Soundbites Podcast

SHR Soundbites, the podcast for busy hoteliers looking for expert advice, tips, and tricks on leveraging technology to increase revenues and profitability. These are 5-10 minute episodes. Hear from hoteliers, industry experts, including SHR staff, many who were once hoteliers themselves.
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Resorts Have Faired Well Amid the Pandemic with Dustin, Sales Mgr, Margaritaville Lake Resort l Lake Conroe

Resorts Have Faired Well Amid the Pandemic
I drive north of Houston, Texas, to sit down (socially distanced in the Jimmy Buffet suite!) with Dustin Mathews, Sales Manager with Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston, to talk about what he and his resort have been experiencing during the pandemic.

As you might imagine, a resort, on a lake, just an hour’s drive from the 4th largest city in the United States, and 3.5/hr max drive from 20MM Texans, has done pretty well. Cooped up people around the state have flocked to the spacious venue to forget about the outside world, at least for a time.

Key takeaways:
-Seeing staycation and corporate guests alike.
-Held back on occupancy to ensure safe distancing protocols could be met.
-Strong focus on outdoor amenities with virtual site tours.
-Margaritaville team building packages have been popular.
-Working with local wineries, breweries, hosting dinner cruises on the lake, and comedy shows.
-It’s been all hands-on deck, covering many roles.
-Margaritaville mantra: ‘Serious learning, serious fun, serious safety.’
-Advice for hoteliers? Keep your head up. Always find what hat you can put on to help your team.

Guest: Dustin Mathews, Sales Mgr, Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe

Laura, Regional Director of Revenue, with Mr. C Hotels

Laura is the Regional Director of Revenue and Distribution for the luxury brand, Mr. C Hotels, who works out of Miami, but had traveled to New York City at the time of the interview. She talks about her entry into NYC, and what her experience has been over the past few months, starting with cancellations in February, all the way to today’s slow opening. Key takeaways: – Might take us to 2023 to get the business back to pre-pandemic levels. – Her NYC hotel has stayed open during the pandemic, with staycation travelers dominating. – Miami hotel closed, then re-opened June 16th, with a big jump in bookings, only to slow down again with the uptick in COVID-19 cases. – Hard to forecast 90 days out. – Next year’s budget? That’ll be tough. – Hoteliers are a resilient bunch! Continue to push, through the good and bad days. We will recover!

Guest: Laura Bombardi, Regional Director of Revenue, Mr. C Hotels

Your hotel’s group business amid a pandemic

She’s back! Bianca Porto Barga joins me again, and brings a friend, Paula Ruthenberg, Director of Group Sales, with One&Only Resorts. We talk about group sales amid a pandemic. That’s right! Group sales. There’s an angle here that is working and these two pros break it down for us. Key takeaways: 🗹 Privacy is a big draw. 🗹 2020 will continue to struggle, but… 🗹 This year’s cancellations are pent up demand. 🗹 Small groups easier to capture than larger. 🗹 Be flexible. 🗹 Leverage a pandemic clause in your contracts. 🗹 Did I mention, ‘be flexible?’ 🗹 Offer promotions to groups that are ‘sales’ related. 🗹 Be proactive, communicate your safety protocols.

Guest: Paula Ruthenberg, Director of Group Sales, One&Only Resorts and Bianca Porto Barga, formerly VP of Distribution at Luxe Collection Hotels

Cypriana with Sandals in St. Lucia

Cypriana George, Services Manager with Sandals Resorts International, joins me from St. Lucia. With 6 hotels open on the island, the Caribbean is showing signs of re-opening. Cypriana has some good advice for hoteliers out there: 🗹 stay vigilent 🗹 make sure safety protocols are up to par 🗹 stay in touch with staff, make sure they are okay

Guest: Cypriana George, Services Manager, Sandals Resorts International

Tori from Omni Chicago

This Sales Manager might be young and inexperienced, but she’s taking this pandemic with grit and thoughtfulness. With many employees from the hotel gone, including 10 from her own team, she’s doing jobs around the hotel she never thought she’d be doing, but appreciating the experience of knowing how things work and get done. Chicago is slowing starting to open, and while corporate and group business is going to take a while to come back, Tori is resolute.

Guest: Tori Engle, Sales Manager, Omni Chicago Hotel

Be looking over your rate strategy–and here comes 2021!

As VP of Distribution, Performance, and Membership for Luxe Collection Hotels, Bianca Porto Barga, was seeing the COVID-19 storm coming out of Asia as early as last December, and was putting together a plan. But, before she could put the plan into action, all of Luxe’s senior leaders were let go. While she may be another hospitality victim of COVID-19, Bianca presses on, and wanted to pass along a few ‘distribution-marketing’ action items from her plan for those hoteliers still at work, like check your rates, explore your rate strategy, and don’t forget, 2021.

Guest: Bianca Porto Barga, Distribution, Revenue Management, Sales and Digital Marketing Executive

Olga, award-winning revenue specialist, from the U.K.

Olga Sommer MIH, SJS, the award-winning, revenue management specialist, joins me to talk about the U.K. market. Formerly with Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Rocco Forte Hotels, Firmdale Hotels PLC, The Westbury Mayfair, A Luxury Collection Hotel, London, and more, Olga brings a wealth of experience. We talk about: – Right now is the BEST time to visit a major city in the U.K.–no crowds! – Staycations, – Great desire for hoteliers to open, – The next few months, – Sept-Oct might see international travel pickup as well as small group biz, – Plan on a lot of weddings next year! And, she’s got some good advice for hoteliers as we continue recovery.

Guest: Olga Sommer MIH, SJS, the award-winning, revenue management specialist

Canadian resort paints picture of recovery

After shutting down for more than two months, Long Beach Lodge opened June 3. Their Director of Revenue Management, Heather Riddick, tells how the hotel’s recovery included the resort posting 62% occupancy that same month.

Guest: Heather Riddick, Director of Revenue Management, Long Beach Lodge Resort

Jan from the boutique hotel, Orania, in Berlin

Berlin is opening up and on its way to recovery, and Jan, Orania’s Director of Revenue and Reservations, is seeing bookings, mostly domestic. The hotel is drawing the locals in with their Michelin star recipient chef, Philipp Vogel. Jan talks about what he sees for Berlin in the next few months and gives a little advice for other hoteliers.

Guest: Jan Brettschneider, Director of Revenue & Reservation, Orania Berlin

Amanda from Solay, the resort chair & cabana reservation app

No better time than now, amid COVID-19, for Solay, the mobile app that allows guests to reserve a resort lounge chair or cabana, real-time. Amanda’s new venture also provides hotels a back-end dashboard to manage inventory block out dates, pricing, and, oh yes, accommodate social distancing requirements. Learn more at

Guest: Amanda Abbott, CEO, Solvay/td>

Linda from Latvia

Linda Dumpe is a digital marketer from Latvia, went to Spain, and began building her agency, that is until COVID-19 hit. She’s back in Latvia and finding her way with the hotels that are re-opening there. Hotels are slowly starting to re-open, with international travelers visiting Riga, and hotels outside the capital targeting staycations. She tells us August is predicted to be a big month for travel in the U.K., even with travel abroad search terms down by half, there’s a 103% increase in U.K. travel searches.

Guest: Linda Dumpe, Founder, Digital Strategist, Latvia

A Travel Advisor’s take on travel amid COVID-19

A travel advisor who plays mostly in the luxury space, Albert is seeing some hotels really doing well, in particular, those offering premium rooms. He’s impressed with hotels staying on top of the travel advisor community in order to communicate their offers effectively. He brings a perspective on MICE, and how guests are booking. Listen in.

Guest: Albert Andrew Valera, Travel Consultant & Founder of Everything Travel Guy, Miami

An Events Manager talks recovery from COVID-19’s impact on travel

Karolina is the Events Manager at Hotel Arłamów, in Poland. The leisure hotel shut down for a bit, but re-opened a few weeks back and is seeing strong bookings due to restrictions being lifted on pools and spas, and hey, it’s summertime.

Guest: Karolina Borowiec, Event Manager, Hotel Arłamów, Poland

Metasearch 101 amid COVID-19

Are hoteliers using metasearch amid the COVID-19 recovery? If so, how effectively? Dorian answers these questions along with what you need to know about metasearch: 1. Understand where your travelers are coming from, 2. Understand which types of travelers they are, 3. Choose the right platform, 4. Be present online.

Guest: Dorian Wilson Debriano, Chief Commercial Office, MyHotelShop, Germany

Alternative revenue streams from your hotel amid COVID-19

Last week John posted on LinkedIn about his hotel in New York City providing ground flow space to pop-up retailers, and, I thought, I need to talk to this guy.

Guest: John Knowles, Co-owner, the Robert Smith Hotel, New York City

Scott talks about closing his hotel

Was all set to talk to Scott about the re-opening of his hotel when his owners called the night before to tell him they made the difficult decision to remain closed amid COVID-19. A tough but candid discussion.

Guest: Scott Ward, Director of Sales & Marketing, Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao

Shona talks revenue management amid COVID-19 recovery

Shona Whitehead, from Cogent Blue Ltd, out of England, talks with us about the U.K. hotel re-opening and revenue management amid COVID-19 recovery.

Guest: Shona Whitehead, Managing Partner, Cogent Blue Ltd, England

Kristen from Hilton

Formerly a Hilton performance brand manager, Kristen, saw the negative effects of COVID-19 coming to the US early on. Hilton was able to prepare their US properties with sanitation guidelines as well as providing discounts to front line workers. With occupancy rates starting to climb, she is seeing about a 1/3 of the US is traveling–leisure travelers. She recommends auditing all your digital channels and marketing promotions, leaving nothing to chance.

Guest: Kristen Bowen, formerly Hilton’s Manager, Strategic Training & Content Management, Tennessee

Hotel marketing amid COVID-19

Loss of staff, limited know-how, no budget, what’s a hotel to do about marketing amid the pandemic? Katie Hokin gives us some tips.

Guest: Katie Hokin, Founder & Director, AccomBoost, Gold Coast, Queensland

Sanna with View Hotels in Melbourne

Director of Sales at View Hotels, collection of 4-star, boutique hotels, talks with us about how their hotels have fared amid COVID-19. While not having to close, they’ve kept busy installing a new PMS, general clean up, and finalizing a re-branding effort. They’re patiently waiting for states to open up travel, and sports to come back.

Guest: Sanna Griffin, Director of Sales, View Hotels, Melbourne

I talk with Amy Ogden, co-creator of, a site where hotels have the flexibility to promote any offer they want, from gift cards to add-ons, and more.

Guest: Amy Ogden, Founder, The Collective, New York

Will hotels compete with vacation rentals?

How are hotels going to compete with the current advantages of vacation rentals brought on by COVID-19? A hotel’s cancellation policy? Exterior entry or corridor? Cleanliness guarantees? 10 local restaurants delivery vs eating-in every meal? Social distant entertainment, like we are seeing in Sweden? And, how could we get through a chat without mentioning Google? We couldn’t.

Guest: Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease, Triptease
Nicole Adair, Director of Revenue Management Services, SHR
Andrew Warner, CMO, Digital Hotelier

Google Hotel Ads ‘pay-per-stay.’

Andrew explains the changes to Google Hotel Ads new ‘pay-per-stay’ policy, possibly an advantage for hoteliers who are offering flexible cancellation policies. But, there are caveats. And, vacation rentals are defecting from Airbnb, working with OTAs, and even developing their own booking engines.

Guest:Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease, Triptease
Nicole Adair, Director of Revenue Management Services, SHR
Andrew Warner, CMO, Digital Hotelier

The strength of extended stay and recovery amid COVID-19

Chris talks about the current strength of extended stay and economy class hotels, how low staff levels are hurting hotel performance, how vendors and consultants need to be there for these hotels, and the big question marks around LNR segment.

Guest: Chris Baggett, President, Canyon Creek Lodging, Texas

Catching up with Becky with IDM in Wisconsin

Caught up with IDM Hospitality Management’s Becky Rogers to hear how her independent boutique hotels and staff have been doing. Highlights: – 9 hotels, 9 cities, 5 states. – Bookings are starting to trickle in. – The marketing message is about comfort, not $. – Group business? Banquet staff? – Boutique = nimble and cater to the one. – Authority of the staff present. – Staff update. – Domestic travel… and, more!

Guest: Becky Rogers, VP of Operations, IDM Hospitality Management, Wisconsin

A Hotel’s Digital Appearance & Revenue Management

Revenue Manager, Alex Cao, breaks down the importance of a hotel’s
digital appearance and the impact it has on
executing their revenue management strategy.

Guest: Alex Cao, Director of Revenue Management, SHR

It’s Consortia Season! What Your Hotel Needs To Do, Now!

Luz sits down with Jason to talk about considerations for getting ready for the 2020 RFP season, what’s working for the hotels and how they are standing out among their competition.

Guest: Luz Harvey, Consortia Manager, SHR

5 Things Every Hotel Should Do To Prep for Summer Season

Maila joins the show with a critical list for any hotel gearing up for the summer season.

Guest: Maila Wali, Client Success Manager, SHR

Booking the Transformative Traveler via Travel Agents and the GDS

Spend 3 minutes with Matt and Jason as they break down the ‘transformative traveler’ and how hotels can leverage travel agents and the GDS to book these adventures.

Guest: Matt Braddy, Key Client Success Manager, SHR

How to choose an RMS with Zoltan from Danubius

From the size of your vendor to the length of time for a suitable pilot program, Danubius Hotel Group’s Group Director of Revenue and Distribution, Zoltán Bogár’, walks us through selecting your next RMS.

Guest: Zoltán Bogár’, Group Director of Revenue and Distribution, Danubius Hotel Group

How to Automate Your Revenue Management Without an RMS!

Not buying a revenue management system anytime soon? Here’s a quick breakdown, from SHR’s Corporate Director of Revenue Management, of what your hotel should consider when automating the execution of your pricing strategy.

Guest: Nicole Adair, Corporate Director of Revenue Management

Metasearch. It is a big deal!

Client Success Manager, Jessica, joins Jason to chat about why metasearch continues to be a great option for independent hotels.

Guest: Jessica Hobson, Client Success Manager, SHR

Choose a Tech Vendor Who Shares Your Values

Meet Amanda, HSMAI’s Arizona Professional of the Year 2017, and a major player in the development of GreenTree Hospitality Group. She says, “who we partner with has a direct and powerful impact on our franchisees, and how they see our capabilities in helping them.” You can read all about her journey, state of hotel tech, the CRS, vendor selection and on-boarding, and more in here.

Guest: Amanda Saye, VP of Franchise Operations, GreenTree Hospitality Group

Combating Rate Parity With Ian Kemp

Jason cites interesting stats from RateGain research that highlights how bad rate parity remains for hotels and Ian Kemp, Director of Client Success at SHR, provides a little advice on how to manage.

Guest: Ian Kemp, Director Client Success, SHR

Getting the Most Out of Your PMS-CRS Integration

PMS data access and use is huge for hotels! But, how many systems must you hunt through to locate the data that means the most? Jesse gives our audience tips on getting the most out of your PMS-CRS data exchange.

Guest: Jesse Parks, Key Client Success Manager, SHR

Selecting Your Hotel Tech Stack With Craig From The Durham Hotel

The Durham Hotel’s Director of Sales & Marketing passes along the most valuable advice he’s received regarding selecting the technology that runs his hotel.

Guest: Craig Shipley, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Durham Hotel

Managing 9 Hotels Without a Revenue Manager

Becky helps me tease our latest Client Spotlight, IDM Hospitality Management, by answering the question, ‘How does IDM manage 9 properties without a Revenue Manager? Read about Becky and IDM in here.

Guest: Becky Rogers, VP of Operations of IDM Hospitality Management

Talking Google Hotel Ads With Nathan

Client Success Manager, Nathan, talks about the huge impact Google Hotel Ads is making for hotels.

Guest: Nathan Nokes, Key Client Success Manager, SHR

Put OTAs to Work For Your Hotel

SHR’s VP of Marketing, Jason Emanis, talks OTAs and a proper channel mix for independent hotels with Matt Braddy.

Guest: Matt Braddy, Key Client Success Manager, SHR

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