The Special Challenge of Operating an Airport Hotel

Holiday Inn JFK

With five of M&R Hotel Management’s hotels near airports, we have considerable experience hosting air travelers. Inevitably, these guests include many whose flights have been delayed, typically because of inclement weather but also because of mechanical problems, airport curfews, airport construction and any number of other reasons.

Each of these guests understandably may require some special “tender-loving care” when they show up late at night, tired after an already long day of travel or frazzled by an unexpected change of plans. They may have missed a connecting flight and not know what the next day will bring.

As one of our experienced airport hotel general managers told me, guests arriving at one of our city or suburban hotels tend to be happy. Airport guests tend not to be happy. Granted, they’re relieved to have a bed for the night, but they’re feeling pretty frustrated. Some may only be with us a matter of hours until they have to return to the airport to check in for their rescheduled flight.

This GM and his team try to go that extra mile to give every guest a positive experience. We train everyone, including front-desk agents, the housekeeping staff, shuttle drivers, breakfast room attendants and restaurant servers to be sensitive to these guests’ often-difficult circumstances. We remind them not to take a guest’s frustration personally, but to do their jobs professionally, at all times.

Not only does such training make good business sense, but it’s the right thing to do.

From Commercial to Compassionate

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We don’t often think of commercial enterprises as centers of compassion. Hotels can be the exception.

In one recent instance, the American Red Cross placed a family whose home had been destroyed in a fire for an open-ended stay at our Holiday Inn L.I. City – Manhattan View in Long Island City, New York (Queens borough). Unlike traditional guests who arrive at the front desk with carefully packed suitcases, this family showed up with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Needless to say, they were in a state of shock, still processing their loss, particularly their children.

Much to their credit, the front desk team and other hotel associates showed tremendous sensitivity in helping the family get settled. We train our team members to be welcoming and friendly and to feel empowered to respond to guests’ special needs or requests. But that training doesn’t always address the depth of the need in crisis situations like this.

The American Red Cross and other relief organizations are the front line of support in terms of providing clothing, toiletries, medical care, counseling and temporary housing. But the hotel team − from the front desk to guest services to housekeeping − stands ready as a second line of support, if just providing friendly guidance, a warm greeting or genuine expression of concern ─ in other words, compassion.

M&R Names General Manager for Comfort Inn Midtown West

Fran Ramos 4-2017M&R Hotel Management today announced the appointment of Fran Ramos as general manager of the 88-room Comfort Inn Midtown West at 548 West 48th St., where she has been assistant general manager since 2015.

Ramos, a nine-year hospitality industry veteran who has managed hotels around New York state, will oversee the hotel’s operations, sales, marketing, security, maintenance, housekeeping and accounting.

Ramos joined M&R Hotel Management in 2014 as part of the preopening team of the Holiday Inn Staten Island before moving to the Comfort Inn. She served in a variety of roles at the Hotel Utica in New York in 2013, including front desk agent, auditor and sales assistant. She was assistant general manager at the Hampton Inn & Suites in New Hartford, New York, in 2012.

Earlier in her career, Ramos served at the Ramada Inn in Oriskany, New York, from 2008-2011, first as front desk manager and then as general manager. Before entering the hospitality industry, she worked in banking. She attended the College of Staten Island in New York and is a certified fire safety director.

“Fran’s track record of success as assistant general manager at the Comfort Inn Midtown West, not to mention her prior background in various aspects of hotel operations, made her a strong candidate to be general manager,” said Brian McSherry, M&R Hotel Management chief operating officer. “It’s always special for us when we’re able to promote a worthy individual from within.”

The Comfort Inn Midtown West features king, queen and double rooms. Complimentary amenities include 24-hour business center, Your Morning Breakfast hot buffet, wireless internet and daily newspaper.

The hotel is located near the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Times Square, the Broadway theater district and world-class shopping and dining. The hotel is also in close proximity to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, making it a convenient choice for pre- and post-cruise visits to the Big Apple.

M&R Hotel Management, based in Great Neck, New York, operates five other hotels in Manhattan, including the Holiday Inn Express Manhattan Midtown West at 538 West 48th St., the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park at 538 West 58th St., the Holiday Inn New York City – Times Square at 585 Eighth Ave. and the Holiday Inn NYC – Lower East Side at 150 Delancey St . M&R is scheduled to open a sixth Manhattan hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square South at 326 West 37th St. this year.

The company also manages six hotels in Queens, including four near John F. Kennedy International Airport, one near LaGuardia Airport, and one in Long Island City; three hotels on Staten Island; one in Nassau County, New York; and one on the Caribbean island of Curacao.

M&R’s portfolio includes the brands of Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels International, Wyndham Hotel Group and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

M&R’s business plan calls for expansion of its portfolio in the New York metropolitan area and beyond through third-party management contracts.

In addition to management, M&R provides consulting services in hotel site and contractor selection, feasibility analysis, permitting, financing, human resources support, sales and marketing, revenue management, food & beverage management, brand management, account and risk management audits, e-commerce, design, procurement, accounting and engineering.

The Challenge of Serving Medical Guest s and Their Loved Ones

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Since the opening five months ago of the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park − our newest hotel − our sales team has been struck by the number of bookings generated by Mount Sinai West, a full-service medical center at 10th Avenue and West 58th Street, less than a block east.

Rooms have been booked by patients receiving care at the hospital, who typically check in either before or following their procedures. Many stay to recuperate past the point when they require frequent medical care. Some are the family members who accompany their loved ones.

For the front desk, housekeeping, bell desk and breakfast teams, serving these guests often requires a special level of sensitivity. Unlike typical leisure or business travelers, who almost always are upbeat and happy to be staying at a lovely new hotel, medical guests understandably are more focused on their personal situations.

Certainly, the needs of these different guests may differ, whether that means special requests at breakfast, additional towels or bath amenities, assistance hailing a taxi or simply providing a sympathetic ear.

I’m proud that our associates respond with kindness and understanding. Indeed, serving these special guests has given new resonance to our goal of providing “hands-on hospitality,” whatever that may entail.

M&R Hotel Management Names Regional Director of Travel Industry Sales

Laurie Oliver 2-2017-smallM&R Hotel Management today announced the appointment of Laurie Oliver as regional director of travel industry sales, responsible for managing sales on behalf of the company’s 17 managed hotels to travel agents, wholesalers, consortia, tour operators, receptive operators and tour groups.

Oliver, a 40-year hospitality industry veteran, previously served Intercontinental Hotels Group as key account director, leisure and airline sales, where she managed and developed sales and strategic partnerships with large leisure wholesale accounts.

From 1982 to 1991, she served IHG as director, CMH Caribbean and Latin America. She began her career with IHG’s predecessor, Holiday Inn International, in 1977.

Oliver studied business at Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York, and served nine years as a board member of the International Inbound Travel Association, formerly the Receptive Services Association of America.  She also is a member of the American Bus Association, National Tour Association and HSMAI’s New York chapter.

“Laurie is an accomplished leisure account director with proven revenue-generation skills,” said Janelle Schwartz, M&R Hotel Management vice president, sales, marketing and revenue management. “She has consistently exceeded her goals, generating high customer satisfaction rates through exemplary service.”

M&R Hotel Management, based in Great Neck, New York, operates five hotels in Manhattan, including the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park, the Holiday Inn New York City – Times Square, the Holiday Inn NYC – Lower East Side, Holiday Inn Express Manhattan Midtown West and Comfort Inn Midtown West.

M&R expects to open a sixth Manhattan hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn New York Times Square South, in June.

The company also manages six hotels in Queens, including the Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area, Holiday Inn Express New York JFK Airport Area, Best Western JFK Airport Hotel, Days Inn Jamaica – JFK Airport, Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia Airport and Holiday Inn L.I. City – Manhattan View.

In addition, M&R manages three hotels on Staten Island, the Holiday Inn Staten Island, Holiday Inn Staten Island West and Comfort Inn Staten Island. M&R also manages the Holiday Inn Express Roslyn-Manhasset Area in Nassau County, New York, and the Clarion Hotel & Suites Curacao in the Caribbean.

M&R’s portfolio includes the brands of Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels International, Wyndham Hotel Group and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

M&R’s business plan calls for expansion of its portfolio in the New York metropolitan area and beyond through third-party management contracts.

In addition to management, M&R provides consulting services in hotel site and contractor selection, feasibility analysis, permitting, financing, human resources support, sales and marketing, revenue management, food & beverage management, brand management, account and risk management audits, e-commerce, design, procurement, accounting and engineering.