“Whether you’re running a five star hotel or a one star hotel, you’ve got to deal with basic needs,” says expert Anthony Melchiorri, who has “worked every single job in the hotel business” from front desk and housekeeping to owning and developing properties.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Melchiorri takes safety very seriously.
“We are working second by second, we have to make sure every single person’s needs are met and it starts with basics: safety, security, comfort,” he says.
Melchiorri says property managers and owners need to meet their tenant’s basic needs, as outlined by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Physiological needs of basic survival include food and shelter, warmth, sleep and air. Next, humans need protection from the elements, stability, law and order and to be free of fear.
Melchiorri got his start in the hotel industry in Kansas at the first ever Embassy Suites. He worked his way through the industry and ended up as director of front office operations at the Plaza Hotel in New York. His next role was helping hoteliers turn around struggling properties.
“I became a fixer in New York City,” he says. “If you had a broken hotel, you would call me and I would turn around the hotel.”
Melchiorri is known as the host of “Hotel Impossible,” which aired for nine seasons on the Travel Channel. These days he runs Argeo Hospitality where he offers revenue management consulting. He says running a hotel and being a landlord have a lot in common, including exceptional customer service. He says occupants rely on property managers to deliver that high level of customer service throughout their stay.
Melchiorri has three daughters and values the importance of staying in a place that’s protected and safe. He says smart door locks are the way to go.
“You’re going to need key technology that allows you to open up the door and not leaving keys in a box,” he says. “It’s a safety issue.”
Unlike giving guests a physical key, a property manager can give an occupant access via a smart lock, a virtual key sent by smartphone app. The property manager controls who has access to that virtual key. It’s safer than a traditional lock set up since multiple keys could have been made and distributed. Plus, many smart locks have smart doorbells so the user can see who’s at the door.
Occupants want to be able to contact someone immediately if there’s an issue for anything, including a loud neighbor, a plumbing issue or blackout shades that don’t work, and more. He says it’s ideal for property managers to give tenants a number to call or text 24/7. It’s important to acknowledge the situation and advise them when you’ll fix the problem.
Properties need to be clean and well-maintained, including proper lighting, as well as doors and windows that work well. Melchiorri says it’s problematic for property managers with more than a few properties to manage them with only one or two maintenance people. He advises hiring a management company to handle that property maintenance.
Melchiorri says today’s consumers also want to be comfortable. But comfort doesn’t need to be fancy. Instead properties just need to have modern fundamentals like Wi-Fi, places to charge your phone and comfortable places to sit and relax.
Don’t get bogged down trying to do a lot of things at once. Instead stay focused on an occupant’s security and well-being.
“Make it simple, make it comfortable and then you can grow layers once you get those things down,” he says.