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The Western Riviera, CO - Recap

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Anthony is off to Grand Lake, CO, a small town of about 450 people and Colorado's largest natural lake. The 16-room Western Riviera Hotel is on the lakefront but struggles during the winter. Mike and Jackie Tompkins purchased the hotel in 2000 and since then have bought a lot of surrounding property, including an event center. Due to the fact he's limited to a wheelchair, Mike can't oversee the property in the winter season and they don't have enough money to do anything other than keep the place going/

When he pulls into Grand Lake, Anthony is surprised that there are no plows and everyone gets around on snowmobiles. He pulls up to the Western Riviera and talks with a couple of snowmobilers. Anthony explains why he's there and they tell him that the town deliberately leaves the streets unplowed so people can ride their snowmobiles. The hotelier takes in the beautiful view and then goes to the hotel. There's nothing wrong with the exterior and it belongs with the rest of the town.



Inside, Anthony talks to the front desk agent, Anne. She explains that they have a wedding venue but things get quiet in the winter because they're too far away from Denver for easy access. They have a few guests because there is a winter carnival festival, and they get a lot of cross-country skiers as guests. Anne shows him the check-in policy and explains that they don't provide maid service for cabins and condos. She admits that she doesn't know why, and Anthony points out that he should have full service if he's paying for a room.

Anthony goes to the room and discovers that they have cheap patio furniture. The fire extinguisher box breaks off in his hand and the room itself lacks any distinctive decor. There are no comfortable chairs and there's nothing that feel cozy. The blankets are military surplus and the lamps are the cheapest ones possible. On the desk is a sheet of terms and conditions directly in front of the mirror. The bathroom is old and the grout is dirty. Anthony checks the TV and discovers that it's on top of the TV console. When he tries to move it, it falls off.



Next, Anthony goes to see the Tompkins and tells him what he's seen. Mike is a patent attorney with no training in hotels. They saw that the hotel was for sale when they were in Grand Lake and bought it, but they've never made a profit in 13 years. Mike admits that they've lost more than $100,000, and that they own not only the motel but the surrounding cabins as well as the event center for the wedding venue. Anthony figures that Mike is addicted to buying real estate. When he asks who runs the place, Jackie says that Lisa Jones is the GM and doing a great place. Anthony points out that they're losing money and confirms that Jackie does the marketing. He points out that she's doing a bad job but they have a good view to work with.

Anthony calls in Blanche Garcia to redesign the rooms. She admits that the view is great but there's nothing to the room. Anthony wants her to work on it and she assures him she can improve it if it's the only project that he gives her.

After leaving Blanche, Anthony notices an employee shoveling snow. He talks to the woman, Char, and she explains that she's with Housekeeping. Anthony is surprised to discover that Housekeeping doesn't clean all of the rooms, but shovels the walks. Char admits that she has never worked at a hotel before and Anthony goes on his way. Anthony then tracks down Lisa and asks her about the housekeeping service. Lisa explains that they only have two housekeepers and admits that she can't have them cleaning all the rooms. When Anthony asks how much experience she has, Lisa admits that she has no training. She hasn't received a raise in two years and Anthony tells her to get on it if she wants to have a job in a year.



Anthony goes out to look around the town and takes in the beauty. However, during the winter there's nobody there to enjoy it. He checks out the lakeside cabins and realizes that they're in good shape. Two Grand Lake business owners walk past and Anthony talks with them. They explains that they run Colorado Cabin Adventures, and admit that they don't do well in the winter. Anthony talks to the local chamber president, Lisa Jenkins to find out what business they bring in during the winter. Lisa explains that they only have a marketing budget of $60,000 a year, and a single campaign costs $10,000-$20,000. They spend most of the money on their website, and would like branding. She describes the place as magical and Anthony tells her that she has branding: they just need to get the word out.

Jackie invites Anthony to the local Alice in Wonderland winter carnival. They insist that he wear an animal hat for the bed-sled race, and Anthony joins in. They need another pusher so Anthony brings Blanche over. The race begins and Anthony's team wins. Blanche goes back to work while Anthony takes in the rest of the carnival.



Later, Anthony checks in on the room and Blanche introduces him to the local contractor, Duane. They're putting in a new wall, new trim, and a new TV. Anthony confirms that they're putting hooks in to hang up winter clothing, and Blanche says that she's saving a few surprises for later.

Anthony brings in viral marketing expert Joel Comm and introduces him to Snowmobile Steve, who handles snowmobile rentals and training. Steve takes Anthony and Joel out to show them the Continental Divide, and Anthony tells Joel to work in the local ambiance into the viral marketing campaign.

Lisa and Jackie show Anthony the event center, and he's surprised to discover that they have been giving the space out for free for community events. He tells them to step it up, confident that they can make 50% of their revenue from renting out the event center. As he tours the town, Anthony spots men ice fishing a hundred yards away from the hotel. He asks Jackie if they're guests and she says that they're not. Anthony points out that she should set up ice-fishing packages and takes her out to talk to the fishers. One of them owns a local outfitters company and is taking guests out. Anthony does some ice fishing and offers to help the owner, Tim, set up two to three parties a day. He suggests that Jackie and Tim partner up and they promise to do it.



Next, Anthony meets with Mike and Jackie and explains that they have to work with online travel agents and their packages. He also suggests they link up with the Snowmobiling Facebook page and do as much as they can as soon as they can.

Anthony brings in Lisa Barham with Hotel Resources. Lisa works to bring in new business for hotels and shows hoteliers how to do it themselves. She suggests that they list with snowmobile associations and bring them in to boost their revenue. Jackie and Lisa are eager to work with Hotel Resources, who is giving them six months of free service.

Lisa the GM focuses the housekeeping staff on cleaning rooms, and Jackie and Mike call Anthony to the lobby to show him a surprise. They explain that they've set up a website complete with favorable reviews. However, Anthony points out that they're using a summer picture in winter, and they agree to change it. He then goes to the room and checks on the room. The local carpeting company is putting down the carpet and Anthony admits it looks like a Colorado resort hotel. He warns Blanche that they're revealing it in four hours and Blanche assures him that everything is ready.



At noon, Anthony shows Mike and Jackie the room. They're happy to see how much that it's changed and Anthony tells them that's where Mike should be spending his money. He brings Blanche in and she introduces Duane. American Hotel Register has provided coffee machines for all of the rooms as well as fleece blankets. Blanche has put together a plan so they can recreate the work for the other fifteen rooms. Anthony has one more thing to show them and has them meet him in the event center.

That night, Anthony hosts a community get-together and has Joel explain the concept of viral videos. He plans to put the town on the map and assures them that it will only take a small fraction of their budget. Anthony assures the townspeople that they've all opened his hearts to them and offers a toast to Grand Lake.



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