About TrueGuest

Headquartered in Los Angeles, TrueGuest was created by former hotel executives to serve the hospitality industry by measuring and improving guest service and internal controls. Our Service Experience Audits are used by top brands such as Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Marriott, Renaissance, Hilton, Hyatt, W Hotels, Intercontinental, Sheraton, Radisson, Holiday Inn, Wyndham, and many more.

Hotel Management: Strong occupancy and higher ADR lead to lower guest satisfaction?

MarketMetrixWEBGreat post today from hotelmanagment.net: the higher the ADR and occupancy, the lower your guest satisfaction scores will be.  From the article:

Global customer satisfaction with hospitality experiences continued to decline during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to new data released by Market Metrix.  Customer satisfaction scores declined two tenths of a point in the Americas during the fourth quarter, and seven tenths of a point versus the same period a year ago. Scores also declined in Europe. Strengthening occupancy and higher prices during this period appear to be the likely reasons.

We easily spotted this trend starting in about 2008.  As soon as the economy struggled and hotel rates plummeted, guest satisfaction shot right up.  Many of the numbers reported by JD Power were record highs.  It turns out that people love a great deal.  From the article:

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AAA Extends Five Diamond Honor to 6 Additional Hotels and 8 Restaurants for 2014

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AAA’s new 2014 Diamond Ratings are now out.  This year, AAA added 14 additional hotels and 14 restaurants to their top rating.  However, AAA also downgraded 7 hotels from a Five-Diamond Rating to a Four-Diamond Rating.  There are currently 124 Five-Diamond Hotels in North America (only about .4 percent of all hotels).

Here are the new Five-Diamond Hotels:

  • Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, Calif.
  • Wynn Tower Suites, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
  • Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, Canada
  • Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, Acapulco, Mexico
  • Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Here are the new Five-Diamond Restaurants:

  • The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.
  • Acadia, Chicago, Ill.
  • Grace Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.
  • Sixteen, Chicago, Ill.
  • Per Se, New York, N.Y.
  • Restaurant La Tanière, Québec, Canada
  • Restaurant Le Patriarche, Québec, Canada
  • Cocina de Autor, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Congratulations to the new award winners!  About a year or so, we wrote an article detailing how much harder it would be in 2013 to pass the Five-Diamond certification.  Basically, you have to score a 78 percent now, compared to a 69 percent in the past.  From the AAA press release: Continue reading

Four Hotel Companies Make it on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 2014 List

FortuneFortune Magazine released their 2014 Best 100 Companies to Work For List.  Google was number one again this year, but 4 hotel companies made the list.  Kimpton Hotels, Marriott International, Four Seasons Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels all made the best of list for 2014.  Kimpton, Marriott, and Four Seasons were all on the list last year.  Hyatt Hotels is the only newcomer.  Four Seasons and Marriott Hotels are two of only 13 companies that have made the list every year since it began in 1998.

Here are the 4 with their rankings from Fortune:

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The hotel minibar may soon be extinct – LA Times

minibarSay it ain’t so!  According to a recent survey by TripAdvisor, the hotel minibar was the least important amenity for U.S. travelers.  According to the LA Times article:

Only 21% of travelers ranked the mini-bar as an important amenity, compared to 89% who called free in-room wireless Internet the most important.

There is little financial reason to keep minibars. Hotel consulting firms estimate that minibars generate no more than 0.24% of total hotel revenue, with much of that eaten up by the cost to check and restock the bars.

Companies that build and sell automated minibars that electronically charge guests when a drink or snack is removed from the bar say they can cut the labor costs by up to 60%.

Still, industry experts say minibars won’t be around for long.

While it will be sad to see the minibars leaving, one of the reasons why they fell out of favor is pretty exciting.  From the article: Continue reading

Tips for luring hotel guests to the bar in 2014 – Hotel Management

drink trayHotel Management posted their top tips for luring hotel guests to the bar in 2014.  Among their tips:

Focus on millennials. This generation is characterized by high expectations, disposable incomes and a thirst for new trends. “As millennial continue to invest in the experiential value of dining, eye-catching drink presentation as well as innovative and even adventurous ingredients will continue to drive incremental sales particularly in casual and upscale dining concepts in 2014,” Melanie Austin, account executive at Patrick Henry Creative Promotions, told Nightclub & Bar.

Simplicity should be left behind. Operators are encouraged to think outside of the box and innovate, as guests are becoming tired of repetition in hospitality and want to see personality in the properties they visit. It’s open season for hotels to start taking chances on how to attract customers.

Social media is also expected to continue to climb in popularity and utility throughout 2014, and there is also expected to be more social media options available to both guests and operators. Hashtags are now a marketing tool, and it is important to learn to use them in cross-promotion.

Ok, this may not exactly be helpful to you if you are running a hotel with a typical lobby bar.  That is where TrueGuest can offer a few more tips. Continue reading

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. and Jean-Michel Cousteau Launch Ritz Kids at Hotels and Resorts Around the World

Ritz-Carlton LogoHere is something that we are really excited about.  The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to launch Ritz Kids around the world.  We’ve complained for years that hotels, especially resorts, are not nearly as kid friendly as they should be.  When we vacation with our kiddos, we want kid specific activities (think Disney!).  It sounds like the Ritz-Carlton is listening to our kids.  From the press release:

The Ritz-Carlton aims to delight their youngest guests by making memories that last well beyond their hotel stays. Ritz Kids is an engaging and immersive experience that builds upon the adventures of travel that children will always treasure at 84 hotels from Hawaii to Kazakhstan.

“We are very excited to continue our highly successful relationship with a unique individual whose entire life has been spent dedicated to preservation of the environment, with particular attention to marine conservation and education,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

The new global brand standard for children’s programming includes robust activities for resorts, in addition to multiple touch points for children at city and urban properties. The refined luxury experience for young guests aged four to 12 provides a differentiated program which engages children to explore the world around them.

“The fun and exciting activities appeal to a child’s innate love of discovery and sense of curiosity.  All kids start out as scientists, constantly asking ‘Why? What’s that? How does it work?’   I have spent my life exploring the natural wonders of the world, seeking to understand how our planet works and how we can better protect it,” said Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Here is a little peak into the upcoming program: Continue reading

Hotels that go green gain no booking advantage – LA Times

LEED-Certification-LogoInteresting article in the LA Times from Hugo Martin.  According to a recent study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, green hotels (such as certified LEED hotels) do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.  From the article:

Going green may be a hot trend in the hospitality industry, but hotels that earn environmental certificates do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.

The finding comes from a study published recently by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. The study compared booking revenue at 3,000 eco-certified hotels with 6,000 other properties in North America. Environmental certificates include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, or LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

While the reason is generally unclear, there are a few guesses.  From the article: Continue reading

Ask TrueGuest: Tips on Making Menu Recommendations

Dear TrueGuest,Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_Hospitality

We really need to increase our average check in our restaurant and the bar.  We have been working on making menu recommendations but have not seen any improvement.  What types of items should our employees recommend?

Great question, thank you!  Having restaurant servers and bartenders make menu recommendations is definitely the key to increasing your average check.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure that employees only recommend items that they have personally tried and love.  It sounds like a no brainer, but we have this conversation all of the time.  Server says, “our fish tacos are incredible and a must order”.  We ask, “do they have cilantro on them?”  Server says, “I have no idea”.  I guess they are not her favorite after all!  Make sure you are doing regular menu tastings with your team.
  2. Allow your employees to choose what they recommend, but have some limitations.  Here is where restaurants often run into trouble.  You start telling your servers that they must make recommendations but don’t provide any guidelines.  They tend to do one of two things, over or under recommend.  Half the servers immediately recommend the most of expensive item on your menu.  They think they will increase their sales and their tips.  Unfortunately, most guests do not fall for that and are turned off when you recommend the most expensive item.  The other half of the servers then under recommend.  When asked about entrees, they say something like, “you should get the chicken quesadilla appetizer, it is more than enough for an entree.”  Now, instead of increasing the check, they decreased it.  They took away an appetizer sale and sold the analyst a $9 entree instead of a $22 entree.  Ouch! Continue reading

Chili’s Restaurants Aims to Put a Tablet on Every Table to Make You Spend More

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If you’ve been in a Chili’s restaurant in the last 6 months, you may have noticed an iPad type device on your table…  unless you have been to focused on those sweet baby back ribs!  Chili’s has spent the last six months testing the tablets that allow diners to order beverages and desserts or pay their bill without having to flag down a waiter.  From a great article on Bloomberg:

Things have gone so well at the initial 180 or so restaurants that the company decided to install the devices at most of its 1,266 U.S. restaurants by the first half of 2014.

It turns out, the tablets lead to bigger checks and more revenue for Chili’s.  According to Bloomberg, the tablets cause guests to spend more for the following reasons:

1. Leaving bigger tips by default. Despite being less reliant on waiters, diners end up tipping about 15 percent more on average, according to data from Ziosk. At Chili’s, for instance, the default suggestion on the tablet is set at 20 percent—a generosity-enhancing strategy that has also proven effective in New York City taxis, which are now equipped with back seat monitors. At the table, diners can go lower or higher than the suggested tip before paying—but unless the service was awful, who wants to be a Scrooge?

2. A bigger appetite for appetizers. Ever arrive at a restaurant starving? By eliminating the wait for a menu, tablet can boost impulse orders at the start of the meal—especially when photos of appetizers are streaming across monitors. Ziosk says tablets have increased starters sales by 20 percent at restaurants that offer them, although Chili’s hasn’t put its appetizer menu on the tablets.

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company Plans on Adding 20 More Hotel Projects by 2016

Ritz-Carlton LogoRitz-Carlton announced plans to add another 20 hotels projects by the end of 2016, putting their total hotels over the century mark.  From the press release:

In the last 12 months, The Ritz-Carlton has opened three iconic properties, including Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico, The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi a beach-front resort in the capital city of The United Arab Emirates, and the brand’s first hotel in the stunning European city of Vienna in Austria.

No less than six new Ritz-Carlton hotels are scheduled to open in the last quarter of this year, including two properties in China; The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu and The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin; The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba will add to the stunning Caribbean portfolio; and the luxury brand is slated to open in three new countries with The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya, Israel; The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty in Kazakhstan and The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore in India.

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