Planning + Experience = Success! Advice from Hotel Management Company HMG Hotels
New Hotel Spotlight
Toby Stephenson, GM of the Hampton Inn & Suites Denver/Highlands Ranch, says that time was her greatest ally in getting the hotel off to a rollicking start after its November 11, 2009 opening. She and the Director of Sales were hired months in advance by owner Prakash Sundaram and the Hotel Managers Group, giving them a leg up on sales calls and marketing efforts. Check out her advice for a quick ramp-up.
Planning + Experience = Success
Toby Stephenson, GM of the Hampton Inn & Suites Denver/Highlands Ranch, has worked for Hampton Hotels for eleven years. Her experience, coupled with good planning by her owner and management group (Prakash Sundaram & Hotel Managers Group) to hire early, made a big difference in laying a solid foundation for the property.
“I (and the DOS) was hired in May and we were supposed to open in September. Delays pushed that back to November, so we had six months to prepare,” she says. They used their time wisely, becoming regulars at all Chamber of Commerce events and calling on businesses, both of which are harder to find time for once your doors are open, she points out.
“It’s a great time to get out in the community because you don’t have to focus on your team, you haven’t hired them yet!” she says.
Toby also spent time making the most of the Hampton Online Sales & Marketing Toolkit. “We used HSMOT to build all our flyers and other marketing materials, and we had time to focus getting them finished and printed without having to rush,” she says. They got busy on their website content as well and had everything assembled and ready to go so the site was launched as soon as they could take photos. “We were visible on the internet right away. We scored very high on our Online Opportunity Scorecard within our first twelve weeks.”
Toby focused on hiring team members “with personality from the get-go” and had them in place by September 16 for her November opening. This allowed time for the team to work together and train before opening.
“I had them visit all the local businesses and our competition so that they knew exactly what they were selling the day we opened,” she explains.
The fact that they didn’t hold an official Grand Opening until July didn’t dampen their creativity. “We played Bingo!” she says. Each attendee was given a Bingo card and had to visit team members stationed throughout the hotel to complete their card. Team members were posted in guest rooms, the fitness center, the pool area, the Suite Shop and everywhere else. “It was a great way to get them to tour the hotel and talk to the team,” she says. The grand prize was a 42” television. She found that the Grand Opening event brought out many of their loyal local clients who had been booking the hotel but had never stopped by for a visit.
Another useful nugget from Toby involves making Hampton style connections with your building contractors. “You never know what’s going to happen or when you might need them,” she says. Her team hosted a barbecue for everyone involved in building the hotel to thank them for their hard work. “I wanted them to take pride in the hotel too, and to thank them for building us beautiful place to work. Plus, it helps to have relationships in place when you need to call for repairs.”
Just another day for HMG Hotels the leader of Hotel Management Services!
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