The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast podcast

The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast

Adam Knight

Welcome to The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast! This show is aimed at demystifying the inner workings of the hospitality industry, and breaking down the tools, tips and tricks that the world's best run hotels use everyday. Each week you'll find hospitality experts from all corners of the industry sharing insights, best practices and skills needed to help you and your business thrive. The show is hosted by Adam Knight, a hospitality veteran and operations expert with 25-years across luxury brands and independent companies. Visit to learn more.

73 episodios

  • The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast podcast

    Hospitality Entrepreneurship and Developing a Hotel: Glenn Malone, Wellengood Partners


    Glenn is the President and CEO of Wellengood Partners, a hotel management and development firm based in Memphis, TN. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a hotel ownership company? I have - and as a senior leader for several hotels and hotel management companies I was close to it for a long time but I always felt I had a knowledge gap in the air quote “business of hotels” side of the industry. This episode tries to fill in the blanks as Glenn, who started as a busboy at a Holiday Inn, talks about his journey up the ladder to eventually developing and managing a hotel. He shares great insight into the mechanics of how his company came to be, the pivot they made when they saw an opportunity to grow, how they went about financing their hotel and the lay of the land today as we emerge from this last downturn. About Glenn Wellengood President & CEO Glenn Malone co-founded the hotel management and development firm in 2002.  As Executive, Malone plays an integral role in expanding the company’s long term hotel development, operations and ownership portfolio. He is one of the founding partners in AAA 4-Diamond hotel The Westin Memphis, which is one of Wellengood’s clients. Raised on a farm in Mississippi, Malone’s career in the hotel industry started at age 16, having worked his way up from ground level positions to executive leader and ownership roles.  His breadth of experience in the industry paved the way for him to successfully develop, brand, launch and operate an expansive and diverse hotel portfolio at Senate, ranging from properties of 80 to nearly 3,000 rooms, both franchised and non-franchised. Malone’s portfolio includes John Q. Hammons Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Gaylord Palms, Gaylord Texan Resort, Gaylord Opryland, Marriott, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn Hotels. Outside of the office, Malone is found traveling with family, enjoying outdoor sports or wrangling cattle back at the farm.  His favorite vacation destination is Vail, CO, where you can find him snowboarding. Links Website:
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    The Pandemic Era Evolution of Wellness Travel & Spas: Tammy Pahel, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort


    Tammy is the Vice President of Spa and Wellness at the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort. Much like hotels and restaurants, Spas and wellness facilities were disproportionately impacted over the past 18 months and even though things are slowly returning to normal, the highly interactive nature of the spa experience is still subject to the customers comfort level in that type of environment. The serendipitous way that the Carillon Miami has managed this, is by investing heavily in new technology and touchless solutions that have not only kept their guests coming to the spa, but created new sources of revenue. More than just enhanced cleaning protocols, Tammy discusses new treatments and ways to package them that have engaged their guests more than ever before, and how they’re leading the industry by making technology more personal. About Tammy Tammy Pahel is a transformative and strategic Spa, Wellness, Fitness and Retail Executive with 30 years of leadership experience. Ms. Pahel has a demonstrated history of shaping high performing cultures for several luxury and global wellness brands. She has been successful in deploying creative social media and marketing strategies resulting in a sustainable increase in revenue. She is known for designing, developing, and implementing an executable strategy to support the overall business vision of the organization while motivating both teams and individuals and financially exceeding corporate objectives through innovative, purposeful data-driven work. Since 2018, Ms. Pahel has acted as Vice President of Spa & Wellness Operations at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort and has had an active involvement in the resort's strategic planning process. She has full responsibility of all spa, health & wellness center, and fitness operations, including membership budgeting, forecasting, cost analysis, fitness, salon, talent acquisition, learning and development, organizational design, and employee engagement. Links Website: Facebook: Twitter: @CarillonHotel Instagram: Email: SilvaClean: ActivePure HVAC: ShareCare: Infinity Saltair Machine: Bryte:
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    Bringing Restaurants Forward: Chad Mackay, CEO, Fire and Vine Hospitality & Simon de Montfort Walker, Oracle Food & Beverage


    Chad is the CEO at Fire and Vine Hospitality, a Seattle based company that owns and operates some of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic properties, including El Gaucho, AQUA by El Gaucho, Aerlume, Yellowhawk Resort, Walla Walla Steak Co., Crossbuck Brewing and their industry leading Revelers Club loyalty program. Simon is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Oracle Food and Beverage Global Business Unit. In times of crisis, having the presence of mind to think about the future feels like a luxury that many business owners can’t afford. Keeping the lights on and the doors open becomes job one - but one day the crisis will end and what might be worse is finding your business firmly planted behind where everyone else moved. That’s the theme of today’s episode. How Fire and Vine used their time during the pandemic to invest in and deploy technology that will help them engage their customers in a more meaningful way, removing friction from their operation and lead the restaurant industry in this recovery - and why having the right technology partner is critical to bring it all together. About Chad Since joining El Gaucho and his father and founder, Paul Mackay in 2003, the two worked together to build a special place for people to celebrate their lives. Chad took the helm as CEO in 2013 and over the years, developed strategic direction to promote continual growth. In 2017, the company announced the evolution to Fire & Vine Hospitality which provides operational leadership, marketing and technology support for some of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic properties, and the Revelers Club program which includes El Gaucho Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Portland and Vancouver (opening in 2021), AQUA by El Gaucho, Aerlume, Yellowhawk Resort, Walla Walla Steak Co., and Crossbuck Brewing. Chad is the outgoing Board Chair of the Washington State Hospitality Association and is the Finance Chair for Visit Seattle. In 2018, he became one of the founding members of Third Door Coalition working to solve chronic homelessness in Seattle and King County through the proven solutions of Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing. About Simon Simon de Montfort Walker is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Oracle Food and Beverage Global Business Unit. Tapped for his deep experience in hospitality technology, Walker leads the business unit’s efforts to deliver innovative hardware and cloud solutions, enabling restaurants of all sizes to personalize the guest experience, streamline operations and grow their businesses. During the past 15 years, de Montfort Walker has built a track record of success in software sales, strategy and execution for both public and private companies. Most recently, he served as the Chief Technology Officer and President of eGate solutions at Gategroup with a focus on hospitality, supply chain and end-customer servicing solutions. He also has served as EVP Operations at Blue Cod Technologies and General Manager for Octavian Inc. Throughout his career, de Montfort Walker has held leadership roles in multiple technology firms as well as led the operational turnaround efforts for technology companies in travel, banking, insurance and hospitality as an operator and, previously, as a management consultant with Sapient Corp. de Montfort Walker holds a bachelor's degree in economics from The University of Kings College and an master’s degree with honors from The University of Texas at Austin. Links Website: Oracle Food & Beverage:
  • The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast podcast

    What it’s like running the worst hotel in the company: Kyle Allison, Hospitality MD


    You may know Kyle Allison as the creator and host of the Hospitality MD podcast. I was actually on his show not long ago. What you may not know is about 4 months ago (at the time of this episode being released), he was offered his first GM role at the worst hotel in the Embassy Suites brand. Forget about just taking on your first GM posting, taking on this type of hotel during the pandemic is something that would stretch the most seasoned of GM’s. Kyle shares valuable insights into his motivation for taking the job, his experience from Day 1 through week 9 and even reflects on some lessons that I believe can help just about anyone taking on a new role - of which I know there are a lot of people doing right now. I truly appreciate Kyle’s openness and honesty about his experience and I hope you find something in our conversation that resonates with you as well. About Kyle Son of a career flight attendant who exposed me to hospitality, travel, and hotels from a young age. I found myself obsessed and enamored with hotels for as long as I can remember, resulting in scanning the landscape around me in every car ride admiring hotels as we drove by. I specifically remember the red glow of the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport that would pull me in as I rode to the Airport with my mom. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I turned my childhood home into a "hotel" and provided daily "housekeeping services" to my parent's room and even had my own "in room dining" program! When I was 17 years old, I landed a hotel job with no more experience than a newspaper delivery boy from a new department head who came from, you guessed it, the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport. Since then, I have had the opportunity to hold 13 roles at 9 different hotels in 4 different states in task-force and full-time capacities. Links 
  • The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast podcast

    The most effective way to approach upselling: Erik Tengen, Oaky


    Erik is the Co-Founder at Oaky, a hyper-personalised and automated upsell engine that helps hotels drive additional revenue through perfectly timed guest communication. Front Desk upsell programs have existed in varying forms and effectiveness for years. Typically revolving around upselling room categories, many have relied on a front desk agents ability to quickly engage in providing an offer while at the same time going through a litany of brand standards while worrying about ringing phones and the ever growing line of guests forming in the lobby. Oaky is a company on a mission to change this paradigm by using information you already have about your guest to engage them in a personalized and ultimately more effective way. On this episode, Erik shares how the company came about, insights on consumer buying psychology and how some of the most successful hotels are approaching upsells today, along with several other topics. If you’re looking for a more effective solution to drive additional revenue, focusing on a new way of approaching upsells may be the solution. About Erik Meet Erik: Co-founder at Oaky, a passionate public speaker, who is crazy about music and hotel technology. Erik’s speciality is to make other people enthusiastic and to dare. What makes him genuinely happy is inspiring others to break free of old habits and give their own visions a try. Talk to Erik about Hotel technology, Entrepreneurship, Presentations/Pitching, Golf, Skiing, and DJing. Links Website: Oaky Courses:
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    Giving Customers What They Didn’t Know They Wanted: Colin Cowie, Thrive Hospitality


    Even if you don’t work in hospitality, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Colin Cowie. He’s been at the forefront of event and wedding planning for the past 25 years, creating trends and raising the bar for providing the ultimate guest experience for celebrity and corporate clients around the world. He’s also just released his 11th book called The Gold Standard, Giving Your Customers What They Didn’t Know They Wanted, and on this episode we’re diving in to some of Colin’s best practices and principles that have not only filled the pages of his new book, but truly actionable, and fundamentally simple but effective actions that can foster personalized proactive customer service. I took away two key points from this conversation. The first is that in times of crisis and change like hotels and restaurants have been dealing with, coming back to the basics and executing on them exceptionally well will never steer you in the wrong direction. The second is that creating emotional connections with your guests isn’t about expensive gifts or over the top gestures, it just takes care and a bit of imagination. It was truly a pleasure having Colin on the show - and I hope there’s something here that resonates with you as well. About Colin Colin Cowie arrived in the United States from South Africa in 1985. His intelligence, personality, and stylish sensibility led him into the fast-paced, glamorous world of planning over-the-top parties for royalty, celebrities, and business luminaries. Respected around the world as an arbiter of style, Cowie has been at the forefront of event and wedding planning for the past 25 years, creating trends and raising the bar for providing the ultimate guest experience. In addition to Oprah Winfrey, his celebrity clients include Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne, Nicole Kidman, and Demi Moore, to name a few. Cowie’s corporate clients include Dom Perignon, Warner Bros., CBS, The Whitney Museum, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan and Style. His previous books include Dinner After Dark, Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide to Life As It Should Be, and Colin Cowie Wedding Chic. Cowie's latest book, The Gold Standard: Giving Your Customers What They Didn't Know They Wanted, will be released by HarperCollins Leadership on September 7, 2021. Links Book: The Gold Standard: Giving Your Customers What They Didn't Know They Wanted Website: Instagram: @colincoweylifestyle
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    Rethinking Hotel Food & Beverage: Joseph Szala, Vigor Branding


    Joseph Szala is the Managing Director at Vigor, a restaurant branding and marketing agency based in Atlanta. Hotel F&B can be a puzzle. Declining capture rates, downward pressure on menu prices and lack of investment in the interior design have ensured that most hotel restaurants remain uncompetitive guest amenities rather than inspired destinations that draw in guests and surrounding locals. The last 18 months has demanded re-thinking and re-evaluation of every aspect of the hospitality industry - and your hotel restaurant is certainly in that bucket. But with limited resources and in many cases, lack of desire, knowing where to start can be so difficult that it actually limits any forward progress. On this episode, Joseph brings some best practices and philosophies from the independent restaurant world that will undoubtedly help you prioritize your long list of tasks when trying to reinvent your hotel restaurant. About Joseph Joseph Szala founded Vigor, a restaurant branding strategy and design agency in 2003. Since then, he’s led the charge for over 200 restaurant brands across the country. He founded Grits & Grids, the number one website dedicated to sharing design and branding for restaurant, beverage, and hospitality brands. Joseph also serves as host to the restaurant branding podcast, Forktales, where he converses with industry leaders on current hot button topics facing the restaurant world. Links Website: Brooklyn Dumpling Shop: Borne Restaurant Market Reporting:
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    How to create a hospitality comeback strategy: Anne Gannon, The Largo Group


    Anne is the Principal at The Largo Group, an Accounting firm that specializes in the hospitality industry providing monthly bookkeeping, tax services, and business consulting. She’s also the Author of Never Again - a book that was written in response to the tremendous challenges faced by the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without giving much away ahead of the episode, I was surprised to hear that one of the biggest lessons many hotels have learned the hard way over the past 18 month is the importance of cash flow. And not just how much cash is coming in now, but how much is expected to come in throughout the year. Those forecasts have become the lifeblood for ailing hotels, and given that it’s everyone’s favorite time of year, aka Budget Season, I wanted to have Anne on to share more insights from the past 18 months, discuss her new book and to give some guidance on how hotel managers should be approaching their 2022 financials. About Anne Anne Gannon is the Principal at The Largo Group. The Largo Group offers innovative accounting and bookkeeping solutions to businesses and individuals. In 2016 The Largo Group’s revenue has grown 75% year-over-year for the last 5 years. The Largo Group has over 500+ customers from Alaska to Maine and a team size of 8. Anne is often tapped by press as an expert in PPP loans for business. The Largo Group is perfect for those looking for specialized monthly bookkeeping, tax services, and business consulting focused on improving efficiencies and the bottom line. The uniqueness of our firm is that Anne is the sole owner as most accounting firms are partnerships. We are set up as a corporate model. If we win, the team wins. Anne’s audience on social media is greater than 1,500+ and she is happy to share your episode with her fans! Links Website:
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    How to drive more direct bookings in your hotel: Anthony Lazzara, Little Hotelier


    This episode is brought to you by Wheelhouse - the best revenue management platform for vacation and short term rentals.   Learn more about Wheelhouse here ➡️  Use code KNOWINGHOSPITALITY for 50% off your first month with Wheelhouse.  ---  Anthony is the Senior Market Manager for Little Hotelier, a hotel property management system, channel manager, booking engine and website builder all in one - aimed at making it easier for independent hoteliers to run their properties and drive more direct bookings.  And that’s been one of the most difficult puzzles that hotels have been facing for years now. In the past it’s felt like no matter what you did the OTA share of bookings kept growing.  Well times are changing and with the right strategy, your hotel can take advantage.  On this episode Anthony shares a ton of great information about the state of travel and some of the best practices that you can put in place today to not only compete but to use OTAs to your advantage.  This was a great episode that I personally found to be very helpful. I hope you take more than a few ideas away as well.  About Anthony  Based in Texas, Anthony Lazzara is a Senior Market Manager at Little Hotelier, the world’s most trusted hotel management software. With a deep understanding of the needs of small accommodation providers, Anthony has developed specialized knowledge in the North American and the Carribean markets that he manages. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems and Marketing from the University of Arkansas.  About Little Hotelier  We don’t come with a scary price tag. With us, you get a neat little package that helps you do all the things the big properties do, but in your own, uniquely-small way.  Our all-in-one reservation and hotel management system, designed specially for small accommodation providers, gives you:  An easy-to-use front desk system, to keep your property in order  A booking engine for your hotel website, to clinch direct bookings  A great channel manager, to get your property on to OTAs  A website builder, so you can jazz yours up or start from scratch  Reporting and insights, to help you make the best choices  Built-in payments, so you can save up to four minutes per booking  The ability to list on metasearch sites, like Google Hotel Ads Plus, our system is available as a mobile app. This means you can manage your property from anywhere, and never miss a beat when it comes to delighting your guests with extraordinary experiences and memorable stays.  Little Hotelier. From boutique hotels to vacation rentals, we’re the one solution that’s been perfectly designed and fitted out to meet the needs of small property owners and operators.  Links  Little Hotelier:  Anthony's email:
  • The Proven Principles Hospitality Podcast podcast

    Post-Pandemic Hotel Operations: Ken Merkel, Avocet Hospitality


    This episode is brought to you by Wheelhouse - the best revenue management platform for vacation and short term rentals.  Learn more about Wheelhouse here ➡️ Use code KNOWINGHOSPITALITY for 50% off your first month with Wheelhouse. --- Ken is the SVP of Operations at Avocet Hospitality Group, a hotel management company based in Charleston, South Carolina, and he’s been leading the charge to bring the company’s hotels back. And coming back for their hotels has meant a literal hockey stick if you were to graph out rate and occupancy performance since Spring Break. They’re setting records and looking to close out 2021 as one of their best ever. But in operations, high rates and occupancy have to be supported by engaged staff, a full suite of amenities and services, and the ability to get the flywheel turning again. Ken shares how they have been dealing with these challenges and some of the thinking that is going on behind the scenes with respect to balancing “getting back to normal” and what the new normal will actually look like. As an industry we’re all in the same body of water, just in different boats. We’re all dealing with similar challenges and my hope is that in this conversation you’ll find commonality, camaraderie and perhaps some ideas on where you can take your own property. About Ken Ken Merkel is the Senior Vice President of Operations at Avocet Hospitality Group. Since joining the team in January 2009, Merkel has overseen all aspects of operations for Avocet Hospitality Group including employee training and overall guest experience. In his role, Merkel works with team members to ensure that they create strong relationships with guests and the community to deliver memorable experiences and lasting memories. Everyday has the possibility of being unique, different and challenging, but Merkel focuses on working with a group of talented and diverse team members with the ultimate goal of making them happy as his top priority. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Merkel moved to Charleston in 1997 and has more than 30 years experience in the hospitality industry. His previous experience includes working at Kiawah Island Golf Resort where he was involved in the successful openings of both the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island and the Ocean Course clubhouse as well as was part of the team that hosted the 2007 Senior PGA Championship. Additionally, he worked with high-end, luxury hotels such as The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia and The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. In his spare time, Merkel enjoys playing tennis and getting out on the water to fish. Links Website: LinkedIn:

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