Cocktail-anchored hospitality + employee profit-sharing

September 14, 2021

Hospitality Daily is a non-boring summary of stories for busy people who want to get better each day at providing hospitality.

Today, you’ll read about:

  • A Denver-based hospitality brand that is using profit-sharing to make careers in hospitality more attractive

  • Placemaking in New York’s Theater district

  • Changing expectations for housekeeping

  • “Social group travel”

Cocktail-anchored hospitality + employee profit sharing

Denver-based Ramble Hotel owner Ryan Diggins has partnered with New York City bar Death & Co’s hospitality company Gin & Luck to create a new hospitality company, Midnight Auteur, which he says focuses on providing “cocktail-anchored hospitality.”

The Ramble thrived in its first couple of years, boasting 75% occupancy during its opening month and 82% during its first 12 months. It also took a unique approach with the ever-present employment challenge and provided profit sharing to its hourly employees, which resulted in an additional US$4/hour to monthly paychecks during the first two years.

Diggens thinks the profit-sharing effort is part of a broader issue: how to create hospitality careers, not just hospitality jobs. “This comes by way of better pay, better benefits, and more respect for employees in general.”

[read more]

Placemaking in New York’s Theater district

CIVILIAN NYC is a new hotel concept by Jason Pomeranc—founder of Sixty Hotels—opening in New York’s Theater district this fall.

Central to CIVILIAN NYC is the Olio Collection, an art program with permanent and rotating works by theater creatives and Broadway photographers. CIVILIAN will donate a portion of its daily fees to American Theatre Wing (ATW) to support the creatives affected by COVID. I love seeing examples of reflecting and contributing to the local community like this.

[read more]

Changing expectations for housekeeping

Some hotels are following the lead of consumers on housekeeping frequency, many of whom were in favor of eliminating daily housekeeping during the pandemic, according to a survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association last August. Hilton announced in July that it would make daily housekeeping optional for most of its U.S. hotels, with the exception of its luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria and Conrad. And Julie Rollend, Marriott’s director of public relations, said that company was leaving it up to guests to “elect their preferred cadence of housekeeping services during their stay.”

“Throughout the pandemic, we discovered guests enjoyed the flexibility of on-demand housekeeping services and have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in,” Meg Ryan, Hilton’s senior director of corporate affairs, said.

Christopher Anderson, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management, said that post-pandemic there is “more acceptance of reduced in-stay attention” among consumers and that he could see an a-la-carte model similar to that adopted by many airlines becoming more popular, in which guests can choose the services for which they are willing to pay.

“I think as we reduce the actual labor, then firms can operationally deliver upon what they can deliver via technology, and then it now becomes a win-win. Consumers get more of what they want as far as selection, and then if costs are reduced and prices are adjusted accordingly, again, that’s a further win.”

[read more]

“Social group travel”

When TMC Hospitality launched its Bode hotel brand in 2018 in Nashville, it was targeting what the company dubbed "social group travel." The goal was to blend the private rooms and shared common spaces that vacation rentals offered with a selection of hotel amenities, such as a barista-crafted cappuccino in the morning. Following the pandemic, the company only sees this niche growing. On Nov. 1, it will launch Drift, a slightly more upscale brand with a similar model to Bode, in San Jose del Cabo, on Mexico's Baja peninsula.

Amenities have been adapted to cater to this model. “For housekeeping, we only clean when a guest leaves, but if they want to have the room cleaned while they're there, they can just text message, and we'll clean it that day. And that is an add-on cost. For concierge services, what we do is a certain amount of street-level diligence when we're going into markets. We try to find the best bartenders to ask about what bars to go to, local recommendations on restaurants. We upload [information locals provide] into our tech platform, Eve, so that when people text [looking for recommendations for bars, etc.], we have prepopulated a lot of those recommendations. Then, if the [guest's] question is a little too nuanced for our automated component, we have a human as a backup who answers those.” I’m very interested in this social group travel model and think there are opportunities for hospitality providers of all types to look into.

[read more]

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