On the Delicate Subject of Hotel Security

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Hilton Garden Inn New York Times Square South

It’s understandable why hotel security is such a sensitive matter. Addressing the issue in detail would risk giving insights to wrongdoers.

Nevertheless, hotels go to great lengths to reassure travelers that they and their possessions are safe while on the premises. Such assurances are part and parcel of the larger presumption that surrounds the hotel experience, that hotels provide a safe and comfortable home away from home.

The challenge of assuring safety can be formidable, considering that hotels generally conduct business in an open atmosphere that provides 24/7 unfettered access to guests who are total strangers to their hosts. It is a cornerstone of hospitality that all guests be made to feel welcome from the moment they arrive until the morning when they check out.

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Holiday Inn New York City – Times Square

While hotels are employing increasingly sophisticated technology to enhance security, the most important safeguard is employee training. And while training may involve specialized techniques and procedures, everyone knows to follow the Golden Rule of security: if you see something, say something.

Sometimes our commitment to guest safety simply means going an extra mile. Take a recent guest comment posted on TripAdvisor. After checking out from one of our hotels in New York’s Times Square neighborhood at 4 a.m., out-of-town guests called a taxicab for a ride to the airport. Given the early hour, a hotel staff member took the initiative to wait with them at the curb until they boarded the cab.

While we have detailed manuals that spell out the way we expect our employees to perform, this example illustrates the importance of common sense, courtesy and concern. The example discussion on TripAdvisor also puts a human face on the whole matter of hotel security. It’s all about ensuring that the guest presumption of safety is a reality.

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When a Citywide Meeting Comes to Town

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Large industry and association meetings can bring thousands of attendees to a destination, booking big-box convention hotels and the city’s convention center. Such meetings can bring millions of dollars in revenue to transportation providers, hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. Cities vie for the chance to host these often-elaborate events, nicknamed “citywides.”

Major hotel companies make sure their properties are included in the room block. Marriott International’s dedicated Convention and Resort Network unit helps coordinate its big box hotels’ request for proposals.

What’s less widely known is that citywides benefit smaller hotels, too. While attendees are typically book the headquarters hotel or hotels, event planners often need additional rooms to house a range of other participants: consultants, speakers, facilitators and trade show exhibitors, not to mention designers overseeing stage sets and lighting, audio-visual and IT teams and entertainers.

M&R Hotel Management welcomes this business. In New York City, a popular group destination, many of our hotels are centrally located, attractively priced and offer complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi. They’re also a smart choice for attendees looking for a good value to extend their time in the city with some pre-or post-convention R&R.

M&R Hotel Management Names Vice President of Operations

Sayed Alam 6731 9-2017M&R Hotel Management today announced the appointment of Sayed Alam as vice president, operations, responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the company’s 13 hotels, ensuring they meet, if not exceed, the high service standards set by both M&R and its affiliated brands.

Alam, a 26-year hospitality industry veteran, previously served Montreal-based Lixi Hotels Group as regional vice president of operations, overseeing nine hotels, including brands of Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and the former Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Prior to that, he was area director of operations for Lixi, district manager for Le’Tap Hospitality Group and general manager of hotels in New York, Boston and Connecticut.

Alam earned bachelor and masters of business administration degrees from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. He earned the Certified Hotel Administrator designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Educational Institution; general manager brand certifications for Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn by Hilton and Best Western; and Starwood Executive Training Certification for Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton hotel brands.

“Sayed brings a broad range of experience in hotel operations to his new position, including with many of the brands in our portfolio,” said Brian McSherry, M&R Hotel Management chief operating officer. “This breadth of knowledge will make him an invaluable part of our executive team as we continue to grow.”

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

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 as well as one in Nassau County, New York, the Holiday Inn Express Roslyn-Manhasset Area.

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 major markets across the U.S. 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.

When a Guest Must Cancel

Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Central Park

Photo: Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Central Park

Balancing the business needs of hotel operators on the one hand and guests on the other can be tricky on a variety of fronts, none more so than when a guest must cancel a reservation at the last moment.

In most high-demand markets, 24-hour cancellation policy has been the standard. This provides leeway when guests’ plans change due to illness, family emergency, inclement weather or a host of other reasons. Traditionally, hoteliers have been eager in such circumstances to release guests from their reservations.

Lately, however, a growing number of hotel brands have switched to a 48-hour cancellation policy. Typically, they cite the rise of booking technology that allows for dynamic pricing as the reason. In today’s Internet world, for example, when desirable Hotel A sees it has a block of unsold rooms coming up, it can drop its rates dramatically in the hope of generating a spike in demand that will help fill that excess inventory on the upcoming nights.

Meanwhile, across town, a guest was reservations at less-desirable Hotel B might see Hotel A’s decision to discount its more desirable rooms. That guest easily could cancel the Hotel B reservations within the 24-hour window advance window, then book Hotel A across town.

The management of Hotel B finds this very frustrating. The good will they extended by offering a 24-hour cancellation policy has been abused, in their minds, by a guest who neither is ill nor facing a family crisis. It’s a scenario they can encounter numerous times on a given night. Managers of such hotels may try to sell their suddenly vacant rooms by giving the inventory to a third-party online agent at a steep discount.

As hosts and business leaders, it’s easy to be torn between what’s best for guests and what’s best for the bottom line. While we wait to see if the 48-hour policy makes an appreciable difference, industry watchers continue to ponder “what is fair and equitable?”

Manhattan’s Newest Hilton Garden Inn Opens Near Times Square

HGI Exterior c 9-12-2017M&R Hotel Management today announced the opening of the 250-room, 23-story Hilton Garden Inn New York Times Square South at 326 West 37th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

The hotel, which joins M&R’s management portfolio of 12 other open hotels and three under development in New York, is near the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Times Square, Broadway theater district, emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood and New York Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The hotel features six Sky View rooms with soaring 22-foot ceilings and city skyline views from the 23rd floor, two City View rooms on the 17th floor with panoramic views and two Balcony rooms on the 18th floor that provide outdoor access.

Doyler’s, a full-service, three-meal-a-day restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating on the lobby level, specializes in Irish pub-style food and beverages. A media room on the second floor offers game stations and large flat-screen televisions for viewing movies.

Other hotel amenities include a meeting room, room service, 24-hour fitness center and The Shop Market, offering toiletries, snacks and beverages. Complimentary wireless internet service is available throughout the building.

The hotel’s executive team includes General Manager Felix Maldonado and Mirian Ortega, director of sales and marketing.

“The addition of the Hilton Garden Inn New York Times Square South − our first Hilton Worldwide brand − marks an important milestone for M&R Hotel Management,” said Brian McSherry, M&R Hotel Management chief operating officer. “We now are a franchisee of one of the world’s most respected hospitality companies.”

McSherry said guests will experience Hilton Garden Inn’s high level of customer service while earning points in the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program.

M&R Hotel Management, based in Great Neck, New York, operates five other hotels in Manhattan: 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., the Holiday Inn Express Manhattan Midtown West at 538 West 48th St., the Comfort Inn Midtown West at 548 West 48th St. and the Holiday Inn NYC – Lower East Side at 150 Delancey St.

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. M&R also manages a hotel in Nassau County, New York.

M&R’s portfolio also includes the brands of Marriott International, 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 nationwide 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, account and risk management audits, e-commerce, design, procurement, accounting and engineering.