Member Articles

 

Members of Laguna Strategic Advisors share recent success stories, case studies, educational topics and information below. For further information about their topics, they would welcome your interest. Please contact the members directly through the contact information listed his / her profile.

Preserving Our Open Skies Policy Is Now More Important Than Ever

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Now, as United works to put its public relations misstep into the past, it, along with American and Delta (the three US legacy carriers), have once again petitioned our federal government to intervene in the aviation market and thereby undermine our Open Skies policy by reopening “consultations” with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – home to Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines.

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Heritage Tourism: It All Probably Began With Cleopatra

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I like to think it all began more than 2,000 years ago when the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, enticed first Julius Caesar, then Marc Antony, on a lavish cruise along the fertile agricultural banks of the Nile River to show off the royal splendors of Luxor’s Valley of the Kings. She wanted both of these Roman luminaries to understand the relevance and strength of Egypt in its own right and not to view the country as a conquered part of the Roman Empire.

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China is Now the World’s Largest Source of Outbound Hotel Investment

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

2016 was a banner year for Chinese outbound hotel investment as market participants invested a record-high $9.4 billion in North America, Europe and other global lodging markets, nearly doubling the $4.9 billion they spent during the previous year. There’s every reason to believe their appetite for hotel real estate is as strong as ever despite a less certain global political and economic outlook this year and recently-tightened capital outflow restrictions at home.

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How India Has Become A Booming Supplier Of Outbound Tourists

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I first visited India in 1990. At the time, the tourism marketplace was constrained and travel was primarily limited to the very wealthy. Over the next two decades, the hotel development opportunities I pursued on Marriott International’s behalf were slow and arduous with numerous fits and starts.

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Guestroom TVs are Only the Beginning for Electronic Displays

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The TV that is front and center in every guest room is due for a ‘smart’ upgrade, but that’s not the becoming for how screens can serve to heighten the guest experience.

In fact, the future of screen technology is everywhere, pervading every point of interaction that a consumer has with your hotel. And the more you work to undo the antiquated notion that TVs are only for bedrooms, you will end up discovering new opportunities right under your nose to enhance the guest experience and drive revenues.

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How The Trump Administration Can Improve Travel For U.S. Residents And Visitors Alike

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the U.S. presents an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the U.S. travel experience for residents and visitors alike. Here are some suggestions on how the new administration can be a valuable and effective ally in advancing some of the industry’s key priorities.

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There’s No Such Thing As A Hotel ‘Job’ Anymore

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The TV that is front and center in every guest room is due for a ‘smart’ upgrade, but that’s not the becoming for how screens can serve to heighten the guest experience. In fact, the future of screen technology is everywhere, pervading every point of interaction that a consumer has with your hotel.

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Myanmar: Asia’s Last Natural Frontier

By: Edwin Fuller Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors I have just returned from a two week business trip to Asia where I visited China, Singapore and Malaysia. One of the things that struck me most on this trip was the degree to which Asia has leapt into...

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Technology Is Propelling The Travel Industry Into A Jetson’s-Like Future

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Driven by the need to control costs and attract and retain customers in a highly competitive environment, the travel & hospitality world has undergone a mind-boggling transformation that has been brought about by innovations in technology with no end in sight.

Time was when planning a holiday or business trip entailed a call to one’s travel agent, relying on the trusted words of friends and a perusal of a good guidebook to ensure positive buying choices. No more!

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Gray is the Green Part 18 – The Sandwich Generation

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Generally ascribed to working parents in their late 30s through to their 50s (or older), a Sandwich Generation describes those among us who are caring for both those younger as well as those older in the family line. It can be quite an ordeal to raise children in addition to providing for enfeebled elders. But such burdens don’t stop travel, or more specifically multi-generational travel, and this is where your marketing team should spend some time considering your options.

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Vietnam Poised To Be Asia’s Next Economic Tiger

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

For many of my generation, Vietnam remains a complex enigma, depending on our personal experiences and memories of the country.

I arrived in Vietnam in 1970 as a U.S. Army captain and was immediately overwhelmed by the country’s natural beauty and the genuine warmth and hospitality of the local Vietnamese. I was a member of MACV, the U.S. Military Assistance Command, and had many opportunities to work with the Vietnamese military and other Allied countries.

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What China’s U.S. Buying Spree Means For The Future Of Hospitality

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The Chinese are on a U.S. buying spree like no other. Since the beginning of the year, Chinese investors have announced interest in, or closed on, several multi-billion-dollar deals on a variety of American enterprises, including GE’s appliance division, Strategic Hotels & Resorts (owner of numerous luxury properties here and abroad), a construction manufacturer, the Chicago Stock Exchange…

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Strategic Plans Gone Bad

By: Deborah Fell
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Strategic planning seems to have no middle ground: it’s either an exercise that teams often dread, or an indispensable guide for inspiration, direction and accountability. Margaret Thatcher gives her view of “the middle” in her famous quote “standing in the middle of the road is dangerous, it gets you knocked down on both sides.”

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Cancellation fees, Smaller Meetings, and Shorter Lead-Time

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I’m not qualified to write about industry trends, but I can write about trends that I have observed at one of my client’s properties, a very upscale resort located at a great destination, that has done as much as 70 percent group business.

This year the resort is experiencing a huge increase in larger group cancellations, cancellation fees, smaller group meeting demand, and shorter lead-time bookings.

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China Continues to Set the Pace of Global Tourism

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Anyone who thinks the wave of Chinese tourism now inundating the world will slow down any time soon needs to think again. I recently participated in a two-week sales mission to China on behalf of Visit California and the Orange County Visitors Association, and have come away more bullish than ever about China’s long-term tourism potential for California, the US and the world.

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Business Plans Gone Bad: Five Ways To Fix Your Focus

By: Deborah Fell
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

At some point in history, when the first caveman took on a business partner for their fledgling wheel manufacturing business, it became necessary for them to complete a business plan.

After all, how would our cave-bound friends decide who was responsible for construction, supply chain, sales and marketing and testing?

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Here We Go Again: The Global Nationalism Wave Gains Force With Brexit

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

In early April, I posted a blog sharing some thoughts about the wave of Nationalism now gaining momentum throughout the world. Since then, a hard-line extreme right party has won seats in the Cyprus parliament; Austria’s Freedom Party presidential candidate, although narrowly defeated, gained 49.7% of the vote; France’s National Front is newly energized and is promoting a principle of “national priority;” Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star movement candidate, Virginia Raggi, has become Rome’s mayor with 2/3 of the vote in a run-off contest; and just this past weekend, the UK has voted to exit the European Union (EU), thus roiling global financial markets and causing everyone to wonder what’s next for the economy and will other European nations follow suit.

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Corruption — Still a Global Blight After All These Years

By: Edwin Fuller Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors Corruption has been with us since the first Pelican swooped into the ocean to bag his first fish dinner about 30 million or more years ago.  In other words, since the beginning of time. You’ll find...

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International Tourism: The Sliver of Silver in the US Trade Deficit

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

There’s a lot of chatter these days about what to do about our national debt that is quickly approaching $20 trillion, about the pros and cons of our international trade policies, and about our blossoming balance of trade deficit that grows larger with each passing day as the US continues to import more goods and services than we export. In all this talk, however, we rarely hear about the positive “sliver of silver” that’s buried in much of the negative commentary about these concerns.

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Nationalism: Back Like A Bad Dream

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

More than a century ago, philosopher George Santayana reminded us that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

His words ring true today. As I’ve traveled the world for the past three decades, the growing rise of Nationalism on virtually every continent has given me cause for concern. Following World War II, the global goal was to create political and economic structures and forge alliances like the UN, EU, IMF, WTO, NAFTA and the recently signed Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership to bring peace and prosperity to the world.

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Tale of 2 Offices as OCVA Arrives in Japan, India

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

More than a century ago, philosopher George Santayana reminded us that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

His words ring true today. As I’ve traveled the world for the past three decades, the growing rise of Nationalism on virtually every continent has given me cause for concern. Following World War II, the global goal was to create political and economic structures and forge alliances like the UN, EU, IMF, WTO, NAFTA and the recently signed Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership to bring peace and prosperity to the world.

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Let’s Keep Our Skies Open: Update

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Roughly two years ago, I blogged about the Big 3 US Airlines’ (American, Delta and United) highly-publicized campaign directed at the Obama Administration to block Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways from expanding their US route network (May, 2014). Since I posted that blog, the US carriers have not only continued their campaign against the 3 Gulf carriers but also blocked Norwegian Air International’s application to begin serving the US.

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AV + IT Should Be Top of Mind When Planning a Meeting Space Reno

By: Jeff Loether
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Hotels and conference centers undergoing make-overs or full-scale renovations of their meeting space should seriously consider a simultaneous event-technology overhaul. Not only is it the best way to economically accommodate the technology needs of planners, but with walls and ceilings exposed, audiovisual and telecommunications conduit, cabling, connectivity, show power and lighting controls can conveniently be upgraded.

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CAPEX Adventures: Unintended Consequences

By: Jeff Loether Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors Before embarking on any event space renovations, learn from others’ mistakes; Consulting an expert before the project begins will keep you from hearing ‘I told you so’ in the future There are four small words that...

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Use Your Paid Time Off: It’s Good For You, Your Company And Our Country

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Chances are if you’re like about half of American workers this year, you won’t use all the paid time off you’ve earned. But, you’ll be making a big mistake—a mistake that hurts you, your company and our national economy, according to a recent study by Oxford Economics.

Just look at the numbers. Each year, American workers throw away about $52.4bn of earned benefits simply because they fail to use all their vacation time despite all the obvious personal benefits of taking time off to regenerate and reconnect. Today’s American workers as a whole take fewer vacation days than they did in 2000, although those who work for a company with a “use it or lose it” vacation policy are more likely to use all their vacation time than those who do not.

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Enticing International Travelers to Visit Pays Off, But Much More is Possible With Continued Action

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

As many long-time readers of my blog know, my colleagues at the Orange County Visitors Association and I have worked diligently for the past few years to entice visitors to our many local, world-class attractions, both from our sister US states and from abroad. Our efforts are paying off. In the past year alone, we welcomed a record 46 million visitors to Orange County – 4 million, or almost 10%, of them came from abroad. With John Wayne International Airport being the closest international airport to the nearby Disneyland Resort and other famous California attractions, our community is positioned to reap the benefits of this increase in visitors.

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I’ll See You in Court!

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Each year, more than 15 million people in the US take the title of this blog to heart and file a civil law suit. Their suits involve everything from perceived negligence to neighborhood disputes and the frivolous suits among them are estimated to cost the US economy more than $200 billion annually. At the same time, nearly 90% of all US corporations are engaged in some sort of litigation as the average company juggles a docket of 37 suits each year.

Why is this so? While in most of the world’s legal systems, the loser in the suit must pay for a large part of the winner’s legal fees, in the US each party pays their own—so in the US a litigant has nothing to lose by going to court, especially since more than half of all US tort trials are won by the plaintiff.

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India: Asia’s Next Economic Dynamo?

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Make no mistake about it: India is on the move. After his landslide election victory in May 2014, Prime Minister Narenda Modi told his nation that he needed just 10 years to modernize the country and promised that by 2022, India’s 75th anniversary of independence, the world would recognize that the 21st century is India’s.

Over the 15 months since taking office, Modi has become a rock star for India’s enormous cohort of optimistic millennials and business community as well as for the Indian diaspora. His appearance at Madison Square Garden in New York last September drew a record crowd of more than 18,500.

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Now is the Best Time for That Sales Audit

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I spent some time over the Labor Day Weekend reviewing some of the published articles I’ve authored over the past three decades – – yes, at home the entire weekend after far too much traveling in August. I came across one piece that caught my eye, written back in 2001 (A very good time for that sales audit).

Given the industry experiencing occupancy, a.d.r. and RevPAR growth along with a strong return of group demand – – and continued growth for all four metrics forecasted for 2016 – – now is an even better time for owners, asset managers and operators to authorize independent sales audits- – I prefer to call them sales “reviews” or sales “assessments”.

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After Currency Moves, Don’t Count The Chinese Out

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

All last week, the world’s financial markets were roiled by China’s 4.4% devaluation of its currency, the yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB). It was the currency’s largest devaluation in decades and, not surprisingly, almost everyone even remotely interested in China was concerned. The biggest concern revolved around the state of the Chinese economy that now ranks as the world’s second largest after the US. Seeking to ease the uncertainty, the People’s Bank of China called the move a one-off depreciation, saying it was aimed at boosting its private sector exports by cutting their costs, increasing their competitiveness and enhancing performance.

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Will Hotels Follow Airlines’ New Drip Pricing Policies?

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I have long been a proponent for hotels discontinuing drip pricing or hidden fees, rather instead building some or all of those ubiquitous fees into the room rate. Like many, perhaps even most guests faced with the check out bill, I resent being nickeled-and-dimed or being charged for facilities, services and amenities for which I never used nor cared.

“Resort fees” can range from $10 to $60 or more today. They can include access to a fitness center, spa, pool, and business center and daily copies of USA Today. Some properties’ fees may include Internet/Wi-Fi in-room, valet parking only, in-room safe, mini-bar, and bottled water. And let’s not forget the bed tax on top.

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Learn Their Culture & Win

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I recently returned from a tour of 6 European countries during which I had time to think about the cultural nuances of each. While English was widely spoken and all the countries I visited boasted a patina of international sophistication and used a common currency (the euro), each also had its own language not to mention its own local architectural style and regional mealtime favorites. Even their local music was unique to itself.

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The Time is Now to Designate JWA a US Port of Entry

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Any reader of my blog knows I travel a lot. It’s part and parcel of the travel and hospitality business. When it’s efficient, and the customer comes first, travel is a joy. When it’s not efficient and the customer isn’t a priority, I can’t help but wonder what keeps this hotel, this restaurant, this train station, this airport from being its very best.

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The Four Horsemen of the Hotel Apocalypse

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

We survived Y2K. We outlived the end of the Mayan calendar. But are you ready for the total annihilation of everything your property holds sacred?

These four ever-present issues are what I see have the four largest problems that we hoteliers will need to confront within the next decade. As I present the hypothetical ‘Four Horsemen of the Hotel Apocalypse’, let’s keep in mind that not only has the idea of the biblical four horsemen changed over time, but so too will the four main detractors to our industry’s current practices.

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Surging Chinese Investment Has Widespread Global Impact, Especially Hospitality Industry

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Earlier this year, I blogged about the excitement in China generated by the news that its Dalian Wanda Group planned to invest $1.09 billion to build and operate a luxury hotel in London. At the time of their announcement (made in the summer of 2013), it was the first luxury hotel venture announced by a Chinese firm outside of China. Since then, Dalian Wanda has added a luxury hotel project in Madrid and, just this past summer, they advised Chicagoans they will open a $900 million skyscraper, the city’s 3rd-tallest building, on Lakeshore Drive East housing a 240-room luxury, 5-star hotel, luxury apartments and retail space in 2018.

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Let’s Keep Our Skies Open

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I’ve been blogging about our world over the past two years and have been impressed as I travel around the US and in my own community served by John Wayne Airport. A lot has changed! I have encountered more travelers, more visitors from overseas and noticed that more people are traveling for leisure than solely on business as was the case in the past. Clearly, this is a sign that our economy is back.

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It’s All Good News From The World’s Travel & Tourism Industry For The Next 20 Years

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

From time to time, I like to tout the strengths of the world’s Travel and Tourism industry. I think most people know Travel and Tourism ranks among the most exciting and dynamic economic sectors on the planet. But, by any measure, 2014 was outstanding. The industry accounted for $7.6 trillion in revenues or 9.8% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and was responsible for providing 105 million jobs, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

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History – Who Needs It?

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana – First and foremost Hispanic-American philosopher, writer and cultural critic

Let’s talk about History and why we all need to make knowing about our global collective past a priority.

The New York Times noted recently that since the recent recession, students on US campuses now view a college education as a vocational training ground and that spending time studying history and the other humanities offers no immediate pay-off.

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Is It Too Late to Fight Back Against Airbnb?

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Despite what many have dismissed as a mere blip on the radar, Airbnb is a force to be reckoned with and we have yet to see just how widely it will impact our livelihoods. But before we discuss this disruptive company and its effects on the hospitality industry, let’s look to Uber and how it is changing the way we utilize vehicles for hire.

Starting out as a niche taxi service provider reliant on smartphone geolocation technology, it’s now far more than just a trendy accessory for millennials living in San Francisco or Brooklyn.

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Chinese Travel to US Accelerates Dramatically / President Obama’s Visa Policy Promises Further Growth

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Recently, I attended a US-China Travel and Tourism Cooperative Event in Chicago hosted by the US Travel Association (USTA) and Brand USA. It was an exceptional conference that attracted such significant industry and government luminaries as US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, USTA CEO Roger Dow, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Chinese Minister of Tourism Li Jinzao, senior travel officials representing major Chinese travel companies, the Mayors of Wuhan and Qingdao and a host of US travel industry executives.

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China Sends Its Sea Turtles Abroad as Its Hotel Brands Begin to Globalize

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Think about this: Last year, China’s Dalian Wanda Group got the attention of the global hotel community with its plans to build and operate in London the first Chinese-built and operated luxury hotel outside of China. Dalian Wanda soon followed up with another project in Madrid; and just this past summer, they told Chicagoans they will open the city’s third tallest building, housing a 5-star luxury hotel, apartments and retail space in 2018 on Lakeshore Drive East.

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American-Styled Democracy May Not Be For Everyone

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The announcement last month about the reset of US-Cuba relations was big news here in the US. Many agree with President Obama that, after 50 years, the US trade embargo against Cuba was not working and that it is time for a change. Others opine that we should have pressed Cuba harder to democratize its political system and address its human rights concerns before agreeing to loosen trade restrictions between our two countries.

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Traveler Safety is Everybody’s Business

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Recently, I came across a study of frequent international business travelers in which about a third of the respondents indicated that their personal security ranks among their primary concerns while traveling. So, to help address this concern, I asked my former colleague Alan Orlob at Marriott International, Inc. to share his thoughts on this subject.

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Surging Chinese Investment Overseas Has Widespread Global Impact, Especially for the Hospitality Industry

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Earlier this year, I blogged about the excitement in China generated by the news that its Dalian Wanda Group planned to invest $1.09bn to build and operate a luxury hotel in London. At the time of their announcement (made in the summer of 2013), it was the first luxury hotel venture announced by a Chinese firm outside of China.

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Transformational Tidal Wave Now Taking Shape In Emerging Markets Will Economically Change Our World

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The facts tell the story. Since 2000 the rise of the world’s emerging markets has been one of the defining, but relatively little reported, features of the global economy.

Consider this: In the next ten years McKinsey & Co. predicts that the annual buying power of people living in just the world’s emerging markets will reach $30 trillion a year. Twenty years ago less than 20% of the world’s population earned enough money to afford little more than the basic necessities of life.

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The Chinese Tourists Are Coming En Masse

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I spent the last half of my 40-year career with Marriott International traveling the globe as president and managing director of the company’s offshore lodging division. During those years, I visited China at least 5 times a year. I was impressed, at the time, to find the nature of the Chinese people was always welcoming and hospitable. I also learned that their culture and value system was vastly different from ours.

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Jack Vaughn, the Consummate Hotelier

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Much will be written and spoken since word reached all of us last week of the passing of hotel icon Jack Vaughn.

It was Jack, along with his partner-in-crime Mike “Shiny” Dimond (Mike “Shiny” Dimond: One of the Great Hotel Sales Impresarios / David M. Brudney / June 2008) who put Opryland Hotel – – and Nashville, for that matter – – on the map as a meetings and conventions destination and industry in the mid-’70s.

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Effective, Successful Leadership – Walk the Talk if You Want to Lead

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Everywhere we look these days, it seems, everything appears to be falling apart. New, politically explosive global trouble spots emerge daily while lingering ones become more demanding and complex. Barbaric atrocities have become a staple on the evening news while many of our global leaders seem feckless and perplexed about how to respond to the challenges before them.

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How to Merge Face to Face with Technology

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

As Warren Buffet once said, “How will you ever see eye to eye if you’re never face to face?”

Many would lead you to believe face-to-face communications are a thing of past. After all, we have email, cellphones, social networks, Skype and webcams; why bother with this archaic and time-consuming medium? Working closely with the hospitality sales master David M. Brudney, of David Brudney & Associates and the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, I can tell you that this belief is wrong.

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Let’s Celebrate Global Tourism’s Contributions on September 27 – World Tourism Day

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Later this month, on September 27, people around the world will mark World Tourism Day as they have every year since 1980. That’s the day the United Nations designated as the one on which we recognize the positive contributions that global tourism makes each day to the world’s economic, cultural, political and social life.

Tourism today is a trillion-dollar industry involving the movement of more than one billion tourists across borders and another five to six billion travelers domestically every year.

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As Hotel Industry Business Model Evolves…Who Wins and Who Loses?

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

When I joined Marriott Corporation in 1972, the company’s portfolio consisted of 22 properties—three franchises, one managed property and 18 company-owned hotels. As a business model, Ownership was easily understood. The Marriott corporate culture and values applied. Capital decisions and development were in Bill Marriott’s hands. We were growing, so considerable focus was placed on developing our associates. The company had clear objectives and direction.

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Illegal Vs. Legal Immigration Is A Global Issue

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The world has become increasingly global and interconnected in the past 10-15 years. And while people have been on the move since time began, welcomed immigration has tended to move in step with economic conditions—rising when the local economy is strong enough to accommodate the influx of new people and dropping when it is weaker.

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Service, Profit, or Both?

By: Chuck Kelley
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Most commentary on service excellence expresses some or all of these themes: Exceeding customer expectations, anticipating guests’ needs, being responsive, creating the impression that someone cares, memorable moments, the difference is service, and so on. I couldn’t agree more, but it is very difficult to measure the impact of these themes in a vacuum. Yet at times it seems that it is all about the service and that other priorities will take care of themselves.

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Service Excellence From The Inside Out

By: Chuck Kelley
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

It seems like there has been a lot of chatter recently about the service priority and why service is the difference maker. Or maybe this is just my imagination and the chatter is always present. In any case, I have my own opinions and wanted to add to the chatter.

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Know The History And Culture: Your Keys To Getting It Right Overseas

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

For more than three centuries now, noted philosophers, historians and politicos of the day from Edmund Burke to George Santayana to Jesse Ventura have all told us to know the history of a place or a people or “be doomed to repeat it.” Seems like simple enough advice. Yet a quick look through recent global headlines, particularly those related to events now unfolding in the Middle East, and it makes one wonder if anyone is paying attention.

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In China, Dining Is Where ‘Guanxi’ Grows

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

You’d be hard pressed to identify a culture that isn’t proud of its cuisine or doesn’t make a big deal out of dining. But nowhere is this pride more evident than in the Chinese culture where dining is an art form that extends well beyond the food being consumed, and is the garden in which most relationships, both business and personal, can take root and flourish.

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Sea Turtles: Linking China’s Future to the World

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

So, what do sea turtles and China’s economic prowess have to do with the rest of us anyway? … Plenty! It’s time that we take notice and welcome the sea turtle presence among us. Since 1978, more than 2.6 million Chinese students have gone abroad to study and America’s elite universities and colleges have ranked among their top choices. Last year alone, these institutions claimed more than half of the 400,000 Chinese students who went abroad – positioning China as the top sender of international students to this country for the fourth consecutive year, beating out Japan, India and South Korea. China’s Ministry of Education reports that about half of these students return and, over the years, have made a huge difference in the country and to its people.

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Chinese Tourists Pouring Into Orange County: Are We Ready?

By: Edwin Fuller Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors There’s no way around it: if you live and work in Orange County today, or do business here, one way or another, your life will be touched in some way by the more than 1 million visitors from China...

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Are We Losing Touch In This Age Of Digital Communications?

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

The numbers are mind-boggling. Social networking reportedly now eats up more than three hours of the average American’s day. Google logs more than one billion searches each day. On YouTube, 60 hours of content gets uploaded every minute, and over at Facebook, more than 800 million updates are recorded daily. We are becoming so wired technologically 24/7 that before we know it we’ve lost track of time and, sadly for many of us, we learn we’ve lost touch with some of our most important relationships both personally and professionally.

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The Time Is Now for Our Industry, Its Future Leaders and Educators

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Today’s educational community is often accused by the industry of not keeping up with the changing needs of the workplace and of churning out graduates who are ill prepared. The fact is, however, that today’s academic community holds the key to developing our future leaders–whatever the industry.

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Ellsworth M. Statler & Kemmons Wilson

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

“Cathedral Thinking” is a term now back in use, reminding us that idea pioneers and long-range thinkers have always been the ones who did today those things that would benefit future generations – be they grandchildren or fellow entrepreneurs or communities. Often, it is about designing something or creating a concept that will grow and develop and become more evolved given time – and eventually be instrumental in a new good, a gift to others.

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Sales and Operations DO Work Together Indeed – a Rebuttal by David Brudney

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

“Sales and operations will never get along?” Has the author been living and working on Mars? I had to double-check the date of Steve DiGioia’s article “Why sales and operations will never get along” posted last week on Hotel-Online. I thought Steve was writing about sales and operation issues back in the ’70s and ’80s, but certainly not today.

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Don’t Disrespect Your Core Demographic:

With so many specialty markets to shoot for, you simply cannot forget about your most important clientele.

By: Chuck Kelley
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

What is the biggest mistake you ever made? Mine was missing a business opportunity for the wrong reasons. I was distracted by assumptions and ignored the signals. Early in my career we had converted a restaurant and lounge into an action lounge (disco) with a small gourmet restaurant. I was the restaurant and lounge manager. From memory, the lounge could accommodate 350 comfortably, had two dance floors with one elevated backgammon/gaming areas and a state-of-the-art DJ booth. The restaurant was glassed in and overlooked the elevated dance floor.

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Building Relationships That Stand The Test Of Time And Events (Good & Bad)

By: Ed Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

In a previous article I discussed how having good personal business relationships can often save the day when something goes awry. But, successful relationships don’t just happen over night; they are two-way affairs. Partners and associates must believe in the honesty and good faith of their leaders, and vice versa. When and how trust develops between business partners or between leaders and the people they lead depends on previous experiences, the personalities involved and the specific situation.

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Mentoring for Associate Growth: Beyond the Annual Performance Review

By: Sandy Leandro
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I was asked to create many training programs during my 39-year career. Some were considered the “flavor of the month”. Others were initiatives that became a part of the culture of the company. One of them was when I was asked to create a mentoring program for senior executives in the company to mentor females and minorities who were seen as the future leaders of the organization. Although it was the responsibility of the managers of these associates to guide and mentor them, that did not always happen and, at times, the mentoring was targeted to the benefit of the manager, not the future of the associate.

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Asia — Global Tourism’s Driving Force

By: Edwin Fuller Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors Over the next decade, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts Asia’s travel and tourism industry will grow by more than 6% each year—the fastest expansion rate of any region in the...

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Colombia Looks to Grow MICE Business

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I haven’t written in a few months because of my heavy speaking and travel schedule, which was highlighted by a trip to Colombia for a three-day symposium on the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions industry. The first International Symposium for the Events and Conventions Industry was put on by COTELCO, Columbia’s Hotel and Tourism Association, and took place at the Plaza Mayor in the city of Medellin.

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Extended-Stay Hotel

By: Gordon Carncross
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Challenge: A newly opened downtown extended-stay hotel was heading into the summer months with virtually no business on the books. The owner and brand team suggested that more volume corporate business and leisure packages be sold to increase the forecasted occupancy of 45% for July and August.

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British Columbia Resort

By: Gordon Carncross
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Challenge: This destination Hotel Resort in BC offers a premium location with world-class views and amenities and an ownership committed to excellence and growth. Year on year, the resort has either lost money or broken even, particularly in the five F&B venues.

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Llamas Rule: It’s Out!

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I am pleased to announce that my second book entitled “Llamas Rule” has just been released. This 504-page book continues where “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” left off, with over 125 new essays on hospitality management and marketing.

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Hybrid Meetings Not a Fad, Not a Threat

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I’ve been writing the past couple of years about hybrid meetings – – the evolution of and demystification of hybrid meetings and its impact on face-to-face meetings. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, I’ve written, “the accounts of the death of face-to-face meetings have been greatly exaggerated.”

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The Four-Pillar Imperative of Hotel Positioning

By: Chuck Kelley
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Do you really understand how to position your hotel and then profit from that positioning? We show you how in a few smart steps. Positioning your hotel can be a matter of profit or loss. However, it’s not as easy as it seems. Though this subject is discussed often, it’s frequently misunderstood. And how exactly do you create successful positioning and is your hotel positioned correctly?

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A Professional Consultant’s Notebook

By: David M. Brudney
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

I can list several reasons for why my solo consulting practice has survived more than three decades. In the beginning I was able to leverage skills I had honed as a sales and marketing manager and director with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.

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Ten Most Common Hotel Marketing Mistakes

By: Larry Mogelonsky
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

Marketing dollars are precious and scarce. No one wants to pilfer resources away towards programs that fail to deliver a solid return on investment. As a general manager, here are ten thoughts to keep in mind as your hotel marketing team prepares to execute this year’s plan.

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Ten Keys to Career Success

By: Chuck Kelley
Member of Laguna Strategic Advisors

You want to rise to the top in your lodging career, right? These tips will help you achieve your goals. Recently I was asked to address a group of hospitality school students on the topic of career success. My career started as an assistant coffee shop manager in a hotel restaurant and ended as an Executive Vice President.

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The Changing Dynamics of the Global Hotel Industry

By: Edwin Fuller
Founder and President of Laguna Strategic Advisors

China’s hoteliers achieved a dramatic milestone earlier this year –one that signals a profound change in the dynamics of our industry globally. For the first time, not one, but two China-based hotel groups leaped into the ranks of the world’s top 10 hotel companies.

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