🍍 A Texas chef's new 'microresort'

Plus: Saira Hospitality’s new London school to train undiscovered talent

Today we’re looking at:

  • What you can learn about experience design from a Texas chef’s ‘microresort’

  • Saira Hospitality’s new London school to source and train undiscovered talent

  • How Michael Hraba is previewing his new hotel opening

This newsletter is sponsored by Cendyn.

2022 may have just begun, but the hospitality industry is already seeing significant shifts in connecting with guests. With an unprecedented demand for digitization and automation as reduced workforce and challenges from the pandemic continue, there’s a lot going on that hoteliers need to be aware of as we move into the new year. Join the Cendyn team Thursday, January 27th for a webinar on the trends they are seeing for revenue, marketing, and sales in the year ahead.

A Texas chef’s new ‘microresort’

This week I’m heading to Mexico for a week-long stay at an all-inclusive resort. As I’ve written before, this is growing in popularity - and I’m fascinated by smaller properties that use some elements of this concept.

Take Texas-based chef and restaurateur Tim Love. "I've always been intrigued with the hotel business," Love said. "I travel a ton, and noticed there are a lot of great hotels that seem to leave off amenities these days. I thought it would be interesting to try and build something unique and different."

That led him to open his self-described "microresort" Hotel Otto in Fort Worth, Texas, with a robust menu of experiences and amenities, many revolving around food and drink.

Each of Hotel Otto's eight 160-square-foot bungalows are made from converted shipping containers and features a queen-size bed, walk-in shower, Hermes bath amenities, full bar, coffeemaker and refrigerator.

Guests can take room service meals on private rooftop decks adorned with Adirondack chairs, Yeti coolers and Solo stoves (for a smokeless bonfire). The property offers bocce courts and a pool fashioned from an old shipping container that can be heated or cooled to fit the weather.

Check-in is at Gemelle's bar, where they are greeted with a cocktail. Every evening there is a "Knocktail" hour when a staff member goes room to room with a cart offering a couple of different complimentary cocktails.

"We've got a guest experience manager, or concierge, available 24/7, and we also have horseback riding on the trails," Love said. "You can take a kayak down the river. It's a two-and-a-half-hour paddle where you get a cool perspective of the city. You end up downtown and then we do a picnic lunch with Champagne and charcuterie."

The hotel and restaurant host live music on weekends, and guests can also use various themed maps Otto provides for barbecue, taco and margarita tours.

"One of the most fun aspects of the project has been approaching the hotel through a restaurant owner's eyes," Love said. "In a restaurant, you're always looking at enhancing the experience. When guests are hanging out in the common areas, I want staff to bring them a glass of wine, not wait for them to come and ask for one."

Saira Hospitality launches London school to source and train undiscovered talent

Saira Hospitality, the global non-profit hospitality training program that sources and trains undiscovered talent from disadvantaged backgrounds for the hospitality industry, has partnered with several of London’s leading hospitality brands (The Hoxton, Nobu, Edyn, Inhabit, and Montcalm) to launch its first permanent hospitality school, which will be based in the capital.

“In the face of the largest staffing crisis hospitality has seen, the need to think differently, as well as collectively as an industry has never been greater,” said Saira Hospitality’s CEO, Harsha L’Acqua. “We have a unique moment to introduce a new way of hiring to the industry at a time when they are forced to listen, bringing education, employment and opportunities to those who truly need and deserve it.”

Following graduation from the school, Saira’s hotel partners have the opportunity to hire directly from this pool of newly trained talent who are ready to begin their careers in the industry.

Saira is partnering with a series of other non-profits and government organizations to train and inspire people who might not have considered a career in hospitality. These partners include refugee employment charities, youth empowerment groups, mentorship programs for ex-offenders and organizations that facilitate meaningful change for socially disadvantaged individuals.

As well as having a life-changing impact on local communities, Saira’s model has a marked effect on hotel operations, decreasing average staff turnover rates from 60% to just 10% year-on-year. When taking these figures into account, hotels that partner with Saira save up to £2,950 on training and recruitment costs per team member hired through the school.

Tweet of the day

My friend Michael knows how to tease a hotel opening….

Now I want to book a weekend here! I’d like to see more owner/operators share photos like this on social media from their personal accounts. Reply to this email or tweet me @Hospitality365 and I might feature your property.