General Managers Newsletter - December 2016

General Managers Social – 5:00pm December 20, 2016

We are moving the General Manager’s meeting from its traditional date, December 15th to December 20th. The third Thursday in December is a very busy time for all with holiday parties, so we are moving the event to the following week when our catering business is starting to throttle down. With that in mind, CAHA leadership has decided to host our own holiday social gathering starting at 5:00pm on December 20th at the Hyatt Place Charlotte Uptown. We will not be hosting a business meeting on that day.

In addition to spreading a little holiday cheer, we plan to celebrate Sid and Lynn Smith for their service to CAHA over the years. Charlotte’s hotel community would certainly not be as cohesive of a group without Sid’s leadership and the logistical support of Lynn. Mark your calendar and join us for a holiday social and a reflective appreciation for a job well done by Sid and Lynn Smith.

CAHA Bidding for Good Now Online   

CAHA has created a fundraising campaign to support the CPCC hospitality pre-employment training program. You can view the online auction at The funds raised will be applied to student scholarships in the housekeeping and culinary training programs. CAHA members have hired every graduate from the housekeeping program so we know it’s a great resource for recruitment.

Vince Chelena, CAHA Executive Director, with recent graduates from the CPCC housekeeping training program.

Vince Chelena, CAHA Executive Director, with recent graduates from the CPCC housekeeping training program.

The first CAHA Bidding for Good auction is taking place right now and will conclude just before the holidays. A second auction will be held in February just before Valentine’s Day. These weekend packages make a great gift idea and are very popular items on Bidding for Good. Look for the bidding to get serious when the auction starts to close. 

Thank you to the General Managers who contributed to our inaugural auction. It’s not too late to contribute if you didn’t have a chance to participate in the first auction. We are asking member hotels to donate (2) weekend get-a-ways including breakfast for two. With your donation submission, please include the retail value for the package. Please send your certificates to:

Sarah Johnson
1307 W. Morehead Street, Suite 207
Charlotte, NC 28208

CAHA Cares – Blankets for Levine’s Children’s Hospital

Thanks once again to the CAHA HR committee for their thoughtful community project that makes a significant difference in someone else’s life over the holidays. The HR committee has once again orchestrated hotel participation in the Holiday Carnival at the Levine’s Children’s Hospital. CAHA member hotel employees have come together to make fleece-tied blankets to give to children who are likely to spend the Christmas holiday in the hospital. CAHA representatives from the HR committee will deliver the blankets to the hospital at 1:30 pm on December 16th.  Way to go!

Trump’s Pick for Transportation Secretary – Impact on Charlotte?

President-Elect Donald Trump announced Elaine Chao as his nomination for transportation secretary. Chao is an experienced politician and former cabinet member having served as Labor Secretary under George W. Bush from 2001 through 2009. Prior to that, her service includes deputy secretary of transportation from 1989 to 1991.

Why does this matter to Charlotte?

The current transportation secretary and former Charlotte Mayor, Anthony Foxx, has ties to Charlotte transportation projects and his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had a hand in the controversial battle over ownership of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Foxx also was highly invested in Charlotte transportation projects like the Gold Line streetcar and the Gateway Station in Uptown. What will become of these and other Charlotte projects now that Foxx is leaving his transportation post and the new administration begins to transition its own infrastructure priorities?

As the new transportation secretary, Chao will have a key role in helping Trump pass a new infrastructure bill through Congress and initiating a slew of new federally funded projects. This won’t go without scrutiny as Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell will likely be a key player in infrastructure bill negotiations and have considerable say in where those funds are allocated.

With Foxx, everyone knew he had an affinity for Charlotte and maybe his political loyalty created a certain window of opportunity for the city. Chao has no emotional attachment to Charlotte, but the Trump administration must now deliver on big promises for infrastructure improvements. It’s too early to tell how the politics will play out, but it’s bound to capture our attention when it does.

ACC Football Championship Records Low Attendance in Orlando

Although ACC Commissioner John Swofford claimed “a smooth transition” in moving the ACC Football Championship from Charlotte to Orlando, attendance at the game was less than optimal by historic standards. In fact it was the lowest attended Championship game in ACC’s 12-year history.

Last year in Charlotte the Clemson Tigers met the North Carolina Tar Heels and set an attendance record with over 74,000 tickets sold. In its five year association with the game, attendance in Charlotte has averaged nearly 69,000.

By contrast, the lower deck of the Camping World Stadium in Orlando was mostly full with Clemson fans, seemingly holding a slight edge over Virginia Tech fans, but the upper deck was sparsely populated. The official attendance was 50,628 and multiple reports suggest the ACC gave free admission to Disney employees, one of the ACC’s business partners. The ACC acknowledged that free tickets were given to Orlando business partners but disputed reports that “tens of thousands” were given to fill the stadium.

Is Airbnb Stealing Your Corporate Business?

Studies show that Airbnb is becoming more popular among business travelers. Managed travel groups such as American Express Business Travel, BCD Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel now have relationships with the site, and Airbnb recently launched Airbnb for Business specifically to penetrate the business travel and group markets.

Several corporate travel departments haven’t yet endorsed the site. One study shows one in 10 travel departments include Airbnb in their travel policies. However another study shows that 67% of millennial business travelers are interested in staying in shared accommodations.

Using STR data, it’s pretty easy to know which hotels are in a competitive set with Airbnb but it’s nearly impossible to know how many Airbnb options are available on any given night or what they charge or what amenities they might offer. A recent search for Airbnb offerings in Charlotte resulted in over 300 available units. That number is likely to increase substantially in 2017 given the flood of new apartment developments under construction or in the planning stages.

Even if we can’t truly quantify the threat, there are reasonable strategies to entice business travelers to choose hotels over the uncertain experiences offered by Airbnb.

Create a Community: Millennials are Airbnb’s strongest demographic and they tend to enjoy a sense of community. Apartments, homes, condos, especially in residential neighborhoods are less appealing because residents are not always appreciative of transient guests. And while some hotels can be viewed as impersonal, creating communal events where business travelers can gather in an informal setting will help to build a sense of community. 

Promote Peace of Mind: Safety and security issues are always forefront when booking a new Airbnb unit. There are no reasonable assurances someone will be there to help when you need it. If a guest becomes ill or needs help, their only option in an Airbnb unit is to seek medical attention on their own or call 911. In a hotel the front desk is a one-button call away.  

Find the Right Personal Assist: Road warriors come from a different mindset. The ones who book Airbnb are more likely to seek experiences which remind them of home than being overwhelmed with service. Still, they have one or two things they can’t do without. Find them.   

Future CAHA Events

  • CAHA General Membership Meetings: December 20 – Holiday Social (Hyatt Place Charlotte Uptown)

  • CAHA HR Committee Meetings: January 12 (tentative) (Second Thursday of odd-numbered months, 9 AM, subject to change.)

Support Our Supplier Members:

Afterdisaster-Metrolina; Gordon Food Service; Ipswich Shellfish Group; Moneysworth Linen Services; MSS Solutions; PIVOTek; Rainbow International Restoration; Show Pros Event Staffing Services; Tarheel Linen Service; The Charlotte Destination Group; TruGuard Construction Group; U.S. Foodservice; Visit Charlotte; and Where Charlotte Magazine

(Disclaimer:  The information contained herein comes from many reliable sources.  Every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, but neither CAHA nor SALCO Consulting can assume any liability for omissions or inaccuracies. We are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. You are urged to seek appropriate legal or professional council on all legal, accounting, tax or employment issues.)