When the Front Desk Doubles as Concierge

front-desk-staff

Upscale and luxury hotels typically feature a dedicated concierge desk, staffed with associates knowledgeable about the destination and location. Concierges are ready to recommend nearby restaurants, events and attractions as well as offer tips on how best to navigate the local transit options.

Midscale hotels, on the other hand, traditionally don’t offer a dedicated concierge. Yet guests are just as likely, if not more so, to have questions, especially when they’re international travelers, not fluent in English and it comes to navigating public transit.

While assisting guests in this way is hardly part of their job description, motivated front desk agents tend to step up and fill the concierge gap as best they can, even while handling their official duties. They understand intuitively the nature of guest service and what we at M&R Hotel Management mean when we speak about “hands-on hospitality.”

Take the recent experience of a couple at one of our midscale hotels in midtown Manhattan. As recounted on TripAdvisor, our front desk associate was “extremely helpful and knowledgeable when it came to the transit system and where we could find local establishments worth trying.”

When the same guest checked out during the hotel’s busy rush hour, another associate, seeing the couple was unable to find a taxi, helped set up an app on their iPhone to summon a car service and even helped them secure a discount code for their first ride.

Not only was such service a win for the guest (and memorable, given the write-up on TripAdvisor), it was a win for the hotel, both in terms of high satisfaction scores and the online shout-out.

Unbeknownst to them, these associates were acting like true concierges in every way but name.

 

MANHATTAN’S NEWEST FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES NOW OPEN NEAR CENTRAL PARK

fis-centralpark

The 226-room Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park, which opened this month at 538 W. 58th St., features popular complimentary amenities including full American hot breakfast, wired and wireless internet access and a seven-day pass to a local fitness club, all designed to stretch the New York visitor’s travel budget.

Located just a block from the Hudson River on 58th Street between 10th and 11th avenues, the hotel offers a perfect jumping-off point for tourists, who will find some of the most popular New York attractions within walking distance, including Central Park, Columbus Circle, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Hall and Fifth Avenue shopping district.

Guest rooms, configured as 165 king rooms and 61 double-double rooms, each are equipped with a 42-inch, HD TV with premium channels, laptop safe, coffee- and tea-maker, minifridge and plush bedding. A desk and office chair enable guests to work while enjoying television.

Centerpiece of the hotel’s lobby is Bar 58, a lounge brimming with the energy and enthusiasm of its chic address. Vibrant artwork highlights the lobby décor, enhanced by natural window light and a spiral marble staircase to the lower level.

Breakfast will include oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sausage, make-your-own waffles, fruit, yogurt and whole-grain cereals and breads. The hotel also will offer complimentary a 24-hour, on-site gym and business center.

“Delivering both function and comfort, our new design and décor elevate the Fairfield brand, setting a new standard in moderately priced hotels,” said Shruti Buckley, Fairfield Inn & Suites vice president and global brand manager. “Fairfield Inn & Suites provides an easy, positive and productive travel experience as well as the promise of consistent and reliable service at an exceptional value.”

The hotel will be the first Marriott to be owned by M&R Hotel Group and managed by M&R Hotel Management, both of Great Neck, New York. “The opening of this hotel marks the debut of M&R’s relationship with Marriott International,” said Brian McSherry, M&R chief operating officer. “We plan to build on this relationship by opening other Marriott brands in Manhattan in the near future.”

The Fairfield brand’s 100 percent guarantee empowers hotel staff to make every effort to resolve problems to the guest’s satisfaction. If compensation is granted, it will be limited to the price of one night’s stay or Marriott Rewards® points for a future stay.

M&R Hotel Management is a growing third-party management company with a portfolio of 17 hotels, including 14 in New York City, one near Boston and two in the Caribbean.

M&R also provides consulting services, including hotel site and contractor selection, feasibility analysis, brand selection, project management, FF&E and design, competitive set analysis, area of protection evaluation, business plan troubleshooting, risk management audits, preopening methodology, procurement, F&B operations and leasing, permitting, financing, sales and marketing, revenue management, human resources and e-commerce.

The company is headquartered in Great Neck with an office in Dallas.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is designed for today’s traveler who is looking to be productive on the road, whether for business or leisure. With more than 700 properties throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and India, Fairfield Inn & Suites hotels participate in the award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay.

For more information or reservations, contact the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park hotel directly at 212-757-8550, call the Fairfield Inn & Suites toll-free number at 800-228-2800, visit www.fairfieldinn.com, become a fan at www.facebook.com/fairfieldinnandsuites or follow Fairfield at www.twitter.com/fairfieldhotels.

Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company newsvisit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

Managing an Expanding Workforce

front-desk-staff

As job creation remains a serious priority for the national economy, the hospitality and leisure sector continues to add jobs at a healthy clip. One month during the summer, for example, 45,000 of the 255,000 new jobs created were in this sector, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

This was especially good news for the labor-intense lodging industry and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the industry’s trade association, was quick to take note, describing the industry’s rate of growth over the last six years as “extraordinary.” According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel and tourism directly employs 8.1 million people and supports another 7 million people in other industries.

The robust employment numbers are equally good news at the property level. Given the service nature of the business, hotels and resorts hire large numbers of entry-level workers and devote significant resources to recruitment, training and retention. For many of today’s entry-level candidates, English may not be their first language, nor may our culture of teamwork and empowerment be concepts they’re used to.

But these are reasonable challenges to deal with. The latest Labor Department numbers indicate the economy’s accelerating job growth is helping a broader range of workers, including those entry-level candidates who likely have less education. But if they’re willing to learn and are motivated to succeed, there’s a place for them under our industry’s welcoming umbrella. In fact, entry-level jobs often lead to satisfying long-term careers.

Ultimately, their enthusiasm makes our industry stronger, which is good news not only for owners and operators, but guests as well.

Follow M&R Hotel Management on LinkedIn for the latest news and career updates.

Introducing the Lobby Ambassador

gen-4-lobby-area

Hotels rely heavily on guest feedback to get an accurate sense on how successful a job they’re doing in providing all-important customer service. In today’s Internet-driven society, it’s easy for owners and managers to look to brands’ electronic guest satisfaction surveys, not to mention websites like TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google that solicit travelers’ comments, to get a sense of how well they’re performing.

But if the truth be known, these tools are only meaningful up to a point. Not all guests, after all, whether they had a positive stay or found fault with the hotel, will take the time to respond to a guest survey or post a comment on a site that solicits consumer content. By contrast, guest feedback that’s delivered face-to-face in the moment when guests are still on property is much more valuable.

Enter a new on-site staff position: the Lobby Ambassador. Managers have always understood the value of having an associate stationed in the lobby whose job is to circulate among guests—typically in the morning, while they’re having breakfast, in the process of checking out or simply leaving for the day. The task has now been formalized and given a name of its own.

General managers at a number of M&R Hotel Management properties have named a Lobby Ambassador in the past few months with positive results. At one hotel, the same associate fills the role; at other hotels, front desk agents take turns rotating in and out of the position.

The Lobby Ambassadors’ biggest contribution is that they get to resolve any service issues guests may have on the spot. They’re knowledgeable about the operation of the hotel and are empowered by management to turn a guest’s potentially negative experience into a positive.

Best of all, they introduce themselves to the guest and put a personal, friendly, helpful face on the hotel, which when you think about it is at the very heart of the hospitality experience.

M&R Hotel Management Names Manager of LaGuardia Airport Hotel

M&R Hotel Managementeldin-elezovic-9-13-2016-small today announced the appointment of Eldin Elezovic as general manager of the Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia Airport hotel, located on Horace Harding Expressway in Flushing, New York.

Elezovic, a 16-year hospitality industry veteran who has served in hotel management roles in Manhattan as well as Queens, will oversee all aspects of the 84-room hotel’s operations, including sales, marketing, security, maintenance, housekeeping and accounting. An expansion project, currently underway for completion this year, will bring the guest room total to 119.

Elezovic most recently was director of operations at the Flatiron Hotel in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. From 2008 to 2015, he was in charge of a limited-service hotel portfolio at LaGuardia, and served the Crowne Plaza at John F. Kennedy International Airport from 2007 to 2008, first as director of operations and subsequently as assistant general manager.

HIE LGA

Holiday Inn Express Laguardia Airport

From 2005 to 2007 he worked at the Radisson Hotel Martinique near Manhattan’s Herald Square, first as director of guest services and then as director of operations. From 2000 to 2005, he was front office manager at the Holiday Inn New York City-Midtown-57th St. hotel, also in Manhattan.

“Eldin’s depth of experience in the New York hotel market, including at hotels at both LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, makes him well qualified to lead the team as general manager at our LaGuardia property,” said Brian M. McSherry, M&R Hotel Management chief operating officer.

Elezovic earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and international business at the City University of New York and is studying for a graduate degree in organizational leadership at Nyack College in New York. He speaks Bosnian, Spanish and Russian in addition to English.

M&R Hotel Management’s portfolio in Queens also includes the 136-room Holiday Inn L.I. City – Manhattan View and four hotels near Kennedy Airport: the 201-room Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area, the 128-room Holiday Inn Express New York JFK Airport Area, the 87-room Best Western JFK Airport Hotel and the 73-room Days Inn Jamaica JFK Airport.

M&R Hotel Management also operates four hotels in Manhattan and three in Staten Island. Rounding out the 16-hotel portfolio is a hotel on Long Island in Roslyn, in the Boston suburb of Braintree and a hotel on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

The company’s portfolio includes the brands of InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels International, Wyndham Hotel Group and Best Western International. Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide also have certified M&R to manage selected brands.