“It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the 13th or the 14th.”
—George F. Burns, American comedian
I don’t know how old George Burns was when he uttered those lines. If it was any time during the latter 50 years of his life (the guy lived to the ripe ol’ age of 100), then God bless him. Heck, I’m just rolling out of my quarter-life crisis and a six pack will do me in, let alone a baker’s dozen.
If I did have Burns’ tolerance, however—or that of a seasoned college upperclassman—I would most certainly put it to good use at the cosmopolitan Round Robin Bar at the The Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, D.C.
|Master mixologist Jim Hewes mans the bar at The Willard’s Round Robin.
This highly regarded hotel bar is offering one of the best drink promotions I’ve ever seen—and also one of the most educational:
Honoring the role of the U.S. President, the historic Round Robin Bar’s famous barman and recreational historian Jim Hewes created a presidential-themed drink menu priced from (US)$5 to (US)$15, which features beverages anecdotally-linked to each chief executive.
That’s right, ladies and gents. Swing by the Round Robin and you’ll find a list of 44 (!!!) artfully crafted cocktails that coincide with each of the union’s presidents. (Quick note for the history nerds among you: Grover Cleveland, who served two non-consecutive terms, has two drinks in his honor.)
And if the promise of a top-notch cocktail isn’t enough to tickle your fancy, each drink is also served with a tasty historical anecdote. The Orange Blossom, for example, was created in honor of the tea totaling Rutherford B. Hayes, whose wife, “Lemonade Lucy,” refused to serve alcohol at the White House. The press men of his time spiked the oranges with gin at his Inauguration (a practice the editors at HotelNewsNow.com hope to emulate one day).
And for presidents who didn’t, or don’t imbibe, the bar offers Calvin Coolidge’s Cranberry Juice and Soda (a gentle New England tonic to fortify one’s constitution) or George W. Bush’s Coca Cola with a slice of lemon (crisp and refreshing to keep even the busiest chief executive active and alert).
The current commander in chief is immortalized with the Obama Shake—flavored vodka, fresh fruit and cream (steady and smooth, served tall and cool). Other notable concoctions:
- William J. Clinton: Tanqueray Gin and Tonic, a standard on the Washington cocktail circuit.
- Ronald Reagan: California sparkling wine, introduced to Washingtonians at his first Inauguration.
- John F. Kennedy: Beefeater Martini, up with olives and served regally in the White House to those in the good graces of America’s “Camelot.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt:Plymouth Gin Martini, cool, clean and civilized. (Roosevelt was often scolded by Eleanor, his wife, for his penchant for the highball.)
- Theodore Roosevelt: Ward 8, politically-charged concoction, brought to D.C. by “Big Stick” Republicans from New York.
- Abraham Lincoln: Apple Cider. (Although known to have acquired a taste for corn whiskey in his earlier years, Lincoln later turned to fresh-pressed apple juice to revive his constitution.)
So whether Democrat or Republican or independent or something in between, the Round Robin’s resident mixologist reminds you the most important party is the cocktail party. Cheers.
BlackBerry going bust
We ran an item in “5 things to know” a week or two ago regarding online travel metasearch engine Kayak dropping active support and maintenance for BlackBerry users. I was shocked when I read that. It made me wonder: Do people still use BlackBerrys anymore?
Apple iPhone snobbery aside, the dwindling market share of BlackBerry is an important consideration for hotel marketers and web designers. Optimizing Web platforms and distribution across multiple mobile devices is no easy task, and a certain level of prioritization is necessary when deciding how much time and energy to put into Android versus Apple versus BlackBerry and others.
Let’s put it into perspective: BlackBerry’s market share is down from 24% during the third quarter of 2010 to just 9% during the third quarter of 2011, according to the most recent analysis from Canalys, a mobile data provider.
According to the brain trust over at PhoCusWright, the average number of travel-related mobile activities was lowest among BlackBerry users, who trailed their Android and Apple brethren.
And a query to Atmosphere Research Group’s Henry Harteveldt (aka one of the smartest data wonks I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing) revealed this tidbit: “Among U.S. hotel guests, our survey shows 9% carry a BlackBerry, versus 35% who have an iPhone, 41% who have an Android and 14% who have a smartphone made by another firm. (The balance don't know what brand of smartphone they own).”
My how the mighty have fallen. Less than a decade ago, BlackBerry was the de facto mobile option among nearly every business traveler. So how and why and what could have attributed to its demise?
“(BlackBerry developer Research In Motion) has simply failed to innovate, support and market their devices in a way that's relevant,” Harteveldt enlightened me. “When you look at what the other smartphone makers have done, they've improved their devices' memory storage, built out comprehensive app stores, improved the quality of the devices’ camera lenses and video capabilities and added features like near-field communications or voice recognition functionality (e.g., Apple's Siri).”
It doesn’t hurt that Apple has done a MASSIVE amount of advertising to cultivate an immeasurable “cool factor” among its loyal followers, Harteveldt added, to say nothing of the intangibles such as elegant design and intuitive interfaces.
Now, if only they’d hurry up and release the iPhone 5 …
Corporate Equality Index’s top scorers
A quick tip of the hat to the following four hotel companies that scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index 2012, which rates American workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality:
- Choice Hotels International
- Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
The above were four of 337 major businesses who earned the coveted “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” designation by the group.
Regardless of political affiliation or religious belief, it is a business imperative to recognize that finding the best people to run your hotels means accommodating a diverse base of people—especially in an industry where service at the associate-to-customer level is the underlying aspect of most guest experiences.
Download the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index full report.
Now on to the usual goodies …
Stat of the week
The percentage of U.S. hotels studied in the “Distribution Channel Study” that draw 5% or less of their total demand from online travel agents. It’s an important distinction from the 10.7% number that refers to the total demand share contributed to the U.S. hotel industry from OTAs—one which highlights the difference in distribution strategies from hotel to hotel.
“There are very few hotels that fall on the average. The majority of hotels are below the average, and a small number of hotels are significantly above the average,” write STR’s savvy Chris Crenshaw and wunderkind Alex Smith. STR is the parent company of HotelNewsNow.com.
If you have seven minutes to spare, their deeper dive into OTA demand share is definitely worth your time. It finally lends some clarity to the hotly contested questions surrounding OTAs impact on the hotel industry.
Quote of the week
“The (National Labor Relations Board) is a black-swan event for this industry. The changes implemented by NLRB will jeopardize teamwork … that will dramatically change your properties.”
—Glankler Brown PLLC attorney Arnold E. Perl speaking about the NLRB’s impending changes to union election rules, as reported in “Attorney: US hotels to face black swan soon.”
The major changes in the process include:
- Speeding up the union election process by shortening the period from the date of filing an election petition to the date of holding the election to between 10 to 20 days from its current median time of38 days. Perl said the tighter window will hinder hotel operators’ attempts to educate employees about their options.
- Speeding up the election process by eliminating the ability for employers to resolve disputed questions of voter eligibility in a NLRB hearing. Perl said this will have a dramatic effect on determining where supervisors’ allegiances fall and will further muddy the waters because supervisory status already is the most litigated issue at NLRB pre-elections hearings.
- Requiring employees to prominently display a notice notifying employees they have a right to join a union.
Comment of the week
“Interesting article, however and speaking specifically of OTA's campaigns, discounting is not only to increase demand but to increase visibility, sometimes if not most of, its not about having the right price but the right exposure which is basically what you get when taking this actions, in the end after this offers the exposure and traffic remains driving more bookings at a ‘regular’ price.”
—Commenter Jorge F. Acevedo discussing another motivating factor behind discounting, in response to “Cause and effect: Discounting and demand.”
Email Patrick Mayock or find him on Twitter.
The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HotelNewsNow.com or its parent company, Smith Travel Research and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.