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Mr. Steven J. Belmonte, CHA
 
1) Please tell something about your organization, key achievements and benefits you provide to Asian hoteliers ? When I left Cendant in 2002, as President and CEO of Ramada, I knew that something in the industry was lacking as it related to the Asian American community. Specifically, having good dialogue and effective communication relative to negotiating fair franchise agreements and negotiating termination of franchise agreements, something we call liquidated damages in our industry.
Hospitality Solutions, LLC was the first company of its kind. Negotiating liquidated damage claims / terminations and new license agreements without the necessity of using a law firm which can get very expensive and often times the attorney used may not be particularly familiar with franchising. We offer AAHOA members a very effective lost cost, flat fee alternative, without the necessity of long on going and often times painful attorney fees. We have been providing this service successfully since 2002, and have successfully negotiated hundreds of claims. We were the first company to offer this service, and there have been many imitators since then. However, if you’re not an industry insider chances are you may not be as effective.
2) How has the economy downturn affected your business? What steps have your taken to help hoteliers in this economy? Any special deal, discount, or offer?

Frankly, our business is down along with the economy. It’s really very simple; when the economy gets bad franchisors are not as aggressive in terminating their franchisees. Therefore our demand drops. However, as soon as the industry rebounds, we anticipate a substantial increase in our business. In order to facilitate the downturn, we have reduced our fees significantly. Our fee was $5,900.00 for a terminated liquidated damage claim and we give AAHOA members a $1,000.00 discount which brings it down to $4,900.00. Now we are discounting by an additional $1,000.00 for a flat fee of $3,900.00 for terminated properties faced with liquidated damages. This is the lowest price since our company began.

3) What do you see as the future of Hotel industry? What major trends will impact hotel business in coming 20 years?

I think the industry will always be bright but cyclical. We average a down cycle about every 6 years. In the future there will be a higher focus of product quality and technology even in the economy brands. The small properties that do not keep up from a product and technology stand point, will no longer be viable and may suffer a “slow death”.

4) What are the 3 main management practices that will help hotel owners to achieve greater success in their business?

1. You have to love the industry and take pride in performing your function with genuine hospitality. There has to be pride in the product you offer and a sense of accomplishment when your guests leave happy.
2. Treat your employees like business partners. Reward them and offer them incentives Give them hope that the hospitality industry is not a dead end job, but the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career. Mentor your young employees.
3. Make wise decisions not UN Informed decisions. Specifically, take your time when evaluating a franchise company. Make sure you are fully aware of the relationship you are getting into, make sure you thoroughly read your franchise agreement, and more importantly thoroughly understand what demands are about to be made of you as the hotel owner.

About Hospitality Solutions LLC

Hospitality Solutions LLC, Randolph, N.J., provides new franchise agreement negotiations, franchise termination and liquidated damage claim negotiations, mediation, expert witness, litigation support, motivational speaking, market studies, feasibility studies, on-site analysis and ownership and development assistance to the hospitality and service industries. Company President and CEO Steven Belmonte, former President and CEO of Ramada Hotels, also served as Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Assn.’s Educational Foundation and served on the Board of Directors of Arlington Hospitality Inc.

For more information, Call : (973) 598-0839, Email stevenbelmonte@aol.com or Visit www.stevenbelmonte.com
 

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