How We Make More Money by Questioning Everything

with Alastair Thomann, CEO of Generator and Freehand Hotels

Together with

In a world where so many hospitality companies are struggling with profitability Generator and Freehand Hotels just posted another record-breaking quarter, and to help you learn more about what they’re doing that is so special, I invited their CEO, Alastair Thomann, to join us to explain their business and the opportunities they see.

We’re also learning about:

  • Unexpected partnerships that pay off

  • Helping associates buy homes

  • The importance of knowing real estate (for all of us)

  • Insights from Union Square Hospitality Group

  • …and more

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Report: The Future of AI Recruitment in Hospitality

Having the right team is essential in a highly competitive industry where exceptional talent is the backbone of your business operations.

Enter AI recruitment. But AI is completely uncharted and often concerning territory for employers in all industries, not just hospitality. It evokes imagery of robots and computers taking jobs. And the topic can spark important conversations around biases and discrimination in the recruitment process. Overall, the concept of AI in recruitment is blurry at best for most stakeholders in the hotel space.

This is why Hireology created this guide — to dig into the intricacies of AI recruitment, explain why it’s a game-changer for your hiring process, and explore its implications for you and your team. Whether you’re seeking seasoned management professionals, high-caliber culinary talent, or guest services all-stars, AI can help you quickly identify the perfect match and make smart hiring decisions.


How We Make More Money by Questioning Everything

with Alastair Thomann, CEO of Generator and Freehand

Today, we’re learning the unique business models behind the Generator and Freehand brands, why they view Food and Beverage as so important, how technology helps them maximize the way they use and monetize space - and the opportunities they see in the months and years ahead.

Some takeaways from our conversation…

  • Differentiate with Food & Beverage (F&B): Focus on creating distinctive F&B offerings that draw in not just hotel guests but also locals. This can significantly boost non-room revenue and enhance the guest experience.

In Miami, where we only make around $3 million with room revenues, but we sell $7 million worth of cocktails.

  • Leverage Third-Party Expertise: Recognize areas outside your core competencies, such as F&B, and partner with third-party experts to manage these aspects more effectively and profitably.

  • Optimize Space for Maximum Revenue: Continuously evaluate how every square meter of your property is used and make adjustments to maximize revenue, whether it's through room type optimization or introducing profitable amenities and activities.

We are trying to maximize every square meter, every hour, every day across all of our assets.

  • Adapt to Consumer Trends: Stay attuned to the changing preferences and behaviors of your target demographic. For example, if certain amenities like in-room TVs are underutilized, consider removing them to reduce costs.

  • Embrace Technological Solutions: Implement new systems with open interfaces that can streamline operations, reduce manual labor, and improve guest experiences.

  • Develop a Scalable Concept: Create a business model that can be easily replicated across different properties, allowing for quick and efficient scaling.

We can take over a hotel like the Paramount on Times Square with 600 bedrooms in eight weeks, because we're ready with systems and operating models, etc. That's really what we've built. We built something that's ready to grow.

  • Focus on Experience Over Luxury: Cater to the experience-seeking demographic by providing the essentials and unique experiences rather than traditional luxury services like shoe shining or spas.

  • Listen to Your Team: Encourage suggestions from staff at all levels, especially those who interact directly with guests, as they can provide valuable insights and innovative ideas for improving operations.

  • Trial and Error: Be open to experimenting with new ideas and be willing to learn from both successes and failures.

We retrofitted TVs to the hotel a couple of years ago and then noticed that less than 1% of our guests actually use them.

  • Balance Diverse Customer Segments: Develop strategies to cater to a wide range of customers, from budget-conscious travelers to those seeking luxury, without diluting the brand or guest experience.

  • Design for Guest Behavior: Strategically manage how guests use your space, especially during peak hours, to ensure high turnover and profitability.

If someone comes in and spends their workday, their eight or nine hours with us, and has two coffees, that doesn't really work for us. That doesn't drive profitability.

  • Stay Agile with Cost Management: Be prepared to adapt your offerings and operations in response to external factors like inflation and labor shortages.

  • Invest in Profitable Amenities: Identify amenities that can drive significant returns, such as gaming tables or other entertainment options, and invest in them accordingly.

Shuffleboards have become a major, major profit center for us.

  • Monitor and Adapt to Market Demand: Regularly review your business performance and adapt your offerings to align with market demand and maximize profits.

  • Stay Inspired and Creative: Encourage a culture of creativity and idea-sharing within your team, and stay open to inspiration from all sources, including your employees' travel experiences and industry trends.

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