Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why hotels should stop marketing their features and amenities

Pretty much every hotel in the industry uses the same marketing concept. Beautiful images and features are presented with descriptions and decorative adjectives that mostly relate to interior design and location. There are no real differentiators within specific hotel segments and valuable potential goes untapped.

Today, in hotel marketing there seems to be little consideration for what made a hotel originally stand out: its authenticity and personality, which developed and formed through the interaction of the employees of the hotel and the visitors staying there.

While marketing has changed significantly over the past decade, the perception and value of true hospitality has not. And yet, despite often times having great visuals most hotel websites are losing out on great opportunities to connect and bond with prospective guests and as a result do not secure bookings.      

They fail to create the emotional connection.

Apple, the computer company, is a telling example on how to do this successfully. Look at the reasons why they are such outstanding marketers – Apple sells technology, but that’s not what they market. People – the way they feel and respond and are understood – are at the heart of Apple’s marketing.

Guests appreciate (and remember) simple gestures

In turn, hotels sell hospitality but at the heart of their marketing are features and amenities, even when their core product is all about people. As a reminder, the term “hospitality” stands for “the quality and disposition of receiving and treating guests with warmth, cordiality, geniality and friendliness”. But what is the focus of most hotel marketing concepts? Interior design and location.

Peter C. Borer, CEO Operations for the Peninsula Group and long time general manager of the “Peninsula” in Hong Kong is familiar with demanding clients from around the world. In a recent interview with German newspaper “Die Welt”, he pointed out that spectacular interiors, pomp and debauchery are not all that’s important to his guests. While features are an influential part of the “package”, he highlighted the fact that guests appreciate much more mundane things. Simple gestures – their favorite tea for breakfast, a bouquet of flowers for a wedding anniversary or other personalized offers of attention – keep them coming back for more.

A hotel’s unique selling point is its hospitality – the way it is lived and exuded in a hotel and how it affects its guests. The “experience” that’s made mention of so often and that guests and customers are looking for these days, is just that: to have someone really listen to you and provide you with undivided attention. To feel important and appreciated. To meet someone who seems sincerely interested, and who anticipates what’s needed to make your stay as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.

It is always good to remember that prospective guests don’t buy accommodation or a convenient location. They purchase a pleasant atmosphere, good feelings, answers to their questions and solutions to their personal needs. 

Impact on hotel staff

In general, hotel marketing focuses less and less attention on this crucial aspect of its product. This has an impact on a hotel’s employees. They have learned and been trained to sell features for so long that they cannot see the true benefits of the product (their service) anymore. You think this does not sound believable? Put it to the test and call a hotel to find out what the responding representative thinks sets the hotel apart from its competitors. Give it several tries with different departments and various positions. They will probably be stumped and floundering to give you an answer.

In a recent telephone survey* 35 upmarket hotels were polled and the question was asked what made them stand out from their competitors. None of the hotel representatives were able to answer the question, but rather listed the physical features of the hotel. Even further inquiries as to the true benefits of the hotel involving the team and aspects of their hospitality offer remained unanswered. Responders’ reactions ranged from polite incomprehension or trying to connect the call to someone who might know the answer to repeating the same answer again and again with impatience and frustration.      

This survey shows that even the people at the frontline, the ones with the great opportunities to enthusiastically market and sell your hotel directly to a caller or visitor, have lost touch with what their product really represents.

If your employees believe that features and amenities make all the difference in terms of guest satisfaction, the next unsettling question for you is this: “How much do they think they can or have to contribute to making the guest experience a pleasant and memorable one”? 

Article by Bärbel Pfeiffer, founder of Text Spot On, a communications agency that assists hoteliers with creative marketing concepts that engage, generate leads and drive business. Source:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Now it's your opportunity to get a job at Disney Cruise Line

Established in 1998, Disney Cruise Line is known for delivering exceptional guest service and creating memorable family experiences that last a lifetime. Our outstanding crew members set us apart as a leader in the entertainment and hospitality industries by providing personalized attention to our guests. The difference is something you feel the moment you step onboard, and our crew are the reason our guests come back year after year. Working on a cruise ship takes dedication and hard work, but it also provides rewarding experiences, competitive pay and world-class training.

Looking for a unique job at sea? Watch and learn about working onboard a Disney Cruise Line ship!

Job opportunity at Disney Cruise Line

Dining Room Service and Beverage ( Bar) Service


20 spaces for virtual Job Interviews with Disney Cruise Line in April. Contract starts should be around June/July/August 2016.
Qualified candidates (EU-Passports only!) may send CVs to Mr. Ramon Amor at

You may study Cruise Management at Alpine Center. Visit our site.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inspiring interview with the EVP & President Asia-Pacific, Hilton Worldwide, Martin Rinck‏

Interviewing the EVP & President, Asia-Pacific, Hilton Worldwide, Martin Rinck

by Lily Lin

In 1997 Martin Rinck was the GM of a Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Indonesia. In 1998 he became the CEO of Movenpick Gastronomy International, moving from managing a single unit operation to managing a worldwide restaurant operation. One wonders how he did it. For one, he has a clear vision about what he wants to achieve. Secondly, he is a high-energy, fearless and ambitious executive. He drives his business into rapid growth with sheer determination and business acumen. The fact that his career is on the fast-track should not come as a surprise. Although he is concerned that he is not very good at achieving work-life balance, the reality is that he is extremely passionate about his work and it is obvious that he thoroughly enjoys what he does.

Today, Martin is the Executive Vice President & President, Asia-Pacific of Hilton Worldwide.


Which school did you graduate from and what did you study?
After I finished my German Abitur (International Baccalaureate) and military service, I went to work for the InterContinental Hotels Group, starting in Hamburg, Germany, as a management trainee. I then worked with InterContinental in Paris, San Francisco, Chicago and Lisbon for 10 years. From 1992-1995, I was the Director of F&B at the Mayfair InterContinental in London. In 1994, I was accepted in the InterContinental fast-track management development program, which also included the MBA study from Brunel University, London. During my studies, I worked and actively interacted with people from other industries, which really helped to broaden my horizon and vision of the business world at large. 

Did you always want to work in the hotel industry?
At first, my dream was to become a pilot. Later, I began to think that I would like to travel the world to experience different countries and ethnicities and to meet, work and live with different cultures. As a consequence, after my military service, I decided to work for the hotel industry.

From 1998-2003, you were the CEO of Mövenpick Restaurant. What made you move from the restaurant industry into the hotel industry to become the Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for the Rezidor Hotel Group?
Actually, it was more like a return to the hotel industry. Before I became the CEO of Mövenpick, I spent most of my career working in amazing hotels around the world.

When I first took over Mövenpick Gastronomy, the company had less than 100 restaurants globally and it was losing money. I consolidated a portfolio of nine different restaurant brands to four and grew the business into a profit-making enterprise with over 140 restaurants. After four and a half years at Mövenpick, Rezidor in Brussels offered me the opportunity to develop and grow their business, something I tremendously enjoyed. During my tenure, we grew the portfolio of hotels in operations and under development from 150 hotels to 300 hotels and ultimately listed the company at the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

You have been the President of Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide, since 2008, overseeing operations and development of Hilton brands in 19 countries. What learning from yesterday and today are you taking into tomorrow?
I’ve learned that the people who work with you are your most important asset. You are only as strong as your entire team. Any challenge can be tackled and any hurdle can be overcome if you are surrounded by the right people with the right attitude. I am very fortunate that this is the case at Hilton Worldwide.

What are the most difficult issues you face as the head of your organization?
In my current role, the biggest challenge is recruiting, grooming and retaining the best personnel to run our current 99 hotels, as well as building a talent pool to run our more than 165 hotels under construction or in the pipeline in 18 countries This translates into the need for more than 200 GMs, thousands of department heads and in excess of 100,000 staff to deliver the quality of service and guest experiences Hilton Worldwide is known for.

Who are your role models and why do you admire these individuals?
One of my role models is Nelson Mandela. He is a phenomenal individual with an admirable personality and charisma. Having spent years in jail, he still did not give up and persevered! He also believes that education is the most powerful weapon, since it provides the tool for people to help themselves.

I also firmly believe that one should never give up if one really believes in a cause… or it will be the beginning of the end!

You are obviously a highly motivated individual. What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by having a strong team and at the same time, seeing how many successful careers I’ve helped to create. Having mentored and coached a number of individuals from their early days in the industry to their current roles of General Manager gives me great satisfaction.

Having said the above, the main reason for my drive and energy is my family, since I am blessed with an understanding and loving wife and two beautiful daughters who keep me motivated.

How have you changed in the past five to ten years?
Visually most likely by my receding hairline?! :)

Actually, when I went back to my home town, Hamburg in Germany, my friends told me that I haven’t changed a bit, which I considered a compliment! I believe that you must stay true to yourself and keep your humility, no matter what position you have or what you do for a living.

Other than that, I believe that I am becoming better at achieving a work-life balance, but I am still not very good at it and would guess that my wife would vehemently disagree with my self-assessment.

If you had to make a choice, would you do the things right or would you do the right things?  Why?
I personally believe that doing the right thing at the right time is the responsibility of those who manage any corporation. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. If doing the right thing means that I have to go against the tide, I have no problem swimming upstream! The right thing to do is to do the right thing! Over the long run, it will pay off!

One time I posted a question on our Facebook “Why do you think your GM is important to you?” Someone answered: “I don’t think my GM is important to me but he might be important to the company.” Do you agree with this statement?
It’s playing with semantics! Every GM is important to the corporation. All GMs must be great role models for their respective properties; they must be able to deliver and most importantly, they must have the right set of values. People don’t leave their companies; they leave their managers. We take great pride in grooming and preparing our GMs to become the best in the industry.

What have been the defining moments or time spans in your life so far?
Making the professional shift from being a GM at a Mandarin Oriental hotel in Indonesia to being the CEO of Movenpick Restaurants was a defining moment for me. When you move from managing a single unit to managing the worldwide operation of an organization, based out of the global headquarters, your entire approach to running a business changes from being predominantly tactical to becoming predominantly strategic! I was very fortunate to be given this opportunity and I tremendously enjoyed the challenge.

Other life defining moments or what I would call highlights include my marriage, the birth of my two amazing daughters and seeing them grow up.

I would advise my younger self not to take myself too seriously and understand that there is more to life than just work.

In your opinion, what is the single best quality your employees can possess?
The most important quality is the right attitude and passion for what you do. It’s not rocket science. We are in a common sense industry. With the right attitude we can teach the skills but it is more difficult to change an attitude, even though somebody has the technical skill set.

The core values of Hilton Worldwide are easy to remember, since they spell “HILTON”:

Now – make it happen!
If you combine our core values with the right attitude, you will be successful.

At work, what answers are you seeking?
I seek answers about what differences can I make tomorrow...
...About continuous improvement;
...About doing the right things for guests and employees;
...About moving things forward;
...About recruiting, training and retaining best-in-class talent.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
My younger self probably wouldn’t listen to me! Haha!

I would advise my younger self not to take myself too seriously and understand that there is more to life than just work. My generation was taught to “live to work” rather than “work to live”.

At work, what puts a smile on your face?

Great results, even though you should never set a financial result as your goal. Financial success is the byproduct of the right decisions. I also enjoy seeing engaged team members at work, being highly motivated by what they do. I believe that motivation is not something external but only the result of internal drive. I cannot motivate people, but I can create a positive external environment in order for my team to motivate themselves. When I see people loving what they do, it puts a smile on my face.

What puts a frown on your face?
The nay-sayers!

I like to surround myself with those people who have a positive attitude.

Rather than giving me 10 reasons why not to do something, give me the one reason why you can do it and then actually make it happen! There is always a way!

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths:
I am passionate about what I am doing!
I don’t regret anything I have done.
I take calculated risks and think outside of the box.
My ability to convince people to move in the same direction.
I am persistent!
I am a high energy person.

My weaknesses:
I am not a patient person.
I am a perfectionist and I don’t accept second best. Therefore, at times, I tend to push people too hard.  I need to make sure that I am not driving issues too hard with the risk of leaving people behind.
If you woke up tomorrow with no fear, what would you do first?
I mostly wake up without fear! I love to try new things. I always believe that if you have tremendous passion for what you do, you will be successful and you don’t have to be afraid of anything! So, tomorrow I wouldn’t do anything differently!

You are still very young. I am certain your current job will not be your last position.  What’s next?

“Being young” is a relative term.
Quite frankly, I always focus on the job at hand and the rest will fall into place. I’ve been very lucky that I have never had to look for opportunities. They have always come to me because I always stay focused.