Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort to Host 17th Annual Give Kids the World Fundraiser

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ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FL – The Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort announced today that it will be hosting their 17th annual fundraiser to benefit the Give Kids the World charity organization on November 8, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The hotel will host a variety of poolside activities for the event including exciting live auctions, silent auctions for hotel stays across the state of Florida and beyond, plus raffle drawings. Live entertainment will be provided and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Sponsorships are available. Contact the Holiday Isle Oceanfront Sales Department for more information: 904-471-2555 ext. 101.

About Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort
Enjoy the benefits of comfortable beachfront hotel accommodations while being only minutes from the charming and historic town of St. Augustine, Florida. Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort offers an ideal beachside location, a friendly and courteous staff, large outdoor swimming pool and free high-speed wireless internet, all at an affordable price.

About Give Kids the World
The Give Kids the World Village is a non-profit resort created to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses by treating them to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. The Village is situated on 70 acres, located near Central Florida’s most popular and loved attractions where these children and their families can experience the magic of wishes come true.

HOWARD JOHNSON PLAZA TAMPA DOWNTOWN TAKES ON NEW IDENTITY AS THE BARRYMORE HOTEL TAMPA RIVERWALK

By H.I. Development Corp.
September 4, 2014

TAMPA, FL – The Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown announced it has changed its name to The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Located on the banks of the Hillsborough River and managed by H.I. Development Corporation, The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk offers a unique experience in a boutique atmosphere, with a fresh new vibe on the scenic Hillsborough River.

“The Barrymore” name is a tribute to the hotel’s focus on the performing and visual arts, inspired by the hotel’s location next to the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts and in the heart of downtown Tampa’s Arts District.
The new logo for The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk is a reflection of its refined, yet casual ambience, with a reference to the flowing waters of the Hillsborough River indicated by the “waves.”

About The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk
The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk is located on the east bank of the Hillsborough River and directly across the street from the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The 14-story hotel boasts a focus on downtown Tampa arts and culture with boutique-inspired atmosphere in the heart of downtown Tampa’s growing Arts District.

About H.I. Development Corp.
Founded in 1959 by Mr. Robinson Callen, and under the direction of Andre P. Callen today, H.I. Development specializes in development and management within the hospitality industry. H.I. Development and its affiliates have been developing and operating nationally known franchised and independent hotels in the United States, Caribbean, and Europe for over 50 years. It is one of the foremost privately owned hotel management and consulting companies in the United States. In addition to domestic hotel development, acquisition and management, heavily concentrated in Florida and the southeastern United States, H.I. Development has managed international hotels, with a strong presence in France, which holdings were divested in the late 1980’s, and through an affiliate, holdings in Puerto Rico, including launching the El Tropical Casino brand, famous island-wide. Throughout the years, H.I. Development has also successfully provided hotel management and services for unrelated ownership groups, including lenders. For more information, please visit http://www.hidevelopment.com.

How Using Hashtags in Your Social Media Posts Can Get You Free Ice Cream

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The title of this post sounds funny, but it’s actually kind of true.

The hashtag, formerly known as the “pound sign” for us old school folks who only know it as the opposite of the star key on a corded telephone, has evolved and taken on a new identity in this age of information available at our fingertips. If you have remotely used any social media website, you’ll notice many posts contain a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag. For social media newbies, the hashtag’s purpose is to group together conversations of a common topic and make them easier to find by users.

In this case, the Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown’s use of the #CoreTour hashtag brought the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream truck to their hotel. The famous ice cream maker gave out free samples of their brand new core flavors on their nationwide promotional tour.

So how did a little ol’ hashtag do all that?

It all started with the morning Facebook browsing session by H.I. Development’s Creative Marketing Specialist, Kimberly Moore, to see what was current (or, “trending”), and if anything was worth re-sharing. She came across a post by another community page mentioning that if you were to go on Twitter and “tweet” to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) with your desire for the truck to visit your office but you had to include the hashtag, “#CoreTour” in the post. Ben and Jerry’s obliged and on Monday, May 12, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck set up an appointment to visit.

This social media campaign arranged by Ben and Jerry’s is a great example of just how effective social media can be in advertising. Kimberly shared the news with all the followers on the Howard Johnson Plaza’s page, other business pages and people commented, liked and shared the post, showing it to all of their followers. She also shared the information on Twitter, where the post was “re-tweeted” and “favorited,” all creating multiple stories, or virality.

“It’s basically just a big chain reaction,” explained Kimberly. “One one person likes it, all their social media following sees it, then if someone from their following re-shares, their following sees it and so on. The more times any action is taken up on a post on a social media website, whether it be a share, a like, a comment, a favorite or a re-tweet, it’s all generating more and more exposure. I’ve noticed we’ve gained some followers in an organic fashion (non-paid advertising) due to the popularity of the Ben and Jerry’s truck paying us a visit.”

And just think, it all started with just one little “pound sign.”

 

Increase Customer Satisfaction by Being a Good Listener

It may sound like a simple rule, like something we’re taught in elementary school to increase our listening comprehension skills in our crucial developing years. When I mean being a good listener, I don’t mean just listening well enough to take ample notes in class just to recite them on an exam later. I’m referring to listening in order to understand – essentially comprehension, but taking it to the next level when a customer has an issue. Nobody wants to see this scenario unfold, but applying some simple listening tips can make the experience turn out better for you and your customer.

In my years in customer service (over 10 years), which involves retail and call center environments, I’ve learned a lot along the way about interacting with the life source of any business: the consumer. They’re our blood and and breath, and really our reason for existence. Failing to listen to what they need can be a recipe for a not-so-tasty supper.

I learned some valuable listening tips when I was working in the call center. This training, I believe, can be applied to not only a telephone sales environment, but any kind of business, especially if the customer encounters a problem (which we always strive to avoid!). Taking a good listen is key to having a happier customer.

Again, there is a vast different between simply hearing and listening – truly digesting their words, listening intently with no distractions and empathizing. To be a good listener you must clarify, summarize, empathize and resolve.

Let’s talk a little about each point:

Clarify. I’ve found that in order to help the consumer the best, the first steps is to clarify the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better picture of what is going on. Was it something that could have been prevented? Was there already a solution your customer was unaware of?

Summarize. I don’t mean reiterate word for word, but by summarizing what your customer just told you shows that you were not merely nodding and smiling. You took the time to show them you listened and that you want to help. You want to fix it and offer to help as best you and your company can. 

Empathize. Validate the emotions the customer is experiencing; let them know you understand. You may feel it on the inside, but showing it on the outside lets the customer know what’s going on in your head (and heart, of course). 

Resolve. Offer to make it right, however it’s fit for your business to do so.

Being a good listener doesn’t only apply to actual in-person conversations; it can be applied to responding to guest reviews on travel sites like Tripadvisor as well. Always respond promptly and offer for the customer to call and further resolve any issues, because no one likes an un-pretty review. 

If they’re telling you what a great job your company is doing, express some gratitude! Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to mediocre or negative ones.

No matter what type of review it is, be thorough with your responses and make it personal. They chose your company to do business with; now give them a reason to do it again.

Sometimes saying “sorry” isn’t enough in today’s market. You have to stand out from the crowd and by tuning up your listening skills, you may be off to a good start.

 

Kimberly Moore is the Creative Marketing Manager for H.I. Development Corporation. 

“When All is Said and Done, More is Usually Said Than Done” – Lou Holtz

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I am not a big Lou Holtz fan, however during his years as the head football coach at Notre Dame University he did share some glorious nuggets of wisdom. “When all is said and done, more is usually said than done” has always been an all to often forgotten favorite of mine. For me this quote has always been a reminder to do more walking the walk than talking the talk even though these days I seem to be too busy to do seldom more than talk the walk or has Coach Holtz may have put it saying the done.

 

As I blur through my days in and out of the many hotels and operations that we have here at H.I. Development I must constantly remind myself that I am always under the scrutiny of employees. They watch my every action to gauge both my belief in what I say as well my practice of the same.

 

The people most influenced by my actions aren’t always aware of how many projects I have going, how late I am for the next meeting, or the incredible amount of paperwork piling up on my desk. They only know what I ask them to do. Of course I am always quick to remind them that I never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do or haven’t done myself. If you make statements like that you better make sure you are modeling the behaviors that you are expecting from everyone else.

 

Personally, my success has all come from walking the walk and backing up the talk. With increased responsibility and the need to delegate the many tasks necessary to keep the organization running smoothly has made me feel like I spend a lot of time talking about the walk.

 

As Managers and Supervisors we all have to remember that no matter how busy we are we must make a very conscious effort to make sure that when all is said and done that as much if not more was done as said.

 

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by: Larry E. Collier, Jr., Director of Operations

Winner or Whiner?

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by Larry E. Collier, Director of Operations for H.I. Development Corp.

 

Several years ago while making one of my regular visits to the Sales Department of a hotel, I noticed a book lying on the table centered in the room. The name of this book was “The Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffrey Gitomer. (If you have never read Jeffery Gitomer, I recommend you Google him and get a book right away). I thumbed through the book and was immediately impressed enough to return to my office and order a copy.

I must pause here to say thanks to Nancy for bringing in that book and introducing me to Jeffrey Gitomer; I will always be grateful.

Coming up through the operations side of our business, I did not have a great deal of exposure to sales and marketing and my training in those fields had been limited to the generic offerings of the many brands I have been associated with during my career.  So, getting my hands on “The Little Red Book of Selling” was like someone turning on the light in the middle of the night. I found his approach to selling to be operational in nature, so I immediately took to it. In fact, it remind me of a lesson long ago learned as a Private in the United States Marine Corps. It was a simple leadership acronym for accomplishing an objective that I continue to apply today.

BAMCIS:
Begin Planning
Arrange Reconnaissance
Make Reconnaissance
Complete Planning
Issue Orders
Supervise

Attacking sales in this manner made perfect sense to me.

Out of all the wonderful nuggets of useful and applicable information that I garnered from that book one of the central themes, and illustrated often throughout the book was “are you Winner or a Whiner”.

As I thought about all the Whiners in my organization, this concept struck a very deep and personal chord with me. I came to the realization that all to often I had joined in or even led the whining that was keeping me from winning.

 All too often we see the reasons we can’t do something as opposed to the reasons we can do something.  We become so focused on our limitations that we are unable to make the best use of our capabilities.

An honest look at any situation will easily help you determine if you are whining or winning. Sometimes winning isn’t the easiest, nor does it go the way you want. Make no mistake about it, winning will require sacrifice; it’s going to hurt, but it’s going to be worth it.  

As we enter into 2014, a year filled with huge opportunities for the hospitality industry, take a few moments to reflect on being a winner as opposed to a whiner. What does that future you look like? I am willing to bet pretty darn good.

Oh yeah, do yourself a favor and check out www.gitomer.com. Of course I recommend “The Little Red Book of Selling”, “The Little Red Book of Sales Answers 99.5 Real World Answers that Make Sense, Make Sales, and Make Money”, “The Sales Bible”, and “ The Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude”.

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Giving

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H.I. Development’s Creative Marketing Manager, Kimberly Moore and Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Schmitt headed over to Tampa’s Metropolitan Ministries to donate their time and efforts to make sure needy families and individuals were able to feed themselves and their families for Thanksgiving.

Working as “food shoppers,” Kimberly and Jennifer got to give one-on-one attention to each individual receiving assistance. “It was really nice to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as we helped them fill up their bags. I was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of food housed inside the building. People really do care about giving back to the community; that’s exactly why we came here too,” said Kimberly. 

“The number of volunteers was amazing. I was really impressed with the number of school-age kids that were volunteering. It’s so important to instill a sense of compassion in our children. The whole experience was very heartwarming and I hope to do it again next year,” said Jennifer. 

Metropolitan Ministries projects to help nearly 590,000 needy families this year, with help from compassionate, giving people. It all starts with a simple desire to help others; that is where true happiness is found. If everyone could have that same inkling of compassion in their hearts, just imagine what big changes we all could make on our communities as a whole. 

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