Air Force Acting Chief of Lodging and Lodging Operations Officer Capt. Christopher Dillard spoke with Military Club & Hospitality about another successful year for the Air Force Lodging Program. With 89 Air Force Inns worldwide, fiscal 2013 revenues were $377.7 million, an increase of $62.3 million from fiscal 2012, as a result of the first rate increase in six years, according to Dillard, who noted that the lodging program had another slight rate increase for fiscal 2014, with revenue at $160 million year-to-date (as of the second quarter).
MCH: What were the highlights of Air Force Inns during fiscal 2013 and in fiscal 2014? Were there any initiatives that exceeded expectations? Were there any initiatives that did not meet expectations? Please explain.
Dillard: The last year and a half was a major turning point for Air Force Inns. At the start of fiscal 2014, we adjusted our rates incorporating authorized appropriated fund (APF) expenses (i.e., linen cleaning, cable TV, cleaning supplies, etc.) into the lodging rate, allowing installations to redistribute over $42 million into their mission requirements.
We also invested $140 million back into our properties, updating carpeting, furnishings and telecommunications as part of room refreshments and renovations. Every year we put back into our properties to ensure we maintain our standards.
Technology updates are ongoing essential efforts to take care of our customers. In fiscal 2012, we began a full upgrade of our cable, phone and Internet infrastructure. In regard to cable television, we have completed 18 installations, with 11 more in the queue. We completed 64 installation phone switch upgrades, with 23 more pending scheduling.
To ensure efficient operations, we are in the process of ‘Right Sizing’ our properties. This effort will allow installations to close rooms, or entire buildings, based on installation occupancy rates. By ensuring our properties are managed correctly, the potential risks associated with needless renovations reduces the possibility of waste. These actions afford us the opportunity to recapitalize, through new construction, at installations with the greatest need and with a realistic rate of return (RoR) on investment, further allowing us to ensure the Air Force Lodging Fund (AFLF) remains solvent through the out years. ...
Navy Lodge Program Director Michael J. Bockelman spoke with Military Club & Hospitality about the continuing evolution of the Navy Lodge Program, which includes 39 Navy Lodges around the world. During fiscal 2013, Navy Lodge revenue was approximately $74 million, compared with fiscal 2012 revenue of $75 million, according to Bockelman, who noted that year-to-date revenue is running similar to last year.
MCH: What is the current state of the Navy Lodge Program? Please explain.
Bockelman: The Navy Lodge Program continues to reinforce its brand elements in conjunction with branding across the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Enterprise. This multi-faceted program will create a consistent and seamless customer experience, emphasizing quality, value and savings.
The Navy Lodge Program has reached critical mass and guest value experience with the rollout of the new lobby designs and functions, family suites, breakfast program, pet policy and PREMIER guest service. The Navy Lodge Program is in the midst of its long-term strategic reset plan. The key focus of the strategy remains to enhance the Navy Lodge to meet the needs of today’s military family, and to align with NEXCOM’s global vision.
Simply put: More technology, more electrical outlets and more style. The Navy Lodge Program is putting in the rooms what military members and their families want. ...Read more NAVY LODGE PROGRAM MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS ...
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Navy Lodging Program Manager Tamara Davis spoke with Military Club & Hospitality about the state of the Navy Lodging Program, which operates 69 Gateway Inns & Suites (NGIS) facilities, 50 Navy Getaways and nine Fisher Houses. According to Davis, NGIS revenues were $235.8 million for fiscal 2013, up from $217.2 in fiscal 2012, while Navy Getaways revenues were $21.7 million in fiscal 2013, up from $19.7 million for fiscal 2012.
MCH: What were the highlights of the Navy Lodging Program (NGIS, Navy Getaways and Fisher House) over the past year? Were there any initiatives that exceeded expectations? Were there any initiatives that did not meet expectations? Please explain.
Davis: Navy Gateway Inns & Suites ‘Right Sizing’… inventory … facility conversions to meet mission requirements … renovations and new construction … enhancing and raising the bar on core program standards … redefining accreditation standards …— finalizing program policies — it has been a very busy year for the entire CNIC team, regional lodging directors and installation general managers.
Navy Getaways (NG) has had another year of increased occupancy, offering the military community the best in Navy recreation lodging experiences, and location, location, location! NG has updated our uniform policy to better reflect our brand development and commitment to promoting all NG locations worldwide. We have three new design packages to refresh and refine our locations, reviewing possible new locations and redesigning our web reservation system for greater ease of use to make it easier than ever before for guests to enjoy NG.
The Navy Fisher House Program continues to enhance program standardization and branding with consistent services and amenities at each Navy and Marine Corps Fisher House. From signage, to policy, to uniforms, to hugs for our families — we offer a focused product for our families.
The rollout of the new NG property management system has been completed at 44 of the 50 NG sites, and has been met with tremendous success. Now at our NG sites, the military community may book reservations 24/7 either at 1-877-NAVYBED or at www.navygetaways.com. This provides greater visibility and occupancy to our sites and our guests, who now have the opportunity to explore all the great NG sites for all their vacation needs and future getaways.
All initiatives met expectations! ...Read more NAVY LODGING CONTINUES UPWARD SWING ...
Military Club & Hospitality caught up with Siddhi Patel, Lodging Program specialist, Food, Hospitality, Commercial Recreation & Entertainment, NAF Business & Support Services Division, who noted that the Inns of the Corps brand promise is to provide a “Crisp, Clean and Comfortable” experience every time. “We have dedicated professionals and proud leadership across the Marine Corps running our hotels. I am proud to report our mission of taking care of Marines, sailors and their families through Hospitality is alive and well in the United States Marine Corps!”
MCH: What were the highlights of Marine Corps lodging during fiscal 2013 and so far in fiscal 2014? Were there any initiatives that exceeded expectations? Were there any initiatives that did not meet expectations? Please explain.
Patel: The biggest accomplishment to highlight 2013 and 2014 was the launch of our Inns of the Corps Brand Ambassador Training. This training combined classroom training, “hands on” training, as well as one-on-one training. Our certified Brand Ambassadors spent a full week at each of our TLFs working with the management and staff. The training curriculum concentrated on reinforcing “best in class” operating procedures, and introduced them to our branded service recovery program, “I Can Do That.” As a supplement and sustainment tool to the training, our team developed a training video for all new associates to be used as refresher training annually.
Also in 2013, the Marine Corps completed construction of two new additions to the TLF program — one aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C. [see page 26] and the other at MCAS Miramar, Calif. [see MCH, September 2013]. Both facilities were completed in May 2013, adding an additional 150 beautiful guest rooms to the program.
Inns of the Corps teams across the Marine Corps are proud and dedicated to taking care of Marines and their families by working to make every stay wonderfully memorable. I point to our guest satisfaction survey (GSS) scores, which have continued to rise from 87 percent in 2012 to 93 percent in 2013, despite challenging fiscal environments. ...Read more MARINE CORPS: PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAILS ...
Military Club & Hospitality spoke with Coast Guard Community Services Command (CGCSC) Morale, Well-Being and Recreation (MWR) Director Gary Scheer, who noted that the Coast Guard’s 23 lodging facilities generated more than $5 million in revenues in fiscal 2013, an increase of $706,630 from fiscal 2012. Revenue for the 1st quarter in fiscal 2014 was $1,176,686.
MCH: What were the highlights of Coast Guard lodging during fiscal 2013 and into fiscal 2014? Were there any initiatives that exceeded expectations? Were there any initiatives that did not meet expectations?
Scheer: We were very pleased this year as Coast Guard lodging revenues exceeded the $5 million threshold for the first time. The Recreational Lodging in Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, realized a 170 percent increase in revenue from last year. Paige Kelly, MWR director at Sector San Juan notes this dramatic increase is due in part to a serious concentration on enhanced customer service. Catering to business and leisure military travelers demands that the staff be flexible, creative, informed, and most of all, personable.
Leisure travelers are escaping stress, while PCS travelers are carrying stress as part of their luggage. An attentive staff enhances the client’s experience by identifying this stress and reducing it. That is quality service! Another contributing factor to our revenue increase is the responsive approach to customer feedback. In response to customer feedback, Sector San Juan recently upgraded room décor and amenities. Simple ideas supplied by frequent travelers translate into dollars. The Coast Guard’s core values provide the foundation for how we deliver this service, and it is paid back in the revenue that completes the circle by funding MWR improvements. ...Read more COAST GUARD LODGING REACHING NEW HEIGHTS ...