News & Publications

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My Hotel Industry Friends, Heed this Warning

Many of my clients are also dear friends, who are hotel owners who, like me, believe in hard work and dedication to family. It saddens me when so many of these great entrepreneurs lose what they worked so hard for simply because of bad timing and not recognizing the warning signs of a forthcoming downturn [...]

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New Year, New Franchise Partner?

Are you part of a great franchise? Because in today's environment, hotel companies need to be great to ensure a return on the owner's investment. What really makes a franchise great? To start with, a franchisor needs to understand the issues that hotel owners face daily and be understanding of their needs. A great franchise company has a strong infrastructure designed for one purpose — generating revenue and reservations for its owners and doing it at the lowest possible cost. Providing services such as full revenue management, dedicated account management, an effective central reservation system, strong Internet marketing, meta-site listings, customer built vanity website and more needs to be encompassed in the basic fee you are paying; not as add-ons or hidden fees [...]

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Common Mistakes Hotel Owners Make When Negotiating Their Franchise Agreement

 I have had the good fortune of growing up in the hotel business next to my father, who is still considered an industry icon. I have seen it all from a management company to franchising and now as the owner and CEO of a company which specializes in assisting franchisees in negotiating liquidated damages/termination fees or selecting and negotiating a new franchise agreement [...] 

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Steve Belmonte and the ad that changed hospitality

  It’s Flashback Friday, so I thought I’d peel back the decades and share a great story from Steve Belmonte. These days, Belmonte is best known for his role as CEO of Vimana Franchise Systems, which operates the Centerstone and Key West brands. But back in the 1990s he was the straight talking leader of Ramada, who revived a brand on the precipice of irrelevancy [...]  

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Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid. There is a Downturn Coming

 I sit at industry conferences and listen to the talking heads who predict joy, jubilee and a continuation of the good-times for the foreseeable future. I am frankly, sick to death of hotel company CEOs self-serving predictions during an upturn that the upturn will last forever and if we are in a downturn, well the upturn is right around the corner. Don’t buy it. Don’t believe it [...]

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AHLEI Honors Steven J. Belmonte With CHA Emeritus Award

 The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has awarded Steven J. Belmonte with the designation of CHA Emeritus. He received the award during the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Legislative Action Summit here at the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards Brunch on April 14 [...]  

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Managing Workplace Change

 This week I turned 60. And I am concerned and confused about the future of the hospitality industry. I am concerned about where our future leadership will come from. For those of us who are also pushing 60 or have already pushed through to the other side, here are some reminders of what we have lived through. And for those of you who believe that 60 is ancient, here is an interesting history [...] 

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Franchisor/Franchisee Fundamentals

 One of the greatest personal debates we often face centers on character. Do you believe that it’s possible for a person to possess both a public and a private character, even if the two are very different? What you do in private is your own business, as long as it doesn’t affect your public performance, right [...]

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The Bare Essentials Of Repositioning Your Hotel

 There are several steps that can be taken to ensure smarter decisions when it comes to repositioning your hotel in the marketplace. Industry vet Steve Belmonte shares these steps that he believes will help your hotel to thrive in this economy whether you choose to renovate, reposition or reflag [...] 

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The Pros & Cons: Mediation vs. Litigation

 If you feel limited as to your options in negotiations with franchise companies, there's new hope. Third-party mediation and negotiation services are available to licensees to help them avoid costly litigation. Hospitality experts who once walked-the-walk and talked-the-talk of a franchisor can use their experience to help licensees negotiate out of those agreements. Steve Belmonte explains the pros and cons of mediation and litigation, and why mediation is most likely the best solution for your franchise needs. Not only is it better cost-wise, but there is a high percentage rate of success for both parties [...]

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While Some Are In Recovery Mode, Others Are Still Waiting

 While the hospitality industry is supposedly in a recovery mode, many hoteliers out there are still not experiencing this recovery as strongly as they are in other markets. Instead of just enduring, hoteliers need to begin to find the tools in order to build a foundation to grow upon and need to be operating in a more prudent fashion [...]

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Are Charitable Endeavors Appropriate For Hotel Corporations?

 The hospitality industry has long been defined as the "people business." What's more hospitable than helping those who need it? It is our responsibility to give back to those who need it the most and hotel corporations have great reach and opportunities to do so. Joining forces with a charity and putting the weight of the brand behind the philanthropic mission should be a no-brainer for hoteliers. By giving a charity organization 100% of your commitment, you'll see that, you really can make a difference in the world – whether it's just to one person, an entire community, or the planet. And customers will respond positively to that [...]

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Mentoring The Hotel Leaders of Tomorrow

 I’ve been in the hospitality industry for almost 40 years and in that time I have learned what is truly important. The real bottom line in any operation is the people; the customers on the buying end and the employees on the selling end. I have seen far too many companies build palaces only to board up the windows later because they forgot that their people are the most essential asset, not the building [...]