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CHLA Hospitality Foundation Formed to Support Industry Education in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) announced today that its Education Foundation has partnered with the Hotel & Restaurant Foundation (HARF) to form a new foundation to support hospitality education in California: the California Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Foundation. 

The Hospitality Foundation boasts $3.4 million in funds, which will be used toward scholarships and educational support for students interested in pursuing careers in the hotel and restaurant industries. 

“By combining the impressive strengths of these two foundations, future leaders of the tourism and hospitality industries will benefit exponentially,” CHLA President and CEO Lynn S. Mohrfeld said. “Our goal is to invest in students, foster their careers and create outstanding new hospitality leaders.”

CHLA also announced today that its Board of Directors appointed Deb Kurtti as the Hospitality Foundation’s Executive Director, bringing with her more than a decade of experience in foundation management, government and community relations and business development. 

“With her exceptional combination of energy, industry knowledge and proven leadership, Deb is the perfect candidate to lead this effort,” Mohrfeld said. 

Kurtti, a California native from the Bay Area, has worked as the Executive Director of HARF for the past year. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Quality Care Health Foundation, the educational and workforce arm of the California Association of Health Facilities. Kurtti is involved in a leadership position with the Meeting Professionals International Sacramento-Sierra Chapter and also she sits on the Capital Regional Council of the California Society of Association Executives.  

“I am grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional new organization,” Kurtti said. “I am eager to put my passion and skillset to work to build upon the great efforts HARF and CHLA’s Education Foundation already had in place, while finding new opportunities to foster and support the future of our industry.”

HARF was one of the oldest and largest hospitality scholarship granting organizations in the country. Since 1948, HARF granted merit-based scholarships to thousands of hospitality students throughout California, awarding more than $2 million to more than 740 students in the past decade. HARF’s scholarship recipients now work in hotel, restaurant and the tourism industries as chefs, managers and business owners across California and around the world. The organization brought with it $3.2 million of the $3.4 million in funds for the new foundation in the merger with CHLA’s Education Foundation.

The new foundation is overseen by an executive committee whose members are seasoned hospitality industry leaders from some of the largest and most respected hotels in California. The board includes Chair Michael Pace (GM, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, San Francisco), Co-Vice Chairs Tom Patton (GM Ramada Inn Santa Barbara) and Roger Huldi (The W Hotel, San Francisco), Secretary James Lim (GM, Omni Hotel San Francisco), and Treasurer Thomas Costello(Former Director of Hospitality Program, University of San Francisco).

Students who would like to apply for a scholarship through the California Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Foundation, may visit The Foundation asks students who meet basic requirements to submit an application and other required information, write a short essay, and, if selected, appear before an industry interview panel.

About California Hotel & Lodging Association
Recognized as one of the most influential state lodging associations throughout the country, the California Hotel & Lodging Association’s mission is to protect the rights and interests of owners and operators and be their indispensable business resource.


How Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom

While more educators are using technology in the classroom every day, there is no monolithic way that teachers are implementing new forms of learning, according to a study from Columbia University researchers published in the journal Teachers College Record. The study finds most teachers fall into four buckets: dexterous (24.2 percent), evaders (22.2 percent), assessors (28.4 percent) and presenters (24.8 percent). The study is using information from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Fast Response Survey System from 2009 in a report entitled Teacher’s Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools.

“There is a tendency to say that there are good users of the technology and bad users, but I found the opposite,” said Kenneth Graves, lead author of the study. “We need to stop pushing the ideal technology and start thinking about what teachers need and how context influences what teachers are using as opposed to seeing technology as a neutral act that doesn’t have any outside influence.”

Dexterous teachers report that they are comfortable with any type of technology and are ready to learn more through professional development. This is in contrast to evaders who are resistant to technology in any way. Presenters are teachers who use technology to aid with lectures and also guide students on how to use presentation software to produce written texts and presentations. Assessors are the most comfortable using technology for drill and practice software for use in areas such as math or reading.

The researchers found that teachers in low-income schools are more likely to be assessors and less to be presenters than dexterous. The study determined that low-income schools are more likely to have teachers who use technology in less meaningful ways.

Graves said he hopes that his study will help school administrators determine what is best for professional development.

“If you are principal and you know that you have a school of assessors and low-income students, it’s difficult to justify purchasing smartboards for every classroom,” said Graves. “You need to use context for the way that you purchase technology not based on trends. This perspective hasn’t been talked about in schools much where there is a data informed way of doing technology leadership in schools.”

Graves’s work is funded through grant from the American Educational Research Association. He said that he has plans to publish more research related to how school principals are using technology and looking at how to solve the digital divide through a “social justice lens.”


Stand Out from the Competition with Three Trendy Restaurant Marketing Strategies

In 2019, almost every suburb of America has a bustling hub of international restaurants, ready to whisk your taste buds around the world. To really succeed amongst this competition, follow these 3 hot restaurant marketing strategiesto stand out from the crowd. 

1. Pop-Up Somewhere Unexpected

Your local community should have a reasonably busy calendar of events throughout the year, especially in the warmer months. Craft festivals, food markets, or music events are all great places to have a small pop-up restaurant. It’s a terrific restaurant marketing strategyfor several reasons:

  • It’s only a short-term investment without too much commitment
  • You open your menu to a completely new market of customers
  • The events offer built in infrastructure and crowds
  • You can test small batches of new menu items 
  • It’s a great way to engage with your community
  • Because the alternative foods at the event will likely be quite average, your menu will absolutely stand out. 

The National Restaurant Association agrees on its broad appeal saying, “Most pop-ups have served edgier gourmet cuisine, suggesting that the model works well for this segment. At the same time, more quick-service restaurants are jumping on board, and many industry analysts believe the format can work well for any concept.”

2. Give Your Customers What They Want

Yes, that does sound like the most obvious restaurant marketing strategy ever, but do you really know what attracts your customers in 2019? While you’re busy plating the best meals you can, it’s easy to overlook what dining trends your customers are talking about and how important that is to increasing your revenue. 

Restaurant marketing agency Placepull said, “Things like reducing food waste, using only local ingredients and low carb meals are all very much in vogue these days, and can give you that vital competitive edge to ramp up your revenue. Spend 10 minutes each day chatting to your customers and you’ll quickly get a feel for what trends will bring them back into your restaurant again and again.” 

What do they like?

What don’t they like?

Is live music important?

Is good wine something they look for?

Talk to them, in person and on social media – we promise you they will be more than willing to give you their opinion. It’s by tuning into your customers’ interests and desires that will put you head and shoulders above your competition who are not looking at the big picture. 

3. Make You Restaurant Your Living Billboard

This restaurant marketing strategyis all about street appeal. The windows of your restaurant are the best on street advertising you can have. Everyone is attracted to a busy restaurant, so make sure you put your first customers next to the window. 

This way when people from outside look in, they’ll see satisfied customers laughing, drinking, dining and enjoying their time with you. That should create enough food envy for them to walk through your doors.

And before they even see your windows, music can send hints of what lies ahead if they walk a few more steps towards you. People are naturally curious and will absolutely walk towards music to see what it’s all about. 

For the price of an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, you can get the curiosity of people from half a block away. It’s been proven to work too, as VisionCritical says 90 percent of people would select a business that was playing music over one that wasn’t.

Walk by your restaurant in the shoes of a passer-by, and think about what you can do to make it stand out from the street. Think of all the senses and try to appeal to them. 

Those were three restaurant marketing strategies that will almost guarantee to help you stand out from the competition, and increase your revenue as a result. Whether you start off small with some music outside, or launch right into a brand new food truck, there is something here you can start today to make sure you’re a step ahead of your competition. 


With strong infrastructure, Turkish tourism sector ready to enjoy alternative areas

Turkish tourism professionals, citing the robust infrastructure of Turkish facilities, aim to diversify tourism areas including in health care, culture, congress and sports in order to raise revenue and boost Turkey’s reputation as the number one destination for all kinds of tourism

Having hosted 39.5 million foreign visitors in 2018 with rising momentum in tourism and generating $29.5 billion in revenue, Turkey expects 50 million tourists this year by taking advantage of its competitive power in alternative tourism areas such as health, congresses, golf and fairs. Given its strong infrastructure ready to accommodate more visitors, the country aims to increase revenues by expanding in tourism areas, without limiting summer tourism.

Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık stated that tourism in Turkey is not just about sea, sand and sun, adding that they are looking into promoting alternative tourism in the best way possible for the country.

Expressing that congress tourism has reached significant figures in various cities of the country, with Istanbul and Antalya taking the lead, Ayık said Turkey is one of the most important centers of congress tourism in the world in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA).

Recalling that congress tourism had experienced stagnation in recent years, Ayık said many congresses were canceled in 2015 and 2016 due to a period of ups and downs. Stressing that congress tourism has started rising again, Ayık continued: “We expect significant dynamism in congress tourism, especially in 2020. We have major infrastructure and our competitive power is very high. We can recover in a short time.”

Indicating that Turkish Airlines (THY) has played an active role in this area, Ayık stressed that THY has a structure that connects the world. Emphasizing that Turkey has the airline company offering flights to the greatest number of destinations in the world, Ayık added: “One of our weapons in the tourism industry is congress tourism. We can easily organize any kind of international congress in any cities in Turkey, and particularly in Istanbul. We are highly competitive in this area as well.”

Indicating that Turkey has come to receive a significant share of health tourism, Ayık said the infrastructure of hospitals has considerably improved regarding health tourism. “Our standard of operation and surgery services provided by our hospitals has increased enormously. The scientific achievements and skills of our doctors are at a very good point. We are at a very important point in health tourism as well,” he said.

Ayık further noted that Turkey has gained significant momentum in the field of treatment and cosmetic surgery.

Highlighting that systems that provide care in health tourism should be further developed, Ayık remarked: “We believe that if we turn toward certain investments and areas that will respond to the wishes of the elderly in Europe to spend their lives in the temperate climate in Turkey, we will create very serious potential in this area as well. As Turkey and Antalya, we are present in all areas of tourism. We have a strong infrastructure and can use it very easily in any field.”

Association of Mediterranean Tourist Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB) Chairman Erkan Yağcı said tourists from around the world come to Turkey for holidays.

Underlining that diversity is important in tourism, Yağcı said the tourism industry has grown based on the “all-inclusive” model. Stressing that Turkish tourism has been very successful in this area, Yağcı continued that Turkey is one of the countries in the world to have implemented this system in the best way. Yağcı further iterated that Turkey has to diversify tourism to achieve its goal of attracting 70 million tourists, adding, “We need to develop culture, sports and health tourism models in addition to sea, sand and sun tourism.”

Highlighting that Antalya has demonstrated itself in terms of tourism diversity, Yağcı explained that the city has evoked the admiration of guests arriving regarding golf tourism.

He also touched on the conversation he held with former U.S. President Barack Obama last week, saying: “When I mentioned Antalya to Barack Obama, the 44th President of the U.S., who was one of the main speakers at the international tourism summit that I last attended abroad, he told me that ‘your golf courses and golf are very nice.’ I understood that we had left a mark. The potential of Antalya is very high at this point. We believe that it will offer many different riches in tourism diversity as well. So, we see that Antalya has tourism potential of not 13 million to 14 million tourists but can actually exceed 20 million.”


San Francisco hospitality startup opens hotel-Airbnb hybrid in Uptown

You can check in anytime you like, connect to WiFi with the press of a button and relax in a living room all to yourself.

After securing the necessary license this month, Sonder, a San Francisco-based hospitality startup, has opened its first hotel-Airbnb hybrid in Denver.

The startup has leased the entire building at 630 E. 16th Ave. in Uptown, and is calling it The Essex. The three-story building, built in 1908, used to be a hostel but was closed for fire code violations in 2016. Denver-based developer GM Development bought it last year for $2.1 million and began renovations.

“The opportunity to bring a tech-driven model of hospitality to this old, historical part of the city and partner with a developer to bring old and new together, that was so attractive to us,” said Sonder spokesman Mason Harrison.

It’s not the first time Sonder has targeted old buildings to redesign into rentals. In New Orleans, the company is teaming with a developer to renovate a block of units along Canal Street that were damaged by fire; in Chicago, Sonder recently opened in what used to be a boarding school, Harrison said.

Guests booking rooms at The Essex can choose between eight two-bedroom and 11 one-bedroom units. Booking can be done through Sonder’s website or hotel booking sites.

Guests can download the Sonder app to request a late checkout, schedule a cleaning or connect to the building’s WiFi at the touch of a button. Each unit has laundry, keyless locks and Bluetooth speakers, Harrison said.

Sonder will have an onsite employee to help with check-in and any other concierge services. In addition, there also will be a communal area for breakfasts and other snacks for guests.

“Obviously we’re the type of company where we don’t have to have someone always there,” Harrison said. “Your check-in is never required to be done at a physical desk at a Sonder.”

The average nightly rate across all of Sonder’s locations is $129.

Although Sonder markets itself as a cross between a hotel and an Airbnb, it’s more the former in the eyes of the city. Eric Escudero, spokesman for the city’s Department of Excise and Licenses, confirmed that Sonder has received a lodging facility license for its spot in Uptown.

That’s the same type of license a traditional hotel would get. Airbnb listings, meanwhile, typically require a short-term rental license, and Denver gives those only to individuals renting out a primary residence.

Denver is the 18th market where Sonder – which has 170 employees in Denver – now offers rooms, joining cities like London, Rome and Montreal. Harrison said the average nightly rate across all of Sonder’s locations is $129.

Sonder has had a presence in the Denver market; it leased 30,000 square feet of warehouse and office space in Thornton last year for a customer service hub. Since then, the startup also has leased warehouse space at 2488 W. 2nd Ave. in Denver, the former headquarters of survival gear company Survival Frog.

The company has plans to operate more units in Denver, although Harrison declined to discuss specifics, saying the company was waiting on permits and other logistics.

“It would be impossible to speculate how many units we’d have by the end of the year,” he said. “We hope it’s a lot. We think that Denver obviously has become such a huge hub of hospitality. It was just a question of when, not if, we’d expand there.”


Tourism boom drives investments in Philippine hospitality sector

THE booming tourism industry in the Philippines is prompting more investments in the hospitality sector, with almost 9,000 rooms in hotels and serviced apartments seen to be completed until 2021.

This is according to real estate consultancy firm JLL Philippines, which noted that homegrown hotel developments such as Seda Hotels by the Ayala group and Hotel 101 by Hotel of Asia, Inc. drove the hotel industry last year.

Most of the hotels to completed in the next three years are located in Parañaque City, including Okada Manila (Phase 2), The Westin Hotel Manila Bayshore, Seda Bay Area, Kingsford Hotel, and Hotel Okura.

There are 2,100 rooms scheduled to be completed in Makati City, namely Aruga by Rockwell (Phase 3), Seda Circuit Makati, Seda Gateway Makati, Mandarin Oriental Manila, Somerset Valero, Somerset Salcedo, and Seda Ayala North Exchange.

A total of 1,600 are set to be finished in Taguig City: Seda Hotel BGC (expansion), Red Planet The Fort, Hotel 101 Fort, Dusit D2 The Fort, and Seda Arca South.

Meanwhile, Pasay City will see the opening of 1,200 rooms within the period, consisting of Ascott-DD Meridian Park, Kabayan Hotel, Hilton Manila City, Hotel Okura Manila, Ritz-Carlton, and Red Planet Entertainment City.

Quezon City will also complete about 1,000 rooms by then, namely Red Planet Quezon Avenue, Red Planet Quezon North Avenue, Canvas Hotel Activa, and Movenpick Hotel & Residences.

JLL Philippines said hotels in the Bay Area are expected to command the highest rates due to the presence of resort-casino complexes, which continue to attract tourists from South Korea and Mainland China. Central business districts are also seen to have high room rates.

The development of more hotels in the country comes alongside the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure, such as the proposed rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the expansion of Clark International Airport, as well as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 expansion.

The National Economic and Development Authority is also assessing the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulakan, Bulacan.

“Apart from infrastructure, another major tourism endeavour is the continuous rehabilitation of Boracay and Manila Bay led by various national agencies working together to make sure that environmental compliance in tourism destinations all over the Philippines is maintained and monitored,” according to JLL Philippines.

Higher hospitality investments in the Philippines is in line with the growth in hotel transaction volumes in the region, with an estimated growth of 15% to $9.5 billion this year.

“Building on 2018, investment momentum is expected to accelerate as investors look to sell assets and ride the anticipated tourist boom. JLL expects that the most notable buyers in 2019 will be Pan-Asian private equity funds that raised capital last year but have yet to deploy it,” JLL Philippines said.


New MTSU Tourism and Hospitality Management program will launch in the fall

ABOVE: MTSU student Will Mitchell, right, is pictured inside Embassy Suites Murfreesboro, where he also works, in this recent promotional photo for the university’s new Tourism and Hospitality Management degree program. MTSU’s program launches in fall 2019. // MTSU photo by Eric Sutton


Middle Tennessee State University officials on Thursday came to the Omni Nashville Hotel to announce the creation of a Tourism and Hospitality Management degree.

The degree will become available in the fall 2019 semester and is the only such degree program in Middle Tennessee.

The multitrillion-dollar industry supports 1 in 10 jobs worldwide and is growing by about 5 percent each year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. That organization projects that the tourism and hospitality field will support more than 413 million jobs by 2028.

With industry leaders and university officials looking on, Joey Gray, associate professor of leisure, sports and tourism studies, explained that the program has three emphasis areas: travel and tourism, hospitality and hotel, and event planning. Students can choose one or combine all three.

“It’s an industry that you work in because you love it,” Gray said. “It’s a job that you look forward to going to every day … They know how to keep their employees. They know how to make their employees happy.”

While taking note of the hotel construction underway outside, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee emphasized that the tourism and hospitality field is less about gleaming high-rise buildings and more about taking care of people.

“This program will work in making sure that our students have those people skills, those ‘soft skills’ — interpersonal relationships, communication, empathy — so that they can be the best that they can be in this industry,” McPhee said.

The program includes an advanced bachelor’s to master’s track that will enable students to graduate with both degrees in five years, enabling graduates to enter the workforce more quickly.

MTSU is well-positioned to offer the degree because of its existing leisure, sports and tourism classes in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

Murfreesboro native Brooke Culver, who will graduate in May 2019 with a degree in sports and tourism management, already has a wide variety of internships and other working experiences to show future employers, including work at Arrington Vineyards in the wine tourism industry, character performance for Walt Disney World and field studies with Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

“I am fully prepared to enter the workforce as a hospitality and tourism professional, and I will always be grateful for the doors that this degree has opened for me,” Culver said.

Omni Hotel General Manager Eric Opron applauded MTSU’s development of a program that he feels will serve as a pipeline of talented graduates attractive to his company and others.

“How would it be to know that when you go to school, as soon as I graduate, I have a great job waiting for me?” he said. “Because you do, trust me you do.”

Partners in supporting the new program include the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce; the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association; the Rutherford County Hospitality Association; Embassy Suites; Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation; the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association; and the Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We are committed to putting out the most educated, the most well-prepared graduates that will not only represent our university very well, but will also take this industry to the next level,” McPhee said.


How Innovation in Hospitality Financing Is Shaking up Commercial Real Estate

For a number of reasons, hospitality services have been very profitable lately. Wisely, the industry is using these times to invest in new technologies that improve processes and experiences. Some of these changes are obvious, personalization for valued guests and smart-room technologies with lobby integrations for example. However, it’s the less talked about advancements never seen by consumers that are making some of the most significant impacts on the growth and success of hotel real estate.

This is particularly true with hotel lending. Technology has streamlined the borrower application and underwriting process, a workflow that has remained largely unchanged up to this point. The new approach has been reimagined from a fresh perspective (rather than updating dated and broken workflows), and the implications of this change have the potential to radically impact the bigger world of commercial real estate.

The traditional loan application process has been by-and-large frustrating, time-consuming and oftentimes complicated. In most cases, borrowers have been required to submit sensitive and pertinent documentation either in-person or via email attachments. After submitting, the lender must double check to ensure the documents were received. And even if the documents have been received by the financial institution and are deemed complete and accurate, it isn’t always clear if every department within the same organization (such as business development and underwriting) have access to the same data and documents. As a result, many applications remain in a state of limbo for an unnecessary period of time and borrowers do not have any type of view into the status of their request. Naturally, tensions can run high.

The good news is that digital lending platforms seem to finally be making inroads. While online loan applications aren’t necessarily new, extending the automation of tasks through to underwriting and other areas of the lender’s back office are improving the speed and quality of loan decisions. Why does that matter? More borrowers are gaining quicker access to the capital they need to fund new projects with confidence.

Streamlining applications

Every lender’s policies are different, but there are ubiquitous commonalities to the borrower loan application process. So, it makes sense that a universal loan application exists to detail the criteria needed from prospective borrowers. When forms are standardized and presented in a digital, dynamic format, whereby questions are based on the borrower’s previous responses to things like loan type and purpose, lenders receive loan requests that are more complete and easier to decision.

Another emerging concept in hotel and real estate financing is leveraging a single, digital portal to streamline checklist activity such as uploading or accessing documentation and monitoring the status of an application. This is especially important when there is a borrower consortium for a loan, quite common in the hotel industry. Each person in the group can upload respective personal financial statements that are confidential and only accessible by the lender. Borrowers gain the efficiency to easily manage how this data gets contributed to the lender. And in turn, lenders can better manage their own custom due diligence checklists of what’s needed from the borrower, helping eliminate frustration and preserving the borrower-lender relationship.

With more lenders and borrowers uniting on mutually beneficial marketplaces, the manner in which loans are applied for and processed is changing for the better. It’s far less tedious and time-consuming; a loan decision that normally took 60 to 90 days can now be executed in well under 30 days.  

Simplifying negotiations

While many banks and some credit unions offer hospitality financing, it is a niche field and there are lending hurdles, especially for new builds or construction projects. For this reason, frustrated borrowers often look to private lenders. One such Dallas-based direct private lender closed nearly $400 million in hospitality loans in 2018. And while there is a host of reputable private lending firms for borrowers to consider, the interest rates on offered loans are usually higher than a traditional lending institution. This leaves borrowers in a pickle.

According to the American Bankers Association 2018 “The State of Digital Lending” report, banks are seeking to compete with non-bank lending firms by expanding digital lending channels. While the report noted that many traditional banks offer “some form of digital capabilities around lending,” such as loan status, loan payments and basic account information, “the majority of banks’ lending processes, including online applications, onboarding, processing, underwriting and funding, have yet to be overhauled through technology.”

Now, streamlined lending marketplaces offer borrowers the opportunity to negotiate the best loan terms from even the traditional lenders–all with one application. Recall the aforementioned digital loan portal. This represents a huge step forward in lending, especially given that in the past the borrower would fill out a loan application for every single lender, inputting the same data in the same required fields several times over. This can deter an otherwise well-qualified borrower who grows weary of the process to truly seek out the most competitive rate, agreeing possibly to an offer that’s merely the “best” within a limited scope. Or, the borrower gets careless with duplicative data entry and provides incorrect information or misses required fields altogether.

Alternatively, online lending platforms enable borrowers to simplify data entry by requesting it just once and submitting a standard application to multiple lenders with one click. Information is repurposed across requests and can be updated over time as needed for future loan requests. In a marketplace format, applicants can indicate what type of lenders they are seeking and which loan programs they are open to. The lenders, in turn, can target the type of borrower they would consider engaging and avoid needing to manually filter through hundreds of applications.

Lenders and borrowers share the same frustrations with the loan application process. Whereas a borrower may be overwhelmed by the process, a lending officer may also grow tired of triple-checking, for example, that all forms are completed and signed. These back-and-forth exchanges ultimately take a toll on the borrower-lender relationship. But by engaging a digital loan platform, the platform essentially becomes the application manager alerting both the lender and the borrower about the status of the loan application, what forms are required and when, or when the lender has made a loan decision.

Closing the deal

Digital lending platforms are an industry game changer for delivering that loan approval too. Deals can happen more quickly because all documentation related to the project is housed in one secure location. Critical loan data is current and always at the ready. As a result, informed decisions are made in real time about a project, be it an acquisition, new construction or refinancing.

Whether a borrower is experienced or inexperienced in hospitality, technology is leveling the playing field. And while industry experts have historically advised borrowers to allow at least three months for the loan discovery and selection process, tech tools, in many cases, have reduced the application process time by two thirds or more.

Hospitality is considered one of the more complicated and riskier commercial real estate loans. The evolution toward a more modern way of lending will translate to address the common challenges found across all commercial real estate. Technology has provided a way to streamline the borrower application and underwriting process, and its use is only going to grow.


The Hotel Yearbook publishes two special editions on trends in the hospitality sector: Technology and Digital Marketing 2 min

On 10 April, The Hotel Yearbook is launching two specially focused publications. For the sixth year in a row, The Hotel Yearbook is publishing its annual look at key trends in technology in the hotel sector, and for the third time, it is also publishing an in-depth review of developments in digital marketing. Both of these e-publications feature editorial contributions from a wide range of experienced and internationally respected senior executives, consultants and academics.

Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 10 April 2019 – Technology is affecting every aspect of managing a hotel successfully, from security and reservations systems to revenue management and brand building. The Hotel Yearbook, a Swiss-based family of annuals addressing topical issues in the global hotel business, recognized this fact several years ago when it launched its first special editions: Technology and Digital Marketing. These two dynamic areas are the subject of the company’s latest publications, premiering today at HITEC Europe in Mallorca.

The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Technology gathers ideas and insights from two dozen senior executives, opinion leaders and academics from all over the world to ask, “What lies ahead in this fast-evolving part of the hotel business?” Among its highly respected authors are Floor Bleeker from Accor and Chris Anderson and Chekitan Dev, both from Cornell. Taking the role of Guest Editor in Chief of this edition was Prof. Ian Millar, Senior Lecturer IT at Switzerland’s Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

“This sixth edition of The Hotel Yearbook – Technology is an indispensible compilation of observations and insights concerning the tech trends impacting the way hotels are being managed today – and will be tomorrow,” said Prof. Millar. “It’s an excellent source of valuable ideas that hoteliers can put into action and benefit from.”

The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Digital Marketing is the second publication coming out on the same day. Guest Edited by consultant Martin Soler, co-founder of Paris-based Soler & Associates, it presents articles contributed by more than twenty experts and practitioners in this field, including citizenM’s Robin Chadha, ESSEC’s Peter O’Connor, NYU’s Max Starkov, and other leading academics from Cornell and Lausanne.

“Hotels have a rapidly growing array of digital tools and platforms they can work with when it comes to online marketing,” said Editor Martin Soler. “The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Digital Marketing aims to give practitioners an overview of the changes, challenges and advances in the market, as well as show how digital marketing is being focused on the basics such as brand building and the customer journey.”

“These two new publications provide an excellent portfolio of ideas and insights into one of the most complex parts of the hotel business, i.e. using technology effectively and efficiently,” said Henri Roelings, founder & CEO of Hsyndicate, and publisher of The Hotel Yearbook. “Ian and Martin have successfully brought their experience and networks to bear on this task, assembling a stellar list of contributors from all over the world, each with valuable ideas to share. I’d like to thank them both, and I’d also like to express my thanks once again this year to HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals), our long-standing publication partner, for their fantastic support of our Yearbook initiatives.”


Training Students With Disabilities for Hospitality Work

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The waffle irons are crucial pieces of equipment at Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles. Two of the restaurant’s three titular specialties — the cornbread and the waffles — are cooked in the irons, and most of the restaurant’s menu features one or the other, either as a main item or a side to fried chicken.

“People come here for our waffles,” said owner Nicole Mackie. “And one of Eddie’s functions is he takes waffles out of the machines,”

Eddie is Eddie Thomas, a 20 year-old Ma Momma’s employee. Mackie wore a smile as she watched Thomas move from the restaurant’s open kitchen to the dining room, delivering flatware, water and plates of those steaming waffles.

“I like them,” Thomas said, bashfully, when asked about the cornbread waffles, which two visitors from Florida seated nearby had just proclaimed worth the trip to New Orleans.

Thomas is one of six students from Opportunities Academy, which caters to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who have worked part-time at Ma Momma’s in the past year. They are part of a small but growing O.A. student presence in the local hospitality workforce — one that is only likely to grow larger after O.A. opens in its new facility next fall, in the current home of Kipp Central City Primary.

O.A. is a post-secondary school, serving students between 17 and 22, run by the charter school network Collegiate Academies. One of the school’s goals is to teach students life skills necessary to live on their own, including the mastery of conventional tasks some might take for granted, such as filling out job applications, setting an alarm clock and taking public transportation.

Many students refine these skills working in rOAst, the on-campus coffee shop run by Academy students. On a visit last year to the Opportunities Academy at G.W. Carver Campus in New Orleans East, several students worked in the kitchen to fill school staff members’ orders for avocado toast. Others delivered orders and practiced making coffee.

A year later, many of these students are honing those same skills in paying hospitality industry jobs, participating in a virtuous cycle that furthers their development while filling a need in an employee-strapped industry.

“You have to be able to thrive in life outside of your family,” said Michael Smith, general manager of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which employs four Opportunities Academy students in its culinary department, as well as at the hotel’s Starbucks.

“If our program didn’t exist, Eddie would probably be sitting at home” said James Lukens, the Academy’s executive director, referring to Thomas.

Lukens, working through a plate of Ma Momma’s red beans, said that O.A. serves students who would otherwise fall through the cracks of New Orleans’ education system. The recent, exponential growth of its student body is evidence of demand: This year’s 50 students is more than twice last year’s enrollment of 21. Next fall, when Opportunities Academy opens in its new location, which has 35 classrooms, Lukens expects the enrollment to be between 70 and 80 students.

“We want to create more diverse and inclusive environments,” Lukens said.”To do that, we have to ensure people with disabilities qualify for jobs.”

The students who move from O.A. into the workforce are not typical employees, at least not at first. O.A. provides professional job coaches who help the students adjust to their surroundings and meet their responsibilities.

Mackie said that while training O.A. students takes more time at first, the job coach ensures a more gentle learning curve by breaking down tasks into smaller steps. In relatively short order, Mackie said, her O.A. employees “are coming in here ready to rock and roll.”

She adds that the time invested in students is returned “many times” over.

“We enjoy helping others,” Mackie said, referring to her family, several of whom are her business partners. “We grew up extremely poor, and if it wasn’t for people helping us, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

And employers get more out of the arrangements than warm feelings. Smith, the Hyatt Regency general manager, expects students to become valuable, long term company employees.

“What we find is that certain associates can work here and then can go work at” other Hyatt properties, he said.

Ephraim Frey, a 19-year-old O.A. student with autism, started working at the Hyatt’s Starbucks as part of an eight-week program. He arrived on the job with experience, having worked at the on-campus coffee shop, and excelled enough that Starbucks asked him to stay on after the program was complete.

“It’s a pretty good job,” Frey said, “if you’re interested in getting into the workforce.”

He takes the bus to the Hyatt from his home in the Lower Ninth Ward, where he’s lived all his life, save for a period his family evacuated to Texas for Hurricane Katrina. He juggles his job responsibilities with his studies, including computer programming.

“We’ve already learned how to make websites,” Frey said.

Frey searched for ways to express how his Starbucks job has helped shape his thoughts about his future: “Stimulation, that’s the word I’m looking for!”

“What I really want to do is more physical, where I can put my hands into something,” he continued. Frey cataloged his tasks — filling orders for coffee and tea, keeping the lobby clean — as his eyes moved around the shop and out into the hallways of the massive hotel, which buzzes with activity.

“There seems to be a lot going on here,” Frey said. “It seems to be a place where I could really start something.”