Season three of Hotel Impossible had us follow the host, Anthony Melchiorri, from Costa Rica to Greece to the shores of Jersey along with a few places in between. What hoteliers can learn from this year’s episodes crosses cultural barriers and transcends locations.

Abacrombie Inn Crack Vial

The season started with a visit to a couple who had lost their passion for entrepreneurship and concluded with an episode with an owner very reluctant to change so that her hotel could survive.

The other episodes ran across the usual assortment of inexperienced owners, family dynamics and questionable hotel management skills. The season also did a double episode on trying to help a few hotels in Seaside Heights, N.J., recover from Hurricane Sandy.

It was the double episode that showed the best and the worst side of people. It was the only show I ever clapped for which occurred when Anthony took his team out the Thunderbird Motel due to the owners and owner’s family classless, abusive and deceitful actions.

What Hoteliers Should Learn from Hotel Impossible

The lessons learned from the season one recap demonstrated that hotel change management must start with the owners and/or senior management. The 2nd season recap covered the importance of hotel experience and leadership.

In season three, a lack of hotel experience and/or effective leadership continued to be the source of most problems. However, I think hoteliers and potential hoteliers can still learn something new. After reviewing each episode I believe that hoteliers should understand that:

Six Hotel Maintenance, Housekeeping and Management Lessons

“In order to preserve the value of a property, it needs to be maintained”

Source: Anthony Melchiorri

  1. Having a good hotel maintenance system is not optional, it is a requirement!!! The first thing a guest notices at your hotel is the maintenance. This includes:
    • The condition of the lobby.
    • How a room smells.
    • The condition of room furnishings such HVAC filters, lamps, bathrooms …
    • Pest control.
    • The condition of exterior assets such as pools, signage, railings, stairwells, lights, landscaping, garbage … No one wants to stay in a dump.
  2. Guest want clean rooms with clean sheets, clean bathrooms, clean carpets, no mold and no dust build up. Like hotel maintenance, good housekeeping is not optional, it is mandatory.
  3. It is critical to know which business you are in. It is tremendously difficult to have a successful business if you are also trying to rent u-hauls, sell ice cream, rent out rooms to long-term guests etc. The probability of success increases dramatically if you become an expert in your primary business.
  4. Although having prior hotel experience will help, it is not necessary if you are willing to learn and get your hands dirty. True experience has to be earned, it cannot be found in a leather binder or ingested. With the right energy and attitude you can accomplish anything.
  5. The hotel industry is constantly evolving. New technologies, new hotel systems, new amenities (WiFi, mobil concierge, dining), new methods of marketing (Pinterest, Twitter, social media, event participation, online reviews management and so on.) need to be integrated into hotel operations. If you do not accept and embrace change your business will die.

“Killing guest is bad for business”

Source: Anthony Melchiorri

  1. You should treat your guests like royalty. Guests have a choice, always remember this. A guest experience starts with their first visit to your website and can continue long after they are gone. This makes it critical to provide exceptional customer service at every opportunity.

Summarizing the lessons, as a hotel owner or manager, it is your job to know: the condition of the hotel’s assets, how to manage your revenue (room rates), what guest say about your hotel, and how well your staff is doing their job. You cannot sit behind a desk and know these things. You must be involved, make rounds, perform inspections and talk to your guest.

Which Featured Hotels Will Survive?

Looking back, I think that the hotel with the best prospects was the Water Gap Country Club. Although the hotel owners had zero experience, they were willing and trying to learn everything they could.

The hotels with the dimmest prospects were the Lankford Hotel and the Victorian Inn. In both of these hotels, the owner seemed extremely resistant to change.

As for the rest of the hotels, I think they will continue to struggle but may turnaround their hotels. Each owner(s) had their own unique challenges ranging from a poor history of decision making to being afraid to get dirty.

If their personal challenges can be overcome, most of the hotels were still faced with making sure they implemented good housekeeping, revenue management and maintenance systems. It will be interesting to see the true results should the Hotel Impossible team revisit the hotels.

We hope you enjoyed reading our weekly recaps. Share with us your favorite episode and what you learned this year.