Front Desk

Lessons Can Be Learned From "Hotel Impossible"

I'm not a TV critic or reviewer, but my life does revolve around the DVR. And I've got it set for the Travel Channel at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) Monday to watch the debut of “Hotel Impossible.”

The premise of the show is just like the Food Network's “Restaurant Impossible,” but instead features struggling hotels and their owners looking for a fix. The “hotel fixer,” star and mastermind of the show is Anthony Melchiorri, an industry veteran who's spent the bulk of his career turning around notable properties in Manhattan.

The show offers viewers an inside look at the hotel industry. “There are a lot of people in the restaurant business and there you see the kitchen, the staff, the food as it comes out,” says Melchiorri, who spoke to me a couple weeks ago about the show. “What people don't realize about a hotel is you can't see everything. You can't see 99% of what happens.”

Now, every Monday you'll get a behind-the-scenes and often ugly look inside a struggling independent property. The show is for the casual TV viewer and ultimately the hotel guest, but it still should be appealing to those in the industry if all the episodes are like the first. At Gurney's Inn in Montauk, NY, Melchiorri deals with a family-run and –owned property stuck in the past.

He focuses on the hotel's top management and its lack of leadership and attention to detail, but also offers hands-on lessons to housekeepers, a bellman and the restaurant staff. The tutorials aren't Earth shattering and probably things most hoteliers have heard before, but getting back to basics is Melchiorri's mission and a good lesson for everyone.

“It doesn't take rocket science to clean a room and smile,” Melchiorri says of the simplest, and maybe most important, keys to this industry. “People forgive a nick on the furniture, but not bad service.”

I've heard the same thing from leaders at Marriott and Wyndham, and from GMs across the country, but sometimes a reminder is needed. I think the show will be a success, but either way, at least it's one more thing to keep me away from “Dancing with the Stars.”

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