Making your hotel guests happier during their stay does not happen by accident:
In an industry that revolves around customer service, knowing how to please your guests is crucial for the success of your operation. Hotel industry veterans know, and numerous industry surveys show, that it does not always take a major financial investment to make your hotel much more appealing for travelers. It takes a lot of planning, creative thinking and enthusiasm to create the right type of atmosphere.
Knowing how to make your guests happier is good for business. You will receive more positive reviews on travel sites. Happy customers will share their positive experiences on Facebook and other popular online social sites. Your efforts to please your customers will lead to more repeat business and you will start to see an increase in occupancy rates and revenues. How to put smiles on faces and make for a happier hotel stay is a matter of taking a series of small steps that, when combined, will make a big difference in the quality of your guests experiences
In business, if you are not at the top of your industry, there is plenty of room for improvement. You can not afford to sit by and hope that by some miracle your business will turn around. Following are some suggestions on how to make your hotel more appealing and make your guests happier.
Give them free WiFi
Having free wireless service in your rooms is probably more important than having a dial tone on the telephones that sit on the nightstand by the beds. You can not ignore technology today as travelers carry smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices that use wireless connections. People resent having to pay extra for WiFi, so if you insist on recovering your investment, it is better to charge $5 or $10 more on room rates and be able to “honestly” advertise that you offer this desired service for free.
Use brand name shampoos, soaps and lotions
It may cost you an extra dollar or two per room to have brand name shampoos, soaps and lotions sitting on the bathroom counter, but they do evoke a positive response from your visitors. Everyone knows that these small items get taken as little souvenirs. House keeping has to replace them every day when they disappear and that adds a little to your supply costs. Consider the extra money it costs for upgraded bath products an investment in happiness.
Don’t let them go hungry
Offering a free breakfast is good, but having a free breakfast with fresh seasonal fruit, delicious pastries and other special menu items, will leave a very positive impression. People equate eating a nice meal with happiness. You can also trigger those epicurean emotions by offering free cookies or snacks at the front desk, having an informal evening wine and cheese party or serving hot cocoa during the winter months.
Families like to travel
When families travel with young children, they always appreciate it when you go beyond the expected and make it a priority to focus on the young ones. Having baby cribs, games and coloring books, and maybe even handing out little stuffed animals to small children when a family arrives, makes it obvious that your hotel is a good place for families to stay.
Make the television an entertainment center
People may not stay in their rooms all day, but they do spend enough time in them that they need to find things to keep them entertained. You have the opportunity to fill those needs by making the television the entertainment center in each room. Today’s high-definition televisions provide a fantastic picture and make watching a movie almost as good as seeing one in a theater. You should not have 10 or 20 channels, but rather, subscribe to a service and give them 100 or 200 channels. Enhance the capabilities of the television entertainment center by making it possible to play games, watch DVDs and even connect to the Internet.
Happiness is a hot cup of coffee
There is nothing like a good cup of coffee to start out the day. Every room should have a coffee station with a selection of premium quality coffee. It is also nicer to have mugs as opposed to cheap foam cups. Give your guests the shot of caffeine they are craving and they will start off the day on a high note.
Take a creative approach to room service
If you do not have an onsite restaurant or a kitchen that can prepare meals, you can still offer the convenience of room service by thinking a little creatively. Forge a relationship with several of the local restaurants that offer delivery service. They can prepare meals off-site and deliver them to hungry people who do not feel like going out for dinner. The restaurants will love getting additional business and you will take another step toward making your new friends happier.
Offer special rates for less desirable rooms
Almost every lodging facility has a few rooms that are oddly shaped, much smaller than the other rooms or are located in an undesirable part of the building. You should set aside a few of these less optimal rooms and offer them to travelers who are very budget conscious. If you are willing to stay in a room that is only slightly larger than a walk-in closet, you deserve a break on the standard rate.
How about some free tickets or free passes?
One of the things a manager can do to make their temporary clients happier is to provide some free passes or tickets to area attractions. If your property does not have an on-site exercise facility, you might make arrangements with a local gym and issue passes that allow people staying with you to have free access to the really nice health and fitness center just a few blocks away. Even if you can not give away $100 tickets to Disneyland or other major attractions, you can offer special rates by subsidizing part of the cost. Making relationships with local restaurants and shops helps create more business for everyone in the hospitality industry. Visitors love the free or discounted offers and will be happy to spend money when they feel they are getting a good deal.
A la carte pricing is better left to the airlines
Judging from the really negative reaction people have over the recent trend in the airline industry to nickel-and-dime people to death with all of those add-on charges to basic airfare, it is smart to avoid continuing the policy when people arrive at your property. Although it is quite true that you incur additional expenses for having WiFi installed, providing business services and putting a roll-away bed in a room, you need to think hard before passing on those costs to your customers. Your pricing policy should be clearly stated and it does not hurt to be a little more lenient to make people happy.
Remember that you are in the hospitality business and your job is all about how to make people smile and have a pleasant experience during their stay. You do not need to spend a fortune to please your customers. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile and a good cup of coffee.
Were you one of the more than 41 million people who visited Los Angeles in 2012?
According to the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, 2012 was a record setting year for tourism in the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding metropolitan area.
More than 18 million people live in the metropolitan area that includes the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Orange and San Bernadino. Los Angeles is the biggest city in the five county area. Other large cities include Anaheim, Long Beach and Santa Ana.
If sun, surf and the beach is your thing, you can find plenty of it in Los Angeles County. Beautiful beaches run all along the county’s 75 miles of coastline that stretches from Malibu to Long Beach.
With more than 300 museums, there is ample opportunity to learn about art, science and history. A few of the most popular museums include the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum.
Seeing the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Graumans Chinese Theatre is a thrill to millions. You can also take a tour of the Paramount Studios and, in the evening, check out the nightlife on famous Sunset Boulevard.
There is always something exciting going on at the major sports and entertainment venues. In the downtown area, you can catch a Lakers game at the Staples Center or take in a live theatrical performance at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. A few other popular places to see a big show or event includes the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Hollywood Bowl
A full year-round calendar at the Los Angeles Convention Center features industry trade shows and big expositions targeted toward a broader audience. Among the most attended events each year are the Auto Show and the Anime Expo.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
More than 60 million people fly in and out of LAX each year, making it the sixth busiest passenger airport in the world. It is the number one international gateway to Asia and the Pacific region. Direct flight service is provided from 88 domestic and 62 international cities.
Both foreign and domestic travel to Los Angeles improved in year-over-year comparisons. For 2012, a total of 41.4 million people visited LA which was 2.5 percent more than the number in 2011. Of those 41.4 million, 35.3 million were domestic travelers and 6 million were international travelers.
Domestic arrivals were up 2.7 percent compared to the previous year and international arrivals increased by 1.2 percent to an all time record. The largest number of international visitors come from Mexico and Canada.
In 2012, China, for the first time, became the biggest overseas market for travel and tourism in Los Angeles. That is great news for the local economy as the 460,000 visitors are, on average, bigger spenders than visitors from all other international origins. According to federal statistics, Chinese tourists spend an average of $2,652 on each visit compared to the average of $1,209 from all other foreign countries.
Hoteliers are learning quickly that the Chinese tourist may appreciate some reminders of their homeland like some favorite menu items, but what makes them want to come to visit is the chance to see all of the attractions and sights in America. Los Angeles is very attractive to the Chinese tourist because they can take a tour of movie stars homes, go to nearby Disneyland, watch an NBA game and absorb all of the diverse California culture.
Forecasts for the total number of visitors for 2013 suggest that the area will enjoy another banner year. The estimate for the year ending December 31, 2013 is 41.9 million.
Los Angeles area hotels continue to do well
According to the February, 2013 edition of Travel Pulse, a monthly publication of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, all of the important measures of a hotel’s level of success were up for the month.
February, 2013 saw hotel occupancy rates in the Los Angeles market hit 75.3 percent, an increase of 4 percent over February 2012 occupancy rates.
The Average Daily Room Rate or ADR for Los Angeles County was $135.98 for February of 2013. That was a 4.3 percent increase over the ADR for February, 2012.
Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) in LA County broke the $100 psychological barrier in February of 2013, by ending up at $102.45. That was an 8.5 percent increase over the February, 2012 figure.
Over the last several years, there has been a noticeable improvement in business for the hotels, restaurants and other businesses connected with the hotel and hospitality industry. Travel and tourism is one of the key components of the area’s economy. Studies show that one in ten jobs in the city is supported by the tourism industry.
Aggressive marketing is expected to continue throughout the current year with the promotion of the popular LA Restaurant Week and the Discover the Arts programs. The city is reaching out internationally with new marketing efforts in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Emphasis is being placed on international meetings and convention business.
Demand is strong for hotel rooms and a number of recently completed hotels and new construction projects are underway in the downtown area of Los Angeles. Hotels are being built around the LA Convention Center to help the city compete for convention business.
In 2010, two big hotels, the JW Marriott and the Ritz Carlton opened by the convention center. A number of new projects are currently under way or are scheduled to start construction very soon.
Marriott is working on a 24 story tower that will be duel branded with a 174 room Courtyard by Marriott and a 218 room Residence Inn. The two Marriott branded hotels will share more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space and over 5,000 square feet of restaurant space. As that project opens in 2014, construction will begin on a 20 story Residence Inn on property next to the 24 story tower.
Korean Air Lines Co. is tearing down the old building and putting up what will be the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles. At an estimated cost of a billion dollars, the Wilshire Grand will add some 900 hotel rooms, 400,000 square feet of office space and over 45,000 square feet of retail space to the center of the city.
The Portland hotel chain, which caters to the young and hip, is renovating the United Artists building and turning it into a 180 room hotel. It will include a 1,600 seat theater and is scheduled to open in the second half of 2013.
Los Angeles is making all of the right moves that tourists and travelers want to see. Aggressive marketing, both domestically and internationally, plus new hotel construction indicates that the LA market is very likely to continue to grow and expand. Los Angeles has always been a great tourist destination and the future promises even better things for the hotel and hospitality industry.
Visit the Beautiful but Bizarre Winchester Mystery House
Mrs. Winchester moved to California and in 1884, she began construction on what has become known as the Winchester Mystery House. As instructed, she continued adding onto the house to ensure the construction was never complete , a process which lasted the remaining 38 years of her life. Carpenters were hired in shifts so work could be carried out around the clock. By the time Mrs. Winchester died, the house rambled over 5 acres.
This focus on continuous construction over nearly four decades partially explains some of the unusual rooms and strange hallways. However, many of the more bizarre aspects of the home are still wondered about by visitors and tour guides alike.
The main reason for the peculiarities in the house design is that Mrs. Winchester sketched vague drawings of what she wanted based on nightly séances. Each morning, she met with the architect to review changes to previous instructions and provide new instructions for additions she intended to have built. She believed that helpful spirits provided her with suggestions that would protect her and even provide her with eternal life if followed exactly.
When Mrs. Winchester died, the final estate had 160 rooms, dozens of staircases and countless hallways. Much of the construction can be called eccentric if not bizarre. Tour guides must warn visitors to stay with the group and not wander off or they risk being lost for hours prior to being located.
Some of the unusual features of the house may have practical explanations. For example, Mrs. Winchester was known to have extremely painful arthritis. This may be the reason for the switch back staircase which rises only nine feet despite consisting of 77 flights of 44 stairs each. The two-inch high steps may have aided her in being able to climb to the next floor.
There are miles of meandering hallways yet Mrs. Winchester rarely used them, instead taking mysterious shortcuts. Secret passageways can be found throughout the house, which are believed to have been used by the owner to confuse any spirits that may have been following her.
Over time, her architect became used to the odd requests and took them in stride. He added upside down columns, staircases which descended a number of steps before ascending to the next floor, chimneys that stop only feet before reaching the roof, doors that open to walls, stairs that dead ended at the ceiling, and windows which led to staircases or passageways.
While it is believed that almost 600 rooms were built, most were redone numerous times with many later demolished such that only 160 rooms remain today. Yet each room and hallway have mysterious and inexplicable features one has to see to believe.
Mrs. Winchester loved her garden which served to provide her with a relaxing retreat and the privacy she required. It is said that when she was alive the surrounding hedges where so high that only part of the top floor of the house was visible from outside the estate.
While after her death the gardens failed to be maintained, they were restored in 1973. Currently open to the public, visitors can wander the paths through tall boxwood hedges and admire more than 1,500 different types of flowering plants, trees and shrubs. Given the mild weather where the estate is located, there is always something in bloom.
Private Parties and Special Events
The Winchester House is available for private parties. This popular attraction has space that can be booked for company picnics, weddings, birthday parties, retreats and other private events.
There are a number of special events open to the public throughout the year. Upcoming events include the annual San Jose Orchid Festival, and Friday the 13th Flashlight Ghost Tours.
Located in sunny Silicon Valley, the Camino Inn and Suites offers picture perfect mountain views, easy access to local area entertainment, business services, and some of the most charming accommodations in the San Francisco area.
The Camino Inn is conveniently located near the San Antonio Shopping Center, and the Los Altos History Museum. It’s also a short distance from the Shoreline Amphitheater, Lucille Packard Hospital, Theaterworks, and the Winchester Mystery House.
Guests are provided with a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, to ensure they start their day with the energy to enjoy everything the area has to offer. The hotel is also near many of the most popular restaurants in the Valley, a number of which are just a short walk away.
Guests can enjoy a number of amenities in their rooms including Satellite Television, free HBO & ESPN, hair dryers in each bathroom, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. Some rooms come with complete kitchenettes and hot tubs. All rooms are non-smoking.
Other amenities offered in the hotel include free services at the business center, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee service in the lobby, dry cleaning and valet services, a coin-operated laundry, use of a fully equipped fitness center and banquet & meeting rooms. Event, banquet and meeting planning is available.
An additional benefit of the Camino Inn and Suites is that when guests stay here there’s no need to leave their pets behind. Camino Inn and Suites is a pet friendly hotel and welcomes guest’s dogs, allowing two to stay with each guest.
Guests also won’t spend a fortune for lodging when staying at the Camino Inn. The hotel has been consistently voted a Best Value Hotel. In addition to being economical, the Camino Inn maintains the highest standards to provide the best experience for every guest.
Now, as an additional bonus, guests can take advantage of a special package offer that includes major discounts on lodging and tickets to the Winchester Mystery House. This is a great option for visitors looking for an affordable yet fun-filled family vacation.
More information on special rates can be obtained directly from the hotel.
Package hotel Winchester Mystery House
- Is the Winchester House haunted? (illuminutti.com)
- 8 Summer Destinations That Will Stimulate You Intellectually [Tan Not Included] (epicatravel.com)
Slip into your red dress and slide into your high heels. You’re going out tonight for delicious Mexican food and a festive good time at Café Coyote. Voted the Best Mexican Restaurant for five years in a row, you can get your fill of authentic Mexican cuisine, be serenaded by strolling Mariachi bands and enjoy a fabulous Margarita made with your selection of Tequila. Café Coyote is just one of the many great restaurants in Old Town San Diego that you have to check out.
Tourism is big business in this part of Southern California. More than 32 million people visited San Diego in 2012. While information on specific visitor count for Old Town is not readily available, estimates from the California State Parks Department and other sources indicate that somewhere around 25 percent, or 8 million people found their way to what is the oldest and most historically significant community in all of California.
Birthplace of California
Old Town San Diego is recognized by historians as the spot where the first permanent settlement was established in what is now the state of California. A Spanish mission was established in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra and a small community of adobe homes followed. Twenty more missions were built and the colonization of California began to expand rapidly.
The area thrived from 1821-1872, when more new residents and businessmen became interested in what is now downtown San Diego. Many of the most prominent building of the golden age of the old city have survived and been restored. Old Town State Historic Park was established in 1968 by the California Department of Parks. Today millions of tourists and area residents come to the park to get a glimpse back in history.
According to city-data.com, about 22 percent of all houses in this historical area were built prior to 1940. Many date back more than 100 years. As a reference point, only about 7 percent of all the homes in the county were built before 1940.
Encompassing an area of just 230 acres, this small enclave of the city is situated just south of I-8 and Mission Valley. It is bordered on the west by I-5 and Midway. Toward the south and east Mission Hills forms an outer boundary.
Places to stay, see and experience
At last count, there were 9 hotels, 32 restaurants, 12 art galleries and 27 historic sites and buildings within the boundaries of this small neighborhood. The streets are very pedestrian friendly and you can find old buildings in both the town and inside the historic state park.
A visitor has the choice of staying right in the heart of this historic enclave or in many other hotels that are only a few minutes drive away. Most of the hotels within Old Town are moderately priced, but if you are looking for more luxurious accommodations, you can find them in the downtown area or closer to the beach.
If you want a real feel for the past, you might want to book a stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, located at 2660 Calhoun Street. Originally opened in the 1870′s as a stagecoach stop and community gathering place, this historic Bed & Breakfast Inn underwent extensive renovations that were completed back in 2010. Each of the 10 guest rooms as well as the restaurant and other areas of the building, is decorated with antiques and furnishings that date back to the nineteenth century. A few of the other nearby hotels in the area that are worth checking out are the Mission Valley Resort and the Crowne Plaza San Diego in Mission Valley.
Once you have checked into your hotel, unpacked and taken a little rest, it is time to get out there and have some fun. A hot spot for tourism and a great place for people of all ages to spend the day, this little spot on the map is loaded with historic buildings, art galleries, restaurants and friendly people. You can’t help but smile when you visit.
Visitor information is available in many of the area hotels and there is also a Visitor Information Center in town. Following are few of the best places to see and do on your visit.
It is hard to find a time when this part of town is not holding a festival, having a street fair or celebrating a holiday. If you are lucky enough to be visiting at certain times of the year, you might catch one or two of these big events
Cinco de Mayo
features family friendly activities, plenty of food and two stages with live music and entertainment all day long.
A big Art Festival takes place each October and showcases the works of hundreds of local artists. There is plenty of authentic Mexican food to go with the oil paintings, sculptures and all types of arts and crafts on display and for sale.
Dia de los Muertos takes place on the first and second days of November each year. There is traditional folk dancing and ceremonial altars on display in this Day of the Dead that is an important part of the local culture and heritage of the area.
Fiesta Navidad takes place in December and is centered around the re-enactment of the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem, beginning the tradition of celebrating Christmas.
The California State Protected Park
Inside this nine square block section of the district you have the opportunity to see demonstrations of the way life was back more than a century ago. Every Wednesday and Saturday there is a demonstration of blacksmithing. On the first Saturday of each month, the Print Guild shows how the old technology was used to print newspapers. A high society dance reminiscent of the historic period takes place with dancers dressed in costume. Visitors are invited to join in or just watch. Quilters, soap makers and Mountain Men playing the old-time music are also on the calendar each month.
Stagecoach Days takes place each Saturday in July and August and is a wonderful chance to learn more about the traditional way of life. Kids can participate in activities and learn first-hand how people and children once lived way back in time.
There are lots of museums and buildings in the historic park. The Casa de Estudillo was built back in 1827 and was one of the grandest homes of its time. It is both a California and a National Historic Landmark designated structure. A few other significant historical buildings include the Mason Street School and the Casa de Machado y Stewart.
Outside the park but still in the historical district is the Whaley House. One of the top tourist attractions, this house is said to be haunted. Take the time to see the old Victorian homes in Heritage Park or walk around the center of town and maybe buy something in an art gallery.
Tourism thrives in this special place in Southern California. You can come just for lunch and a taste of Tequila, or you can come to learn about California history. There are plenty of hotels right in the area and you will never be bored because there is so much to do.
Although most people think of Disney Land when planning a trip to California, Great America is another fantastic park that is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. There are amazing rides and new rides are frequently added. In addition to the rides, the park is packed full of other attractions, entertainment and family focused activities.
There are more thrill and adventure rides at California Great Adventures than almost anywhere on the West Coast. Some of the most popular are listed below.
The Gold Striker Roller Coaster – This long-awaited ride opened In 2013. At 108 feet high and reaching speeds over 53 miles an hour, it is billed as the tallest, fastest wooden roller-coaster in California. It was also designed to incorporate the most exhilarating characteristics of the greatest wooden roller coasters in the world. The ride is based on the theme of the old west and features a double spiral drop, Sky Tower wrap around, and the cars bank 80 degrees halfway through the course. This ride will have those who feel wooden roller coasters are old-fashioned and tame, re-evaluating their opinion.
Flight Deck – This 50 mile an hour thrill ride suspends passengers under the steel tracks in floorless cars. In addition to a zero gravity roll over that is bound to get anyone’s heart pounding, there are two 270-degree turns and a full 360-degree loop.
Tower Drop – This is one of the tallest and fastest free fall rides in the world. Heart rates quicken as riders are raised upward until a brief motionless stop at the top. The car then drops 22 floors in under 4 seconds. Riders feel the full force of gravity as they hurtle towards the ground.
Vortex – This ride speeds through a winding zigzagging track and shoots through a full 360 degree loop. Perhaps it doesn’t sound much different from many other thrill rides. However, riders twist and plunge while standing up braced only by a bicycle type seat and padded shoulder harness.
Carousel Columbia – The entire family will enjoy this beautiful, double-decker Carousel that is the tallest in the world.
Rip Roaring Rapids – Six person rafts plunge down a wild river, rushing, and twisting down along the course. There’s no way to avoid getting soaked on this adventure.
Woodstock Express – This family friendly roller coaster follows Woodstock on his crazy adventure.
Intended for younger children, this section of the park includes tamer versions of roller coasters, water attractions, and swinging rides.
For the parks youngest visitors, KidZville is filled with rides that have just the right amount of excitement to thrill youngsters. Attractions like Classic Cars, Swing, and Snail Races will have both parents and children smiling.
When visitors want to take a break from the adventure, there are a number of shows they can attend. Some favorites include:
On Broadway –This show first opened in 2013 and has become one of the most regularly attended performances at the park. It includes musical numbers from a wide variety of Broadway productions.
Pop Fusion – Another show new for 2013, this performance will have the audience on its feet dancing and singing along to today’s hottest hits.
Team Charlie Brown – This show is a musical revue put on by Charlie Brown and all the gang about the joys of Baseball.
When park visitors are ready to get out of the heat, Boomerang Bay is the place to go. Filled with water adventures and places to simply relax this water park has something for everyone.
Tasmanian Typhoon – Two person boats twist and turn down this completely enclosed water slide.
Castaway Creek – For those who are ready to relax, this lazy river offers the opportunity to lay back and lounge in an oversize inner tube.
Screaming Wombat – This three-story tall, enclosed, body water slide, shoots riders through snake-like twists and turns.
Outback Shack – A great place for families with a taste for seafood. In addition to fried options, there are seafood salads and for those not in the mood for sea fare, buffalo style chicken wings are available in a variety of sauces.
Panda Express- For those who believe you can’t get good Chinese food in an Amusement Park think again. Traditional Chinese dishes including beef broccoli and orange chicken are sure to please.
Joe Cool Café – This family oriented restaurant has something for everyone. Cold cut sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdog, pizza and more are available. Families can also enjoy the antics of the peanut gang on T.V. during their meal.
Nearby Camino Inn and Suites Offering a Limited Time Only Discount Package
The Camino Inn and Suites, located in the heart of Silicon Valley is ideal lodging for those looking for breathtaking mountain views, picture perfect weather, exciting theme parks and entertainment. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, this charming Inn will be your home away from home in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Camino Inn is close to Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and the Computer History Museum. It’s also a quick drive Stanford University, HP Garage, Shoreline Aquatic Center, and California’s Great America.
With summer vacation almost here, it’s a great time to make plans for a family trip. In addition to all the other activities and entertainment available in the area, Camino Inn is now offering a special package with special rates on accommodations and amazing discounts on tickets to California’s Great America.
Start your day with a free complimentary breakfast then make the short drive to California’s Great America. When you’ve had all the excitement you can take for one day, return to the Inn and enjoy a snack in your kitchenette, watch a free HBO movie, or relax in the hot tub. If you still have some energy left you can work out in the fitness center or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.
If you have any special needs, just let the staff know and they’ll do their best to accommodate your requests.
Package hotel California Great America
- New Gold Striker roller coaster (photos.mercurynews.com)
- These new roller coasters will make your head spin (usatoday.com)
You will never know how good or bad your hotel is doing if you do not keep accurate records of your revenues and expenses. By analyzing certain key figures and industry ratios like the Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), the Average Daily Rate (ADR) and the Occupancy Rate, you can get a clear picture if the current year is better than the previous year.
Of all the figures that hotel owners, managers and financial analysts use to evaluate performance, the most important one is RevPAR. This figure, which is stated in dollars, is attained by dividing Total Guest Revenue by Total Number of Available Rooms. It not only measures occupancy and the room rate, but also provides insight into how well a hotel is utilizing its room inventory.
For instance, it can be misleading to say that you are doing better this year, compared to last year because you are getting an average of $10 more per room that you rent. What you really want to know is if you would generate morerevenue with higher occupancy rates if you lowered your room rates by $10. If you have 200 guest rooms and can fill 180 of them if you charge $100 per night or you can fill 150 of them if you charge $150 per night, what is better? If you do the math, you will see that you will bring in more money by charging a higher rate and having fewer guests.
This information, which can be gathered by studying RevPAR is very helpful in trying to price your guest rooms properly. There is a certain point where the price and occupancy rate meet that will maximize the revenue for yourhotel.
In order to increase your RevPAR figures and maximize the net revenue that your property, you need to keep a close watch on all aspects of your operation. One of the common mistakes that many managers and operators make is that they allocate too many of their rooms to online travel agencies (OTA) so they can fill their rooms. OTAs like Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity, appeal to so many travelers because they sell your rooms at largely discounted rates.
Now this is not their fault. You are the one that signs the contract with each company and you are the one that decides how low a price you are willing to accept for a guest room. Somewhere along the line, perhaps in a frantic attempt to fill every empty room, common sense went out the window. If you factor in the variable costs per occupied room (VCPOR) such as the cost to have a maid clean it or the cost of washing more towels, the expenses can add up. If you discount that guest room through an OTA too low, you may increase occupancy rates, but actually lose more money than if you left the room unoccupied.
One of the tips that will help keep you from messing up your price structure to the point where it actually hurts RevPAR is to get a firm grip on the demand patterns for your property. You should have a very good idea when guests are most likely to visit. For instance, managers at hotels around Disneyland in Anaheim know that demand rises when the kids are out of school in the summer and almost all hotels in the area have very high occupancy rates when Disney celebrates the Fourth of July or some other big event.
Contrary to what most owners and managers of hotels believe, you will not maximize profits by charging less for your rooms to try to attract more guests. When you think about it, people do not flock to a hotel because it is renting rooms for $39 per night. They go to hotels because they need a place to stay when they are in the area. Demand forhotel rooms is basically inelastic. In any given market segment, you will maximize your income and improve yourRevPAR if you charge higher rates than your competitors.
There are some exceptions such as if you own an exclusive resort and offer a special rate during the off-season to attract guests when you have lots of empty rooms. Lower rates can be made up by charging for additional services like spa treatments or fancy dinners when your guests arrive.
Touching back on the subject of fixed and variable costs, can help you maximize profits. If you need to hire more maids, your electricity bill rises when there are more occupants, or you have to buy more donuts for the free breakfast buffet, that will cut into profits. Of course you do not want to shortchange your guests, but you do want to control wasteful spending.
There are a number of great tips that will improve your Revenue Per Available Room figures. Some of these tips are just common sense and others are things you just might never have thought of doing.
It does not take more than a little common sense to know that people driving by and looking for a place to spend the night will gravitate toward hotels that have curb appeal. You can increase your curb appeal by making sure your grounds are well kept, your building is in good repair and you have a big sign that can be seen from a distance. Visual appeal is a good way to attract more paying guests and boost your room sales.
Did you know that there are other ways to attract business besides using the Internet and social media? Yes, it is true that we are living in a digital world, but studies have shown that old-fashioned highway billboards are a very attractive way of steering people onto the exit ramp and into your hotel’s parking lot.
You should certainly pay attention to all of the online reviews that are written about your property. It is quite normal to get a few bad reviews, but addressing them promptly can restore your hotel’s good name. Retaining customers and encouraging new ones to visit will put cash in the register.
First impressions do matter. When a guest passes through the entrance into the lobby, he or she does not want to see some old furniture and a pile of disheveled newspapers on a coffee table. Your lobby should be carefully designed and pleasing to the entering guest. When they get up to the front desk to check-in, the front desk clerk must fill the role of enthusiastic representative with a friendly smile and pleasant personality. This is the hospitality business and a grumpy clerk is bad for business.
A few more tips for hoteliers who want to improve their financial figures are to give the guest more than what they expect. Instead of having an average free breakfast with some cold cereal and donuts, upgrade the experience to hot scrambled eggs, fresh seasonal fruit and premium brand coffee. Reward your employees who come up with ways to save money and provide better guest experiences. Enter into reciprocal relationships with some of the other area hotels. When they have no vacancies, they can send guests to your place and you can return the favor when all of your rooms are filled.
You must work hard and you must work smart if you want to increase revenues and decrease the percentage of empty and available rooms. Demand for guest rooms changes from week to week and at different times of the year. You need to have a good understanding of when demand is high so you can raise your rates. By understanding your customers and their needs, you can be successful.
San Francisco has come a long way since it was a small Spanish mission and settlement in the late 1700s. In the early 1800s, the settlement began to flourish and was becoming an important hub for trade routes and exports.
During the 1848 Gold Rush, the town’s population rose from just under 1,000 residents to over 25,000. Around 1900, immigrants came to the city to find work and the population exceeded 300,000 residents. It was extremely prosperous, full of stately homes, mansions, hotels and theatres.
In 1906, an earthquake and ensuing fires leveled 75% of the city. Such was the wealth of the city that special projects were constructed to secure its future, including a high pressure fire system, new sewers, reservoirs, as well as the municipal railways. The Golden Gate Bridge was built during the Great Depression and finished in time for the World’s Fair in 1939.
The city currently has over 7 million residents and a yearly average of 16.5 million tourists visit the numerous historical sights. The city has something for everyone, including arts, theatres, museums, parks and gardens, historical architecture and restaurants.
For first time travelers, it is a recommendation that one book a touring package through a travel agency. Touring packages are a fantastic way to see the city if one is on a budget or has limited time.
Located downtown, The San Francisco Visitor Information Center can help tourists with information, maps, booking tours and hotel reservations. A recommendation for first time visitors is to use the City Guides, which offer over 75 free walking tours throughout the year.
Things to Do
A must see site for first time visitors, Alcatraz was not only the most famous penitentiary in the U.S., but it was also the foundation for the first lighthouse on the west coast, a harbor defense fort during the Civil War and a military stockade. Opened in 1934 as a federal prison, Alcatraz housed several notorious gangsters including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly.
Four audio tours of Alcatraz Island are available throughout the day. Recommendations include The Early Bird tour for visitors who do not wish to be in a large group and the Night Tour which adds an extra boat tour around the island as well as a guided tour.
Golden Gate Bridge
Opened to traffic in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge crosses the Golden Gate Strait and connects the city and Marin County. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy offers bridge tours from April through October, or tourists can visit the bridge on a self-guided tour. Sites at the bridge include the Bridge Pavilion, which offers photos, artifacts and exhibits of the bridge’s history and construction, as well as the Bridge Cafe, offering snacks and beverages.
Fisherman’s Wharf was constructed in 1849 during the Gold Rush era, when Italian fishermen settled the area and started fishing for crab. It has always been the home for local fishing fleets, and in 1978 it was remodeled for thetourist industry.
Popular locations within the Wharf district include Pier 39, the Cannery shopping center and several museums and restaurants. For World War II history enthusiasts, the USS Pampanito, a decommissioned WWII submarine, is moored at the nearby Hyde St. Pier.
There are plenty of attractions on Pier 39 such as shopping and restaurants, the two-story, carved Venetian carousel, a small theatre, the Pier 39 Marina and the Aquarium of the Bay. Be sure to check out Dock K to see the numerous sea lions basking in the sun.
In 1849, Domingo Ghirardelli came to San Francisco and opened a store selling mustard, spices, chocolate and coffee. In the late 1890s, the company bought a woolen mill factory and converted it into their chocolate factory. The company sold the factory in the 1960s and the surrounding buildings were converted into offices, shopping and upscale restaurants.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest and oldest in the United States. Land was originally set aside for the Chinese in the Portsmouth Square area in 1849, and as industry grew, so did Chinatown.
Chinatown offers several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Chinese New Year, which draws thousands of people to the area for parades and street fairs, as well as the Dragon Boat Festival. Recommendationsfor tours include the free walking tours by City Guides and The Chinese Cultural Center, which focuses on heritage and cuisine. Information for a self-guided tour can be downloaded from almost any visitor’s website.
Founded by Ben and Hilbur Sears in 1938, Sears Fine Foods has been a favorite local diner for breakfast and brunch, offering their world-famous 18 Swedish pancakes. Sold in the 1950s and moved to a larger location in the 1960s, the new owners kept the original menus until it closed in 2003. In 2004, new owners renovated and reopened the diner.
Sears Fine Foods has an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but locals recommend the world-famous Swedish pancakes for breakfast. They also serve smoked salmon Benedict, southern corn beef hash and eggs, waffles and omelets.
Cafe La Taza has been serving delicious Mexican dishes in the city for over 15 years. They offer meals at extremely fair prices and have a large coffee selection that will rival any large coffee chain. Using only the freshest ingredients, they serve breakfast and lunch at two locations and offer dinner at a third.
Favorites at Cafe La Taza are their specialty sandwiches, including the classic Philly cheese steak, the B.L.T., the crab salad sandwich and the hot or cold made-to-order sandwich, popular for anyone on the go.
For afternoon tea, visit the top-rated Crown and Crumpet Tea Stop Cafe located off of Ghirardelli Square. They serve classic British lunches from 11:00 am until closing. Popular dishes include Welsh rarebit, English cottage pie and sausage rolls with mixed greens. Their specialty, however, is afternoon tea.
They offer a choice of 38 different teas and serve tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, curd and jams, toasted crumpets with butter and house-made sweets. They also serve various champagnes, wines, ports and sherry.
Top of the Mark
Top of the Mark is a restaurant and sky lounge located on the 19th floor of the classy Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. It has been a popular destination for dinner and drinks with both locals and tourists since 1939. The Top of the Mark offer meals throughout the day and into the night with spectacular, panoramic views of the city.
They serve a light dining menu in the evening that includes items such as seafood, sliders, salads, tacos and even caviar. They also have an extensive wine list as well as over 100 martinis on the menu.
San Francisco is a unique city with such a rich history that visitors will need a week to see it all. Every nationality is present in the city as one can see in the architecture, the wonderful food, the neighborhoods, the street names and in the arts. Rudyard Kipling was quoted as saying, “San Francisco has only one drawback: ‘Tis hard to leave.”
Lodging recommendation around San Francisco Bay
- San Francisco For First Timers | Information (mountainviewfun.com)
- Where to Have Fun in San Francisco – 2013 (hmghotelsblog.com)
- What People Do To Have Fun In San Francisco: Touring, Exploring, Adventures… (peoplelovesanfrancisco.wordpress.com)
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