🍍 Hospitality is more important than ever

Plus: A masterclass in modern cultural diplomacy

Today we’re looking at:

  • Why hospitality is more important than ever

  • The reason some hoteliers are capping their occupancy

  • A masterclass in modern cultural diplomacy at Auberge’s Mauna Lani Resort

Hospitality feels more important than ever

“I was at a hotel when the dreaded double red bars came for me,” Conde Nast Traveler editor Jesse Ashlock writes about testing positive for COVID while at the Inn at the Presidio in San Francisco. “When I apprised the hotel staff of our situation, they were gracious and calm. Over the next few days, a steady procession of fresh towels and carafes of water arrived at our door, along with lovely, simple breakfasts, numerous Uber Eats deliveries, and cheese and charcuterie plates from the evening wine hours we couldn't attend. Without ever encountering another person again during our stay, we felt cared for.”

There’s a reason this business is called the hospitality industry, he writes. “There are places and products that wow travelers with their beauty, with their culinary and wellness offerings, with the connection they create to local cultures. But the bottom line is that they're really good at taking care of people. In a world with so much uncertainty, that is truly a noble calling.”

Amen to that. What a great reminder as we start the week.

Capping occupancy for better service

“That $500 ocean-view suite now costs $3,000. And you’ll have to make your own bed,” Mark Ellwood writes in the Robb Report about the struggles of hiring in hospitality.

The increasing disconnect for guests between money paid and service received has led some hoteliers to cap their occupancy to maintain standards for service.

Fewer guests might mean less profit, but it also allows stretched-thin staff to deliver better service—and keep guests happier for longer. Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe, California opted for a 65 percent cap last year for exactly that reason, according to GM Laura McIver.

A masterclass in modern cultural diplomacy from Daniel “Kaniela” Kahikina Akaka, Jr at Auberge’s Mauna Lani Resort

“For a place with true cultural depth and richness, Hawaii is often misunderstood when it comes to tourism,” Colin Nagy writes in his excellent profile on Skift. “At best, only a few notes from its full symphony make it through and at worst, it can be reduced to caricature. But the true range of Hawaiian culture, in terms of spirituality, community, ecology, and innovation is much deeper.”

Daniel “Kaniela” Kahikina Akaka, Jr, a cultural ambassador at Auberge’s Mauna Lani Resort on the big island of Hawaii, works to bridge the gap between misconception and reality, drawing on his experience working on the property for 39 years.

This excellent profile story is well worth the read