12
Feb

What Is The Difference Between Service And Hospitality?

The original premise of Airbnb was an “air mattress bed & breakfast.” It catered to “couch-surfing” travelers that were looking for the most economical accommodations. Since then, it has grown to be a multi-billion dollar a year global conglomerate that has been used by more than 300 million people in 81,000 cities in 191 countries. Where once, travelers preferred Airbnb merely to cut down on travel costs, they now pay as much or even more than they might for a hotel room.

As the hospitality industry embraces technology that helps it operate more smoothly and seamlessly than ever before, it is essential to not lose the most critical aspect of the industry: hospitality. It turns out that in a world that is more connected than ever before, people are lonelier than ever. Loneliness is poised to be the next public health crisis on par with obesity and drug abuse. In a world where guests can create their reservations online, check in with their smartphones and even be sent a room key via smartphone, the time may quickly arrive where guests have little to no interaction with hotel staff whatsoever.

What good does that interaction do, however, if that interaction itself is cold, businesslike and impersonal? It’s easy to check a guest in and issue them a room key without engaging in any personal interaction. To be sure, not everyone wants to participate in witty banter or even have a long, friendly chat. Some guests may arrive exhausted and just want to check in and get to their room as quickly as possible. An aware staff member, however, can help facilitate that in a way that lets the guest know their specific needs are being seen and attended to.

There is no doubt that the hospitality industry is a booming business, which is not going to decline any time soon. The question is, however, whether traditional hotels will be able to compete with the rise in a hospitable industry offering a much more personalized – or inter-personalized – experience. While hotels may pride themselves on providing exquisite and nearly invisible service, it may be that what guests are looking for is more connection.

I discussed previously that focusing on providing excellent hospitality starts internally with hospitality managers. While service is undoubtedly crucial in the hospitality industry, hospitality may be even more so. It is imperative more, now than ever, that hotels keep this in mind, along with the impact younger generations are having on the hospitality industry as a whole.


This article was originally published at SteveFarzam.org

 

29
Jan

Skip Online Travel Agencies and Book Your Hotel Direct

Travel agencies and discount travel websites are always advertising that they have the best deals. Is that true? Not always. There are many reasons why booking your hotel directly is preferable over using an online travel agency.

Skip booking fees

Travel agencies earn their money from sales commissions paid by the hotel. If you work with the hotel directly, they don’t have to pay those fees. Often, the best deal you can get is by calling the hotel directly and asking if they offer any discounts.

Amenities for Your Special Day

Hotels love to accommodate your special day, but travel agencies aren’t great at communicating details about your stay. If you book with the hotel directly, you can ask if they offer any special amenities for a special occasion like a wedding, birthday, or group event.

Easier to Amend or Change Booking

Online travel agencies are often unable or unwilling to change reservations once they have been made. Since it’s working through a third party, everything takes a bit longer. If you need to make changes or cancel your reservation last minute, booking directly with the hotel is the way to go. You’ll skip the cancellation fees travel agencies often add to reservations.

Special Requests

Are you particular about what floor you stay on or which direction your room faces? Online travel agencies don’t have the option to make special requests in the booking. Work with the hotel directly, and the staff will do their best to accommodate your special requests.

Booking directly with the hotel starts a real relationship with the staff that you can’t get with an online travel agency. Build a good rapport, and you might be able to make even more special requests or find that the staff throws in some extra goodies.

Last Minute Bookings

Because the online travel agencies are a third party, they don’t always have up-to-date records about hotel vacancy. If you need a last minute room, calling the hotel directly is the best way to ensure you find a place to stay. Sometimes hotels will even offer a discount to last minute bookings, to ensure they have the maximum capacity possible. Same day bookings that fill in cancellations can be a great steal.


This article was originally published at SteveFarzam.org

 

10
Jan

Maximize Your Hotel Stay

The most influential person at a hotel is the person behind the front desk. They hold the keys to the rooms, can turn away guests, and decide whether or not to upgrade certain guests. Wondering how to make the most of a hotel stay? Read on.

Hotels Offer More Than You Realize

While most hotel guests assume their hotels will stock their rooms with basic toiletries, most hotel front desks offer far more than they let on. While all hotels vary, many of them have given guests much more than shampoo and lotion. Many hotel front desks have cufflinks, bow ties, nail files, tampons, umbrellas, phone adapters, and more–upon request, of course.

Getting Into a Room Early is a Rarity

Most hotels try to accommodate their guests whenever possible, however, admitting guest early into their room isn’t typically possible. Hotels with high occupancy often don’t have any available rooms that guests can check into early. Still trying to get in before the reservation? Try to call ahead with the early arrival time, as the hotel staff will likely be able to prioritize cleaning the room if they have advance notice.

Another way to ensure that a room is ready early is to book the room for the night before arrival. This will ensure that the room is ready and waiting.

Ask Politely for Discounts, Perks, or Upgrades

Upgrades, perks, and discounts are never guaranteed, but travelers looking for special treatment should ask politely. While hotel staffers can always say no, the people that work the front desk will typically offer a discount when asked politely. Similarly, it helps to be specific when asking for these perks, as staffers are more likely to grant these types of wishes.

It’s best to ask for these discounts, perks, or upgrades during the initial booking. When asked in advance, hotel staffers will have more time to accommodate the needs and requests of their guests.

Become a Frequent Guest to Enjoy Benefits

Guests that stay in the same hotel regularly will find that they are often treated to benefits. Most hotels have a benefits program that offers perks to regular customers. Moreover, travelers that frequent the same hotel will find that they are usually offered upgrades before anyone else.

There is an art to booking one’s hotel room. By keeping these four tips in mind, hotel guests will be able to maximize their hotel stays.


 

28
Dec

Trends Impacting the Hospitality Industry

Every industry seems to be changing with new trends coming in every year with significant impacts. The hospitality industry is one of the largest industry in the world. Some countries and cities even depend solely on the hospitality industry for their economic progress. However, recent research studies highlight that there are significant trends in the hospitality industry that will have major impacts as discussed below.

  1. Catering to Millennials

The demographic group of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 is expected to form more than 50 per cent of all travelers and the people who will be the major users of the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry will be required to significantly shift with the aim of incorporating the high-tech adopters who want to get customized products and catering services. They will also play a vital role in marketing the company through social platforms.

  1. The influx of International Visitors

Traveling from one country to another is becoming a norm in recent times. The hospitality industry has to therefore change and become acceptable from individuals from different parts of the world. The language, food, and the setting of the whole hospitality industry have to change so that it can incorporate the needs of all people from different parts of the world. The hospitality industry should also be prepared to handle different culture and languages.

  1. Automation of Services

This trend has already been incorporated in a significant number of high-end hotels around the world. It is expected that a large number of organizations in the hospitality industry will automate most of their services to allow easy payments and booking of rooms and other services. The payment option is also expected to incorporate bitcoin payment system and other forms of cryptocurrencies.

  1. Artificial Intelligence in Customer Services

Artificial intelligence is expected to take the world by storm in the near future. However, this form of advanced technology has already been incorporated by a significant number of leading hospitality organizations in providing various customer services. For example, customers can ask questions about the products and services provided in a particular hotel while getting instantaneous feedback. This will not only enhance customer experience but will also help organizations to attract a large number of customers who are already aware of hotel services.


This article was originally published at SteveFarzam.org

 

13
Dec

A History of Hotels

While many associate the word “hotel” with that of our modern day dwellings featuring conveniences such as TVs, minibars, spas, and more, hotels have been around for much longer than that. The word “hospitality” is a derivative of “hospice” which loosely means “a place of rest for travelers and pilgrims.” Since the development of early civilizations, hotels have been a part of society – we have seen evidence of hospitable facilities since early biblical times. Travelers all over the world have sought a hospitable place to eat and sleep and while they did not offer the luxurious conveniences that hotels today offer, they were hotels all the same.

Greeks and Romans

The Greeks first developed thermal baths in various villages that were explicitly designed for rest and recuperation. Sometime later, the Romans built mansions for traveling government officials to provide them with accommodation. They then further developed the Greeks initial thermal bath design and introduced them to England, Switzerland and the Middle East.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the first establishments included monasteries and abbeys that offered shelter on a regular basis to travelers. Religious orders then built inns, hospices, and hospitals to better cater to travelers. As time went on, inns continued to multiply; however, they did not yet offer meals. These inns only provided basic services, such as the ability to change horses easily.

15th Century France

At the beginning of the 15th century, the law in France required hotels to keep a register. This spread to England, where additional rules were introduced for inns, where more than 600 were registered. The structure was relatively similar across the board – there was often a paved interior court that was accessed through an arched porch with bedrooms located on the two sides of the courtyard, the public restrooms and kitchen were found at the front, and the storehouse and stables at the back.

The Industrial Revolution

In the 1760s, the industrial revolution expedited the development of hotels in mainland Europe, England, and America. These hotels were built with the sole intention of providing accommodation to travelers. The City Hotel, New York’s first hotel, opened in 1792 and the Royal Hotel was built in London at the beginning of the 1800s. Holiday resorts began to spring up and flourish along the Italian and French rivieras. Guest houses popped up in Japan, and government-run bungalows were developed in India.

Throughout the years and through the 20th century, more and more corporations and business organizations took over ownership and management of larger hotels. Courses began being offered to provide basic hotel management training and have further developed and specialized over the years.


This article was originally published at SteveFarzam.org

 

26
Nov

Things to Ask Your Hotel Concierge

Your hotel concierge holds a wealth of local knowledge that is more often than not, untapped. Not many travelers thing to ask their hotel concierge for much more than restaurant recommendations or directions. A great hotel concierge can assist you with nearly any travel issue you may run into, so you should take advantage of the powers they have to offer. Here are just a few of the things your hotel concierge can do for you.

Recommendations

Outside of restaurant recommendations, your hotel concierge can suggest fitness facilities if the hotel you are staying at does not have one, or lacks the equipment you want. The concierge can more often than not point you to an affiliated hotel with fitness facilities, suggest a good running or hiking trail, or provide you with a list of fitness centers nearby that supply daily or weekly passes. They can also provide you with local service recommendations, such as babysitters, dog walkers, and auto repair shops.

Find You a Ride

During rush hour traffic, when it’s raining, or it’s really late at night, it can seem impossible to find a taxi or an Uber. Often, your hotel concierge can find you a ride in a matter of minutes, just by placing a phone call.

Assist in Celebrations

If you are celebrating a special event, such as a birthday or reunion, or proposing to your partner, your hotel concierge can assist you with the details. Whether it be filling your hotel room with flowers and balloons or coordinating a proposal on the rooftop complete with a photographer, your hotel concierge can help make the organization process seamless.

Job Duties

If you need help with work-related tasks, such as sending items to a printer, your hotel concierge can help. They are able to not only get materials to a printer for you, but can set up courier service, mail packages, and set up a meeting space for you if needed. If you’re in the area for a job interview, they can even help make sure you look your best and book an appointment with a barber or hairdresser, get your clothes pressed, and more.

While you may feel shy about asking the concierge to help you, there’s no need to be. He or she is available to help all guests at the hotel, and they will be more than happy to assist you.


This article was originally published at SteveFarzam.org

 

8
Oct

Interesting Facts About the Hospitality Industry

At some point in your life, you will most likely spend time in a hotel. As of 2015, 15.2 million people were employed in the hospitality industry, and an average of 62.2 percent of rooms are occupied at any given time. When you are traveling, a hotel stay can make or break your trip. If you’re traveling for vacation or tourism in general, your hotel experience is all about having fun, relaxing, and possibly spending time at the spa getting pampered. Even if you’re traveling for business purposes, having all of the amenities you require, and a little more can make your trip painless. Whether you work in the hospitality industry or a guest at one of the many hotels in the world, these are some interesting facts to connect with and shed some light on this integral industry.

World’s oldest hotel

Over 1,300 years old and recorded as the oldest hotel in the world in the Guinness Book of world records, Koshu Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan holds the trophy. Located in Japan, this hotel has been owned by the same family for more than 50 generations.

World’s largest hotel

Currently, the title for the world’s largest hotel belongs to First World Hotel in Malaysia. Hosting around 7,351 rooms, they cost on average between $12 to $83 per night. First World Hotel will not be the largest hotel in the world for long though. Set to open sometime in the next two years, Abraj Kudai Hotel in Saudi Arabia will hold over 10,000 rooms and contain 70 restaurants.

Most expensive room service

You can find the most expensive room service in Las Vegas. The average tab for room service is $68. New York City follows closely behind, with an average check of $67.

Highest average room rate in a city

Many might expect this statistic to fall in New York City, New York, but this is incorrect. The city with the highest average room rate is in Geneva, Switzerland. An average night’s stay costs around $308!

Most expensive hotel room

Based on the previous fact, you might have already guessed that the most expensive hotel room is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson costs, on average, between $61,000 to $84,000 per night.

Tallest hotel in the world

The tallest hotel in the world is the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai located in, you guessed it, Dubai. It stands at a whopping 76 stories. Another fun fact about Dubai – 6 out of the ten tallest hotels are located here.

World’s largest hotel pool

Holding 66 million gallons of water, the pool at San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Chile is easily the largest pool in the world (not just at hotels). It is 20 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool!


This blog was originally published at stevefarzam.org.

20
Sep

Key Roles In A Hotel

It takes hard work to make a hotel feel like a home. That’s why hotels—from luxury resorts to family-owned bed and breakfasts—employ a small army of staff to make guests feel welcome and comfortable. These jobs can be challenging, but at the Shore Hotel, we’re fortunate to have a dedicated team that goes the extra mile to fill our guests’ every need. For anyone who may be considering a career in hospitality or anyone who’s ever wanted to peek behind the curtain of the hospitality industry, take a look at some of the essential roles in a hotel!

Front Office

The front office staff is the face of the hotel. These personnel greet guests, check them in and out, and provide information about the hotel as well as the surrounding areas. They also handle reservations and most of the hotel’s external communication with clients or on clients’ behalf.

Uniformed Services

Roles in a hotel’s uniformed services department consist of bell staff, valets, door-persons, and concierges. The first people most guests meet upon arrival at a hotel are bell-staff, who help to unload baggage from the guest’s vehicle, deliver it to their room, and possibly introduce them to other helpful figures or show them the facilities. Guests may also meet valets, who park guests’ cars and pick them up as necessary, and door-persons, who open doors, greet guests, and help bell staff with luggage.

Additionally, concierges act almost as assistants for guests and have a range of responsibilities that may include helping guests navigate the area, making reservations or handling issues that may arise during their stay, and much more.

Housekeeping

The front office staff may be the face of a hotel, but housekeeping is its backbone. Beyond the obvious duties of cleaning guests’ rooms and the hotel’s other facilities, housekeeping staff also handle laundry needs, provide dry-cleaning for guests, and more. Many hotels also recruit inspectors who supervise and inspect the work of the room attendants; at smaller businesses, this role may be filled by a manager who randomly checks the rooms.

Food and Beverage

Hotels typically include at least a restaurant and bar on their grounds as well as room service, and they may even offer catering services. This means hotels need chefs, bartenders, waiters, dishwashers, and any other kitchen staff to provide guests and patrons with top-quality service and delicious food and drink.

Sales and Marketing

The sales and marketing branch of the hotel handles its promotions and advertising. Through various channels, the hotel works to involve the community and attract new consumers. Most hotels that hire full-time sales and marketing have a more substantial budget for marketing and advertising.


This blog was originally published at stevefarzam.org.

10
Sep

Traits of a Great Hospitality Manager

The hospitality industry is a fast-growing sector, but this does not by any means mean that competition is non-existent. Rather, it is quite the opposite. Competition for hospitality management positions is intense, with limited job openings and those that are applying are highly trained individuals.

Hospitality management involves overseeing a variety of departments within a hotel or resort. This often includes the front desk, housekeeping, concierges, spa services, restaurant and room service, conferences, maintenance, budgeting and finance, and guest services. Not only do hospitality managers need to oversee all of these departments, but they must also be able to organize and flawlessly integrate these departments with any other services that are being offered at the hotel. Due to this, great hospitality managers tend to acquire these traits and strengths.

Communication

It is imperative that hospitality managers have excellent communication skills. They need to be able to actively speak to staff and have the staff open up in return. Failure to communicate results in someone dropping the ball, and the customer is going to be the one to pick it up. This is often accompanied by a complaint or a bad review, which is not what anyone wants.

Problem-Solver

When problems arise, guests and staff will be looking toward the manager to offer a solution. This requires the hospitality manager to be able to think on their feet, make decisive decisions, and respond to customers and employees questions and concerns in a sensitive, polite manner. It is also vital for managers to be prepared and anticipate any issues that could arise and have a backup plan in place, especially because this happens almost daily.

Time Management

Since hospitality management involves overseeing so many different departments and requires the ability to integrate them efficiently, hospitality managers require excellent time management skills. Managers need to be organized and abide by a punctual schedule. There are often times when work requires managers to put their personal lives on the back burner and deal with an immediate crisis at any moment, so they must also be flexible and able to adapt to a fast-paced work environment.

Motivation

Working in the hospitality industry is all about making sure the guest feels special and putting them first. This is a team effort, so the hospitality manager must have motivation themselves, but also be an effective team motivator. These individuals need to lead by example and know when they need to roll up their sleeves to help get the job done.

23
Aug

How Millennials are Impacting the Hospitality Industry

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are currently the fastest growing customers in the hotel industry and by 2025, they are expected to make up 50% of all travelers. With this generation comes the need for a tech-savvy, transparent environment, and the desire for connection. They have already begun to have an impact on travel and the hotel industry, in particular. They are looking for a unique experience that simultaneously meets their expectations. That being said, we can expect to see changes in the hospitality industry that appeal to this influential generation.

Technology

Millennials grew up with technology, so it isn’t too surprising that the desire for a technology-driven travel experience is a must. Millennials are very likely to post the overall experience of their stay on platforms such as Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and more. The convenience and seamless process of checking in and out on their mobile device is very enticing to millennials. The same goes for free WiFi – it’s practically expected for a hotel to offer a strong internet connection.

Personalization

In conjunction with technology, the notion of personalization for their stay is particularly enticing to millennials. Artificial intelligence is an ever-growing sector of technology, and hotels that provide smart rooms and AI personal assistants attract these travelers. Additionally, having the ability to personalize their rooms online so that everything is how they would like it when they arrive at check-in, will play a large role in the adaption of hotels moving forward.

Green Living

Millennials are also a generation that focuses on the environment and they will make their decision on which hotel to stay at depending on whether or not the hotel implements sustainable, eco-friendly practices. These travelers want to supply business to those that coincide with their own values. Some specifications that may contribute to their final decision of stay are sustainability programs for energy, water, and other utilities (like cogeneration), efficient waste management, and eco-building certifications.

Experiences

Maybe it is because they are so interconnected through technology, millennials are actively seeking meaningful, genuine experience when they travel. No longer content to spend the entire vacation laying by the pool, this generation is more likely to leave the hotel to interact with the local culture. Hotels that provide information to millennials regarding local nightlife, events, and more, are enticing to these travelers.