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.


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


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

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

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