Quick notes – the Reception

Our “Quick notes” are sensations, impressions and fast thoughts we want to share around hotels and hospitality. More often we find that a post is too long and often wants to teach something. We don’t want to teach but we prefer to share. A page from our Diary.


The reception is very important because it offers the first impression of a hotel. So many times we find ugly receptions or nice ones badly valued.

I particularly love when the reception is on the ground floor and you don’t need stairs to join it.

Last week we loved this one in Milano, modern and warm.

Informal, as a home-office, but emphatic and cozy:


Day Use Hotel Rooms

Lost your flight and want to stay some more hours in town?
You have 2 business meetings and want to break between those?

Ever heard about Day Use Hotel Rooms?

In last years in Europe, and in Italy as always a little bit later, the use of hotels during the day is expanding.

According to Google Trends the search for the keywords “day use hotel” in last 5 years (2013-2018) has grown constantly, in Europe, United States and South America.

Day Use: how it works

Day use services are generally available between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM at an average price discount of 50% compared to regular hotel booking rates. Discounts can be also of 75% – 90% in some cases. Not only the room is interesting in this formula, but also the access to the Spa of the hotel, the Swimming Pool or the Meeting Room.

The players

One of the most popular services is DAYBREAKHOTELS:
I particularly love their idea of a new type of traveller: the DayBreaker.

In their words:

Founded in February 2013, DayBreakHotels platform has created a new philosophy of lifestyle and a new type of traveller: the DayBreaker.
Without having to wait on weekends, vacations, or annual holidays, the DayBreaker is someone who says yes to comfort during long layovers in airports or train stations, for instance. The DayBreaker mentality is one that lives within all individuals who believe that luxury can be a part of their lives as well, even for just a few hours. Our multi-faceted platform works to suit the needs of every client, from the business manager looking for a place to work or freshen up between appointments or tired airline travellers in need of a place to rest. The service also extends to individuals who need a place to rest up and relax; a short break between planes or long drives.

Another platform is DAYUSE: https://www.dayuse.com/
This online platform allows as well to book hotel rooms during the day, with an offer of 4000 hotels in the world and 700 in Italy. Last luxurious acquisitions are the 5 stars Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milano and the 5 stars Palazzo Montemartini in Roma.
Dayuse.com in Italy in 2017 has registered a +60% in the luxury segment.

Those data demonstrates that this business model is very solid and it capture all travellers in transit, the business travellers and the daycation travellers.

Other interesting portals are:
the French ones  https://fr.roomforday.com/hotel/luxe.html and https://www.soroom-hotel.com

Everyone is happy!

Day use is a great opportunity for hotels – the same room can be sold twice in 24 hours – and for travelers, that can stay in hotels also prestigious at very convenient rates and can use the Spa. Or at least that can use a bed in which they can dispose of jet lag.

Latest trend in day use: Aperi-Use

The Italian hotel group PLANETARIA HOTELS http://www.planetariahotels.com   has launched the idea of the Aperi-Use, a private aperitif with friends in their hotel rooms, between 10 am and 7 pm.

The Aperi-Use is the occasion to taste good cocktails without a barman: just uncork the ready mixed bottle and pour in a tumbler with ice. In Planetaria Hotel rooms you can find at this purpose dry snacks and a collection of “ready made” cocktails prepared by a skillful Italian barman.

What’s new? Online reviews are loosing appeal

As professionals in tour operating industry we know very well that online reviews are useful indications when we need to find hotels and restaurants for our itineraries.

Online reviews changed the Tourism Sector

After the first period of booming, during last years many warned about online reviews and suggestions. If you have time have a look at this very detailed article: https://www.outsideonline.com/1960011/inside-mad-mad-world-tripadvisor.
This is an extreme analysis, but is a point of view we must keep in mind.

A recent trend in tourism is the progressive weakening of online reviews for hotels and restaurants. We are talking of TripAdvisor but also of all the others portals or metasearch portals that base their activity on recommended places (and then also offer best rates for them).

Recent studies show the crisis of generic online reviews

We recently visited the International Tourism Fair “TTG” in Rimini, October 12/14 and attended the seminar ““The Digital tourist is zapping!”, held by the Observatory of Digital Tourism of Milan’s Polytechnic https://www.osservatori.net/ww_en/?___from_store=it_it

The Speakers pointed out that while til 2015 portals as Tripadvisors had 71% of digital tourists using them, in 2016 the percentage moved to 63.
Simultaneously, travel agencies websites raised their credibility moving from 19 to 31% and the hotels and restaurant own websites raised from 7 to 16%.

Furthermore the Speakers illustrated that the scale of credibility for a digital tourist is nowadays as follows:

  • reviews of clients of the hotel/restaurant 33%
  • suggestions of friends or relatives 31%

They concluded that:

Digital Tourists prefer reviews that sound written by someone who has our same taste.

A personal lesson

That doesn’t mean that is a person that we know necessarily well…personally I had a suggestion for a hotel in Rome from a friend of mine. She reccomended it because it was not expensive and well located, since it was near a metro station. For my family of 5 that was a terrible experience: the hotel was far from the centre, it was a sort of religious hostel for pilgrims more than a hotel! It was cheap yes but really too shabby! And the metro…it was too far for my youngest son’s legs so we opted for a taxi. In the end the expenses were much higher that we expected ( and the morale lower!): Furthermore we only stayed there 3 days (and a more handy location would have been preferable) while she was there for a week.

I’ve learnt a simple lesson:

what is good for you is not always good for me, even if I trust you.

The responsibility of professionals in suggesting locations

When we act as professionals we are highly responsible for what we suggest and choose for someone’s else experience as for example a vacation.

Concluding we should say that is good to prefer reviews that sound written by someone who has our same taste, but better if they know our taste and our needs! Which is slightly different.

This is something we always have in mind when we work for our Clients.
And that’s why we first hear from them, we interview them and study their products and offers.



Historic Hotels: The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin

In our serie of Historic Hotel we write today about The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.
Nowadays one of Marriott’s jewels around the world, the Shelbourne Hotel is a part of Dublin city history. Under its roof many significant historical events happened in last two centuries. But also important social and family occasions for generations of Dubliners.
This 5 star luxurios hotel overviews St Stephen’s Green, one of major Dublins’ squares. Around the hotel there are many touristic and famous places as the Trinity College and the National Gallery.

The Hotel has 265 rooms, ready to gift luxe and comfort, with their prestigious furnitures e valuable fabrics.

A long list of famous Guests…and an unusual one!

Among the long list of famous Guests we can remember actors and politicians as: Charlie Chaplin, Peter O’Toole, John Wayne, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rock Hudson, Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama…ok we can stop here.
There’s also a particular Guest, according to some clients and staff declarations: the Ghost of a young girl! It is believed the hotel room’s spirit is Mary Masters, a seven-year-old girl who died of cholera in 1791. You cannot miss a ghost tale in Ireland!

A little bit of history

The Shelbourne Hotel was established in 1824 by Martin Burke, whose ambition was to open a hotel in Dublin for ‘clients who wanted solid and comfortable accommodation at a fashionable address’. The name Martin Burke chose for the hotel reflected his sense of business. He named it after Lord Shelburne, taking the liberty of adding an ‘o’; this way he instantly linked the hotel with his fame and his ascendancy.
Within a year of its opening, The Shelbourne was at the centre of Irish upper class social life. Martin Burke realized his ambition.
Martin Burke is remembered as a great hotelier who ‘contributed to the welfare and improvement of Dublin’.
After Burke’s death in 1863 the hotel maintained its splendor and fame: famous actors and actresses from London companies became frequent visitors.
In 1881, electricity reached some parts of Dublin and, in time, the Shelbourne.
In early 1900, the hotel enjoyed great success. New additions included the telephone and a lift. Guests started arriving by car and tram. We love to see that Historic Hotels are often places in which often new inventions and modern comforts take place first (as for the case of the lift at Grand Hotel Pera Palace  http://homesuitehomeblog.org/historic-hotels-the-grand-hotel-pera-palace-istanbul/ )
After the two world wars the hotel was restored and re opened maintaining its excellent standards and clients.

A historic meeting at the Shelbourne: The Irish Constitution

From February to May 1922, the Shelbourne hosted its most historic meeting: the draft of the Irish Constitution, that took place in room 112, under the chairmanship of Michael Collins. This room is now The Constitution Room.

A draft copy of the constitution resides in the museum.

A hotel with its own museum

The museum is defined as a social archive, not just of the hotel, but also of the surrounding city and countryside. The Shelbourne’s museum contains stories from staff, guests and commentators. You can find there menus, letters and articles that represent the history of the hotel’s various eras.

Even TV series!

National Geoghraphic recently produced tv series at the Shelbourne. Episodes show the impeccable service and what is needed behind the scenes to obtain it. The entire Staff – managers, chef, concierge,florists, houseekeping employees – has been shooted by cameras during the preparation of big events, famous international politics arrivals and of course during crisis moments!

Book your room: hard choice among famous suites

Today you can book a room at the Shelbourne quite easily if you can afford it – http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dubbr-the-shelbourne-dublin-a-renaissance-hotel/
If you dare you can reserve one of 13 historic meeting rooms, but consider that the most famous is undoubtedly the Constitution Suite. With luxurious silk wall coverings, crystal chandelier and views over St. Stephen’s Green, the Constitution Suite offers you the chance to create your own history in this very special room. Otherwise you should go straight for one of the 19 suites named after famous guests like JFK and Princess Grace.
You will certainly enjoy the Spa of the hotel, with 6 special treatments rooms, manicure and pedicure and a swimming pool.
Reserving a table at the Restaurant Saddle Room, will allow you to eat delicious meal dishes as well as delicate fish proposal.

7 Reasons to hire a freelance hotels contractors agency

We assume you are a tour operator or a specialized travel consultant. You know Hotels for accommodating your guests are a big cost in your Operations, and not only from an economic point of view (see our recent post http://homesuitehomeblog.org/hotels-choice-negotiation-cost/ : )
You have a person who takes care of buying goods and services for your company, one of those tasks is hotels accommodations.


As Senior buyers we know that it’s not the same thing to buy goods or services. As well as is not the same thing to buy a service as an IT maintenance or to choose and book a hotel for a group.

If you have chosen to have a specific hotel buyer you might have taped different key words on Google Search.

  • You can tap “hotel consultant for tour operators” and will probably find lists of hotels business consultants. Not what you are looking for.
  • You can tap “hotel contract manager” and you can find lists of people working mostly for the same tour operator. As employees they change their job looking for better conditions coming to work for you. Can you afford this expense and obtain the best professionals? and will they change one day or another finding better conditions?  we covered this role as well for some tour operators in our past and know how it works
  • You can tap “destination management specialist” and you can find high- expert companies that purpose you the whole tour package, that you would however like to develop by yourself.

But why not to hire a freelance hotels contractor agency? It seems a little difference while it’s a huge one.


Let us explain you why:

  1. a hotels contractors agency has a huge portfolio of hotels, built with every Client not only the ones they fixed in their itineraries, but also all the disregarded options proposed and found for the purpose
  2. Speed, because the freelance agency (unlike the in-house management) isn’t distracted by other tasks
  3. a hotels contractors agency has learnt to listen more than others, because we switch around companies often we’re used to the fast learning curve
  4. a hotels contractors agency can use the same supplier for other groups which means that we can leverage better rates
  5. on boarding a hotels contractors agency is easy and speedy, no geographical border nor local job legislation is an obstacle.
  6. specialized professionals, we are first of all senior buyers, that means we have specific skills in contracting ad negotiating best rates and conditions
  7. Knowledge of ‘best practice’ and effective solutions from within tourism sector.


More generally since freelance work with many different companies and may have worked through this problem in the past with someone else, they can really provide a perspective based on what they’ve seen work (or not) before. And given this experience, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that clients probably wouldn’t have been able to see on their own.

Furthermore nowadays remote teams are very common (and many studies try to understand the best way to manage them https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/05/30/12-important-ways-besides-communication-to-manage-remote-teams/#5fee140a63e6)  and certainly are spreading in the tourism sector with its global vision and mission.


Historic Hotels: the Grand Hotel in Rimini and its Liberty Style

We continue our posts of the serie “historic hotels”, this time we remain in our beloved Italy.
We visit the Grand Hotel in Rimini  http://www.grandhotelrimini.com/en/#.WUktL8ZabR0,  in the Emilia Romagna region.

Our Clients needs and ideas enriches our hotels portfolio

The idea of this post comes from the Chef Tour of Tourissimo, one of our Clients. Tourissimo has recently ended its itinerary https://www.tourissimo.travel/emilia-romagna-chef-bike-tour  with a stay at the Grand Hotel . We ‘ve been involved in the hotels rooms booking process.

So we immersed ourselves in one of the most sparkling periods of italian twenty century: the period of Art Nouveau, that in Italy is called Liberty.
Italy has a huge heritage of Liberty art and the Grand Hotel in Rimini is one of the main examples of Liberty buildings.

History of the building

The hotel has 200 rooms, spaciuos terraces and a magnificent faceade Liberty style.
Inauguration was in 1908, the south american architect Paolo Somazzi designed the hotel few years before.
Internally still today we can admire french and venetian furntitures of XVIII century that commemorate a pompous past. And don’t miss the exotic gardens!

The hotel doesn’t directly face the sea. That’s because in that period nobility and upper class had no interest for the seaside, that would be an absurd concept nowadays!

In 1920 a big fire destroyed upper rooms and the 2 big ornamental domes were lost in the event.
Also the second world war damaged seriously the hotel.
However the hotel has been reconstructed and still has its original charme. Furthermore In 1994 the Grand Hotel Rimini was recognized as a national monument and it is under the protection of the Superintendent of Fine Arts.
In july 2008 the hotel celebrated 100 year with dedicated events.
Since december 20017 the hotel is part of the italian Hotel Group Select Hotels, owned by the Batani family. Select Hotels is one of few italian Hotels Group.
The onwer Antonio has revealed that

“after being engaged with this wonderful lady for many years, finally I got married with her!”

Many famous guests has onoured the Grand Hotel during its centennial story…actors, politicians, rich and famous people.

The Grand Hotel and Federico Fellini

Surely an important famous person for this hotel was the italian director Federico Fellini. Fellini was born in Rimini and had been fascinated from the hotel since its childhood.

In his famous film “A’Marcord” (dated 1973) the Hotel was the ubiquitous background of many scenes, even if in a dreamy and magic interpretation.

A friendly and modern Staff

Nowadays relating with so impressive hotels, with their memories and glorious past, can be a little bit frightening.
But from our part we’ve been delighted and surprised by the extremely friendly staff, very attentive and efficient.

A hotel that doesn’t live only basing on its fame but that is able to renew its appeal every day.