September 22, 2021
From the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the lodging industry turned to technology to solve immediate challenges. The very nature of hospitality can make a hotel vulnerable to cyberattacks. As the industry adopts new technology to help it recover from the coronavirus crisis and economic downturn, the threats are greater and the number of attacks are growing. The good news is for as many nefarious ways cybercriminals can strike, there are corresponding solutions. Episode 338 of Lodging Leaders podcast focuses on the pervasive cyber threats the hospitality industry faces as it deploys technology to modernize its business processes and improve guest experiences.
September 15, 2021
More than 1,700 hotels in the U.S. closed in spring 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of August, 1,200 were closed, reported Kalibri Labs. Meantime, 840 new hotels opened last year and 900 are on track to open this year, according to Lodging Econometrics. Episode 337 of Lodging Leaders explores the challenges owners faced in reopening closed hotels as well as what owners and operators did to ramp up business at hotels that were at such low levels of occupancy, they might as well have been closed. We also feature owners who opened new properties during the pandemic. One owner we interviewed opened two new hotels while doing what it took to keep his existing properties in business. This report is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
September 8, 2021
336 | Never Forget: 20 years after 9/11, hotel industry veterans remember the impact of the terrorist attacks
As America approaches the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on its homeland, Lodging Leaders explores the impact 9/11 had on the U.S. travel sector. We feature hotel industry leaders who were on duty that fateful day and can recall the shock of the attacks, how they cared for frightened guests and how the event changed hotel operations. They also draw parallels to the coronavirus crisis and remind listeners of the resiliency of the nation’s hospitality industry.
September 1, 2021
335 | ‘Waking Up A Giant’: Armed with fresh data that reveal members’ economic might, AAHOA leaders see new day ahead
With 20,000 members, AAHOA is the largest hotel owners group in the world. But it has not regularly exercised the power that comes with size. That is about to change. A new study by Oxford Economics reveals the membership’s stunning combined economic strength, including the fact that members own 60 percent of America’s hotels. AAHOA Chairman Vinay Patel and other AAHOA leaders say the association plans to wield its might in forging a post-pandemic recovery that ensures everyone in the lodging industry a more profitable future.
August 25, 2021
334 | ‘Unsustainable’ Business Model: Hoteliers turn to courts and legislation to reform franchising
Although hotel franchisees voiced discontent with franchisers long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis has emboldened owners’ resolve to seek dramatic and lasting reform in brand licensing. Along with challenging current practices in U.S. courts, franchisees have rallied support from state and U.S. lawmakers. A proposal in New Jersey might serve as a model of reform while congressional measures would change the way the Federal Trade Commission and the Small Business Administration regulate franchising. Episode 334 explores the legal and legislative challenges confronting traditional franchising practices.
August 18, 2021
333 | ‘We’re Different’: Small franchisers strive to set themselves apart in a post-pandemic playing field
Chris Guimbellot grew up in the family hotel business in Louisiana. Today, as president and CEO of Hospitality International Inc. in metro-Atlanta, he is focused on turning around the fortunes of the hotel franchiser and the owners of its nearly 230 branded assets. This report is the second part of a series exploring how new and small franchisers are managing franchiser-franchisee relationships as the industry works toward a post-pandemic recovery.
August 11, 2021
Patrick Mullinix founded Advantage Hotels Inc. in June 2019, just nine months before the coronavirus pandemic decimated the travel and lodging industry and pulled back the curtain on long-simmering owners’ discontent in franchiser-franchisee relationships. Mullinix believes a new day is ahead. Franchisers of legacy brands are rethinking the traditional licensing model. Mullinix says the answer may lie in new and small hotel franchisers determined to build positive business relationships in which owners and brands can equally benefit. In Episode 332 of Lodging Leaders features Mullinix as well as leaders at Sonesta International Hotels Corp., in a report about how some brands are working to make franchising a win-win for both sides even in the worst of times.
August 4, 2021
331 | Breaking Away: How to recruit and retain young hospitality professionals in a post-pandemic industry
Nicolas Graf, associate dean, clinical professor and chair of New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, will soon unveil the school’s new Hospitality Innovation Hub. Departure from the norms of doing business is key to the post-pandemic survival and success of the hospitality industry, says Graf. Companies that offer flexibility in thought and practice among employees will go a long way in leading the industry’s post-pandemic recovery. Episode 331 of Lodging Leaders explores what it will take for owners, operators and others invested in the industry to attract and retain bright young talent who can help build modern and sustainable hotel business models.
July 28, 2021
330 | Youthful Perspective: Industry leader Bijal Patel mourns the loss of ‘an entire generation’ of hospitality workers
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
July 7, 2021
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.
June 30, 2021
Nearly 48 million Americans plan to travel over the Fourth of July weekend, predicts AAA. Most of them will drive and many of them plan to stay in hotels. What makes a travel consumer choose your hotel? Price can be a factor but so can the story the property tells through its online photos and its real-life curb appeal. First impressions of a hotel set the tone for the guest’s entire stay. Its roadside image is more important than ever as the lodging industry this summer hangs its hopes on a comeback driven by domestic travelers. Lodging Leaders podcast explores the importance of a hotel’s curb appeal as hoteliers think of ways to attract travelers seeking safety and assurance as the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
June 23, 2021
Home-sharing or short-term-rental platforms saw business surge during the 2020 pandemic year. The momentum continues this year as many travelers hitting the road in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic prefer houses over hotels. In this report, Lodging Leaders explores what’s driving not only the home-sharing sector, but also buoying extended-stay hotels, including branded residential-style accommodations that are a hybrid of hotel and home. Alternative lodging’s business strategy holds important lessons for hoteliers seeking new ideas in rebuilding business momentum as the hotel industry recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
June 16, 2021
326 | Make a New Plan: CHMWarnick and Pinnacle Advisory partnership signals what’s ahead for hotel industry
CHMWarnick and Pinnacle Advisory Group in April announced their decision to strategically align their businesses and bring more services and solutions to a hotel industry still in the throes of the coronavirus crisis. While properties in many markets are experiencing a business revival led by leisure travel, many others continue to work their way out of a maze of financial challenges. Lodging Leaders explores the partnership and what it signals for the industry as it pushes toward a post-pandemic recovery.
June 9, 2021
Frances Kiradjian understands resiliency. The Los Angeles businesswoman founded Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association 12 years ago at the dawn of the Great Recession. Today, the association boasts hundreds of members from all over the world and is the hallmark for independent boutique lifestyle hotels. During the pandemic year 2020, Kiradjian watched boutique hoteliers dig deep for creativity, operational courage and a positive outlook as the hotel industry quickly spiraled into crisis mode. Episode 325 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Kiradjian in the third and final installment of its series on independent hotels doing business amid the coronavirus crisis.
June 2, 2021
324 | Independent But Not Alone: Franchisers’ soft-brand engines drive business to struggling hotels
Independent hotels struggled just as much as their franchised cousins when the coronavirus pandemic first struck the U.S. in spring 2020. Hundreds of independent properties temporarily closed amid the downturn in business and government shutdowns. Among those that reopened the soonest were independent hotels that are part of soft-branded collections. In Episode 324, Lodging Leaders explores how being attached to a brand engine enabled owners and operators of independent properties to regain their financial footing amid the pandemic recession.
May 26, 2021
The coronavirus crisis hit independent hotels just as hard as their branded counterparts but many of the unaffiliated assets were able to quickly shift to survival mode, cut costs and generate revenue by implementing creative business strategies. The transition to a new era of hospitality continues as owners and managers of independent assets develop solutions that will strengthen their businesses now and post-pandemic. What independent operators have learned may be useful for the entire hotel industry as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis and positions for recovery.