Lodging Leaders show

Lodging Leaders

Summary: Lodging Leaders is an award-winning weekly podcast that examines trends and issues impacting the hospitality industry. Each week, we bring listeners on a journey through engaging stories narrated by co-hosts by Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with hospitality experts and other thought leaders. Each enhanced episode leverages modern media to provide closed captions, chapter markers with images and links, and an expanded multimedia report with downloadable transcriptions, while adhering to strict editorial standards. The longest running, top-ranking hospitality podcast, Lodging Leaders received a Bronze Stevie® Award in 2020 for Podcast of the Year in the 17th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business. Its parent company, Long Live Lodging, also received a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Media Hero of the Year category for its expanded coverage of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis on the hotel industry.

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 288 | ‘The Big Pause’: Hotels retooling employment policies as business slowly returns | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 35:55

Prospective hospitality job recruits gauge companies’ standards of care in workplace safety and diversity in a year of crises Two nationwide crises emerged in the U.S. this year – the coronavirus pandemic and the public reckoning of systemic racism in just about every aspect of American life. The outbreak in March of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, forced hotels to close or drastically cut back on their workforces as occupancy plummeted to unprecedented lows. A couple months later, America’s streets resounded with the voices of citizens denouncing racism and businesses began to respond by promising new and better commitments toward diversity, inclusion and equality in hiring and promotion. Combined, the crises have rattled the hospitality industry’s employment strategies. Hotel owners and operators are struggling to bring back laid-off workers and recruiting new employees in the wake created by the intertwined events. Jobs Picture America’s hospitality employment sector has been ground zero for the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism Economics recently reported that in March and April nearly 17 million jobs in leisure and hospitality were lost. The leisure and hospitality industry includes lodging accommodations, food and beverage, and arts, entertainment and recreation. Overall, it has begun to recover slightly. Four million jobs were created or restored by July. But more than one quarter of people who worked in the industry remain unemployed. In addition, the pace of rehires and new hires has significantly slowed, from 2 million new jobs in June to 200,000 in July. {caption}In an August employment report for the U.S. Travel Association, Tourism Economics showed 17 million jobs in leisure and hospitality (light blue) were lost in March and April. The dark blue segment depicts jobs pre-pandemic. Jobs in leisure and hospitality are returning, albeit slowly. Though leisure and hospitality comprise 11 percent of the nation’s jobs, the sector accounts for 40 percent of current unemployment. “If every industry recovered to their pre-pandemic levels except for leisure and hospitality, the unemployment rate would fall from 10.2 percent to 6.2 percent, still 2.7 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels,” reads the report.{/caption} Del Ross is chief operations officer at Hotel Effectiveness, a technology company that manages labor costs for hotels. He has his own data that align with what Tourism Economics has found – that hotels are employing about half the workers they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, hotel owners and operators that are hiring back are finding out that many furloughed workers are reticent to return. This has led managers to reconsider how they onboard employees in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a balancing act, for sure. “The number of people you have to keep onboard at a hotel to keep it from falling apart and the number you have keep on for very minimum staffing are actually very close,” Ross said. {caption}HIRING PACE: Hotel Effectiveness research reveals where hotels are rebuilding their workforces over the past six months and where rehiring remains flat.{/caption} Besides the challenge of generating enough revenue to pay workers, hotel owners and operators are finding out that many laid-off workers do not want to return to the job out of fear of contracting COVID-19. “People were afraid to come to work because of the high-touch nature of what we do,” Ross said. “We’ve been very focused as an industry on the guest experience, guest safety and guest health. But employee health is critical as well, especially to the employees.

 287 | The Long Haul: Extended-stay hotels show their strength in a crisis | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 31:43

{caption}THE LONG HAUL: A king suite is one room type of Everhome, an extended-stay brand Choice Hotels International launched in January. The company recently signed two ‘multi-pack’ deals with developers in California and Texas. Episode 287 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the strength and resiliency of the extended-stay lodging sector as the coronavirus pandemic strains the financial performance of transient and group hotels.{/caption} Lodging investors find a room with a kitchen is ‘a good place to be’ in the COVID-19 age otels in the economy extended-stay category are riding the COVID-19 wave by providing a service that until recently many hospitality consumers had overlooked – the invitation to shelter in place as long as you want to at an affordable rate. Andrew Alexander, president of Red Roof, said the economy segment is the sweet spot for the hoteliers these days. But it’s truly the saving grace for extended-stay hotels. Red Roof added HomeTowne Studios to its brand family in 2018. It launched as a conversion brand and in April 2019, Red Roof rolled out a new-build prototype for the brand. And it’s proven to be a shining star. HomeTowne Studios business performance is up compared to the second quarter of last year, Alexander said. “Economy extended stay is truly the perfect place to be when you have this kind of downturn,” he said. “People are not sure where their lives are going and this is a great place for them to be while in transition.” HomeTowne Studios’ primary guest demographic is a mix of residents displaced because of an economic loss resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and essential workers such as health care professionals who do not want to risk taking the virus home or they want to live closer to the hospital where they’re needed. Occupancy in HomeTowne Studios is more than 80 percent, Alexander said. Owners of economy extended-stay hotels are “having a good summer. It shows that the economy segment is a really good place to be,” he said. Discounts Maintain Occupancy The Highland Group recently reported that extended-stay hotels in all price tiers reported a loss in occupancy over the first six months of the 2020, but the economy-segmented accommodations had a 4 percent drop while mid-price and upscale charted occupancy declines of 26 percent and 53 percent, respectively. Extended-stay residents typically seek out the lowest price points as they plan to stay longer term. For that reason, Mark Skinner, partner at The Highland Group and author of the report, expects to see a rate war of sorts. He notes it’s a matter of time before hotels in the higher-priced tiers begin to lower their rates to compete. Although he doesn’t expect it to last for long. “During contractionary periods extended-stay hotels tend to focus on occupancy more than rate,” Skinner said. “So the way to do that is to go after longer term guests at a discount. It happens in all three price segments, but particularly the change is more abrupt in the upscale end.” The Highland Group’s report charts revenue losses in April among mid-price and upscale extended-stay hotels that are steeper than the economy segment. But it shows an across-the-board increase in room revenue, with the economy segment’s June room revenue nearing March levels. {caption}The Highland Group charts discounted rates in economy, mid-price and upscale extended-stay hotels in the first six months of the year. As the coronavirus pandemic hit the hospitality industry,

 286 | Care Packages: Hotels can attract business with cause marketing | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 34:37

{caption}The coronavirus crisis has altered the traditional sales funnel, say hotel marketing experts.{/caption} COVID-19 reshapes the traditional sales-and-marketing funnel heresa Hajko is director of revenue management for Spire Hospitality, a third-party management company in Irving, Texas. Hajko works from her home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she got the idea for a marketing campaign Spire Hospitality calls The Great American Road Trip when she decided to travel to unique destinations in search of memorable experiences. Hajko calls her experiential bucket list “quirky” and “unusual.” She visited the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania to see the Synchronous Firefly event that takes place in early summer. She then drove about an hour northwest and stayed at the Caboose Motel in Titusville, Pennsylvania, a lodging accommodation associated with Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad, an excursion train. Each room is a free-standing caboose. {caption}CABOOSE? CHECK.: Theresa Hajko, director of revenue management at Spire Hospitality, this summer spent a night in the Caboose Motel in Titusville, Pennsylvania. The experience was on her ‘quirky’ bucket list. During her trip, Hajko discovered she is not alone is seeking unusual travel experiences that include time spent outdoors so she created a marketing campaigned called The Great American Road Trip that offers stay-packages to prospective guests of Spire Hospitality’s hotels.{/caption} During the road trip, Hajko met other travelers intent on checking experiences off their bucket lists. “When I got back, I shared my trip on social media and I told other people. Everybody was so engaged with the idea of the road trip. I think right now travelers are looking to getting out and do something but they don’t necessarily want to involve air travel. Getting outdoors and back to nature is so popular right now.” Hajko said the marketing campaign for Spire Hospitality is meant to encourage the road trip and to generate business for the hotels in its management portfolio. Spire Hospitality’s Great American Road Trip offers package priced $25 above the sell rate. Guests participating in the program get gifts such as dining coupons, a S’mores-making kit and a picture frame. The program kicked off in mid-August and so far Spire Hospitality’s hotels have sold more than 80 packages. LISTEN: CARE PACKAGES: Hotels can attract business during the coronavirus pandemic by sharing a message of safety and caring. The care must be obvious with how the business treats its staff as well as serves its surrounding community, say experts. Episode 286 of Lodging Leaders podcast examines how the coronavirus crisis has reshaped the traditional sales-and-marketing funnel and what hotels need to do to attract the attention of prospective guests. Besides the guests who booked are hundreds more who were made aware Spire Hospitality’s hotels through the campaign. “A unique package will get attention and drive potential guests to your hotel’s website,” Hajko said. “If that potential guest doesn’t make a reservation right now maybe they’ll (book) in the future.” Creating consumer awareness is step one in the traditional marketing funnel. At the top of the funnel is discovery or awareness. Next is engagement with prospective customers as they learn about your business. Then there is lead nurturing, when the customer is considering the offer and marketing leads turn into sales leads. The final step is the sale or the conversion from a looker to a buyer. While some marketing tactics remain tried and true,

 285 | ‘Allure of the Door’: Exterior-corridor hotels trending in COVID-19 pandemic | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 25:43

{caption}Almost overnight, the roadside motel is a hot commodity. Travelers are going by car and when they stop they want the safest stay possible so they’re gravitating to exterior-corridor accommodations.{/caption} Nostalgia for road tripping steers travelers to safe-haven motels ishal Patel and Sunny Patel live in Tucson, Arizona, and wanted to develop a hotel that captured the outdoorsy ethos of the Sunset State. A couple years ago, they acquired an economy motel along a main street in downtown Tucson with plans to redevelop it into a hip gathering place for locals and visitors. The fact that the property is exterior corridor played into the partners’ buying decision. Today, as the coronavirus pandemic has made health and safety the number-one amenity sought by guests, Vishal and Sunny have hit pay dirt. Exterior corridor properties shunned over the past decade by many major franchisers have a new shine as travelers shy away from close human contact in fear of contracting COVID-19, the virus caused by the new coronavirus. {caption}SUNSHINE + SAFETY: Vishal Patel and Sunny Patel opened their independent boutique hotel, The Tuxon, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The exterior-corridor property has attracted guests who have made safety and security top priorities during their stay. Having outside access to their rooms is a favored amenity.{/caption} The 112-room independent motel, renamed The Tuxon, caters to visitors’ heightened awareness of how the illness is spread. The design goes a long way to ease guests’ worry that they’ll unwittingly be exposed to the virus. Bryan Tubaugh is executive vice president at Focus Hospitality Management, manager of The Tuxon. He said while the hotel’s outdoor accessibility is definitely a selling point to travelers, it’s usually not until after guests arrive do they realize the benefit of being able to access their room without going through a lobby. “One of the things that we’re finding is guests don’t really choose the hotel because of the exterior corridor. However, when they arrive they realize, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is something we should take into consideration the next time we travel,’” Tubaugh said. Because guests can drive to their room’s front door, use mobile check-in and even order food and beverage via an app, the services create an “Aha moment” because of the safety it all provides, he said. LISTEN: ‘ALLURE OF THE DOOR’: Hospitality leaders celebrate the comeback of exterior-corridor hotels that give travelers a greater sense of control during the coronavirus pandemic and advise on how you can prepare your property to receive guests who value safety and certainty. The Tuxon is a conversion project. It was once a Motel 6. After a few weeks of watching the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on travel and guest preferences, the owners decided to add an indoor-outdoor bar and lounge to the original plans. They also were able to expand the floor space to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. The hotel has gated access that assures only staff and guests are on property, which adds an extra element of safety in the coronavirus age. Besides the hotel’s layout and messaging that promotes safety, Arizona’s reputation for wellness is also a big selling point. “It’s funny, a lot of business travelers in the past would really frown on exterior corridor and now … we can really tie that into the natural outdoor setting that Arizona has to offer from the marketing standpoint,” Tubaugh said. “The messaging is saying we’re offering a safe environment while also the safety and wellbeing from being outside.” {caption}”THE CAR IS KING’: MMGY Intelligence reports prospective travelers plan to go by pers...

 284 | Sharing the Wealth: Hotel industry leaders want to bring Black investors into the fold | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 26:37

The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting downturn in the travel industry will make it difficult for investors to find the capital they need to acquire and develop hotels. That means minority investors, in particular Black Americans, might face an uphill climb in qualifying for bank loans unless they can close the ever-widening equity gap. Several industry groups, including owners, are looking post-pandemic and reviving efforts to partner with Black investors in hotel development, including partially financing new projects. Industry leaders also want to educate minority owners of other commercial real estate assets how to reap financial returns through investment in hotels. Last week, Lodging Leaders reported on Black hoteliers introducing boutique concepts that celebrate Black heritage and culture. This week, we explore the state of Black hotel investment and how the coronavirus pandemic has strengthened industry leaders’ resolve to invite more minority investment into hospitality. We feature John Lancaster, new regional vice president of emerging markets at Choice Hotels International in Rockville, Maryland; Omari Head, director at Paramount Lodging Advisors, a hotel brokerage in Washington, D.C.; and Navroz Saju and Azim Saju of Hotel Development and Management Group, a family-owned business in Ocala, Florida. Resources and Links * John Lancaster of Choice Hotels International * Omari Head of Paramount Lodging Advisors * Navroz Saju and Azim Saju of Hotel Development and Management Group

 283 | Seizing the Moment: Black hotel owners and investors see opportunity to prosper | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 29:54

In a recent Zoom conference hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, hospitality entrepreneur Kristin Kitchen talked about her lodging company that showcases Black heritage and supports minority-owned companies. Kitchen is part of a trend toward building hospitality ventures related to Black history and culture, a sub-sector of the $200 billion global Heritage Tourism movement, which also ranks as the fastest-growing travel trend in America. As with most hospitality ventures, Kitchen and her company, Sojourn Heritage Accommodations, are struggling to do business amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the effort to increase the number of Black-owned hotels continues, albeit at a reduced pace. During the business lull, two entrepreneurs new to the scene are developing fresh concepts that celebrate Black culture and cater to the next generation of travelers. In this episode of Lodging Leaders we feature Damon Lawrence, founder of Homage Hospitality Group in Oakland, California, and Robin Staten, founder of Tiny Urban Escapes in Indianapolis, Indiana. They share their visions for independent boutique accommodations and how they’re preparing to capitalize on pent-up demand during and after the coronavirus crisis. Resources and Links * Robin Staten of Tiny Urban Escapes * Damon Lawrence of Homage Hospitality Group * The webcast featuring Kristin Kitchen and several others representing Black hotel owners and supporters

 282 | ‘People Have Changed’: Hospitality industry deals with workers’ mental health in the age of COVID-19 | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 38:34

The coronavirus crisis has put unprecedented amounts of stress not only on health care systems and economies but on workers’ mental health. That’s the first and bottom line of a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Managers. The professional association surveyed more than a thousand workers in mid-April and found that nearly half feel emotionally drained from their work. The younger the employee, the more likely they feel burned out. Employees who feel totally sapped of energy are more prone to depression. As state and local economies reopen amid the threat of COVID-19, citizens are getting back to daily living. But people are not the same as they were before the pandemic struck, experts say, and the nation’s workplaces may be where mental health issues become most obvious. In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we focus on mental health in the workplace – particularly the hospitality industry which has been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Featured in this report are Silpa Patel, a hotelier in Tennessee who has battled depression and now works with behavioral health organizations to eliminate the stigma of mental illness; Darcy Gruttadaro, director of the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Wendi Safstrom, executive director of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation in Alexandria, Va.; and Marjorie Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Psych Hub in Nashville, Tennessee. Resources and Links * Silpa Patel of Stigma Zero and the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and Other Addiction Services * Darcy Gruttadaro of the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Foundation * Wendi Safstrom, executive director of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation * Marjorie Morrison of PsychHub

 281 | Rescue Capital: Hotel financiers seek opportunities to invest in distressed assets | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 31:47

In June, Watermark Lodging Trust, a Chicago REIT, sold its Hutton Hotel in Nashville for $70 million. The price is $7 million less than what the REIT said it paid to acquire and upgrade the hotel seven years ago. A month later, Watermark said it signed a deal in which it sold shares worth $200 million to a joint venture between Ascendant Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management. The influx of cash will be used to keep Watermark in business and give Ascendant and Oaktree preferred equity positions. Watermark will pay the JV a 12 percent annual dividend rate. The activity is a harbinger of what’s to come as hotel owners struggling to stay afloat amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic may soon be forced to sell their assets at a discount or borrow money to keep paying their mortgages. In this episode of Lodging Leaders podcast, we explore what opportunistic investors might have in store as the lodging industry faces the possibility of mortgage defaults. We talk to financiers who are stepping up with what they call “rescue capital” to help owners get to the other side with their businesses intact or be among the first to reap a return if an asset is forced to go to market. And we talk to asset managers who advise on how to position your hotel to either survive the crisis or go to market. Our report features Amanda Chivers, managing principal at Crown Hospitality Consulting in Atlanta; Evens Charles, president and CEO of Frontier Development & Hospitality Group in Washington, D.C.; David Turley, principal at Cronheim Hotel Capital in New York City; and Brian Waldman, executive vice president of investments at Peachtree Hotel Group in Atlanta. READ: Click here to view the expanded multimedia report for this episode. Resources and Links * 278 | CMBS Distress: Thousands of hotel owners seek relief from billions of dollars in debt * Daniel Lesser’s full presentation * Amanda Chivers of Crown Hospitality Consulting * Evens Charles of Frontier Development & Hospitality Group * David Turley of Cronheim Hotel Capital * Brian Waldman of Peachtree Hotel Group

 280 | Premium Letdown: Hotels challenge property insurers’ refusal to cover COVID-19 revenue loss | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 28:34

As the hospitality industry struggles to mitigate the massive loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of hotel owners are filing lawsuits to force their property insurance providers to cover their financial casualties. Meantime, state and federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would mandate U.S. insurance companies pay for business losses related to COVID-19. Such a payout could surpass $600 billion, reported Best’s Insurance in May. American Property Casualty Insurance Association, a trade group, puts the payouts even higher. In June, the association reportedly estimated payouts to would cost insurers $255 billion to $431 billion a month. The amounts are not sustainable and would ultimately make many insurers insolvent, say insurance industry experts. Hotel owners say they deserve payouts because they’ve paid premiums for years to cover high-loss scenarios such as the one they’re facing now. In almost every case, insurers are refusing to pay, saying policies exclude losses caused by a viral plague or COVID-19 has not caused any physical damage to hotel properties that result in a stoppage of business. It’s fixing to be an epic battle. In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we examine the issue of business interruption insurance for hotels negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We feature Sanjay Patel, CEO of MHG Hotels in Indianapolis who has filed a lawsuit against his insurance provider; Robert Zarco, a partner at the law firm Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito in Miami who specializes in litigating business interruption insurance claims on behalf of business owners; Gregory Riehle, a lawyer and hospitality consultant and former CEO of the Resort Hotel Association, a hotel insurance group; and Robert Hartwig, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor and director of finance at the Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business who’s co-authored a white paper about the un-insurability of businesses affected by viral pandemics. Resources and Links * Robert Hartwig, Ph.D., of the Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management at University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business * Gregory Riehle, formerly of the Resort Hotel Association * Robert Zarco of Zarco Einhorn Salkowski Brito Attorneys at Law * Sanjay Patel, CEO of MHG Hotels

 279 | Inclusion is a Unicorn Part 2: ‘We are actually doing badly’ | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 51:13

We’re trying something different today. We’ve teamed up with a group called Next Generation in Lodging, a diverse team of mid-career hospitality professionals who want to have significant input into the future of the hospitality industry. We’ve worked with them to produce and provide a platform for a panel discussion about diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry. We featured the Next Generation in Lodging co-founders in episode 275 that reported on the hacking of their Inclusion is a Unicorn Part 1 webinar on Zoom. We also explored the social awakening taking place throughout the country and the manifestation of inequality in the hospitality industry. Today, we’re bringing you Inclusion is a Unicorn Part 2. The returning panelists are Ashli Johnson, assistant dean at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management in San Antonio, Texas, and founder of Hospitality Leaders of Today, a non-profit dedicated to identifying and developing minority leaders; Tejal Patel, founder, president and CEO of Neem Tree Hospitality in League City, Texas; and Aron LeFevre, director of human rights for World Pride: Copenhagen 2021. The conversation is rich with honest sharing on issues the industry might view as sensitive or uncomfortable. Resources and Links * View the full multimedia report: Inclusion is a Unicorn, Part 2 * Ashli Johnson, assistant dean at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management * Tejal Patel, founder, president and CEO of Neem Tree Hospitality * Aron LeFevre, director of human rights for World Pride: Copenhagen 2021

 278 | CMBS Distress: Thousands of hotel owners seek relief from billions of dollars in debt | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 29:38

Since the beginning of March, the hotel industry has lost more than $40 billion in room revenue. Hotels continue to lose $400 million every day, according to STR and Tourism Economics. The historic loss of income caused by the coronavirus pandemic is rendering hotel owners unable to pay their property mortgages. While many have worked out payment deferments with their local and regional lenders, thousands of other owners indebted with commercial mortgage backed securities or CMBS loans have no such recourse to stave off financial ruin. Out of the $300 billion in CMBS loans in the U.S., hotels comprise $86 billion in debt. Trepp reports that at the end of June the overall CMBS delinquency rate was more than 10 percent. Hotel loans account for one quarter of that and most of those are in the hands of special servicers, agents who manage delinquencies on behalf of the CMBS bond holders. Negotiating relief is not an option in the CMBS world. This means thousands of hotels may soon go into mortgage default and the industry may experience a record level of foreclosures this year. In this episode of Lodging Leaders podcast, we update the status of the hotel industry’s efforts to come up with a rescue plan for CMBS debtors. We talk to Ash Patel, CEO of Southwest Hospitality Management who is a partner in a new venture to manage distressed hotels. Also featured are Vimal Patel of Q Hotels in Louisiana who has two properties financed with CMBS loans, and Girish Patel, principal and managing director at NewGen Worldwide, and Kyle Walker, CEO at NewGen, who are among those in the industry actively lobbying Congress for a solution to the CMBS puzzle. Resources and Links * Ash Patel of Southwest Hospitality Management and Iridescent Hotels * Girish Patel and Kyle Walker of NewGen Worldwide * Vimal Patel of Q Hotels

 277 | Contagious Ideas: Hospitality brand and design experts search for creative solutions in the age of COVID-19 | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 43:50

In the introduction of his book, “Hotel, an American History,” A.K. Sandoval-Strausz writes: “The hotel as we know it today did not evolve randomly or naturally, nor did it develop as some sort of automatic response to structural needs. Rather, it was the deliberate creation of an identifiable group of people who lived in a specific place and time.” Hotels, he writes, are an artifact of an epochal shift, an important period in history. At the same time, the hotel is a microcosm of key challenges of modern life. In the year 2020, we are living in an unprecedented, and therefore historical time. America’s hotels are telling the stories of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and the people who depend on a thriving hospitality industry for their welfare. It is the hotel’s designers who help tell a story through branding, architecture and interior design. This episode of Lodging Leaders explores what designers are doing to help hoteliers reimagine their properties in an age of heightened consumer awareness of health and wellness. We feature Alpa Patel, founder and CEO of Spaceez, a web-based interior design company that caters to motels and hotels in the economy and midscale segments; Patti Tritschler, founder and CEO of Interior Image Group, an interior designer for branded and boutique hotels; Roger Hill, CEO of The Gettys Group, and his colleague Ron Swidler, the global hotel design firm’s chief innovation officer; and Steve Palmer, managing partner at The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, who focuses on the company’s restaurants and F&B concepts. Resources and Links * Roger Hill and Ron Swidler of The Gettys Group * Steve Palmer of The Indigo Road Hospitality Group * Patti Tritschler of Interior Image Group * Alpa Patel of Spaceez

 276 | A Measured Response: Hotel industry hires for diversity but fails with inclusion | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 32:32

Many companies in the hotel industry claim they practice diversity in their hiring practices. When questioned about how many Black people they employ, most companies can back up their hiring outcomes with data. That’s all well and good, but what’s missing in most employment demographics is a measurement of how inclusive the company is not only in its rank-and-file but also across all levels of leadership. A new study that measures inclusivity reveals what we really all know: The hotel industry in America has few Black people in senior leadership roles. And even the most “woke” companies dramatically fail in providing opportunities for Blacks to move up the ranks. The good news is as the hospitality industry begins a comeback from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, companies have an opportunity to mend their ways and revise their hiring and promotion practices to leverage the diversity they’re so eager to claim. In this episode – a continuation of our coverage of racism, diversity and inclusion in the hotel industry – we talk to experts who are on the front lines of gender and racial equality in business. We highlight two new studies that could very well pave the way for a change in how hospitality businesses bring back and reposition their workforces as the U.S. economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic amid an historic re-awakening on Black lives and civil rights. Resources and Links * Betty Hines of Women Elevating Women * Douglas Tutt of Hcareers * Peggy Berg of Castell Project * Jason Dunn of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals * Tyronne Stoudemire of Hyatt Hotels Corp. * Black Representation in Hospitality Leadership 2020

 275 | ‘Inclusion is a Myth’: Next Generation in Lodging challenges industry’s status quo on race and diversity | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 24:56

Imagine holding a conference on racism, diversity and inclusion in Corporate America and seeing your event invaded by outsiders shouting racial epithets and vulgarities while flying both the Nazi and American flags. Actually, there is no need to imagine it because it happened earlier this month during a digital event organized by the founders of a group called Next Generation in Lodging. The webcast was the second in a series in which Next Generation in Lodging is examining how the U.S. hospitality industry can truly and effectively address racism among its ranks and propel diversity and inclusion from the front lines to the C-suites. In this episode, Lodging Leaders talks to organizers of the web event about the startling and frightening infiltration of what they believe are white supremacists into their digital conference. We also talk with the founders of Next Generation in Lodging about the racial unrest and awakening taking place throughout the country, what the message of inequality and systemic racism means to the hospitality industry and where the industry should go from here. Resources and Links * Omari Head of Paramount Lodging Advisors * Davonne Reaves of The Vonne Group * Christopher Henry of Majestic Hospitality Group * Watch New Generation in Lodging’s “Inclusion is a Unicorn” June 5 webcast

 274 | Construction in a Pandemic: Hotel builders face unexpected challenges | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 35:42

In the first quarter of this year, more than 140 new hotels opened in the U.S., reported Lodging Econometrics. In March, the U.S. had 150,000 rooms under construction, said STR. It’s the highest end-of-month total the company has reported. Jan Freitag, senior vice president of lodging insights at STR, said he expects hotel construction to continue throughout the year. But because of the low customer demand caused by the coronavirus crisis, hotel developers are not in a rush to open and projects will spend more time in construction. Also impacting the timelines are the availability of building materials due to supply chain disruptions and challenges in finding skilled laborers who want to work during a pandemic. This episode of Lodging Leaders podcast looks at the current state of hotel construction and explores what the future might hold with regard to new development in the shadow of COVID-19. We interviewed construction company executives and hotel developers to get an idea of the challenges they’re facing in getting a job completed and opened. Resources and Links * Larry Spelts of The Indigo Road Hospitality Group * Azim Saju of Hotel Development and Management Group * Bill Wilhelm of R.D. Olson Construction * Stephanie Hall of DAG Construction * Next Generation in Lodging webinar


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