I am a client to many people. I don't believe that gives me power or leverage. I do believe that expands my circle and gives me a greater opportunity to serve my customers. The more well rounded relationships you have with your peers, vendors, and industry colleagues the better you are. Knowledge is power. If I am able to spread tips and trends with my vendors, then, they might be able to use that at their hotel in some way that benefits the industry. The information they share with me makes me smarter and more knowledgeable for my customers. Over the course of Covid--since March--I've been conducting phone calls with my industry partners. I always learn so much on these calls and it's nice to reconnect with vendors that I have become friends with over the years. The calls are typically once a month and there are 7 - 10 hotel partners on the call from various hotels, in big cities to rural markets all over the country from LA to Atlanta, from Virginia Beach to Colorado Springs. We use Zoom and it's very casual.
I normally start with a quick update from my client base and get an update from the various hotels. Who is open? Who is closed? Who's having layoffs? What meetings have they seen? Anything new and interesting?
In a recent call I picked up so many great nuggets and I wanted to share:
--W South Beach is closed. However, they have used this downtime to complete a multi million dollar renovation. I can't wait to see it.
Why do I love this hotel? THE ART & PERSONAL SERVICE! The collection of art in the lobby is a museum around every turn. My favorite piece at that time was the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Andy Warhol. It's stunning. The location is amazing--right in mid beach--everything is walkable. The meeting space is perfect for a group of 40 but the hotel is awesome for a group of 150 rooms. Even though the hotel is on the beach, there is still a sense of private exclusivity at the pool. The food and beverage program is unique, with customized service and oh so tasty. They have a butler program at the hotel that is outstanding. One time I was staying at the hotel and rented a bike from Miami beach. I took a long bike ride into Biscayne. I went into a restaurant to grab a quick lunch and when I came out it appeared someone had tampered with my bike. The frame was bent and inoperable. My Uber app wasn't working. The bike rental location would not pick me up. I was stranded. I called Guillermo , the "Insider" which is what W calls their butler/concierge team. Within minutes he sent an Uber for me that would take my bike and I back to rental spot. I dropped the bike and walked back to the hotel. When I got to the guest room the hotel had sent up spa wipes, water and lavender candle for me to enjoy after my unexpected stressful ride. Now THAT is personal service.
--Monarch Beach Hotel in Orange County is open and maxing at 75 people for Group.
Why do I love this hotel? CARDIO DRUMMING & EXPANSIVE OUTDOORS! Oh yea, I said it, Cardio Drumming. The fitness center at the resort has a class you can take using a workout ball and drum sticks. You dance around the ball jumping, squatting, giggling and getting a good sweat. This is one of the many services at their gym and spa. The property itself is an icon. The spanish decor is gorgeous. The welcome entry lobby overlooking the ocean is stunning. Everywhere you look there is a nook and cranny of amazing design, decor and view. It's a true coastal California property. From a Covid perspective, going somewhere with this level of outdoor space to play, eat, drink, swim and relax is safe at a high service level.
--Other nuggets from my call: MEETINGS ARE HAPPENING!
Badges--people are all using color coded badges for no handshakes, keep your distance, hug me or leave me alone.
Vegas: people are working within the confines of the rules to have their meetings in Vegas. 50 people per room including staff. Clients are paying to have EMT's and doing temperature checks.
In general the states and cities that can have meetings are contorting their businesses to figure it out. It's a true collaboration between client and hotel. Everyone is being smart about modifying their business models and getting creative. One hotel company said that the sales people for Groups are now sales people for the whole hotel--just get people there. Another hotel said they have converted a ballroom to a virtual meeting lounge where the main execs can do their meeting from the ballroom as a launching pad to the many virtual guests. Another hotel gave a wise reminder to fact check our information about gathering guidelines. Apparently in Atlanta there was some incorrect information that all buildings were closed or couldn't have more than 10 people gather at one time, when in fact, that was just for government buildings. The rumors were wrong and a misperception about doing meetings was out there, and the hotel had to correct it.
Whether you are in hotels, hair, cars, finance, or real estate I challenge you--What have you done lately to connect with your peers? Do you even know what's going on outside your little sphere? We all are staying close to our clients, which we need to be doing, but, what are you doing to engage with your industry? What are you doing to ask the questions and get the answers to spread the knowledge to all in your network? Even if it's a quick catch up over ZOOM or a socially distanced coffee or happy hour in a parking lot--DO IT. It will make you better. It will give you something different to talk about besides the weather, home schooling and Covid. Who knows, it may even enrich you and those around you. The world is bigger than just you--learn about what is spinning in the lives of others surrounding you.
For more information on hotels I've seen lately, visit Mandi's Excellent Site Inspections page on YouTube. If you want to talk about how to build a lead generating sales network or for more information on how to book me as a speaker for your small or large group--live or virtually email email@example.com