosting another terrific tradeshow in Manhattan. Combine the tradeshow with great pre-arranged sales calls make this ‘not to miss’ event for boutique and lifestyle hotels.

I have developed a new sense of purpose and direction this summer. Shedding unwanted ‘baggage’ stored in two storage units (Salvation Army really scored on some great stuff!), strengthening personal relationships and realizing that asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength, I have a clearer mind and vision. We should all clean out the clutter every few months – both physically and mentally – it will keep us focused and on track with our goals and objectives.

Warmest Regards

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
30 Steller Techniques To Reach People
Turbo Charge Your 2015 Marketing Efforts
The NYC Tradeshow – October 2014
Leadership Tweets
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


30 Stellar Techniques To Reach People!

SuccessHow can you reach prospects, B2B decision makers, influencers, and strategic partners. Without any more introduction, here are some “discussion starters.”

  1. Clearer voicemail messages – stating the purpose of your call.
  2. Voicemail message (when you know you’re reaching a decision maker) conveying that their company falls into your company’s “sweet spot” (if it does), and then let them know why. Often when business people know you know the market, they are more apt to talk. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you feel they could be a great prospective client / customer.
  3. To reach a C-level executive, call before 8AM or after 5PM.
  4. To reach someone who spends a lot of time on conference calls and phone meetings, try 5-10 minutes before the hour.
  5. Get an external referral to an executive.
  6. Get an internal referral to an executive.
  7. When getting an internal referral (higher up person to lower person), and you don’t get a return call, let that person you were referred to know that you promised (the higher up person) that you’d reach them – this gives some internal leverage. You can also say that you told the exec (if you did) that you would follow-up after you reached them.
  8. When you leave multiple voicemails over time, make sure to “own” not reaching them – you’ve called when they were away from their desk, they are super busy, etc.
  9. Make good notes in your CRM system (you have one, right?) and know what your next action is – then set it.
  10. Be somewhat vague or mysterious. “I’m calling about Marriott” – if Marriott is one of your clients and this prospect is in the hospitality industry. Mystery elicits curiosity. Curiosity gets action.
  11. Gain social knowledge – there is a big world out there on the internet – are you leveraging it to learn about prospects?
  12. Find triggers that affect your prospects, and tie them into your messaging.
  13. Get names or titles confirmed using LinkedIn or other tool – then pick up the phone and call. This can be a very quick two-step process to connecting to people, rather than long research times and crafting emails.
  14. Reference a commonality between you and your buyer, or your company and their company. Example: One of their board members is also with a company that is a client of yours.
  15. Be persistent and follow up. Most sellers don’t follow up enough. Doing just this one thing will grow opportunities.

Click Here to continue reading.


Turbo Charge Your 2015 Marketing Efforts

Turbo-Charge Your BusinessMarketing directors are inundated daily with more opportunities than they can manage. It can become easily overwhelming to keep marketing strategies current and effective. For the New Year contemplate five quick tips to turbo charge your marketing efforts.

Power up your digital toolbox to generate interest and demand by intensifying your social media presence. So, you are already connecting on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram, but are you capitalizing on the effectiveness of video to broadcast your brand story and to drive traffic? Develop a series of VINE videos. Use these videos in email campaigns, social media, and on your website.

Don’t forget about mobile commerce. Separate desktop and mobile websites are as out-of-date as your old iPad 1 — your site should now be responsive. If you don’t have a responsive site, you are out in left field.  Get caught up NOW with a responsive site!

Online Customer Targeting
If your marketing budget is limited, use your budget wisely and continue to use advertising dollars online. Unless you have very large budgets for multiple insertions, traditional media is difficult to track success. Consider reserving some budget for banner ads that reach your specific target demographic. For example, are you trying to build more customers in the entrainment industry or needing to book more group business? Your target customer likely follows certain industry blogs and websites. Shift dollars toward these niche sites – your budget will stretch farther and the potential exposure much more targeted.

Content. Content. Content.
Email blasts, social media, direct mail – a barrage of special, exclusive offers are generally ignored. Current and potential customers are constantly bombarded with this approach and often ignore them. Consider an editorial approach instead. People read things that are interesting – review your Facebook feed and note all the shared articles. Think about your campaigns, are they interesting and compelling enough that if you received it you would share it on social media? Feature your key attributes in an information-rich editorial style.

Examples:

  • Hire a design expert to write a blog story about your new suites or pending renovations. Utilize it in your email, social media, and website campaigns.
  • Have top wedding vendors (florists, photographers, etc.) provide planning tips to help announce your new wedding package and offerings.
  • Enlist a top 10 list from your concierge on niche “insider” must-do’s or see’s with the release of your newest rooms package.
  • Ask your Chef to come up with the 10 items you should have in your pantry at all times with the announcement of your new seasonal menu.

The list is endless. Get creative – think like an editor, and watch your click through rates increase!

Do not forget about direct mail. Customers still respond to the look and feel of catalogs/newsletters with appealing pictures and stories hand-spun by you. Use your email campaigns to weed out a direct mail list. Look through the click through rates. If a customer has clicked through on your last two campaigns, they are active, interested and worth the investment for a direct mail piece. If they have not, they do not make the list.

Tip: Instead of large runs of postcards to thousands that likely get tossed into the trash, move dollars toward small “gift-like” direct mail presentations to your top 100-200 customers. Make the ‘package’ bulky so it stands out from the rest of the mail. It makes a better impression leading to better potential ROI.

Need Help to turbo charge your 2015 Marketing efforts, contact:  amita@pillowmintpartners.com


The NYC Tradeshow – October 2014

NYC Trade ShowThe NYC Tradeshow is the perfect event for a boutique and lifestyle hotel to participate in. The show producers are deeply invested in the boutique world and understand the different needs and nuances of this growing segment.

Brought to you by the LA Trade Show team, The NYC Trade Show will be the corporate, entertainment, and high touch travel industry’s celebrity for the week of October 6, 2014 on the East Coast. The event will welcome more than 500  qualified clients and more throughout the week of October 6th in Manhattan for 2 days of sales calls presentations throughout the city, plus the trade show, and capping off with their famous annual corporate panel lunch at 54 Below.  The lunch will be located right off Times Square on October 8. This lunch is known for its illustrious networking and educational programming, with the corporate buyers as our panelists (the exhibitors will be the audience) and a cutting edge moderator.  Everyone will all be the heart of the big apple, a New York moment off of 5th Avenue for an incomparable great time at New York City’s prominent venues for these 3 days. The NYC Tradeshow welcomes you to join them!

Your hotel can participate in pre-arranged appointments and sales calls. These appointment-based calls combine entertainment, corporate, production, small group & leisure presentations, and sales calls at the client office. This is always convenient for the client!

The sales calls are:

  • Held in collaboration with the trade show, panel discussion and sales workshops.
  • Always held during the first two days of the trade show week in the host city, the presentations preempt the trade show and esteemed panel discussion.
  • The team schedules and confirms hard to get appointments for travel related buyer companies.
  • The Registration Fees cover this cost. Just mark the correct box and pay ahead!
  • Board Room style presentations for you and your team of 5 persons are the rule.
  • The Team Leader for each sales team has years of marketplace experience with conducting sales calls & presentations, ensuring professionalism and networking beyond the expectation.
  • Catered Presentations are included with the big accounts during meal times.

The Tradeshow Floor: List of qualified buyers to date –Click Here

Plan to participate in this innovative event…you will not be disappointed!  Registration form – Click Here

Contacts:
Director -Jody Flowers
Jody@TheLATradeshow.com

Sponsorships and Exhibitors – Chris Willard
Chris@TheLATradeshow.com

Accounting – Mary Ann Selvaggio
MaryAnn@TheLATradeshow.com

Telephone: (323) 664-4472


Five Invaluable Tweets on Leadership

Invaluable Tweets on Leadership

Always hire people smarter than yourself or you aren’t doing your job as a leader  –  @BarbGS10

Inspire a bold vision, listen actively, then empower your team by getting out of their way  –  @ozdane

Leaders think complexly; but communicate simply…if they can’t remember it, it can’t be executed  –  @jim_mcginnis

Your title makes you the manager, your people will decide if you’re the leader – @IntuitBrad

Great leaders prepare during the good times, reassure through the bad times and inspire teams to win at all times – @Wernikoff


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:
Nothing to add this month.

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here 


 

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – July 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the July 2014 issue of Pillow Talk by Pillow Mint Partners.

July marks the middle of summer – the height of vacation travel for families before the new school year begins. It also marks the beginning of collecting information for our 2015 Sales and Marketing Plans. The plans will probably include contemplating a new marketing campaign and reviewing the latest travel trends and data.

For those who are compiling their first marketing campaign, there are a few great tips below to guide you through the process.

Trend wise – Millennials are becoming the fastest growing leisure travel segment…though their trips may be short and close – the revenues still add up.

Summer is also RFP Season…Yippee! Thank goodness we now have RFP platforms such as Lanyon and Sabre. I remember the good old days of completing paperwork over and over again by hand…yes, filling out pieces of paper… Oh and I also walked three miles to work in the snow carrying a huge back pack!

Time is indeed becoming a truly rare commodity!  With so much on our plates, it can become overwhelming…I have shared a few tips to increase productivity. With careful planning and constant vigilance…we can have it all!

Enjoy this issue of Pillow Talk and I would love to hear back any feedback you may have…

Warmest Regards

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
The Three Pillars of Customer Service
Millennials Drive Leisure Travel
5 Productivity Tips
Tips For Developing A Marketing Campaign
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


Customer Service

Customer ServiceAnyone working in the hospitality industry in relation to guest service knows about guest expectations: one must meet it and then exceed it. Success is when one has the ability to meet the guest’s expectations – because the flip side is that if you cannot, the guest will be disappointed. However, simply meeting the guest expectation is only just okay which in equates to mediocre. Being okay is no longer good enough. There are far too many hotels that are already accomplishing mediocre – you do not want to be placed in this category…you want to be differentiated from mediocre. By exceeding expectations, you not only will you surprise but also delight your guests while elevating your hotel in the marketplace.

Take one step at a time… anticipate guest expectations – which is considered to be the pinnacle of guest service. So how do you anticipate guest expectation? Think of it as a relationship with an individual.

  • When you are strangers – having just met, wants and needs must be spelled out
  • When you are acquaintances, expectations are more easily met and more accurately met
  • When you are friends, you not only know what is expected but have the ability to predict what is actually needed.

The best way to visualize it is in terms of birthday gifts. In general, strangers give cash while true friends give presents, though not necessarily expensive, but generally the most thoughtful. Best friends are individuals who you will help out and support in a heartbeat and they would do the same for you. These individuals are also your biggest advocates, praising you to others. The question to ask yourself: do your guests consider your hotel to be a best friend?

While exceeding expectations might surprise your guests, anticipating will most definitely leave your guests in awe.   Though the ongoing goal is to strive to meet expectations; exceeding and anticipating are difficult feats to achieve concurrently.

Here are three tips to assist your hotel move in the right direction:

1. Increase Internal Communications
Communicating between departments will go a long way in assisting with guest anticipation. It allows managers to share ideas and trends they have either read or observed thought their daily interactions.

2.  Review Guest Analytics
By reviewing patterns in past guest behavior can let you predict future guest requests. This is not necessarily limited to internal data mining. Also incorporate the competitive set as well as qualitative feedback such asTripAdvisor. Though analysis is a great deal of grunt work especially on social media, it is a great way to understand and to get to know your consumer demographics (age, gender, location) and psychographics (interests, hobbies, and motivations). The end result will allow you to have the ability to predict prospective guest requests and needs.

3. Incorporate New Technology
There are many devices and software programs that focus on improving the guest experience.

However, the back end strategy of capturing and analyzing the data will assist in developing relationships with prospective guests. An area of growth with new technology is location analytics  – using the guest smartphone to follow how individuals move within a space and what specific areas are most used by the guest is useful for anticipating guest needs.


Millennials Drive Leisure Travel

MillenialsFor the past 10 years, the travel industry was focused on Baby Boomers, who were considered the most lucrative market. As Boomers got older, it was assumed, they would have more time and more money to travel.

That certainly has been the case over the last decade, and boomers continue to be a major market for travel. But now the industry may want to refocus on the often forgotten Millennial or Gen Y traveler, at least according to the 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, an annual survey by MMGY Global, a travel marketing services firm.

According to the survey, Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 35) will be the driving force behind the continued recovery of the U.S. travel industry. They are also expected to spend incrementally more on travel services than any other age group over the next 12 months.

The survey found that 24 percent of Millennial travelers are planning to take more overnight leisure trips in the next 12 months, versus 14 percent who are planning fewer trips, a net difference of 10 percent. This compares with a negative net difference of 1 percent for Boomers, and negative net differences of 3 percent and 6 percent for Matures and Xers, respectively.

Gen Yers also plan to spend significantly more on leisure travel services in the next 12 months, well ahead than any of the other generational cohorts: an average of $887 on a previous-year base of $4,499. Gen Xers intend to spend the second highest increment: $666 on a previous-year base of $4,341.

According the MMGY Global, both trends are consistent with the manner in which Millennials view the sanctity of their vacation time. Last year they took an average of 4.6 overnight trips for leisure purposes versus an average of 4.2 trips for all U.S. households with an annual income over $50,000.

“Six in 10 Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things,” said Steve Cohen, vice president of insights for MMGY Global. “This is presumably one of the reasons we’ve observed the spike in their intentions with respect to leisure travel in the year ahead…Millennials’ planning, booking and sharing habits are significantly different from those of older leisure travelers.”

All this could be good for travel agents. In an earlier survey for the American Society of Travel Agents on the value of using a travel agent, MMGY Global found nearly 60 percent of Millennials who used travel agents believed that their vacations were better than those organized without their assistance. The study also found that consumers that use an agent travel more (average 4.7 trips) than consumers that don’t use a travel agent (average 3.6 trips).

On the other hand, Millennials’ travel interests don’t always extend to more distant destinations. Gen Yers are more likely to have taken a “staycation” during the last 12 months than all other travelers. Thirty-three percent took at least one vacation within 50 miles of their home, versus 27 percent among all other leisure travelers. One third said their choice was made to save money to take a more substantial vacation during the year ahead.


5 Productivity Tips

ProductivityProductivity is the combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts.  Staying productive at work or at home can be a challenge. Every time the work day ends, odds are that you are not satisfied with what you have accomplished.  Productivity can be continuously improved, but here are some pointers:

1. Do not get sucked into unnecessary meetings
Time is the most important currency in today’s world.  While it may be tempting to meet with as many people for the benefit of networking, the time you get at your desk is extremely valuable.  Knowing what meetings to refuse is very important.

If your manager wants to have a one-on-one meeting, then it is obviously very important.  However, attending a meeting about whether to use a Times New Roman or Georgia font at the weekly newsletter design subcommittee get-together may not be worth your time.

We are always interrupted by people who want to meet with us, especially vendors. Try to designate two days out of the week for meetings and the rest of the time to focus on core tasks.

2. Create to-do lists
In life, there are tasks that are simple and ones that are complex. My preference is to go after the easy ones first and then tackle the complicated ones after.  To stay on top of tasks, create to-do lists and track them using Google Tasks.  Since Google Tasks sync with Gmail, Google Calendar, and the Google mobile app, it makes it easier to refer to them while on-the-go.

If some of the tasks are larger, then break them into multiple smaller tasks. For example, if you need to put together a white paper, you should make it a point to complete 2-3 pages per day rather than trying to put together one large document on the day before it is due.

Putting a timer on these tasks is worth considering so that you do not lose focus on other items on your to-do list.  Sometimes I focus too much on one task while another one gets neglected. Before I know it, the deadline for the other task arrives and I am not ready for it.

One of the most satisfying aspects of creating a to-do list is crossing off things when they are done.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and gives you a visualization of progress.

3. Take breaks
Recently scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana reviewed the lifestyle of 17,000 men and women over the duration of 13 years.  The scientists found that 54% of those people are likely to die of heart attacks!  The reason was because those people were sitting for most of the day.  The enzyme, lipoprotein lipase (LPL), breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy.  When people are sitting, it is likely that LPL levels drop. according to Marc Hamilton, a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri.  This causes fat cells to build up.

If you spend more than 8-10 hours at a desk and without moving around much, then you will notice that you have less energy.  Productivity is not measured by the number of hours you sit at a desk.  It is measured by how much you get done without sacrificing your health.

4. Designate times to handle e-mail
Every day there is a good amount of time spent writing e-mail replies in a timely manner.  If you are constantly checking your e-mail, this could mean you have too much free time on your hands and need to work on other tasks.

Urgent information tends to be passed through phone calls rather than e-mail.  If you are spending an average of over 2 hours per day replying to e-mails, then you may want to reassess how you budget your time.

Instead of stopping what you are doing to respond to a new e-mail, you should consider setting aside a time for responding to e-mails in batches.  I prefer to respond to e-mails that I receive right when I get to work.  I also like to put aside 15 minutes right before leaving work to respond to e-mails. Try to respond the e-mails within 24 hours.

One can generally detect the urgency in the e-mails by the subject line.  This is why setting up push notifications for e-mail on your phone can be very beneficial.  Being able to quickly glance at the subject lines of e-mails you are receiving throughout the day saves you from having to constantly open up your inbox.

Tip: If it is urgent for you to get a response, then you should write “time sensitive” in the subject line.

5. Spend a few minutes preparing for the next day
This one works for me. If I don’t do this my whole week is wrecked!  On Sundays, I typically decide my wardrobe for the week.  I also prepare the menu for my meals for the week.  Mornings can be chaotic and the less you have to do before heading out the door, the more smooth your day will be.


Tips For Developing a Marketing Campaign

Marketing TipsIt is that time of year again when we begin to draft the annual marketing plan which generally includes an updated marketing campaign. It is important to remember that the process does not have to be difficult… by using a phased approach you will be able to develop a detailed plan that will allow you to communicate a single strategy to all of your partners, agencies, owners, employees, as well as assist in holding others accountable for their roles in the overall success.

Phase 1: Setting the stage

The foundation of marketing success comes from strong positioning in the market place. The time and effort you put into the planning phases will pay off during the execution phase.

Formulate the brand
Many believe that branding is simply a logo and tagline. It is much more… A brand is the combination of every touch point a person has with your company. How are they greeted when they walk into your hotel? How the guests greeted in the restaurant? Do your in-room amenities reflect the true essence of your brand? What messaging is in the on hold recording? Do emails contain useful information?

Define your positioning:
Define you are…Are you a quaint, relaxing bed and breakfast? Or an amenity-driven, technology-filled oasis for business travelers? What makes your property unique? How is your brand presented in relation to your competitive set? A good way to determine your positioning is to focus how your hotel stands apart from the competitive set

Determine the messaging – How would you describe your hotel? What words represent your brand identity and what does the hotel have to offer? Are you clearly explaining the value of your business?

Determine your audiences – The first step is to ask, “Who is my target market?” Are you a luxury brand targeting C-Level executives for transient business or high impact group events? Does your hotel cater to predominantly corporate transient business or leisure business? Is there a certain age demographic such as Millennials or baby boomers? All of these questions will help you determine your target audience

Phase 2: Resource Development

Now that you have set the stage with a brand look and feel it’s time to execute in different mediums.

Website – With today’s advances in technology, the website is often the first interaction and impression your client will have with your brand. Make sure that first impression is a good one. Websites should have clean, simple design and be easy to navigate. The rule of thumb is no more than 3 clicks for the client to get the information they are seeking. Never sacrifice usability for ascetics. The website is merely a touch point for the client to reach out to you.

Collateral – In the digital age, collateral provides an opportunity to stand out even more by offering an emotional experience. Make your collateral clear, concise with minimal verbiage. Use professional photography that invokes a positive emotional response. Collateral must represent your brand. Do not be something you are not…this will lead to a client’s expectation not being fulfilled…thus possible loss of the client’s future business.

Communication appropriate for the medium – When drafting copy, make note of the medium it will be used in. Website copy is best written in a more bulleted format than a brochure. White papers are written in a more formal voice than social media posts. POP graphics may be bolder than visuals in a 32-page brochure.

Phase 3: Drafting the strategy

How will you achieve your sales and revenue goals within each market segment? A well-thought out and defined strategy will identify who your target customers are, how to reach them, how to have them become loyal repeat guests while general referral business from them.

Budget – Know your total available budget. Make sure that funds are allotted to each expense line item. By knowing what the monthly budget is for advertising, sales travel, client entertainment etc. will allow you to keep on budget…and the possibility of saving a few dollars to use elsewhere. Then prioritize your needs from there. Try to keep some funds in reserve so you can take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Plan – A strong plan will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds and resources wisely and appropriately.

Track the results:

this will help you identify strategies that are working:

  • Track sales leads
  • Track visitors to the hotel website
  • Survey clients

A year is 12 months – The marketing cmpaign should include a year-round strategy on how to reach each market segment. An integrated plan includes: online, seo, ppc; social media; PR; email marketing; customer relationship management, and more. A combination of programming, offers, events, and activities will keep your customer engaged.

Phase 4: Pulling the trigger!

This is where you make it happen!

Maintain focus – An actionable timeline will keep everyone on track with deadlines and allow advanced planning for proper execution. The result – resources are used more efficiently on what is needed to make things happen. Think beyond the boundaries – Most boutique and lifestyle hotels have limited teams. Do not let that get in the way of you accomplishing the predetermined goals. You can always hire additional support to execute a more aggressive plan that will help you achieve your sales/revenue goals.


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

Hotel G – San Francisco, CA
Your quintessential San Francisco experience has arrived!

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here 


 

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – June 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the June 2014 issue of Pillow Talk by Pillow Mint Partners.

June marks the beginning of summer – According to anAmerican Express survey conducted in May 2014, travel demand is up when compared to same time last year despite an increase in the cost of travel.  The increased costs stem from higher hotel rates and airfare.  Hotels get ready to make some $$$$$!

Summer also marks the beginning of RFP Season…and for some hotels the process of drafting the 2015 budget commences…such fun!

It is important during this increased stressful time period that we take time out to unwind and recharge. Take a quick walk around the block and grab a cup of coffee at your nearest Starbucks (or in my case Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf). You will be so much more productive when you return to your desk. For more tips read “5 Productive Things To Do in 10 Minutes”.

Enjoy this issue of Pillow Talk and I would love to hear back any feedback you may have…

Warmest Regards,

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
Content Marketing 101
Create a Superstar Sales Person!
Simple Ways to Elevate Service
Cool Apps For Your Phone
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


>What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


Key Tradeshow Tips for  Successful Tradeshow

TradeshowSummer is chock full of industry tradeshows such as Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) – July; Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)  – July; Meeting Professionals International (MPI) – August; American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) – August; U.S. Travel Association (USTA) – August.

We have all attended tradeshows in some capacity and have experienced both successful and not so successful events. So the question is – were we really successful?  How could we improve for the next tradeshow?

Below are key tips for a successful tradeshow…You will find that the underlying theme for a successful show is preparation and research.

Research Other Companies
This is probably the most important aspect. Knowing if your competitors are going to be present will assist you with your strategies. Most tradeshow website will have a list of companies exhibiting at the event. Target your competitors; know their product so you can draft a successful strategy for the trade show.

Naturally, you want to stand out more than your competitors. Develop a strategic approach to your trade show marketing efforts and draw more exposure to your brand. Then be prepared to talk to visitors about how your company’s offerings differ from your competitors.

Set Specific Goals
Approach the trade show with clearly defined objectives, both at a business level and a personal level. Set goals that are measurable, timely, and precise, yet also realistic and attainable.

Broad goals such as enhancing company awareness and effectively promoting a new company message are good places to start. Also include quantifiable and logistical objectives like establishing a certain amount of qualified leads, generating a certain amount of revenue, or meeting a certain amount of new key clients.

Promote Like Crazy
Generate excitement about company’s presence trade show. Send out save the date messages including the booth number and indicate if there is anything special about the booth that will draw attendees to the booth such as an i-pad drawing or an exotic trip for two. Implement a social media strategy to engage potential /existing clients; use your personal social media presence to post updates about your company being at the show, or use it to connect with other attendees.

Make Plans With Other Industry Colleagues
Before the tradeshow, reach out to key people you know who will be attending the tradeshow. It is important to establish your connections with those important, influential individuals within your industry that you may see every few years.

Extend an invitation to meet for drinks after the show, dinner or catch up over a quick coffee break. By working them into your plans in advance, shows that you are interested in keeping in touch and building a great relationship.

Dress To Impress
When representing your company at a tradeshow, it is best that the attire is professional to make a good impression with the clients you interact with. Some companies have a required dress code for employees who travel to tradeshows and other simply let you dress how you think is best.

At the very least, attire should be business casual, but business professional clothing is highly respectable and more tasteful. Some trade shows have formal events so do not forget to pack that tuxedo or gown.

Stay Motivated The Whole Time
When you are on the tradeshow floor for days on end, it can be tricky to keep consistent, energetic stamina going from the start of the day to the final minute of the last day.

In order to ensure a quality experience for all those you interact with, find incentives, whether internally or with coworkers, that will keep you motivated to represent your company well. If it’s exceeding your personal and company goals or holding a contest between booth staff, find a way to keep trade show morale up.

Promotional Items
Promotional items are an extension of your company’s brand. Yet, this area is probably the least important to most companies. It becomes a dumping ground for giveaways that companies want to get rid of. Not a wise move. Any promotional item should reflect the brand and message. Who really wants another pen that may or maynot work?

Promote Yourself
Always be sure to have plenty of business cards with you at the tradeshow. Also be mindful about how to hand them out.

Only give out your business card to individuals who have established a strong, quality connection with vs. every single person you ‘bump’ into.

Additionally, strive to get business cards from those who you interact with. This way, you are guaranteed ti have their contact information on hand for you to follow up with. Remember: quality vs. quantity.

Use Social Media
Trade Shows can be fantastic places to accomplish some if not all of the following:

  • Grow your company following – both people and businesses are looking to engage with you and the same goes for your online presence before, during and after the show
  • Connect with professionals in your industry
  • Generate leads

Always Follow Up
We all know the importance of follow up with a client after a sales meeting. Well the same principle can be applied here. It is important that follow up with the connections made at the tradeshow is done no later than 10 days after the event. These new contacts are not only valuable leads or business associations to have, but they can prove to be lifelong company friends as well.

Stay in touch often through e-mail or phone conversations to develop your relationships and watch your business grow.


Choice Hotels International

Choice HotelsTop Ten Summer Travel Trends

Choice Hotels, one of the nation’s largest hotel companies announced the results from its annual survey Summer Survey:

  1. More Trips, But Fewer Nights Away:   There will be a 17.2 percent increase in the number of leisure trips taken this summer, but travelers will spend fewer nights away, with a decrease of 9.4 percent.
  2. The Beach in August: August will be the busiest month for leisure travel this summer. When asked about their preferred leisure travel destination, 43.1 percent of respondents said they would most enjoy a beach, followed by mountains at 12.3 percent and a city at 10.4 percent.
  3. Travelers Prefer Driving: The survey found that 75.3 percent of summer travelers are planning to drive to their leisure travel destination this summer, driving an average of 689 miles round-trip. Fifty percent of respondents also said that they would prefer a two-hour drive compared to a flight, bus or train ride to get to their summer vacation.
  4. Free High-Speed Internet Most Important: Free high-speed Internet was selected by 65.5 percent of respondents as the “must-have” amenity when selecting a hotel or resort for summer travel. Following free high-speed internet, free continental breakfast and an in-room refrigerator polled highest for needed amenities at 54.5 and 49.6 percent, respectively.
  5. Loyalty Programs Influence Travelers’ Booking Decisions: The survey also showed that 34.6 percent of travelers say that loyalty and incentive programs influence where, how and when they travel, and over 53 percent of respondents are enrolled in travel rewards programs.
  6. Travelers Would Rather Lose Their Luggage than Their Phone: In this increasingly digital world, survey results showed that Millennials and parents with children under 12 years of age would rather lose their luggage than their mobile phone when travelling.
  7. Camping is the Least Favorite Vacation: Nearly 40 percent of travelers (38.2 percent) said that camping was the least desirable type of summer vacation.
  8. New Locations Trump Old Favorites: Almost 70 percent of respondents (66.8 percent) would prefer to visit somewhere new over returning to a favorite vacation destination this summer.
  9. Travelers Want to Explore Cuisines, Unless They Have Kids: When on summer vacation, 28.9 percent of respondents choose to dine at restaurants they can’t find at home, unless they are traveling with children. If travelers have children under 12 years of age, 24.5 percent most often visit casual dining restaurants, like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s.
  10. Millennials are travelling with Pets: The survey found that Millennials are 21.7 percent more likely than older generations to be traveling with a pet this summer. Correlatively, 34.2 percent said locating a place to stay was the greatest inconvenience when travelling with a pet.

The Choice Hotels 2014 Summer Travel Survey was conducted by research company, Newlio among 1,350 U.S. adults that are planning to take one or more overnight leisure trips this summer.


5 Productive Things To Do In 10 Minutes At Your Desk

  1. ProductivitySpend a few minutes at the end of each day to map out your next day. By doing this you will have you day already mapped out when you arrive in the morning. Allot your peak performance time of time for your most important tasks. These few minutes of pre-planning you day will make you more productive…Caution: Do not schedule every minute of the day…you need to ‘pad’ time to account for interruptions, distractions and occasional crisis that pop up during the day.
  2. Sort through what’s on your desk. Throw away anything you do not need. Forward items of interest to appropriate staff members or colleagues. Respond to any correspondence immediately and put vital documents in active files or archives.Being productive means maintaining an organized desk. A quick 10 minutes of maintenance a day will make sure nothing falls through the ‘cracks’.
  3. Take a quick break when your energy begins to fade. Take a quick walk around the block to release endorphins; walk to the coffee shop for a cup of coffee. Do not think of it as an interruption of your work schedule; think of it as recharging your batteries!
  4. Institute the ‘rip and read’ technique on the pile of magazines, newsletters or newspapers. Quickly peruse each publication, rip out any articles of interest and place in a reading file. Toss the rest. For digital newsletters etc. create a file designated ‘reading’ in your in box.Your pile will shrink and become more manageable. Take the folder with you..you can read in front of the TV, while traveling on the plane etc.
  5. Add 10 minutes today with this strategy. Arrive at work 10 minutes earlier than usual to ‘prepare’ your mind, documents, desk and staff for ‘blitzing’ through the day. You will be amazed at how much difference only 10 minutes make.

Cool Apps For Smartphones, i-Phones and Tablets

Cool AppsWe all love our smartphones/i-phones. I cannot live without mine…I also love my apps…makes life so much more easier and convenient…especially when you are constantly on the run working with tight schedules.

Over the next few months I will be sharing really cool apps that are fun, makes life easier and keep you informed. Here are the apps for this month:

Flipboard: Highly visual ap for both i-phone and android phones. Not a RSS based. Cost: Free

Evernote: Syncs files across all of your devices. Similar to dropbox, but instead of dropping files, it allows you to edit and work on them and then sync them.
Available for Android, iPhone and iPad. Cost: Free

AroundMe: Local services app allowing user to find out what is in the vicinity of where they are located.  Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free

SnapSeed: the only photo app you’ll want to use every day. It makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease using incredibly advanced features from the leader in digital photography software. Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free

Advanced Task Killer: Allows user to turn of apps not in use. More essential with smartphones. Available for Android. Cost: Free

Download and enjoy!


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

Mediterranean Inn – Seattle WA
A few minutes walk from Seattle’s main attractions

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here


 

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk – April, May 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the April/May 2014 issue of Pillow Talk by Pillow Mint Partners. I am combining the two months for a couple of reasons:

While on a business trip to Dallas, I got sick…which, lingered for close to two weeks. At the same time, I moved into a new home and we all know what goes with moving… aarrgghh!  All is well now…I love my new home and it is set up in a way that just jumpstarts my creative juices!

I am a firm believer that as individuals, we alone are successful as we want to be. Complacency breeds an indifferent attitude which eventually leads to stagnancy. Keeping abreast of new trends, technology or staying on top of the latest developments in one’s career field is an individual’s responsibility alone to continue growing and/or maintaining an edge over the competition.

Enjoy this issue of Pillow Talk and I would love to hear back any feedback you may have…

Warmest Regards


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Enter To Win A $100.00 VISA Gift Card
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
Content Marketing 101
Create a Superstar Sales Person!
Simple Ways to Elevate Service
Cool Apps For Your Phone
New Hotels – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


April/May 2014 Survey

Survey

A $100.00 VISA Gift Card can be waiting for you!
Take this quick survey and be entered to win a $100.00 Visa Gift Card. Results will be shared in the March 2014 Issue of Pillow Talk!

Click Here


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


Content Marketing 101

Content MarketingTraditional marketing methods are becoming less and less viable in today’s competitive market due to advanced technology. Today’s consumer is more tech savvy than ever and gets bored easily. Consumers are more informed than ever on products and services they want via various distribution channels.  Traditional methods are becoming boring and outdated and not interesting to the today’s highly informed consumer.  This in turn leads to low conversion rates, decreased website traffic and lower ROI.

Companies are seeking ways to implement new, creative and fresh marketing strategies with the primary goal of positioning their company and executives as experts in their industry. This not only increases a company’s overall credibility, it also shortens the sales cycle. The most effective thought leadership campaigns use content marketing to educate readers (potential clients, media, industry experts, etc.) about a company’s area of expertise.

What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a targeted marketing strategy that involves creating insightful, engaging and interesting written content with the goal of creating customer loyalty and increasing opportunities for future business. An effective content marketing strategy will engage its targeted audience with relevant information leaving them better informed and interested to find out more.

Content marketing can include a variety of tactics including but not limited to:

  • Articles published in high-profile publications
  • Blogging
  • e-Books
  • Webinars

To continue reading the article click here


5 Mindsets That Can Turn Your Average Performer Into A Superstar!

5 Mindsets That Can Turn Your  Average Performer Into A Superstar!It is generally not too difficult to notate the differences between an average performer and a poor one. It is easy to spot skills like work habits, product knowledge, communication style and the use of sales tools which are all indicators of general competence.

The challenge for most organizations is not determining the difference between good and bad, it is about determining the difference between good and great.

Why are some sales people superstars, while other in the same situation, selling the same ‘stuff’ to the same customers, experience a much lower success rate?

This is a question that every CEO and Vice President of Sales wants to know.

Does it involve better call planning, asking more questions; have a thorough understanding of the customers or more sales activity? Organizations have been trying to crack the code of sales success for quite a while.

What is the difference between merely competent and simply stellar? Is it possible to turn average performers into great ones? The answer is an astounding yes!

The mistake most organizations and most sales training programs make is that they try to each skill before addressing the mindset. Selling skills models, questioning techniques, call planning worksheets and strategic roadmaps are all helpful tools for improving sales performance, however, they will only take you so far.

To truly create superstars one has to get inside people’s heads and train them to think differently, before you can expect them to act differently.

Most people are capable of becoming superstars…the reason they are not star performers is not because they don’t to, it is because their leadership has not provided them with any new thought processed that may make them better. One cannot expect to change behavior unless it is taught.

Here are five mindsets that separate superstars from therest and how you can teach everyone in your organization to embrace them.

To continue reading the article, please click here


Simple Way To Elevate Service

Exceptional ServiceAmerican Express recently conducted a survey exploringattitudes and preferences toward customer service. The survey revealed seven in ten Americans (70%) are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.

Even so, the same survey indicated that six in ten Americans (60%) believe businesses haven’t increased their focus on providing good customer service. Among this group, 26% think companies are actually paying less attention to service.

So the question continues: “Why is it that businesses consistently claim to value customers, yet inconsistently deliver exceptional customer service?”

What are the truths about exceptional customer service?

  1. It involves job essence. Every employee’s job is made up of both job function (the duties and tasks associated with a job role) and job essence (an employee’s purpose or highest priority which, for employees at most companies is to create a delighted customer).
  2. It’s voluntary. While obtaining a valid method of payment (a job function) is required, smiling or making eye contact (job essence) is voluntary.
  3. It’s free. While employees are paid to perform job functions, there’s no extra charge to smile, make eye contact, or add enthusiasm to their voices.

Most employees in most service organizations are unaware of the above truths simply because no one’s mentioned them. Instead, most managers spend time talking about job function, procedures, and operational efficiency while scrutinizing hours to schedule, forecasts, and profit and loss statements.

The result: Employees are unaware of the subtle opportunities they lose daily to show job essence, elevate the quality of their personal customer service, and make lasting positive impressions on the customers they serve.

There are seven simple ways employees can incorporate job essence into their daily job functions.

To continue reading the article, please click here


Cool Apps For Smartphones, i-Phones and Tablets

Cool AppsWe all love our smartphones/i-phones. I cannot live without mine…I also love my apps…makes life so much more easier and convenient…especially when you are constantly on the run working with tight schedules.

Over the next few months I will be sharing really cool apps that are fun, makes life easier and keep you informed. Here are the apps for this month:

AudioNote: combines the functionality of a notepad and voice recorder to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes. It’s the perfect app for students or business.  Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: $4.99

Brightest Flashlight: The brightest, fastest, and most handy LED flashlight you will ever have! The one you will never forget to bring when in need! Besides, it is designed to support all android devices! Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free

DocScan: Unleash your productivity and digitize your documents! With DocScan you can make multipage PDFs by taking photos of any documents, invoices, whiteboards, receipts etc.It also allows you to add text and effects.  Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free to $3.00 (depends on which version you want)

Dropbox: An app that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your Android device, and even the Dropbox website! Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free

Expensify: Can’t stand your expense reports? I know I dread this ‘chore’ but it has to be done. Expensify makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports quick and easy. Acknowledged by the tech community as the best app for expense reporting, Expensify takes the time, paper, and headaches out of your expense reports! Simply put, Expensify does expense reports that don’t suck! Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.  Cost: Free

Download and enjoy!


Genre Hotels – New Hotels

Genre Hotels

Hotels recently added to the Genre Hotels portfolio:

El Colibri, Cambria, CA
Luxury on California’s Central Coast

DeClan Suites, San Diego, CA
Culture of San Diego by the harbor

The Stanford Court, San Francisco, CA
Simple luxury atop Nob Hill

Platinum Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Ranked by TripAdvisor as a Top 10 Vegas hotel

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here


Pillow Talk

 

Pillow Talk – March 2014

Dear Amita,

Welcome to the March 2014 issue of Pillow Talk by Pillow Mint Partners. March has truly been a busy month.  RFP’s have been approved and corporate travel is back in full swing. Great times were at at the LA Tradeshow – 2014 on March 4, 2014 held at the House of Blues Sunset Strip.

As we move further into 2014, things will only get busier…and expectations will be higher…my mantra for 2014: Keep Calm – I am amazing!

The objective of this newsletter is to provide useful, interesting content for the hospitality sector. Any feedback you can provide on this and future issues plus what you want to see in future issues will be greatly appreciated, as Pillow Talk wants to grow with you.

Please enjoy this issue.

AmitaAmita


In This Issue

What is Pillow Mint Partners
Enter To Win A $100.00 VISA Gift Card
Take the PMP Hotel IQ Test
Need Staffing Assistance?
Boutique Hotel/Travel Tips – 2014
Top Trends and Challenges For Hotel Sales
Why Ongoing Sales Training and Coaching is Invaluable
Workmen Compensation
Generosity Water – Genre Hotels


What is Pillow Mint Partners?

Find out more about Pillow Mint Partners and how we can assist you achieve your revenue and marketing goals in 2014…click here


March 2014 Survey

25_100

A $100.00 VISA Gift Card can be waiting for you!

Take this quick survey and be entered to win a $100.00 Visa Gift Card. Results will be shared in the March 2014 Issue of Pillow Talk!


Take the Pillow Mint Partners Hotel IQ Test

IQ Test

Click Here


Hospitality Taskforce

Need Staffing Assistance?

Is the sales office short staffed due to a vacant position or a leave of absence? Need someone to fill in for a short time? Need a telemarketer to call on inactive files to generate new leads?

Look no further than HospitalityTASKFORCE – providing staffing solutions  for sales, catering, conference services and upper management positions.

Use promo code PMP

Tony DiRaimondo
Tony@Hospitalitytaskforce.com
213-820-3811


Boutique Hotel and Trip Trends for 2014

Mr. & Mrs. SmithBoutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith

have announced their predictions for 10 of the top accommodation and travel trends to watch for this year.

1. Local Life: Hotels are helping guests get to know the locals or at least get to grips with the local scene. Budapest boutique hotel Brody Housechampions the city’s artistic energy, holding exhibitions, readings and other cultural events for guests.

Rooms are named after the local artists whose works decorate walls, staff abounds with hot tips on what to do in the area and the hotel even has its own record label,Brody House Sounds.

Stay at Claska in Tokyo and you’ll see the city’s best-dressed canines (and owners) pop by for a pooch-pampering treatment at the doggy beauty salon downstairs. Claska also has a gallery, boutique and lively bar, as well as a series of arty events held on the hotel’s rooftop terrace.

Beyond boutique bedrooms, there’s a string of services promising instant immersion with the locals – Eat With, for example, which hooks up hungry visitors with hosts happy to cook dinner for guests in their own homes.

2. Sleep Swamis: The best hotels have been offering guests access to personal chefs, personal trainers and health and well-being gurus for years. Now some hotels are going the extra mile to ensure that guests even have a fabulous time while they’re asleep.

Anantara Kihavah Villas in the Maldives has a slumber guru responsible for making sure that guests get a restful night. The slumber guru’s bag of tricks includes soothing milk baths, relaxing massages and a pillow menu.

Alila Villas also takes sleep very seriously. Both Alila Villas Uluwatu and Alila Villas Soori have a pillow menu, a selection of essential oils and scented candles up their (pyjama) sleeve.

3. Seriously Social:  Like it? Tweet it. Seen it? Instagramit. The social -media savvy are here to stay and hotels are getting wise to marketing via mobile – so much so, in fact, that some have even been built specifically with social in mind.

Take 1888 Hotel in Sydney, whose design was mapped out to maximise its Instagram-ability, and some of theMelia group hotels, where specialist concierges respond to guest requests via Twitter. We think hotels are going to get even more switched on to social in 2014 and beyond…

4. Family Affair: Travelling with children in tow doesn’t have to mean compromising on style and service. Mr & Mrs Smith’s new site, Smith & Family, puts family travel first. Hotels are picking up on the trend, too.

A great example is Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain in China (set to open in 2014), which has village-style accommodation that works well for families, an excellent kids club and a panda research centre just 10 minutes away where you can interact with panda bears and their cubs.

Etihad is even introducing a Flying Nannies service on long-haul flights, with their nannies (specially trained cabin crew members) accredited by Norland, Britain’s leading childcare training college. On the other hand,Scoot, Singapore Airlines and AirAsia X now offer child-free zones on some flights.

5. Playing Tarzan: Hoteliers have become increasingly creative when it comes to where guests rest their heads. One trend we particularly love is the rise of treehouse hotels.

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses in New Zealand has been giving us a natural high for a while but wannabe Tarzans and Janes can now also cuddle up in the canopies at grand country manor Chewton Glen, Hampshire, as well as at Japamala Resort and Bunga Raya in Malaysia.

6. Beyond The Bedroom: Rather than simply provide a space to bed down for the night, hotels are offering even more bang for your buck. They are increasingly places where guests and locals alike want to while away the hours, not simply head straight to their rooms.

The Ace Hotel Bar at the Ace Hotel New York (winner of the Hottest Hotel Bar at the inaugural Smith Awards in November 2013) and The Zetter Townhouse in London are a scene unto themselves.

And while a great bar can put a hotel on the map, lobbies and libraries are jostling for recognition too. Swing by the photo booth in the lobby at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, for example. Take it from us, an impersonal arrival is a thing of the past.

7. Distracting Destinations: With the World Cup kicking off in June, 2014 is set to be all about Brazil. Beyond Rio, we love the melting pot of Bahia for its forested interior and stylish seaside resorts, and Ponta dos Ganchos inSanta Catarina for beachcombing and jungle roaming.

We predict the southern states of America are on the up, so watch out for Austin’s cool and contemporary Hotel San Jose and the understated but sophisticated Zero George Street in Charleston.

We’re excited about Japan too, so look east to our cool kid on the block, Claska in Tokyo, or Beniya Mukayu inKanazawa. Don’t neglect Sri Lanka – we love Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo and Casa Colombo in the capital.

8. Hot Hotels: The minimalist masterpiece that is Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada, is set to make waves on the hotel scene. It won Best Newcomer at the Smith Hotel Awards 2013 due to its soul-stirring location and incredible interiors.

This year, keep your eyes peeled for the opening ofGrace Marrakech in Morocco, the Pig near Bath in Britain and Alila hotels in India (Alila Fort Bishangarh in Jaipur) and Oman (Alila Jabal Akhdar). We’ll be dispatching Smith reviewers there soon, so watch this space…

9. Delayed Reaction: Delays to a journey are always a nuisance but travellers can now choose from a range of services designed to take the sting out of lengthy waits. In the Netherlands, VertragingsApp is an iOS app that offers readers short stories based on the length of their delay.

In Australia, Qantas Airways has created a range of books carefully selected to correspond with flying times.

Based on research that shows the average reader can finish around one page a minute, “Stories For Every Journey” is a collection of novels and non-fiction titles that are the perfect length to be enjoyed between take-off and landing (allowing breaks for meals, naps and bouts of leg-wiggling, of course).

10. Room Service: Shaken And Stirred – In 2013, theNew York Hilton Midtown stopped offering breakfast in bed for the residents of its 1,980 rooms. We predict a fresh approach to in-room snacking from other hotels, too.

Public Chicago leaves a breakfast bag at your door andThe Upper House has gone high tech – guests can order from an iPod touch. Watch this space for even more innovation in bedroom banqueting.


Top Trends and Challenges For Hotels Sales

HSMAIManaging third parties and intermediaries tops the list of trends and challenges for hotel sales organizations heading in to 2014, with others including the proliferation of electronic requests for proposals and a shortage of sales talent. Those were some of the insights arising from the third annual HSMAI Chief Sales Officer Executive Roundtable, held at the Omni Shoreham in Washington in early December.

The roundtable featured participation by 14 sales leaders from hotel chains (with a total of more than 300 years of experience), with presentations by a variety of subject matter experts. It was sponsored by Active Network, Newmarket International and Passkey.

A full report will be available soon, but since the event provided an insightful year-end update on what top-level sales executives are thinking about, here is a look at some of the highlights.

Top 10 Trends and Challenges For Hotel Sales Professionals:

  1. Third parties/Intermediaries. More and different types of third parties are claiming commissions.
  2. Managing the proliferation of electronic requests for proposals. With the ease of submitting proposals, it has become difficult to deal with the sheer number and to weed out legitimate proposals.
  3. Commoditization. With consumers “trained” to shop for discounts, brand loyalty is threatened.
  4. Dramatic growth in leisure travel. This includes a surge in inbound international business – even from countries with struggling economies.
  5. Short term bookings. With budgeting uncertainties continuing to prevail, meeting planners are booking closer in – and for fewer room nights.
  6. Millennials. They may not be as different as many believe as far as their hospitality patterns and preferences.
  7. Talent. Finding and keeping talent
  8. Meetings. The need to pay more attention to making meetings appealing
  9. The North American market. The renewed importance of the North American market
  10. Wholesalers. Growth of wholesalers reselling rooms contrary to contractual obligations.

With 2014 shaping up to be a busy – but challenging – year, salespeople and organizations will find more insights in the full report from the HSMAI Foundation to be available shortly after the new year.

— Compiled by Harvey Chipkin for the HSMAI Foundation


Why Ongoing Sales Training and Coaching is Invaluable

Training & CoachingWe all agree that hotels are always

looking for ways to reduce their overall expenses generally at the expense of ongoing sales training. While this may look good on paper, in reality it is the worst thing an hotelier can do.

What is not realized is the ongoing sales training can actually assist the hotel achieve its revenue goals:

  • Through difficult economic times
  • Keep the hotel ahead of the competitive set
  • Reel in business that positively impacts the hotels bottom line without sacrificing the targeted ADR

Selling during the boom times is no longer viable and simply passé.

Today’s sales managers not only have to sell differently, they must learn how to anticipate client needs and expectations.

The sales process has to be transformed into a “buyer focused” format where getting key details while building a relationship is the primary goals.

It is far more productive (not to mention cost effective) to ‘pitch’ to the ‘right’ client by knowing their needs vs. simply making a sales call – which literally is a waste of time and money.

The days of following a sales quota (a predetermined number of sales calls/telephone calls etc.) is passé -it is far more effective and productive to make quality calls which ultimately will result in a higher ROI.

Ongoing sales training encourages sales managers to replace ineffective practices with effective bottom line, results oriented sales practices.

In between the ongoing sales training sessions sales managers can practice what they learn in the real world.

Ongoing sales coaching ensures that all discussions incorporate knowledge gained from sales training and that appropriate actions are taken. Sales managers become disciplined and accountable.

Ongoing sales training should be more than strategy and technique. Sales training should begin with building a strong foundation. That foundation is your sales team!

To learn more about sales training/coaching by Pillow Mint Partners, click here 


Why Workmen Compensation is Important

Cardenas Insurance ServicesWorker’s Compensation is insurance that covers an employee in case of injury on the job.  With the economy the way it is, employers are often looking for ways to cut costs and often consider skipping having worker’s compensation insurance as it is often quite expensive,  This is not only unwise, it is illegal in most states.

Worker Compensation remains a large business expense for Hotel operators it represents an estimated 26% percent of payroll. When claims occur the cost is driven higher and premiums can be affected for a three to four year period.   Business can best manage their workers’ compensation by controlling the cost of claims through proactive claims management. This is one area that prevention and loss control should start begin as early as hiring the process and continues as you seek to retain staff.

Keep in mind that if you are hiring workers in a freelance position, you may be required to cover them on your policy if they do not have their own insurance.  Make sure you know the requirements in your state before engaging the services of a freelance worker.

One way to help reduce your premiums is to have a safety plan/policy in place.  Have written procedures on how certain jobs are to be performed, and make sure all employees are properly trained on the use of equipment.  Employees properly trained are less likely to be injured on the job.

If an employee is injured and you do not have coverage, you face the possibility of paying expensive medical bills, lost wages, as well as penalties for not being in compliance with the law.  Your business may also be shut down until a policy can be put in place.

Don’t risk penalties for not having coverage for you employees in case of an accident.  It just is not worth it!

For more information/questions about Workmen Compensation contact Christina Cardenas – Cardenas Insurance Services: cc@inssvcs.com


Generosity Water – Genre Hotels

Genre Hotels

Genre Outreach:  Join Genre Hotels in supporting this great cause. Over 1 Billion people on earth do not have adequate access to fresh water.  Unthinkable to us. Join forces with Genre Hotels and Generosity water and be “Genre-ous!” for this life-saving cause. Please click here to donate  or contact jordan@generositywater.com for further information.

Generosity Water is a 501c3 non-profit organization, dedicated to ending the clean water crisis in developing countries, one community at a time.

By embracing creativity, forming strategic partnerships, and providing in depth accountability, we hope to inspire people to think globally and live generously.

Learn more about Genre Hotels…click here 


Pillow Talk