Straight Talk About Hot Trends

An award-winning weekly podcast that examines trends and issues impacting the hospitality industry, shared through engaging stories told by co-hosts Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with experts and other thought leaders.

  • 342 | Live Long and Prosper: Hospitality industry embraces senior living
    LODGING LEADERS
    October 20, 2021

    342 | Live Long and Prosper: Hospitality industry embraces senior living

    Since she was a teenager volunteering at senior-living facilities in Boston, Serena Lipton knew she wanted a career in senior housing. But she had a difficult time finding the college program she believed would educate and prepare her to serve in the senior-living industry. After graduating from Boston University School of Hospitality Administration and working as an analyst for JLL’s Senior Housing Valuation Advisory, Lipton finally found what she was looking for. This fall she enrolled in BU’s Master of Management in Hospitality with a new concentration in senior living. She and other students are on the cusp of what BUSHA believes is a massive shift in how Americans view aging and where opportunities lie for the hospitality industry.

  • 341 | One Big Happy: Travel survey reveals how hotels can attract families
    LODGING LEADERS
    October 13, 2021

    341 | One Big Happy: Travel survey reveals how hotels can attract families

    Rainer Jenss of Nyack, New York, founded the Family Travel Association seven years ago to help parents and caregivers introduce children to the world through travel, whether that’s a yearlong trip around the world that Jenss and his family took or a weekend getaway to a nearby destination. To help the travel industry gauge what parents want when they take their kids on vacation, FTA conducts an annual study. The U.S. Family Travel Survey 2021 reveals the shift in mindset the COVID-19 pandemic has created in families planning a trip over the next 12 months. Hoteliers use can use the information to generate business and boost their strategies to recover and sustain business now and other the coming months.

  • 340 | New Glass Ceiling: Industry leaders work to shatter barriers for women hotel owners and investors
    LODGING LEADERS
    October 6, 2021

    340 | New Glass Ceiling: Industry leaders work to shatter barriers for women hotel owners and investors

    Whether they’re new to the concept or they’ve worked in lodging for years, women are an emerging force in hotel development, investment and ownership. Several industry leaders are making significant strides in building programs that encourage and support women interested in becoming hotel owners and investors. This report examines new projects and updates the status of existing efforts by industry leaders to recruit women as owners and help them hurdle barriers such as critical access to capital.

  • 339 | Positive Attributes: Hoteliers debate separately pricing amenities and services
    LODGING LEADERS
    September 29, 2021

    339 | Positive Attributes: Hoteliers debate separately pricing amenities and services

    A hot topic discussed at hotel industry conferences this year is separating amenities and services from the standard room rate and charging guests fees for such things as daily room cleaning, use of the pool or fitness room and a hot breakfast. While some hoteliers have begun to ‘unbundle’ services others are still mulling it over. They mostly agree, however, that something has to give as the lodging industry figures out how to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a stronger and more flexible revenue model than before the coronavirus crisis.

  • 338 | Cybercrime Spree: Hotel industry more vulnerable than ever to hackers
    LODGING LEADERS
    September 22, 2021

    338 | Cybercrime Spree: Hotel industry more vulnerable than ever to hackers

    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.

  • 337 | Open-and-Shut Cases: How hoteliers managed decisions to close or stay in business
    CORONAVIRUS
    September 15, 2021

    337 | Open-and-Shut Cases: How hoteliers managed decisions to close or stay in business

    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.

  • 336 | Never Forget: 20 years after 9/11, hotel industry veterans remember the impact of the terrorist attacks
    LODGING LEADERS
    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.

  • 335 | ‘Waking Up A Giant’: Armed with fresh data that reveal members’ economic might, AAHOA leaders see new day ahead
    AAHOA
    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.

  • 334 | ‘Unsustainable’ Business Model: Hoteliers turn to courts and legislation to reform franchising
    FRANCHISING
    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.

  • 333 | ‘We’re Different’: Small franchisers strive to set themselves apart in a post-pandemic playing field
    FRANCHISING
    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.

  • 332 | ‘Enough is Enough’: New and small franchisers rewrite the book on fair licensing agreements
    FRANCHISING
    August 11, 2021

    332 | ‘Enough is Enough’: New and small franchisers rewrite the book on fair licensing agreements

    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.

  • 331 | Breaking Away: How to recruit and retain young hospitality professionals in a post-pandemic industry
    CORONAVIRUS
    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.

  • 330 | Youthful Perspective: Industry leader Bijal Patel mourns the loss of ‘an entire generation’ of hospitality workers
    CORONAVIRUS
    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.

  • 329 | Ruff and Ready: ADA gives hotels a short leash when accommodating guests with service animals
    ADA
    July 7, 2021

    329 | Ruff and Ready: ADA gives hotels a short leash when accommodating guests with service animals

    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.

  • 328 | Curb Appeal: Hotels’ refreshed images designed to attract road trippers
    LODGING LEADERS
    June 30, 2021

    328 | Curb Appeal: Hotels’ refreshed images designed to attract road trippers

    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.

  • 327 | No Place Like Home: What hotels can learn from Airbnb’s pandemic-recovery plan
    HOME SHARING
    June 23, 2021

    327 | No Place Like Home: What hotels can learn from Airbnb’s pandemic-recovery plan

    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.

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