A peek inside Mount Shasta Resort

November 13, 2019
Indy Spotlight

In this new series we spotlight independent hotels to learn more about the everyday challenges, rewards, and opportunities of running an independent property.  

  • Location: Mount Shasta, California
  • Occupancy: 65 units
  • Open: Year round

Nestled at the base of beautiful Mount Shasta and overlooking pristine Lake Siskiyou, Mount Shasta Resort offers its guests romance, recreation, and relaxation.

We chatted with hotel manager Carol Nunes about what makes the resort and its guests so special, and some of the creative strategies her team employs to maintain a successful independent property.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your property.

CN: Our hotel has been here for about 23 years, and it’s truly a magical, spiritual place. In fact, we have many spiritual groups who visit us. We also get a lot of wildlife in the area – it’s just very peaceful.   

In terms of lodging, we offer chalets along the lake as well as standard hotel rooms, some of which include a jacuzzi. We often hear from guests that they feel at home, and they enjoy how quiet, relaxing, and soothing of an experience it is.

Q. What would you say draws visitors, both new and repeat, to visit?

CN: We do have a lot of regulars who come every year. Fourth of July is a popular time, as well as Christmas. Often, as guests leave they make reservations for the next year.

What draws people here, and makes them want to come back, is the unique experience. It’s a place where people like to come and spend quality time with their families. You can relax or you can do activities, such as skiing and hiking. It truly feels like home.

We also attract a lot of people for weddings and events, given the picturesque backdrop. We have a beautiful wedding site. People also like to celebrate their anniversary here – we’ve had some who have been coming for 20 or 30 years. This is their getaway place – a place where they can release some stress.

Q. How do you spread the word about your property?

CN: We are constantly promoting ourselves in order to gain exposure. We advertise in local Bay area magazines and run TV promotions as well. We also send out email blasts to our email subscribers offering specials. And of course, there’s word of mouth from our guests who have stayed at our property and share their positive feedback with their friends and family.

Q. What are some of the amenities that are noticed by your guests?

CN: It’s an exciting time, because we are in the process of installing large dispensers in the shower to replace the individual-sized bottles. This is due to the new California law banning their use in hotels. But I think this will be a positive change. Not only will it save on costs and labor and create less waste, I believe it will also be well-received by our guests.

One Bedroom Premium Lakeview Chalet

Q. What are some pain points when it comes to buying products for your hotel, and how do suppliers, like American Hotel, help you navigate those issues?

CN: I would say our main pain point as an independent hotel is pricing – finding quality items, but at a good price. We’re also always keeping tabs on shipping costs and working with suppliers to ensure we get the products we need on time.

I have a great relationship with our rep at American Hotel. She’ll go out of her way to find a product I’m looking for or help solve a problem. We have a fun but professional relationship – and we work well together to solve any problems that may arise.

Q. What are other challenges you face as an independent hotel?

CN: Weather is a big factor. For example, if there’s no snow, then that can negatively impact us. And the recent fires and smoke have caused issues.

Awareness is also a challenge, since we aren’t as visible as other hotels. There is a chain hotel in the area that is right off of the freeway, so they have more visibility. We also do compete somewhat with Airbnbs for weddings. A new trend is for houses in the area to rent out their backyard – which has the mountain behind it – as a location for weddings.

We combat all of this by getting out there and advertising, as well as creating unique specials and packages that differentiate us and draw people in. For instance, we have a lovely spa, so we’ll create specials that include a spa discount with your stay.

Q. What advice would you give to someone new to managing or operating an independent hotel?

CN: It takes a lot of effort to get your hotel’s name out there, so it’s important to find unique ways to promote yourself. You also need to have a budget and be mindful of how you spend your money – especially when it comes to purchasing.

The tricks for running an efficient hotel

November 7, 2019
Tips for efficient hotel

With so much going on at a hotel at one time, being efficient is the name of the game. Staff members often need to be doing multiple things at once, and the better equipped they are to multitask, the smoother operations will be.

Here are some ways to help your staff be more efficient:

Consider investing in technology

While hospitality is an industry where in-person communication is essential, there are still ways to use technology effectively to help with productivity. Consider investing in technology such as property management systems to free up manpower that could be better spent doing other, more personal tasks for guests.

Encourage breaks

While this may seem counterintuitive, giving your staff breaks – and encouraging them to take those breaks – can actually help with efficiency. If staff members are overworked and burnt out, they won’t be as efficient and productive as they would be if they took a few minutes to relax and regroup every once and awhile.

Give them the best tools

When it comes to efficiency, the supplies being used are just as important as the staff members themselves. Buying multipurpose trucks and carts can help boost productivity.

Royal Basket® has a variety of products that ensure smooth function and efficiency, including Royal Basket® Permanent Liner Vinyl Trucks with either a wood or metal base. These vinyl permanent liner trucks can be used to transport everything from linens to recycles to refuse. The durable vinyl liners are antimicrobial, flame retardant, and resistant to mold, and are permanently attached to the frames to ensure the security and organization of cart contents. Plus, additional parts, accessories, and upgrades available, making it easy to customize the trucks for maximum efficiency. 

Learn more about wood-based and metal-based Permanent Liner Vinyl Trucks from Royal Basket®

The best products to keep floors clean

October 21, 2019
Rubbermaid products

You always want your property looking its best – from ceiling to floor. A dirty floor can make even the most stylish, beautiful properties appear unkempt. What’s more, you want to avoid having anything sticky or slippery on the ground that could cause guest injury.

That’s why you should turn to the highest-quality cleaning products from brands you can trust, like Rubbermaid. Here are three products from their line of cleaning supplies that are sure to make your floors – and hotel – shine.

New! Spill Mop Kit

The new Rubbermaid Commercial Products Spill Mop Kit cleans spills faster than a cotton string mop for a safer, drier floor. The super-absorbent material retains liquid so it won’t leak or drip. Once fully absorbed, the easy-release handle allows for hands-free disposal, something your staff will appreciate. Plus, the pads are designed for one-time use, making spill cleanup quick and easy.

Spill Mop Pad

For quick and convenient cleaning, turn to Rubbermaid Commercial Products Spill Mop Pad, used with the Spill Mop Handle. Each pad is made with highly absorbent material designed for quickly removing liquid, water-based spills. The absorbed liquid turns into gel, trapping it inside to prevent leaks and drips. Up to two packs can fit conveniently in the Spill Mop Storage Cabinet, while the dispensing carton is compact enough to easily slide into most spaces.

Maximizer Mop Head Pad

The Rubbermaid Commercial Products Maximizer Mop Pad is similar to the Spill Mop Pad but is ideal for quickly removing biohazard liquid. Each pad holds up to 32 ounces of water and 13.5 ounces of NaCl 0.9%.

By relying on cleaning supplies from Rubbermaid Commercial Products, you’ll be fully prepared next time there’s a spill of any kind.

Why using commercial grade makes a difference

October 17, 2019
commercial grade

When buying products for your hotel, motel, or B&B, it may not seem to matter whether you buy something specifically designed for commercial use versus standard products designed for the average consumer. This is often the case if you work at a small or independent property. Why not just buy any hair dryer, especially if it’s less expensive?

The truth is, the quality and grade of products DO matter, no matter the size or occupancy. Here are some of the reasons to consider buying commercial-grade products for your property whenever you can.

Durability and quality

Commercial-grade products are specifically made for long-term use and can manage the wear and tear caused by frequent handling. So, while you may save money in the short term by buying a consumer product, if you have to replace it more frequently because it breaks or malfunctions, you’ll end up spending more in the long run.

Liability

Liability goes hand in hand with durability and quality. Since commercial-grade products are built to withstand constant use and abuse, you have less risk of the item causing a problem. For instance, if your furniture isn’t made to withstand frequent usage or different weights, what happens when a guest falls through the chair and injures him or herself? Avoid such an issue by investing in products that are built just for your property’s needs.

Design

Commercial-grade products are designed with the target audience in mind – the manufacturer knows these items will be used at a hotel or other property where guest experience and comfort are key. So, they design their products to have features that cater to guests, such as smart technology or lighter weight. Your guests will notice and appreciate that you stock your property with thoughtful products. 

Customer support

When buying consumer products, you usually have the option to tack on a warranty. However, you’re basically on your own if you have problems, or it takes a ton of legwork to find someone who will help you. Not true with commercial-grade products. When buying commercial A/V products, for example, you’ll likely receive long-term, dedicated support. This means you’ll get personal, on-site help with setting up your electronics, training your staff, and dealing with any future issues you may encounter.  

The next time you’re debating whether to go with the standard product versus the commercial one, remember that when in doubt, commercial is usually the way to go.

Embracing the impact of more green moves

October 3, 2019
living green

You’ve likely seen the headlines. Last month Marriott International announced that it’s moving away from single-use bath amenities in its hotel properties around the world. Since these plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and bath gel often end up in landfills, Marriott instead will equip its guest baths with larger, pump-topped bottles – also known as bulk dispensers.

It’s big news in our industry for a couple of reasons: First, according to the company’s August 28 announcement, this environmental stance is expected to prevent about 500 million tiny bottles annually from going to landfills. That’s about 1.7 million pounds of plastic, a 30 percent annual reduction from the iconic brand’s current amenity plastic usage. Secondly, Marriott’s not the only hospitality leader to launch bold sustainability plans.

Building on environmental momentum

In fact, IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) made a similar pledge earlier this summer. IHG will switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities in all of its properties by the end of 2021. And earlier in the summer, the Radisson Hotel Group™ introduced a series of environmentally and socially responsible initiatives at its beachfront resorts in Asia.

Radisson’s steps included replacing plastic straws as well as plastic bottles. Marriott began phasing out disposable plastic straws and stirrers in its properties last year, and IHG promises to remove plastic straws from its hotels by the end of 2019. Hilton has also made paper straws a brand standard in its properties.

“As a product supplier to Marriott, IHG and Hilton, we absolutely support and celebrate these major initiatives,” said Deidre Schwartz, Director of Design & Sustainability at American Hotel. “But we also view their announcements as a call to action to the industry as a whole. For us, that means strengthening our ability to identify and offer more environmentally responsible products to help our customers be true stewards of sustainability.”

A rallying cry for sustainable practices

To that end, our Living Green collection of eco-friendly products has grown to more than 4,600 items in a variety of categories. This includes bulk amenity dispensers. As a product manager at American Hotel, Katie Schultz works closely with hotel customers who happen to share IHG and Marriott’s renewed focus on bath amenities.

“Yes, we are seeing more interest in our bulk dispensers, but we have also helped customers choose amenities that are made of natural ingredients, are paraben free, and use recyclable packaging,” said Schultz. “By partnering with our suppliers as well as customers, we are offering more alternatives every year that support new sustainability goals.”

As a hospitality source with more than 150 years of industry expertise, American Hotel has always guided its hotel customers through the challenges and opportunities of change. Being a partner in support of environmental change is no different.

“There is no question the way all of us operate is changing forever,” said Schwartz. “And there is no question we, as a hospitality supplier, are positioned to make a dramatic difference for our customers and for our communities. This is a call to action we embrace, because it’s our collective responsibility to make sure future generations are afforded the same opportunities we have.”

3 tips for cleaning guest rooms with ease

September 27, 2019
cleaning tips

Housekeeping staff have a challenging task – they need to clean guest rooms quickly and efficiently, while also ensuring rooms are left in pristine shape. With guests’ expectations high, any slip up could lead to a bad review, which can negatively impact your hotel brand.

So, how do housekeepers keep up with demand while keeping rooms clean and tidy? Here are some tips for going above and beyond when cleaning guest rooms.

1. Start with a clean slate

When working against the clock, it can be tempting for housekeepers to clean around guests’ items, instead of under them. But doing so can look sloppy and unprofessional. Instead, advise cleaning staff to remove all of the clutter from an area before cleaning it, so that way they are sure to cleanse the space thoroughly and not miss a spot.

2. Choose a versatile cart

The right housekeeping cart can make a huge difference in the preparedness and efficiency of your staff. That’s why it’s important to invest in quality carts such as the new Xduty Xpress Cart from Hospitality 1 Source. The Xpress Cart is compact in design, yet includes a bag with multiple storage options to meet the needs of any guest room. 

Additional features include:

  • A durable, hammertone powder-coated finish
  • A sturdy, multi-purpose bag with numerous pockets and storage areas
  • Easy assembly with no tools required
  • Four swivel wheels that easily attach to the bottom of the cart

3. Add a special touch

While it may seem trivial, adding a small touch to the room after cleaning – a note from the housekeeper, a uniquely folded towel, a small chocolate on the pillow – can make a big impression. It shows that your staff – and ultimately your property – go the extra mile to make your guests feel special.

Learn more about the Xduty Xpress Cart, and get ready for a better cleaning experience.  

How to prepare for your property’s busy season

September 6, 2019
hotel busy season

It’s never too early to start thinking about the next busy season – otherwise it might sneak up on you. The busiest times at your hotel can make or break the whole year: While the goal is to deliver optimal service year-round, that level of service is hard to maintain when rooms are fully booked.

So, what can be done to make the most out of busy season?

Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, it’s still good to brush up on what to expect when the flood of travelers arrive. During the slower months leading up to busy season, take stock of inventory, anticipate your staffing needs, and analyze past data or customer reviews to ensure your accommodations are ready.

To get you started, here are four ways to ensure the next busy season is a success:

1. Beware of overbooking

You may be tempted to overbook rooms during busy season, but double booking looks unprofessional. Instead, review your rates and cancelation policies, and implement a minimum-night stay policy so cancelations don’t mean a loss of revenue.

2. Take stock of staff

Anticipating your staffing needs is critical. Not only will you need to ensure you’ll have enough staff, but you’ll also need to properly allocate resources. For instance, you may need to up the restaurant staff over the holiday season to accommodate special meals and events. It’s also just as crucial to give employees the flexibility to handle issues on the fly. Daniel Craig, founder of Reknown Hospitality & Technology Marketing, told Hotel News Now that empowering managers and employees to resolve on-property problems can help prevent complaints, and cross-training employees in other departments will ensure everyone can aid each other when needed to improve efficiency.

3. Get creative with communication

Another way to improve efficiency during busy season is facilitating open and frequent communication between staff, as well as communication with guests. Investing in technology to help everyone stay in touch with each other reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and allows for quick responses to requests throughout the property. Technology can also create a better connection between staff and guests, such as applications that allow online check-in and check-out, housekeeping requests via text, or online satisfaction surveys.

4. Give your property a mini-makeover

Much of preparing for busy season can – and should – occur during the slower months of the year. This is a perfect time to take care of property renovations, maintenance, and improvements. Cater to guests’ technological needs with USB-port supported clocks and radios, spruce up lobby and guest room furniture, and stock up on more efficient cleaning supplies.

Be ready for busy season and get the most out of your year!

Learn the importance of changing ironing boards seasonally

4 ways to improve guest stays

August 29, 2019
successful guest stay

Guest satisfaction is the ultimate goal of any hotel, and satisfied guests lead to positive reviews, increased customer loyalty, and continued success as a brand. Luckily, there are some simple ways to ensure your guests have the best stay – and that your business grows.

1. Be tech savvy

The first step to having happy guests is investing in a well-designed and mobile-friendly website. Guests’ experiences with your website will shape their opinion of your brand, so creating a platform that makes it easy to book rooms and includes the answers to all of their questions will foster a positive relationship for a positive stay. Also consider including a place where customers can leave feedback or opt in to receive a newsletter – all features guests will appreciate.

2. Foster satisfaction through food

The way to many people’s hearts is through food, so having unique and accessible culinary options are sure to score points. If budget allows, consider including complimentary breakfast every morning. Choose selections from a local bakery, regional cheeses, and locally sourced produce. Supporting local businesses is a great way to show guests you care – and it’s also a great way to make guests feel immersed in local culture.

3. Promote events and local activities

While it’s important to make guests feel at home in your guest rooms, travelers are also looking for things to do and memories to make. Keep brochures for local businesses, family friendly activities, and unique places for a night out easily accessible in the lobby or with a concierge. By promoting the area around your property, you invite travelers to choose you as their home away from home.

4. Pamper and personalize

It’s the little things that make a difference in any hotel experience, for large chain hotels as well as independent properties. Creating a simple and seamless process of booking, check-in and check-out, and housekeeping requests will ensure guests are never frustrated. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on items like premium mattresses, plush towels, and exclusive amenities to make guests feel pampered.

By adding extra touches and going above and beyond with your service, you’ll ensure guests will want to come back – and share their love of your property with future guests. 

Learn how to create the perfect poolside experience

3 small ways your property can make a big environmental impact

July 31, 2019

Sustainability has become a priority for hotels in recent years – not only because of its importance, but also because travelers are demanding it. According to the Booking.com 2019 Sustainable Travel Report, almost two thirds of U.S. travelers intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead.

Yet becoming more eco-friendly can be a long, complicated and costly process, especially for larger hotel chains. However, there are some easy changes properties can make to go green.

1. Replace plastic straws with paper ones

Many organizations are taking steps to remove plastic straws from their properties and replace them with paper ones. In fact, some cities and states across the country have started implementing their own plastic straw bans, which can impact the hotels that do business there. To make a change like this one more attainable, start slowly and set a long-term goal for their removal.

2. Encourage recycling

Recycling is a practice that has been around for a long time, yet not all properties have fully embraced it. Start by simply adding recycling receptacles to common areas, making it easy for guests to recycle. Also, encourage employees to be more eco-friendly by giving them a quick training on what can and can’t be recycled.

3. Use compostable can liners

Even if you succeed in setting up a recycling program at your property, it won’t mean as much if your can liners aren’t compostable. Consider investing in the Pitt Plastics BioStar compostable can liner, which is made with a Star Sealed compostable plastic that can help keep your facility eco-friendly and support your mission to protect the environment. The liners are made with 1.0 millimeter fiber content that prevents leaks and ensures durability, and are perforated with 150 bags per case to keep supplies well stocked. They come in a variety of sizes to fit your needs, including:

While it may not be easy to completely overhaul your current practices and replace them with greener ones, by making these small changes, you’ll help the environment and also attract sustainable-minded guests.

Say goodbye to bed bugs with this pro tip

July 3, 2019
mattress protection

Bed bugs are some of the most difficult and expensive pests to get rid of – and they are a real problem for properties. Since 2006, The Bedbug Registry has reported over 20,000 bed bug incidents covering 12,000 locations. That’s why investing in bed bug prevention should be a top priority for hotels.  

The toughest protection against bed bugs

If you want to prevent bed bugs from infiltrating your property, consider investing in high-quality mattress protection, like the CleanRest PRO Max encasement. This innovative product protects against bed bugs, spills, mold and dust mites – and it’s machine washable.

Here are just some of the reasons why CleanRest PRO Max is a great choice for protecting your guests – and your reputation:

A better night’s sleep: CleanRest PRO Max has a clever design with four sides of waterproofing (top, bottom, left, and right sides), which make this encasement perfect for the flippable mattress. The purpose of this waterproof design is to allow warmed air to escape the mattress encasement at the head and foot of the bed to regulate the mattress temperature. It’s important to know that waterproof fabrics are not air permeable, meaning, air cannot pass through. Other mattress encasement brands with six sides of waterproofing (every panel) will trap warm air, which increases the mattress temperature and makes for a hot and sweaty sleep.

All being said, CleanRest PRO Max is perfectly designed for maximum protection while supporting a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.

Easy installation: The encasement’s air permeable fabric at the head and foot makes the product easy to install. Your housekeepers won’t need to wrestle with the encasement to push the air out as they attempt to install it – saving time and energy.

Extra protection: CleanRest offers an extra layer of protection against bed bugs with patented Zip-N-Click closure. Zip-N-Click is the only fully integrated and self-locking zipper device that defends the zipper pull area from escaping or invading bed bugs. No Velcro or zip ties are needed to keep this encasement closed. The encasement is fully zippered, making it easy to install, and it’s fully protected with double stitched zipper tape.

To learn more about CleanRest encasements, visit the new americanhotel.com.