THE TRIP – Well, it’s been fun so far, but like the kids on a trip the proverbial “are we there yet?” keeps creeping up. I recently took a trip, that is to say a fact finding tour of what is the consensus from various hotel properties. I wanted to know if the owners felt that profits are better or worse since 2007. This was an informal survey for my own personal satisfaction. I spoke with owners in Texas, Louisiana, Denver, and California. I stayed at upscale properties on purpose, the owners I spoke with were of 3 star properties that are with in the area of the upscale properties. I wanted to compare how they (owners) view the upscale hotels compared to theirs. Some owners have benefited from them while others have not, reason being that one property even though it is a 3 star property, it rivals luxury class.
The economic outlook for them has been a lot better, and it seems to be on the upswing. The daily rate is up by 3% point compared to last year, and the occupancy is up as high as 11% compared to a year ago. Some of the owners have managed to renovate and improve their property, something that was impossible a year ago. New battle plans have been drawn up, the properties have become leaner, and much better cost control that has enabled the properties to generate a better ROI. The customer service aspect has improved as well as overall improvements.
The advent of social media has improved their visibility, and it has brought new business to the property. Some of the problems encountered where that there was no one person that handled the social media, after discussion of the importance of being consistent with the replies of the media, a person was designated to handle it. We did some fixing while on the fact finding journey, sounds like a TV reality show eh? I should have brought the cameras with me. I mentioned that I purposely checked in to upscale properties, I wanted to see how they had improved, if any from last year. I was at these properties in 2012 for business. This time it was to see what improvements or renovations had taken place. I also wanted to see and compare customer service.
I sound like a mystery shopper, but no such luck. In most cases there was no noticeable change, but two of the properties had new lobbies and rooms. The most notable change in customer service was in Louisiana. I stopped by my old favorite place Brenan’s of New Orleans, they make the best eggs benedict in the world; well they should it all started there. For those that may want to go there they are on Royal St. If you like desserts try their world famous “Banana Foster” For those that have been here, their service is superb. Las Vegas is holding their own, and so life keeps on going. This article was not to report any negative remarks, it was solely for my own entertainment value. So I say “We are there”