As a millennial, I grew up on reality television, and lots of it, which many people might refer to as the downfall of our society. I’d like to think I turned out all right despite the significant portion of my adolescent years spent watching what happens when seven strangers living in a house stop being polite and start getting real.
My love for unscripted (or so they say) drama has certainly made its way into my adult life, right there along with my more recently found love for learning about everything hotel-related.
Having said this, I am beyond excited to watch the premiere of the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible” tonight. One full hour of drama and turning around hotels … Does it get any better?
I caught up with Anthony Melchiorri, the show’s host and hotel expert, who gave me a sneak preview of some of the hotel problems he will be tackling this season.
Melchiorri, who has 25 years of hotel industry experience under his belt, stays at each property for four days. He said it doesn’t take him long to spot the property’s problems. Melchiorri, founder of Argeo Hospitality LLC, is a former GM at the Lucerne and Algonquin hotels in New York. He has also served as senior VP of New York Hotel Management Company.
Some of the hotels, he said, have dozens of issues that cannot necessarily be fixed within four days of filming. Three or four of the issues are typically corrected in the four days, but he equips the owners with a plan to fix the others once he is gone.
Anthony Melchiorri, host of "Hotel Impossible," heads to Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York for the show's first episode.
The No. 1 problem Melchiorri is coming across in the various hotels? Communication, he said. It’s been a major problem in every hotel he has visited so far for the show. “The housekeeper and the owner should have the same vision statement,” he said.
There’s one thing owners should keep in mind, Melchiorri said: “You are not that important. Your employees run the hotel. Pay attention to your employees, respect your employees and get the hell out of their way.”
One of the premises of the show, he said, is to bring viewers behind the scenes to show them how hard housekeepers actually work.
(On a side note: Melchiorri highly suggests all hotel guests tip their housekeepers each night to ensure every person who cleaned the room throughout the guest’s stay will get his or her share.)
The No. 2 problem is rates. Owners and GMs of struggling hotels often feel they have the right to jack up rates because of certain features, such as being an oceanside property. Later they realize their competitors with better amenities and services are charging less, making those hotels a better value to the consumer.
“If you have a great view and you have clean rooms and great service, then yes, you can charge that premium,” Melchiorri said.
Hoteliers who do not pay attention to comments on TripAdvisor and the other travel review sites shouldn’t be in this business, Melchiorri said. Managers should be responding and dealing with the complaints on the sites and celebrating the positive comments with staff.
Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, New York, will be the property featured on tonight’s episode. And based on these mixed reviews, I cannot wait to see if Melchiorri will be able to work his magic.
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