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VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1 | AUGUST 2013 I want to thank each of you for your hard work, gracious service and team spirit so far this year. As you know, success breeds more success, so let’s keep this train on the tracks and continue driving strong revenue growth through legendary, memorable service experiences at your hotels. As our brand approaches its 25th anniversary, we realize that our future success depends on what we can do now to improve our properties so we can remain competitive in the extended stay market. That’s why we are in the process of launching the Take Flight initiative. A large focus of this project is updating the commercial spaces and interior design within our hotels. These timely and exciting changes will be incorporated into all Homewood hotels by the end of 2018. We cannot wait to begin this journey with all of our Homewood team members. I am proud of everything that we have accomplished so far this year and look forward to a strong final push as we look towards the close of the year. It’s always satisfying and inspiring for us to take time to recognize the best of the best within our brand, and that’s what this issue of Suite Talk is all about. So enjoy and be inspired by these articles and stories that focus on celebration, communication and collaboration.


Senior Director

Brand Performance Support





Like being in-the-know? Catch an informative webinar made just for you. The BPS team hosts numerous webinars on a variety of helpful topics each month. For a list of upcoming webinars, visit OnQ Insider > Homewood > InSync Webinars.

As always, your Brand Performance Support and Advice teams are ready, willing and available to assist you with any questions or concerns. To contact Advice, call 1 800 5ADVICE or email You can view the BPS team list with contact information at OnQ Insider > Homewood > BPS Resource Library > Contact Us.

The Global Week of Service is part of Hilton Worldwide’s Global Team Member Volunteer Program. Our Homewood team members will join with other Hilton Worldwide team members to celebrate this week by giving back to our communities and investing our time to strengthen the areas where we live, work and travel. During this week, we are asking for your partnership to encourage your team to lead and participate in a service project that directly impacts your property’s local community. Start thinking now about how you and your team can participate. We will send along more information and ideas in the coming months.

AWARDS J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES J.D. Power and Associates recently released its 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. We are proud to announce that Homewood Suites took home the top spot in the upper extended stay segment! We have earned this award for four consecutive years (and 10 times in the past 13 years). Congratulations, Homewood! Your hard work and dedication have paid off once again.

GO THE XTRA MILE FOR KIDS AWARD Philadelphia – Valley Forge in Audubon, PA Three and a half years ago the Pathway School, which assists students with varying degree of Autism, invited Homewood Suites by Hilton Philadelphia – Valley Forge to be a part of their family. Since then, this hotel has welcomed over seventy students into their “home,” never imagining the impact such a relationship would have on them as a hotel and as individual team members.


The hotel extends its thanks to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce for this honor, to Audubon Hotels and Synergy Hospitality for believing in this program, to the Pathway School leadership and to job coaches Bonnie Hallman and Vicki Babb. While the team was proud to accept this award, they were also quick to give credit to the Pathway School students, declaring that they “are the ones that truly make the program work.”


Lewis the Duck was recently spotted making an appearance at Mission Children’s Hospital, a local children’s hospital in Asheville, NC. Homewood partnered with the hospital for their largest ever annual radio-thon fundraising event. With our help, and some encouragement from Lewis, they were able to raise $206,000. He was a huge hit with the children, their parents and some confused yet delighted therapy animals! SUITE TALK | AUGUST 2013 2

OPOG QUICK THINKING EMPLOYEES RESCUE FIVE-YEAR-OLD GUEST Thanks to three employees of the Homewood Suites Dayton South, OH, a five-year-old boy is alive after a near-drowning in the hotel pool. During the 4th of July holiday, the child slipped underwater unnoticed and was not breathing when pulled out of the pool. Fortunately, Sean Goodro (guest services supervisor), Chloe Triplett and Jared Littleton (guest services representatives) were on the scene. After being informed of the incident, Triplett contacted authorities while Littleton prepared for their arrival by clearing the area so the stretcher and paramedics could quickly approach the boy. Goodro assisted guest Matthew Oberst in performing CPR until the child was revived and paramedics arrived. “This was a potentially toxic situation that ended positively because three well-trained associates and a concerned guest responded very well,� said GM Mark Langdon.

Great job, team! 3 SUITE TALK | AUGUST 2013

In Their Own Words

OPOG IN THEIR OWN WORDS Two recent guests were so pleased with their Homewood stays that they wrote to us to express their gratitude. Read below to see what these satisfied guests had to say.

“Thank you very much for your generosity and hospitality at your beautiful hotel! My new husband and I were showing our Australian friend, Luke, around some of Southern Ontario. His travel agent just happened to book us all at Homewood Suites, and we have never been to such a friendly and kind hotel in our lives. The service was second to none, and no request was too large. Luke was very impressed and the three of us have every intention of returning next year for more sight-seeing! Thank you all for being so wonderful.”

Katie and John “Where to start? Every once in a very rare while, you cross paths with someone who impacts your life in a way that changes you forever. Your staff and you have done that for Earl and me. It is not often that I see my husband moved to tears, but when we came into our room last night, it happened. Your kindness and generosity towards us has touched our hearts. Since Earl’s stroke, it has been a struggle for us both financially and emotionally. When we arrived yesterday, it marked only the second time in years that we have been able to get away overnight. It almost didn’t happen, but at the last minute we were able to save enough for the stay here. Earl was so excited to have a mini holiday. You and your staff have been so welcoming and generous to us. To walk in tonight to find that card and cake moved us deeply. We are going to start saving now for next year so that we can come back again. All of you will always be in our hearts! Earl says he is going to keep the card forever. I wish you could have seen his face. You helped create his best birthday ever, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Shari and Earl SUITE TALK | AUGUST 2013 4

FRONT DESK When used properly, these HHonors reward products provide a win-win situation for hotels and HHonors members.

SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES WITH MIDWEEK OCCUPANCIES Midweek inventory controls can help increase occupancy on shoulder nights and are most effective when set proactively. To the right are reports/tools to assist you in appropriately setting controls. If you have any questions or would like assistance accessing, understanding and implementing the strategies and reports described here, please contact your regional director of revenue management.


RESTRICTIONS SHOULD BE SET FOR DATES EVEN IF DATA ISN’T YET AVAILABLE TO BE ANALYZED. If an upcoming time period will have a similar booking window, stay patterns and demand, you should consider a “blanket” restriction strategy. This will save you time and effort while ensuring you make the most of the opportunity before the first room is sold!

FRONT DESK REVENUE MANAGEMENT USING HHONORS REWARD PRODUCTS TO INCREASE OCCUPANCY AND REVENUE There are three HHonors reward products that can be used to increase occupancy and drive incremental revenue: Points and Money, Premium Room Rewards and Room Upgrade Rewards. Read below to find out more about each of these important products. POINTS AND MONEY allows an HHonors member to book a standard room reservation using HHonors points and money for payment. The benefit of using the Points and Money product is the hotel’s ability to capture more revenue per night than a standard reward stay. As a general rule, Points and Money should be open for dates when you are not anticipating 96% or higher occupancy. PREMIUM ROOM REWARDS allows HHonors members to book premium room types using only points. The Premium

SET RESTRICTIONS WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE BOOKING WINDOW. The Booking Pattern by Market Category/SRP report from Key Hotel Marketing Reports can be used to determine the hotel’s booking window. This report lists all market categories for your hotel, the SRPs within those market categories, and the booking pattern for each SRP. Try to set restrictions prior to the three-week mark

Room Rewards product provides hotels the opportunity to sell premium rooms at a discounted rate to our best guests, HHonors members, without lowering the BAR price point to the general public or on third party sides. This product also allows the hotel to drive additional occupancy on need dates and revenue on room types that might otherwise go unsold or be used as complimentary upgrades. The hotel is reimbursed the actual rate (BAR minus the discount) for all Premium Room Reward stays and will receive one accelerator credit per day per reservation. ROOM UPGRADE REWARDS allows HHonors members to use points to upgrade to a higher room on a confirmed reservation. The number of points required for the upgrade is tied to the BAR price point and the level of discount available through the Premium Room Rewards product. Like Premium Room Rewards, this offer allows hotels to sell premium rooms

IDENTIFY DENIAL TRENDS. The Availability Denials by LOS report can be used with the Denial Study Tool for quick rollup of the time period trends. (OnQ Insider > Channels > Departments > Revenue Management > Toolkits > Homewood Toolkit)

at a discounted rate that may otherwise sit empty without lowering the BAR price point to the general public or on third party sites. When used properly, these HHonors reward products provide a win-win situation for hotels and HHonors members. For additional information, please watch the HHonors Expanded Rewards webinar (OnQ Insider > Homewood > InSync Webinars) or read HHonors Quick Reference Guide for Focused Service (OnQ Insider > Channels > Departments > Revenue Management > Library > General Reference Documents > HHonors Expanded Rewards Revenue Management Quick Start Guide - Focused Service). You can also contact your brand revenue management representative with questions or concerns.

USE THE PAST YEAR AS A GUIDE. The Monthly Forecast Comparison Pace Report from OnQ RM Express will help you to determine if a particular date is on target to finish equal to, ahead of or behind the prior year.


MAINTENANCE HOTEL MAINTENANCE STAFF CAN BE AMBASSADORS OF HOTEL HOSPITALITY By Doug Kennedy; Kennedy Training Network When we as hotel managers picture hospitality superstars, we tend to envision the “traditional” ambassadors of hotel guest service excellence, which are smiling faces behind the front desk, bell stand, guest services/concierge, housekeeping lobby attendants, or perhaps the wait staff and bartenders. Yet when you stop to consider which hotel associates actually spend the longest period of time interacting with in-house guests, it’s often the associates from the maintenance or engineering departments. The following tips are derived from valuable information shared with me by workshop participants from these departments, as well as discoveries I made as a guest in need.


If there are delays in responding, contact the guest to let them know when you can reach them.


When encountering guests who are reacting emotionally, it is important to give them a chance to vent their frustration by allowing them to tell their “story” of the problem and how it has inconvenienced them.


Guests generally get more upset by the staff’s reaction to a problem, rather then the problem itself.


This only serves to infuriate guests that much more.


Most are curious as to what the maintenance technician is up to and will want to watch attentively when safety allows.

TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE “PHYSICAL PRODUCT.” Being out and about around the hotel creates a great opportunity to help pick-up trash, straighten picture frames and put out wet floor signs when spills are noticed.


Guests will greatly appreciate anything helpful you do for them without being asked.


The one outstanding customer service moment that a guest remembers and takes with them can come from any member of the team. That team member may as well be you!



The 80/20 rule for maintenance should be considered a target for a well run hotel. It means that 80 percent of your maintenance activities should be proactive in nature and only 20 percent should be doing unplanned maintenance items. The following is our list of the top 10 hotel areas on which to perform preventative maintenance:


HVAC. 40 – 60% of the total operating costs of a hotel are energy related. HVAC


LIGHTING. Make sure lighting is with energy efficient bulbs and install motion


KITCHEN. Full kitchens can account for 50% of the utility costs. Inspect all equipment for operating efficiency and problems.



systems are also expensive to replace or to have repaired. sensors to turn off lights when not in use.

odd sounds, malfunctioning meters, valves, joints and so on. These items are very expensive to replace and downtime equals bad guest experiences.


PLUMBING. Water leaks can add 20 – 50% more to hotel utility costs and can cause


LOBBY. The lobby gets more traffic than any other area. Inspect and take care of


ROOMS. Rooms are where guest satisfaction is either won or lost. Carpets, HVAC


COMMON AREAS. Elevators, business centers, fitness areas, pools and loose railings need to be checked to avoid accidents.


PARKING LOTS. This is often the first place guests form an impression of a hotel. Fix potholes, clean storm drains and make sure lighting works.


floor, wall and corrosion damage. carpets, tile, furniture and odors.

controls, smells, air vents, doors and all equipment should be maintained regularly.

OTHER ENERGY DRAINS. Each hotel is different. A special attraction or

specialized equipment that uses a lot of energy (water, gas or electric) may need to be checked regularly.



Though making beds is a main offender, other hospitality tasks can cause preventable back injuries. When approached with proper form, these tasks can actually result in increased strength rather than injury.


When fanning a sheet onto a bed, vertebrae joints can loosen and cause damage. By maintaining proper posture, however, muscles can work together to protect joints.


When lifting heavy mattresses to tuck in sheets, vertebrae in the back can be pulled down by gravity. By hinging the hips and bending the knees, these parts of the body can do the heavy lifting for you, sparing your back. You should also use your legs to create a wide base.


With proper body mechanics training, housekeepers can prevent back injuries at work and at home. Remembering to maintain proper posture and to let the hips, legs and knees do the heavy lifting can help you to remain healthy.


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