Soundbites Podcast

Soundbites is the 10-minute podcast for busy hoteliers looking to learn from their peers and other industry experts. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, and watch on YouTube.

Everyone is welcome at Big Mama’s

David-Friedemann Henning, CEO & Co-Founder, of Big Mama Hotels, joins Jason, from his office in Leipzig, Germany.

David explains the ‘all-welcome’ experience that turn first-timers into repeat guests, talks about the adjustments needed for his city-center hotels (Berlin, Leipzig), using their CRM to keep guests informed, and a couple of sellouts in Nov-Dec.

Though Germany continues to be in lockdown, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel, and is staying positive.

Finally, he lets us in on how the name, Big Mama Hotels, came to be.

Guest: David-Friedemann Henning, CEO, Big Mama Hotels, Berlin

Will hotel staffing suffer from demand shock?

Ryan MacDonald, VP of Revenue & E-Commerce, with Palm Holdings, joins Jason from his home in Toronto, Canada.

Ryan says GMs are the unsung heroes, from folding laundry, making breakfast bags, checking people in, everything within Operations.

And, being prepared for travel’s full comeback could prove tricky. Staff that stayed-on throughout the pandemic has not been busy and are out of practice, and trying to find staff that is willing to come back could be tough as well.

Ryan will rely on their internal belief that ‘everybody is responsible for revenue management at Palm,’ and not hire right away, once demand reaches healthy levels, but stresses there’s going to be a learning curve for frontline employees out of practice.

Guest: Ryan MacDonald, VP of Revenue & E-Commerce, Palm Holdings,Canada.

Video is worth 10,000 words

Amy Draheim, Owner, ABD Creative, joins Jason from her office in Bend, Oregon.

Amy talks about her hotel clients shutting down at the onset of the pandemic, her conviction that hotels should not stop communicating with the market, despite the lack of travel, the origins of her How To Share communicate podcast, and breaks down where hotels should be communicating their story, and the importance of video and user generated content.

Guest: Amy Draheim, Owner, ABD Creative, Oregon

Life Happened

Rika Robertson, Hotel Manager, with Citrus Hotel, joins Jason from her hotel in Eastbourn, England, home of the white cliffs and possibly, the stairway to heaven.

Rika’s been ‘working her socks off’ with staff being furloughed and their ability to stay open, hosting key workers. She talks about the changes that have had to take place, her opportunity to ‘take stock,’ and their marketing and sales efforts. She also wrote a book a while back that is so applicable to our current times, ‘Life Happened.’ You can get it free at

Guest: Rika Robertson, Hotel Manager, with Citrus Hotel,Eastbourn, England

Revenue and Marketing under one hat

Jonathan Liu, Director of Revenue and Marketing Strategy with glh Hotels, joining Jason from London, England.

Jonathan talks about glh’s diverse 18 hotels, including the Hard Rock London, how and why revenue and marketing are falling under his purview, moving his website to a new CMS platform to have more dynamic activity, configuring a new CRM, and looking at revenue management systems, trying to bring everything they’re doing from a marketing perspective and relate it back to their revenue systems how they price and yield, trying to make a seamless eco-system of everything coming together.

Guest: Jonathan Liu, Director of Revenue & Marketing Strategy, glh Hotels, London

Revenue Management in Latin America

Florencia Benaim, Founder, MOI consultancy, joins me from Argentina.

Florencia talks about Argentina’s struggles, her 3x rescheduled wedding, her boutique, revenue management consulting firm, the lack of RMS’s in Latin America, how her clients in Mexico are doing, and how Instagram has brought lots of bookings!

Guest: Florencia Benaim, Founder, MOI, Argentina

Nature Called Last Summer

Matthew Taormino, General Manager, Dunham’s Bay Resort, from upstate New York, joins Jason on this episode of the Soundbites podcast.

Matthew talks about his 20-room, 20-cabin, family resort on Lake George, parenting staff through the pandemic, the stall of their critical wedding business, while enjoying 75%-80% occupancy throughout June, July, August, and September.

Matthew also talks about their in-house management of social media and their successful campaign, ‘100 Days of Summer.’

Guest: Matthew Taormino, General Manager, Dunham’s Bay Resort, New York

Texas is open!

Texas drops virus restrictions yesterday! So, let’s talk to a Business Travel Manager in San Antonio. Jasmin Gutierrez, with the Valencia Hotel Group, joins me on the latest episode of the Soundbites Podcast.

Jasmine talks about how they are handling Texas’ move away from restrictions, and even though their business travel didn’t completely dry up, her role now includes weddings and events. Old hat for Jasmine, back in the day, she worked her way up in hospitality, first as a hostess, then a restaurant manager, and catered for 8 years.

Guest: Jasmin Gutierrez, Valencia Hotel Group, San Antonio, TX

Ask a Concierge

Sarah Dandashy, Travel Expert, with Ask A Concierge, joins me from Los Angeles.

Sarah talks about her recent travels, what hotels are doing well–depending on the location and destination, how good her Mexico experience has been, and where we are headed this Spring and Summer.

Guest: Sarah Dandashy, Ask A Concierge, LA

Poster child for meetings amid the pandemic?

Is Mohegan Sun the poster child for how to conduct meetings amid the pandemic?

John Washko, VP of Expo & Convention Sales at Mohegan Sun, joins me from Boca Raton, Florida, to explain.

John talks about re-opening his 5.5MM square foot facility 😮 last June, and hosting some 50 meetings since it’s re-opening.

He goes on to describe how their world-class indoor arena has been transformed into a international broadcast center, the ‘bubble’ environment they’ve managed to create, spending over $1MM in implementing safety protocols, and much more!>

Guest: John Washko, VP of Expo & Convention Sales at Mohegan Sun, Florida

What has happened to a hotel’s data amid the pandemic?

Kelly McGuire, Managing Principal at ZS, joins me from Washington, D.C.

Kelly talks about ZS and their focus on commercial and analytics, a recent article she published on what has happened to a hotel’s data amid the pandemic. She walks us through categorizing our data:

  • leading signal
  • evolving signal
  • stable signal
  • experimental signal
  • and fine-tuning analytical models

Guest: Kelly McGuire, ZS, Washington City

News from Mews

Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews, the Amsterdam-based PMS, joins me from New York City.

Richard talks backing off their big push to sell in the states after their series B funding in 2019, to focusing on further development of their PMS in wait of travel’s rebound, their latest projects, and the two-way interface with our CRS, Windsurfer.

Guest: Richard Valtr, Mews in Amsterdam, New York City

No one is traveling to Amsterdam at the moment

Dave Overeem, Corporate Revenue Manager with Inntel Hotels, joins Jason from Amsterdam.

Dave talks about the lockdown in Amsterdam, building 2 new hotels, how his role has changed, and travel’s near term future.

Guest: Dave Overeem, Inntel Hotels, Amsterdam

A real live ‘Derry Girl.’ The GM of Shandon Hotel & Spa, Donegal, Ireland.

I found myself a real life Derry girl! Of course, I’m referencing the hit Netflix show by the same name, ‘Derry Girls.’

My latest guest, Carolynne Harrison, indeed grew up in Derry, Ireland. Now residing in Donegal, Carolynne is the GM of Shandon Hotel & Resort.

Carolynne talks with me about being closed for 8 months, grateful for the time throughout the pandemic spent with her girls, learning how to cook and clean :), wanting to get back to work, the frustration her and the 160,000 out of work hospitality folks are experiencing with no clear date of when the lockdown will be lifted.

Guest: Carolynne Harrison, GM of Shandon Hotel & Resort, Donegal

Insights from a Scandinavian Hotel Marketer

Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge, Founder and Creative Director of Room22 Agency, joins me from Denmark.

Based in Berlin, with clients throughout the Nordic countries, Cecillie’s company helps market hotels throughout Europe. She talks about the positive energy amongst hoteliers amid the challenges, producing great and authentic content on Instagram and Facebook that tells a story, and activities that are building community.

Guest: Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge, Berlin/Copenhagen

A Cali Sales Dir in Philly

Brandi Baker, former Regional Director of Sales, for HEI Hotels & Resorts, joins Jason from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Brandi talks about her journey through the pandemic, educating herself, staying on top of the industry, how the sales role has changed, and what Philly will look like this summer.

Guest: Brandi Baker, Philadelphia

Lean luxury at Ruby Hotels in Germany

Tobias Koehler, Group Director Systems & Commerce, at Ruby Hotels, joins me from Leipzig, Germany.

Tobias talks about Ruby’s ‘lean luxury’ brand, what that means for their hotel tech stack, and how the pandemic has changed his role and hotel stacks in general.

Guest: Tobias Koehler, Germany

What are hotel marketers doing well, amid the pandemic?

Nicoletta Pilardi, Founder of NP Collection, joins me from London, England.

Nicoletta is a 3-generation hotelier from Italy and has worked in London for 20+ years.

She talks with me about working with her hotel clients, what hotels are doing well and what hotels could improve upon.

Guest: Nicoletta Pilardi, London

Ecommerce and Accounting in Revenue Management

Rodger Wada, former Revenue Manager, with Highgate, joins Jason from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rodger talks about his experience over the course of the pandemic–he got married!, gives us an update on Hawaii, his continued education despite being let go, how ecommerce and accounting is becoming a big part of revenue management.

Guest: Rodger Wada, Hawaii

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