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Wake Up Call! - Episode 3 - David Israel

Wake Up Call! - Episode 3 - David Israel


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In Episode 3, we are joined by David Israel who helps us imagine how the hotel industry could operate more cost effectively, efficiently, and with far fewer people.


David Israel
David Israel, CHA ’09, is a Senior Vice President at hotelAVE and an active member of its Executive Committee. He currently oversees day‐to‐day operations and strategy to maximize the investment value of properties including independent, boutique and branded affiliations in the East Coast, Rocky Mountain, and Caribbean regions.

Alex Shashou
President, ALICE

Sean Cohen
Host, Wake Up Call

Questions we asked in this episode:
  1. Can you make money at 10% occupancy?
  2. Why is 10% and 0% occupancy effectively the same from a revenue perspective?
  3. How long will we be running 0-10% occupancy?  If you model 3 months at 0-10%, that is totally different from 3-9, which is different from more than a year.
  4. How does shutting down a union hotel differ from a non-union hotel?
  5. How much occupancy do you need before you have a positive revenue opportunity - depending on the hotel, is it 30%?
  6. What is whale business when there is no business?  Fema, NHS, Secret Service, health professionals, first responders, 
  7. Goldman Sacks is predicting a 10% GDP cut, how long will it take for a recovery to start and what are the indicators of a recovery?
  8. How do we evaluate the recovery?  Will RevPar take 5 years to recover, as some have suggested?
  9. Will different regions behave very differently?
  10. Of the 50,000 keys who have closed in NYC, how many will reopen?  If fewer reopen, is that good or bad for the industry?
  11. How will group play out? Are 3rd and 4th quarter group bookings still happening?
  12. Association groups make decisions based on the fact that their whole business model is built around conferences - so are they confident or desperate?
  13. Which hotels are allowed to be open right now, legally?
  14. Which guests are traveling?
  15. Some hotels have a moral responsibility to be open and some hotels have a social responsibility to be closed?  How does that work?
  16. Essential services still require hotels to be open, 
  17. Who is that first set of guests who walk into a hotel?  Why did they travel?
  18. Which industries in a pandemic remain strong?
  19. Will staycations become a bigger thing as people get stir crazy?
  20. Will illness drive “celebration of life” business?
  21. Will the Forth of July become a massive travel celebration in the US this year if travel is permitted?
  22. Any sales person who holds an annual quota will return to travel.
  23. What industries will - by their nature - force travel when it is permissible again?
  24. How can the hotel industry operate differently? How would you rebuild the hotel industry?
  25. Will we go task by task and ask: does it need to be done?   Can this task be combined with other tasks to be done more efficiently?
  26. Will we need as many tiers of managers?
  27. Do we need separate attendants for each part of a hotel?
  28. What does a germaphobe need or want from a hotel?
  29. Can one body do the job of two or three? Under what circumstances and with what tools?
  30. Will there be a buffet breakfast again?  Breakfast buffets are cost efficient, will they need to be individually packaged items going forward?
  31. How much business do you need to open 
  32. Why do hotels operate separate kitchens? Can separate restaurant concepts on the same property share a common commissary?
  33. What does true operational efficiency look like?
  34. What occupancy do you need, for instance, to open a banquet hall?
  35. Do we want housekeepers to come into our rooms?
  36. Will the traditional knock and drop survive? Room service has always been only fairly profitable - is there a COVID-19 safe experience that offers private dining an opportunity?
  37. Room service efficiency is possible, and customizable, and perhaps a opportunity - but how would it be different if it were to be an affordable, personal, safe experience?
  38. Heightened cleaning might require different fabrics?
  39. Will the bellman return in an environment where we don’t want others to touch our bags?
  40. Is this an opportunity for the industry to band together and get new cleanliness standards?
  41. Will this prove to be a humbling experience for the service industry?
  42. What are our plans to retain our core employees?  How do we inculcate loyalty in the line level staff?
  43. How can we focus and motivate our hotel employees to be most effective?
  44. If this is an opportunity to hit the reset button, will we listen to our staff and have them help us restart?
  45. What will employee recognition look like going forward, both from the employer but also front he guest side?
  46. Will tipping change - can we as an industry figure out how to tip to the right person?
  47. Will we be surprised at how fast the recovery can happen?
  48. What is your hotel's goal in exiting this?  Coming out of this as a preferred employer?

LINKs mentioned in show

Goldman Sachs Data mentioned:

Digital Tipping:
 US Manufacturing Stepping up to produce ventilators:
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