INNOVATIONS IN HOTEL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

GUIDING DEVELOPERS THROUGH THE PROCESS

Charlottesville, VA-based Management Services Corp. owns and manages 4,000 apartments and 500 mobile home pads in Virginia and North Carolina. When its principals recognized a lack of quality lodging in little Farmville, VA, they took a leap into the hotel industry.

The company chose to build a 72-room Hampton Inn, and in doing so interviewed several hotel management companies to provide consulting services during construction, pre-opening sales and marketing, staff hiring and training, and finally, ongoing property management.

Ultimately, Salisbury, MD-based Marshall Management stood out from the pack of management companies that were considered. In business since 1980, Marshall operates hotels over a multi-state area. Its portfolio includes roadside, resort, airport and metropolitan high-rise properties, representing a variety of franchises and independents alike.

The management company specializes in adapting to a diverse spectrum of hotel properties while being operations intensive. It takes over non-performing loans, revitalizing hotels and then selling them for an appreciated value. It also takes pride in guiding first-time developers, like Management Services Corp., through the development process and then managing their assets for the long term. In the last eight years, it has completed this process for more than a dozen developers, says Mike Marshall, president and CEO.

“What we like about Marshall Management is they are attuned to the hotel owner,” says Dan Phillips, vice president, finance, Management Services Corp. “They work to do a quality job for the guest and run a well-maintained operation, but at the same time provide a great level of return for owners. Other companies we spoke with said they'd provide a Cadillac operation for us but cautioned it was going to be expensive and our returns wouldn't be that good the first couple of years. But Marshall Management said, ‘Look, if we watch the pennies and hire good people, we'll make a good profit for you but also have a place you can be proud of.’ We've been very happy with the results.”

Opened since March, the Hampton Inn is performing ahead of projections, reports Phillips. “We're very pleased with the way Marshall's handled the property and the way they market it.”

Now Management Services Corp. is looking to develop several other hotels, and Marshall Management is assisting in site selection and franchise negotiations. Circle 115

Hair Dryer

The Andis ProStyle hair dryer tucks away in a flame- retardant bag, sold separately, making it an ideal solution for space-efficient hotel bathrooms. The dryer features 1,600 watts of drying power in a mid-size pistol styling dryer. It also has four heat and two air settings. Circle 116

Telephone Systems

PhoneSuite, a division of Call Management Products, offers hospitality telephone systems for limited-service properties as large as 220 rooms. The company says it meets or exceeds all franchise requirements with features such as answer detection, T1 digital trunk support, wake-up calls, PMS interfaces, call accounting, voice mail and more. Circle 117

Pool Gate Hinges

Tru-Close hinges from D&D Technologies are rust-free for life and tension-adjustable. When used with the company's self-latching latches, the hinges meet pool barrier codes. The self-closing hinges feature an internal stainless-steel spring and a patented system for easy hinge tension adjustment. The product comes with a lifetime warranty. Circle 118

Magnet-Fastening Namepin

Reeves Company has added a magnetic attachment system to its line of custom crafted namepins for the hospitality industry. The new lightweight, two-piece interlocking magnet fastener allows namepins to be quickly and securely attached without damaging clothing. Namepins are available in two sizes and in a choice of silver- or gold-toned finish. Circle 119

Ice Machine

The Serenity Series Cubelet Ice Machine from Hoshizaki America produces up to 1,000 pounds of ice every 24 hours and is designed to save space. The condenser and compressor are stationed outside the kitchen and away from customers, therefore producing less heat and noise. The machine also features stainless-steel construction with few moving parts for longer machine life. Circle 120

Pants Press

The Corby valet stand from Jerdon Products houses a cushioned heating element which is designed to smooth pants back into shape, remove wrinkles and refresh a smart crease. The Corby pants press makes a fine amenity for guests who arrive too late, or too early, to use in-house valet service, suggests the company. Circle 121

FRESH AND ENERGY-EFFICIENT

The basic INNCOM International thermostat Seaport-Boston Hotel officials installed recently has worked so well, they decided to add some bells and whistles, like a Do Not Disturb function and a doorbell.

The motion sensor-activated device, which controls the room's environment, could save the south Boston hotel hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility expenses, says Matt Moore, rooms director.

Installed in tandem with a multimillion-dollar renovation, the INNCOM rollout has led to a 14-percent decrease in utility costs already, particularly in electricity, says Moore. “Granted, use is driven by occupancy and the outside weather, so a mild winter and fairly moderate summer certainly help,” he says. “But this gives us peace of mind that we're doing everything in our power to conserve energy and lower utilities.”

The INNCOM wall devices replace manual thermostats and regulate room temperature by keeping it at 68 degrees when the room is unoccupied. No longer can a guest turn the temperature all the way down and leave the room for 10 or 12 hours, Moore says. “The great thing about the system is when you return to the room, it reverts back to the manual setting,” he says. “As a human being, you're at 98.6 degrees, so when you're in a room, you'll raise the temperature just by your presence. It goes between that and motion, so it's a pretty smart thermostat.”

A Do Not Disturb sign and a light telling housekeeping the room needs servicing is tied into the thermostat through infrared technology, Moore says, noting the device's modularity.

“We're probably going to do central networking,” he says. “We've been told we can add another four percent in savings with that measure. We love it; it's very easy to use, and especially with the Do Not Disturb and doorbell functions, it brings the hotel into the 21st century.” Circle 122

Accent Lighting

The Cylindrix Track from Amerlux Lighting Solutions is a compact accent luminaire designed around low-wattage metal halide light sources. Its clean, architectural styling fits any interior design with a horizontal ballast housing that hugs the track. Amerlux offers custom-tinted Gold and Sunrise optics to warm beams to incandescent-like hues. Circle 123

ATM Enclosures

ATM Systems provides custom designed enclosures to blend ATMs with a hotel's décor as well as color screens to promote hotel services. Clients include Host Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Inter-Continental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Circle 124

Hair Dryer

Classic Coffee Concepts presents the Classic 1600-watt model 18300 hair dryer. Features include a low-voltage night light, three fan speeds, two temperature settings, a “cool shot” feature to quickly set the hair, an easy-remove lint filter, a GFI reset button built into the unit, plus easy cord storage in the back of the unit. The dryer automatically turns off when the handset is returned to the wall mount position. Circle 125

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