Albany Hotels

Hotel Management/Travel Info

Thinking of Buying a Condo Hotel? Here Are 20 Things You Need to Know!

1. What is a condo hotel or condotel?

Think of a condo hotel (also sometimes called a condotel or hotel condo) as buying a condominium, although one that is part of a four-star caliber hotel. Therefore, as an owner, when you are on vacation, you’ll get the benefit of more four-star services and amenities than you’d get in a typical condominium.Image result for condo hotel

2. What types of services and amenities are found in condo hotels?

If you can imagine the niceties you’d find in an upscale hotel, then you can picture a condo hotel. Among the features are often resort-style pools, full-service spas, state-of-the-art fitness centers, fine dining restaurants, concierge services and room service.

In some locations, like Las Vegas, you’ll find condo hotels with their own casinos, retail areas, and entertainment venues. In places like Orlando, you’ll find condo hotels with their own water parks and convention facilities.

3. What is the difference between a condo hotel and a traditional condominium?

The big difference between a hotel and a condo hotel is that a hotel typically has one owner, either individual or corporate, but a condo hotel is sold off unit by unit. Therefore, a 300-room condo hotel could have as many as 300 unit owners.

4. Is it evident to hotel guests whether they’re staying in a condo hotel or a traditional hotel?

A hotel guest will likely never know that the hotel has multiple owners because the property is operated just like a traditional hotel and often under the management of a well-known hotel company like Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Trump or W. Also, each of the individual condo hotel units will look identical in design and décor to every other, just as they would in a traditional hotel.

5. Who typically buys condo hotels?

They’re primarily sold to people who want a vacation home but do not want to deal with the hassles typically associated with second home ownership such as maintaining the property or finding renters in the off season.

6. What is the demographic of the typical condo hotel buyer?

The spectrum of condo hotel buyers is pretty broad. There are families that want a second home in a vacation destination. There are baby boomers who are at or nearing retirement and want somewhere they can “winter.” There are also plenty of investors who purchase a condo hotel unit with little intention of ever using it; they’re in it for the potential appreciation of the real estate.

7. Can you live in a condo hotel?

Condo hotels are not typically offered as primary residences. In fact, many of them limit the unit owner’s usage of the condo hotel unit (typically 30-60 days per year) because the unit is expected and needed in the hotel’s nightly rental program where it can be offered to guests and generate revenue.

8. Who gets the money when your condo hotel is rented out?

The hotel management company splits the rental revenue with the individual condo hotel owner. While the exact percentages vary from property to property, the typical rental split is in the 50%-50% range.

9. Who finds hotel guests and then cleans and maintains the condo hotel units?

The hotel management company markets the property and books hotel guests. It also maintains the unit and ensures the smooth operation of all of the hotel’s services and amenities.

10. What are the advantages / disadvantages of purchasing a condotel over purchasing typical rental properties?

Advantages include:

· Hassle-free ownership; no landlord issues

· Rental revenue to offset some or maybe all ownership expenses

· A fantastic vacation home available for use whenever you want

· A real estate investment at a time when other investments may seem less attractive

· Strong likelihood of appreciation

· Pride of ownership –“I own a piece of a Trump”

Disadvantages include:

· Annual cash flow could be equal to or less than annual ownership costs

· Pets are usually not welcome.

· An owner’s condo hotel unit may be rented when the owner wants to it, so advance reservations are required to guarantee availability.

· The condo hotel unit is subject to the same dips in the market that affect all hotels in the competitive market set: hurricanes, terrorist threats, warm winters up north, price of gas, etc., all of which can affect a unit’s occupancy rate and the amount of revenue it generates.

11. Are condo hotel units difficult to finance?

Not at all, but they do take 20% down typically, whereas condos can be purchased with less cash down. It’s also important to make sure you use a mortgage broker who has had success in getting condo hotel financing deals done. Many banks still do not do them, but more and more are getting involved as condo hotels become more widely available.

12. How long have condo hotels been around and where are they located?

Condo hotels have been around for several decades, but the huge surge of four-star and five-star condo hotels that have been making their way across the country, started around year 2000 in the Miami area. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area still has the most condo hotels, but areas like Orlando and Las Vegas are developing condo hotel properties at an even faster rate and will likely surpass South Florida soon. Other up-and-coming areas are places like the Bahamas, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and Dubai.

13. How much do condo hotel units cost?

That’s like asking how much a car costs. There are different quality condo hotels. Some require greater amounts of money than others, obviously.

There are inexpensive condo hotels out there for as little as $100,000. These are typically found in properties that have converted their use from an existing hotel. They are hotel room-sized, lack kitchen facilities, luxury franchises, and other first-class amenities.

Then there are the four-star or greater properties that may start in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, but can go all the way up to $800,000 just for a studio unit. One- and two-bedroom units cost substantially more than a studio. Of course, the studios do come fully furnished and finished, and will be significantly larger in size than a typical hotel room, and may attract guests because of its name like St. Regis, Ritz or W.

14. What are typical maintenance costs?

On average about $1.00 to $1.50 per sq. ft., but the range can exceed $2.00 sq. ft. in the most luxurious properties.

15. Do you buy condo hotel units after they have been built, or can you purchase condo hotels in pre-construction?

Unless you are in a hurry to get started vacationing or you need to complete a 1031 exchange, it’s best to buy condo hotels in pre-construction as early as possible. That’s when prices are lowest and unit selection is greatest. You will likely wait two years or longer before closing on and taking possession of your condo hotel unit, but you will have locked in the price and will get the benefit of maximum appreciation.

16. Is there anything else investors should want to know about condotels?

There is more to buying this type of real estate than the old phrase, “location, location, location.” While most condo hotels are located in desirable resort and business area locations, what is most important is a good franchise with a strong reservation system.

Also, do not be fooled by an aggressive rental split. One way or the other, the developer of the property will have to staff, maintain and operate the hotel and its services like the restaurants, bars, spas and pools from his share of the proceeds. If he’s giving you a very favorable share of the rental, he’s also more likely to be charging you a higher monthly maintenance fee. Of course, this goes both ways. If the maintenance split that is offered is closer to 50-50, then your maintenance should be more reasonable too.

17. Any suggestions to investors in choosing which condo hotel to buy?

Get good advice. That means you don’t want to rely only on the pitch provided by an onsite salesperson at a condo hotel. You want to talk with a broker who specializes in condo hotels and who knows and understands the entire condo hotel market, not just the facts pertaining to a single property. He or she will listen to your wants and needs and then offer recommendations as to which properties best match your requirements. You’ll have an opportunity to comparison shop and consider the pros and cons of each available property.

A good broker can be the difference between your buying a condo hotel that will be problematic and not live up to your expectations or one that will provide you with years of great vacations, good annual revenue and a substantial profit when you sell.

18. Does it cost more to use a real estate broker to purchase a condo hotel than buying a unit on one’s own?

No. With new condo hotel properties, the prices are always set by the developer and are exactly the same whether you buy directly from an onsite salesperson at the property or using a broker.

The broker’s commission is always paid by the developer and is already built into the price regardless of whether an outside broker participates in the sale or not. Since a broker’s representation is free to buyers, it does make sense to enlist their aid and get the benefit of their advice before making a purchase.

19. How can prospective buyers find a good condo hotel broker?

Ask friends for broker recommendations or search online for “condo hotel broker.” Visit condo hotel broker websites and see if the information they provide seems comprehensive and unbiased. If their website seems to focus on selling homes or office space, and the condo hotel information appears to be an afterthought, steer clear. Your best bet is to work with a condo hotel broker who specializes.

20. How can buyers learn about new condo hotel properties coming on the market?

Condo hotel brokers can be good information sources as they often learn about properties prior to their release to the general public. Another option is for them to subscribe to a condo hotel newsletter such as the one we publish called Condo Hotel Property Alert. We offer it for free on our website and it features a different condo hotel property coming on the market each edition.

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Popular 6 Types of Hotels to Choose From

In recent times, demand for the hotels has seen a sudden increase, the two primary reasons being increasing global business interest and growing interest in tourism. There are different types of hotels to choose from depending on your interest and budget.Image result for Hotels The hotels are classified keeping the location and style in mind and each classification has its own clientele. Star system is used to classify the hotels keeping the facilities and services on offer. Luxuries on offer and star are in direct relationship that is, more the number of stars more are the services promised by the hotel. The classification can be in the each type of hotel too. If a budget hotel wish to progress to a star hotel, the journey is a long and difficult one as it needs more services, space and money. Popular types of hotel classifications as per the hotel industry are:

Budget hotels: These hotels offer economy stay- limited amenities for reasonable prices. These hotels are at a little distance from the popular places. The drawback is that these hotels don’t have on-site restaurants. Some of these restaurants offer complimentary continental breakfast.Image result for Budget hotels:

Airport hotels: As the name suggests these hotels are close to the airports. The rooms are neat and carefully designed. Most of the airport hotels offer free shuttle to-and-fro from the airport. Airport hotels are preferred mostly by business tourists as the travelling cost and time both are saved.

Resort hotels: If on a family vacation you must prefer resort hotels. People prefer these resorts as they feature fun and relaxing amenities. Some of the services you can find at resort hotels are fitness center, spa, Jacuzzi, hot tub, Kids room, card room, tennis court, baby sitting services, pool bar and even mountain or beach locations. Because of the number of luxuries amenities offered resort hotels have high stars to their credit.

Casino hotels: Guests who love gambling prefer casino hotels over other categories. Most casino hotels offer free stay or meal if you spend a particular amount of cash or stipulated hours in the casino. Casino hotels offer luxuries services like: restaurant, pool, fitness center, spa, indoor shopping. Though, the major attraction is the night life at these hotels. You will find dance clubs, shows or comedians performing here to keep the guests entertained. The number of star depends on three things: location, amenities and room quality.

Commercial hotels: Business travelers prefer commercial hotels because of the business services and facilities offered. There are multiple seminar rooms and banquet facilities to accommodate conventions and conferences. Most of these hotels have conference room, video conferencing feature, projector, high-speed internet for the ease of the commercial clients. Commercial hotels are largely situated in downtown and feature multi-cuisine on-site restaurant.

Suite hotels: This category of hotel is preferred by families on vacation. The reason behind that couple and children get a space of their own. These hotels have multiple rooms or may have pull-out bed. In most cases suite hotels have luxurious services and amenities like fitness center, pool, bar, lounge, baby sitting services, on-site restaurant and many more.

Internet has made our lives easy and it is possible to find the best hotels online. But before you make the bookings compare the prices and services offered. And before you make the payments, don’t forget to check on the cancellation and return policy of the hotel.

Ankit Maru is freelance writer and loves writing on different topics. These days he is writing on San Diego hotels and how to find good deals.

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What Are the Best 5 Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey?

Istanbul is an enchanting and interesting city to visit. With its many historical and beautiful landmarks, Istanbul has always been a favorite tourist destination throughout the years. Most often, visitors are confused on which hotel to pick out of hundreds or hotels in Istanbul. The key factors that visitors will look for in an accommodation are reasonable price, good location, good service and of course attention to cleanliness. From research and hundreds of reviews from past visitors, below are 5 handpicked hotels which have the best of everythingImage result for Turkey flag

Esans Hotel

Esans Hotel is located in the charming area of Old City Sultanahmet, in the heart of Istanbul’s sightseeing, shopping and cultural hub. This newly renovated 19th century Ottoman Mansion is just a stone’s throw away from the exciting city centre and Istanbul’s famous tourist attractions such as Aya Sofya, Baths of Lady Hürrem, Saint Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Guests will have the opportunity to sail and cruise across the Bosphorus or sail around the Seraglio Point on a boat to the Princes’ Island of Büyükada

Esans Hotel is equipped with thoughtful amenities such as Internet access in public areas, car park, valet parking, airport transfer and 24hr room service. Guests can head up to the terrace and enjoy a stunning 180 degree panoramic view of famous Bosphorus Sea, Hagia Sophia and Prince Islands. Their staff is always smiling, helpful in planning activities and never failed in fulfilling the guest’s requests

Past guests of Esan’s Hotel have always complemented on its great location, cleanliness and pleasant service. So check in to this wonderful Istanbul hotel and enjoy its peaceful atmosphere with the architectural charm in its original Ottoman style

White House Hotel Istanbul

Conveniently located near Istanbul’s major cultural and historical attractions, the White House Hotel Istanbul offers luxurious yet affordable accommodation. The White House Hotel is within walking distance to Topkapı Palace, the Archaeology Museum, the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Byzantine Hippodrome and the Grand Bazaar.

Staff is always on hand to help guest with tourist information with warm and professional attention. They also can help with car rental, airport transfers, and babysitting service so that you enjoy a hassle-free and relaxing day touring Istanbul. The hotel offers air conditioning, wireless Internet access, laundry service and concierge and working facilities for business guests. There is a lounge bar and a restaurant for guest to wine and dine

Over 1000 guests of White House Hotel have great things to say about this charming hotel in terms of location, cleanliness and their wonderful staffs. So check in to this wonderful Istanbul hotel and experience an authentic Turkish hospitality and a memorable holiday.

Hotel Seraglio

Located in the heart of Istanbul’s magnificent Old Town, Hotel Seraglio is an attractive 3-star boutique hotel in the Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district. The family run Hotel Seraglio is surrounded by many cafés, restaurants, and souvenir shops, which makes it a perfect accommodation for a leisure break in Istanbul.Image result for Hotel Seraglio

Guests will be happy to find many of Istanbul’s tourist attractions are within walking distance including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the Archeology Museum, the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar.

This 3-star hotel offers 14 delightful rooms, currency exchange counter, 24-hour reception, a small garden, a comfortable lobby area, free parking, airport transfer and free wireless Internet access which ensures its guests a pleasant stay. The hotel also has laundry, a working area with photocopying and fax services and 24-hour room service. There is also an on-site restaurant which serves Turkish menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Most guests speak highly about Hotel Seraglio with high points awarded to their pleasant and friendly staffs, spotlessly clean bathrooms and of course, its superb location. So check in and this Istanbul hotel’s genuine hospitality will make your stay in Istanbul a memorable journey

Basileus Hotel

Basileus( Greek for “king”) Hotel is a newly opened 3 star hotel in the heart of the historic old city of Sultanahmet, Istanbul. The hotel’s location provides guests with easy access on foot to many of Istanbul’s most famous and historic tourist attractions such as the Basilica Cistern, Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, the Archaeological Museum, as well as many historic Ottoman baths also known as hamams.

All the rooms in Basileus Hotel are air-conditioned and include a refrigerator, Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee / Tea Maker, and free wireless internet. Guests can also free parking and an airport transfer to and from the hotel. Staffs are friendly and will helped guests with everything that they want and even give tips on where to go in the city. There will always be a cup of tea waiting for you in reception after a tiring day of sightseeing.

Visitors from all over have nothing but wonderful things to say about Basileus Hotel, singing praises about its reasonable rates, good locations and ever friendly staffs. So check in to this wonderful Istanbul hotel and be sure to be treated like a king (or Basileus in greek), throughout your holiday in Istanbul

Osmanhan Hotel

Located on the historical cobblestone pavements of Akbiyik Street, Istanbul, Osmanhan Hotel offers guests absolute glamor and luxury of an authentic Ottoman House. This cozy hotel, charmingly restored and ideally located is surrounded by picturesque shops, architecture and outdoor cafes.

Saint Sophia, Blue Mosque, Archaeological Museum, Underground Cistern and the Topkapi Palace are just within a 300 meter radius from the hotel. Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are just 20 minutes walk away.

Guests are treated to sumptuous open-air buffet breakfast while admiring amazing views of ships passing by in the Marmara. All 7 of the modern rooms in Osmanhan Hotel Istanbul are air- conditioned which also includes a TV, cable / satellite channels, refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities and a mini bar and a safe. Hotel amenities include babysitting services, a laundry service, a currency exchange, luggage storage and free internet connection.

Cheerful staff, clean comfortable rooms and wonderful breakfast are the only comments coming out of the previous guests of Osmanhan Hotel. So check in and make this wonderful Istanbul hotel your base from which to explore the enchanting and mystical Istanbul and create unforgettable memories to last a lifetime

Visiting Istanbul soon? Check out the beautiful images of the hotels mentioned in this article, get the best deals, compare prices from major booking sites, and read Istanbul hotel [] reviews from other traveler by clicking the link below:-

The Best Hotels in Istanbul []

Have fun in Istanbul!

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The Boutique Hotel Manager

Boutique Hotel. Just the words get the imagination going. Even before I dog eared the pages of Herbert Ypma’s first Hip Hotels book I was fascinated by the world of boutique hotel properties. “How cool would it be to be the general manager of a cool boutique hotel?” I often found asking myself as I flipped through the pages of his magnificent photos. Working hard to make a career out of the hotel industry, I was convinced that I just had to be involved with a boutique hotel someday.

That someday came true, when in 2004 I was invited to be the general manager of what was and still is one of Palm Springs most hip boutique hotels. I left another huge opportunity just to be a part of this amazing world. The art, the design, the vibe. I had never really worked anywhere with a “vibe”. A year later and I knew, I knew what many in the hotel business do not…what it is really like to be the gm of a hip, cool boutique hotel. It’s not for everyone and amazing for many.

There is a mini storm brewing in the boutique hotel world, one I don’t think most involved in this industry are aware of. With more and more boutique hotel operators entering the playground, more and more bad hiring decisions are being made. The right General Mangers are working at the wrong hotels. Like a square peg and a round hole, some things just do not work. Who is to blame and what can be done?Image result for Boutique Hotel

The Boutique Hotel

First let me first tell you that I have a very narrow view of what really constitutes a boutique hotel. I think that the term “Boutique” when used to describe a hotel is often misapplied. A boutique hotel is not defined by simply a hot design, as many would argue.
In my opinion, a boutique hotel is a property that is uniquely significant in four ways:

1. Architecture and Design.

2. A high level of service. A property must not exceed 150 guest rooms, enhancing the guest to staff ratio.

3. Sell to a specific demographic.

4. Are independently owned and operated (this is where some will disagree with me).

A boutique hotel must be an independent operation. The hotel must not be part of a collection that is more than say, 10 properties. Beyond this you get into having a corporate hierarchical management style that is required in running a large company and maintaining brand consistency. Take W Hotels for example. In my opinion these are not boutique hotels. They look like a boutique hotel, even feel like one. Many boutique hotels would strive to be as great as a W. But a W Hotel is run and managed by a massive corporation. The property level management makes very few decisions about what services are offered and how the property is run. A boutique hotel must be operated as close to the actual physical operation as possible. W’s and the like are amazing, but in my opinion don’t fit the definition of a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels are also constantly re-inventing themselves, making sure that their fickle guest never get bored and look to stay at the latest new, hip and cool property.

Boutique Hotel Guest

Travelers chose to stay at a boutique hotel because of the story, or the experience. The experience is very important and must be unique and somewhat cutting edge. The general demographics are individuals 20 to 50 years of age, work in more creative fields like advertising or entertainment and appreciate a higher level of service. When Ian Schrager entered the market with what many consider to be the first boutique hotel, this demographic discovered that they could use their travel budget get them a room at a cool, hip hotel rather than a generic mid-level branded property. And the boom started.
Boutique hotel guests enjoy experiences, unique architecture, cutting edge interior design and in some cases an urban location. The market is expanding and the demographic model explained earlier is beginning to bleed into others. You might very well find a Fortune 500 CEO staying at a boutique hotel. It is hard to ignore the hype.

Brands vs. Boutiques

Luxury hotel operators are scrambling to avoid losing market share to the boutique world. Some hotels are actually taking the “brand” off their marketing and streamlining their operations so that their properties are authentically boutique. Take the Kahala Mandarin Oriental for example. This famous luxury property recently took Mandarin Oriental away so that they could operate and compete in the new marketplace of more independent hotels. They are now simply “The Kahala” and are working hard to be authentically local and independent of a major brand identification. I think others will follow.

The Boutique Hotel General Manager

For the sake of this publication, I will use the luxury hotel as the comparison to the boutique since most closely associate a boutique hotel with luxury travel. So what is so different about being a general manager at a luxury hotel versus a boutique hotel? Can it really be that different? The basics are the same. The general manager is responsible for the entire day to day operation, hiring decisions, marketing, budgets, forecasting, rate strategy, facility maintenance etc… The key for both types of properties is guest service and guest interaction. The guest at a high end luxury hotel expects to be able to interact with the hotel general manager, as do the guests at a boutique property. It is all high touch.Image result for Boutique Hotel manager

The difference is that a boutique hotel general manager wears just a few more hats than the luxury general manager. A boutique general manager might be preparing complex budget forecasting spreadsheets at 10am and at 10:30 am be clearing the pool towels from around the hotel’s salt water plunge. When was the last time you saw the general manager of the Peninsula Beverly Hills with an arm full of towels? Don’t get me wrong, I know that the general manager of the Peninsula would do this in a second, if they had to. The general manager of a boutique hotel HAS to, because there is nobody else. The one server working the restaurant is also probably responsible for taking care of the pool, taking room service orders, delivering the orders and on and on…. The general manager of a boutique hotel is sometimes also the HR director and breaks the front desk agents. If the gm is in California then the gm might find themselves breaking just about every position just to avoid getting sued and fined!

Take this example; you are the GM of a hot boutique property in the desert. The temperature is pushing 118 degrees. Since occupancy during the summer is very low, you encourage a lot of your team to take their vacations so you can get that vacation accrual off your books. One of those who takes you up on this is your chief engineer, one of two engineers for your entire five acre property. He goes home to the motherland, Germany for a week. Now just because it’s hot does not mean that you don’t have customers. Some tourists seem to love the heat, and so it was with this particular steamy day in August. As the sun begins to set, your guests make their way from the pool to their bungalows. Dusk and 100 degrees, everyone turns on their aged air conditioners full blast so they can cool down. Your only other engineer has gone home for the day. It is at about this time that the calls start coming in. The ac units are freezing up. The old units freeze up when they are turned on full blast. Many blow the circuit breakers. So there you are, in your office doing the forecast for your weekly corporate status report call when the front desk calls you in a panic, “the guests are flipping out” cries your new front desk agent. You check out the calls and see that you need your engineer back on property, but his pre-paid cell phone (you cant afford to pay for a cell phone for him) is out of time -you cant reach him! So what do you do? You head to the rooms to see if you can fix them. Room by room you tackle the challenge of explaining to your sweaty and angry guests why they cant turn their ac on full and that it will take at least two hours for the ice built up around the coils to melt. Then you start looking for the circuit breakers, which are scattered all over the 60 year old property. By the time you reach the last room the guest who answers the door almost screams at the sight of the sweaty, dirty general manager holding a tool box with a dazed look on his face. “Wasn’t this the same guy who was pouring us Mimosas at the pool this morning honey?” asks the guest as you begin your repairs. Once the craziness is over you get a call on your cell phone. Yes, it is your engineer returning your call. “You trying to reach me boss?”. The next day, while on your conference call you listen to a speech about how general managers need to spend more time with their guests rather than in their offices. Duh, you think as you try to scrub the grit out from under your fingernails.

The financial realities of a boutique hotel are unique. The appearance of three to five star service with a two star budget is the norm, and the gm’s get caught in the middle. The boutique hotel just does not have the budget to staff like a true luxury property and everyone has to pull their weight. The gm who does not will not be there long and hate every second of their lives.

Along with the additional sweat and frustration of being a boutique hotel gm are the rewards. For the right individual, they will find that the entrepreneurial management style required of them is highly empowering. The gm can make a lot of decisions on their own, decisions that in a larger corporate hotel would require an approval or worse….committee discussion! The fact that some towels need to be picked up and maybe a drink or two be mixed and served is actually fun to them. The rewards of always being in front of your guests are what most gm’s want anyway, but many are not really ready for it when they are tasked to make that happen every day.

So what kind of person would do well as a general manager of a boutique hotel? Answer these questions, if you can say yes to each answer then you will probably really like the challenge. Please note that I am assuming that you are already an experienced manager and qualified to be a general manager.

The 51 Questions

1. You do not need routines to feel successful at work.

2. You can delegate without concern.

3. You can make decisions without committee recommendation.

4. You can spend long hours at work. By long I mean sometimes up to 14 hours at a time.

5. You have no problem spending the night at the property to make sure everything is ok.

6. You don’t have a problem delivering luggage to guest rooms (you probably wont have a bellman to do this for you).

7. You can valet park a car.

8. You can re-program guest keys using the key card system.

9. You really enjoy speaking with your guests….REALLY.

10. You can mix a drink and you know who Mr. Boston is.

11. You can run a commercial washing machine.

12. You can re-set a circuit breaker.

13. You can change a flat tire, jump start a car.

14. You can re-set your router. If you don’t know what a router is then stop now and re-think any thoughts you have of being a boutique hotel gm. You will not have an on site IT manager to help you!

15. You can check in/ out a guest using the front office system.

16. You can process credit cards and split payments to various folios.

17. You can run the switchboard at the front desk.

18. You can ring in an order using the restaurants POS.

19. You can re-set the restaurant POS.

20. You can program a digital surveillance system.

21. You can type your own memos, send your own e-mails and answer your own phones (this should be true of ANY gm nowadays).

22. You can jump from one project to the next without hesitation.

23. You know what to do when someone has a heart attack in your lobby.

24. You know what to do when someone chokes in your restaurant.

25. You can explain your restaurant menu items as well or better than your servers.

26. You can brew coffee using a commercial coffee machine.

27. You can draw a good cup of espresso.

28. You know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.

29. You know the temperature requirements for your walk-in and refrigerators. If you don’t know what a walk-in is, stop here and think about your career choice.

30. You know what to do when the health inspector shows up. Hint, it is not to grab a handful of cash!

31. You know who to call if your phone system suddenly stops working.

32. You know how to read the history off an electronic guest room lock.

33. You know how to make a bed as well as your best housekeeper.

34. You know what the ph level should be in your wash rinse.

35. You know how to check the chemicals in you pool and Jacuzzi.

36. You know what the interfaces are for each of your hotel software systems.

37. You know how to get guests online using your wireless internet service.

38. You know the difference between an p&l and a balance sheet.

39. You can run a commercial dishwasher.

40. You know your receivables and payables.

41. You know where your housekeeper buys their supplies.

42. You know local city ordinances as they apply to your property.

43. You can deliver a room service order.

44. You can clean a bathroom to 5 star standards.

45. You can fold a towel like your housekeepers.

46. You know where the water and gas mains are, and how to shut them off.

47. You know each of your guest room types.

48. You have no problem befriending your neighboring business and residents.

49. You can write a well researched and accurate month end report.

50. You know how to calculate flow through.

51. Have a number two person who can answer these questions as well.

I task the many boutique hotel companies to ask these questions to gm candidates during the interview process. I know that you will save a lot of time, frustration and lower your turnover rates (higher for general manager positions in boutique hotels).

If you are a boutique hotel company I would also ask you to make sure that you do the following for your hotel general managers, ensuring their success and lowering your gm turnover:

1. Don’t hire an experience luxury (non-boutique hotel) general manger unless they can answer yes or actually commit to learning the answer to each of the prior 51 questions.

2. Train, train and train your new gm’s on the property they are going to. Make sure they know everything before you “turn them loose”.

3. Pay them a fair wage, maybe even a bit more than fair. Boutique hotel companies seem to think they can attract new gm’s who maybe were a number two at a larger property, convince them that it is “cool” to be a part of your company and pay them less than the industry standard. This just makes your new gm start listening to those headhunter calls (they call hotel gm’s a lot!) with offers of much higher salaries back in the “comfort” zone of a branded hotel.

4. Understand what goes on in the life of a boutique hotel gm. Most boutique hotel corporate staff have never been a gm at a real boutique hotel and have no idea what it is like. Get to know what happens on property.

5. Insist that your gm’s take time off. It is easy for your gm to get wrapped up in the operation and start working 7 days a week. This will just burn them out. Figure out a way to get them the time with their families they need to stay sane, married etc…

6. Don’t call them on their day off unless it is an emergency. If you don’t know what days your gm’s are off then shame on you.

7. Don’t be double minded. Don’t show up one day and berate the gm for the pool deck needing re-surfacing and then two days later come down on them for requesting the funds to make property repairs.

8. Give them realistic budgets, and if you sell a bonus during the interview process, make sure it is realistic.

9. Give them the same “perks” that gm’s in large hotel properties get. You can skip the car allowance, but at least offer dry cleaning and travel privileges at your other properties.

10. Talk to them often. Really talk to them, don’t talk at them. Listen to what is going on.

11. If you tell them that “we are an entrepreneurial company” and that gm’s can “make their own decisions” and then second guess every decision they make you need to re-think your message.

12. Make sure you give them the ability to hire a strong #2. One of the reasons your gm’s leave for other companies is because most boutique hotel companies don’t give their properties the budgets to have a number two, so they have nobody to take their place if other in-company opportunities come up. This is the old and very tired “to move up you have to move out” dynamic that kills us in the hotel industry.

13. That takes me to this point—set out to develop bench strength. Have leaders waiting in the wings to take positions as you grow. If you don’t you will end up “borrowing” leaders from each of your properties to open your newest. This leaves your existing properties, already running lean on management with an over worked and stressed out group of leaders and staff. Make this a priority.

14. Thank your gm’s. This is a no-brainer but a much forgot important task as a hotel company. THANK YOUR GM’s. This goes for any hotel company. Your general managers get beat up a lot. By unhappy staff, guests and you. You hit them with constant “notes” on how to perform better. Make sure to balance the coaching with praise.

The point?

So what is the point to all of this? The boutique hotel general manager, in my opinion is a completely different job than a general manager at a full service luxury property. But unfortunately the two are muddled together in a basket full of un-attainable expectations.

I think that the boutique hotel general manager should have a new title– I leave this up to the boutique hotel companies and the creative genius that drives their brands.
At the end of the day, a title is really not important, but the expectations are. Make sure you understand your role as a boutique hotel general manager or the role your general managers play at your boutique hotels. Make certain that as you take a job or when hire them, they know what a boutique hotel manager really is.

The author, Kurt Bjorkman is the CEO of över5, a hotel consulting firm based in La Quinta California. Kurt has 20 years of front line hospitality experience in both full service branded and boutique properties.

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