I watched last night’s show with great anticipation. As a turnaround expert, it is fascinating to revisit the hotels featured in first season of Hotel Impossible and see which ones have best adapted the changes.

Before the show began, I reviewed my own notes and past reviews of the show so I could compare my thoughts about the probability of successful change to the outcomes. When the show was over I was happy to be pretty close with only one real surprise.

Management, Maintenance and Marketing: Lessons Learned

In Hotel Impossible Season Recap, Hotel Lessons Learned we learned that in all the cases the hotel’s problems were self-inflicted.

The issues could be boiled down to a lack of hotel management experience, management skills and communication issues. These problems led to poor guest experiences stemming from poor maintenance, housekeeping and an inability to market them.

Let us take a look at the 6 hotels and lodges that were revisited by the host Anthony Melchiorri and compare the before and after:

  1. The Ocean Manor:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – Bad management led to bad staff attitudes, countless maintenance issues, disgusting rooms and terrible online reviews. The shining light was the GM (Mike) stepping up and taking charge. If he stayed the chance of success was good.
    After – 10 months later the hotel has a new head of housekeeping, 27 rooms renovated, a responsive valet service but still struggles with guest satisfaction and online reviews. There has been a consistent line of improvement under the GM.
  1. Dude Rancher Lodge:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – This hotel was a pure management opportunity as the owner lacked experience and the management team (GM and Sales Manager) needed direction. It was a feel good episode because you knew that the staff wanted to do a better job and would step up. The probability of success was high.
    After – 5 months later the lodge occupancy rate has increased 65% and revenue has increased by more than 150k. 6 rooms have been renovated and marketing has improved significantly. Owner having a positive can-do attitude has been the difference.
  1. Purple Orchid Inn:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – Two new owners with no experience wanting to create a world class resort where people would gather. If they could be trained and the probability of success was very high. The owners were given a few maintenance organization tools, a new website and a spa makeover giving the Inn an excellent starting point.
    After – Occupancy has doubled, there have been over 150,000 visits to the website and the spa is bringing in over 25k per month averaging 300 visits. The future looks bright for the Purple Orchid Inn.
  1. Dream Inn:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – A matriarchal owner making all the decisions allowing the hotel to become dilapidated and disgusting. Guest satisfaction was horrible, maintenance was neglected. Owner’s son (GM) was not allowed to do his job and did not seem up to the challenge. Chance of long-term success – slim to none.
    After – This hotel was the shocker. I was wrong (it does happen once in a while). The owner’s son not only stepped up he started improving on Anthony’s ideas. A cleaning service was hired, rooms could be customized by the guests (GM’s marketing idea). 5 months later, revenue has increased 25% and occupancy is up by 10%.
  1. La Jolla Cove Suites:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – The hotel had an inexperienced owner and suffered from many maintenance problems along with a lack of marketing direction. Besides a beautiful location the hotel had one outstanding asset which was the owner Krista. Her resolve appeared to give the hotel an excellent chance of survival if she followed Anthony’s advice.
    After – 7 Months later 22 rooms have been renovated, all the beds have new mattresses, the roof deck is being utilized, occupancy is up 22% and the hotel has been named as the 2nd best wedding venue in the area.
  1. New York Boutique Hotel:FacebookTwitterGoogle+https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/591822/www.pinterest.com/mintek/
    Before – This was a hotel with an identity crisis with an overwhelmed owner leaving operations in complete disarray. Anthony came in and gave the hotel the direction and a slight makeover it needed. The chance of maintaining the momentum was entirely dependent on the owner’s husband Walter.
    After – 10 months later, Walter is running an outstanding operation;50% of their debt has been paid off, the family moved out of the hotel and into an apartment, occupancy is between 85 and 90%.

What Hotelier Can Learn

Ina nutshell, when owners and executives step forward and are willing to give it their best then positive things will happen. Once buy-in has been achieved at the top, staff will start to step-up. But owners and GMs cannot do it alone. It is the people of a hotel or lodge that truly make the difference but they must have effective leadership to do it.

Turnarounds take time and lasting change takes commitment from owners and staff. The shorts visits by Anthony and his team can only point hoteliers in the right direction but it up to the hotels and lodges owners and management to make change permanent.

It should be noted that the hotels and lodges that were revisited for this episode were obviously included because some degree of success could be demonstrated. Judging by some of the comments left on my season recap as well as a few other posts some of the hotels were not faring well.

Tell us about the hotels you have stayed at. What were their opportunities to improve? Come back next week for another recap of Hotel Impossible.