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Branson Misery: Branson, MO Recap

In Branson, Missouri, Anthony arrives at Silver Dollar City to take in the holiday celebration. The hotels are doing well for the most part, but the 50-room Colonial Mountain Inn is having problems. The Inn has a great location but isn't generating enough income. The owner, Smitty, recently purchased the hotel and it's run by his two sons: Rob, the general manager, and Mike, his assistant.

Anthony pulls into the parking lot and notes that the sign looks outdated. There's an extension cord running down the sign. The sign says that it's owned by three generations of US veterans, but Anthony notes that it needs to look good. A hot tub off the parking lot is falling apart, but the pool looks good. Anthony figures that the dingy exterior isn't helping them get walk-in business.

The lobby is surprisingly large. Anthony calls over the front desk agent, Teresa, who explains that they're renovating the area off of the lobby into a dance hall. He has Teresa check him in, and notices that there's no heat and a small portable heater. Teresa admits that it gets pretty cold, and she wears her jacket all of the time. The occupancy that night is 20%, and Anthony figures that Smitty has no hotel experience. Teresa confirms that he doesn't, and gives Anthony a key.

Anthony checks the room and finds it outdated. It's clean but has a massage bed, and Anthony tries it out. It doesn't feel comfortable, and Anthony figures that Smitty bought an old hotel. He warns that the hotel can't make money off of the rooms. Anthony then looks around and sees a clean and updated fire extinguisher. Right next to it is an unlocked laundry chute, and Anthony points out that it's a death trap for children. He opens a door marked lower level laundry facilities, and finds a two-story breezeway.

Anthony tracks down the head maintenance man, Loren, who says that the hotel's biggest maintenance problem is not having the proper tools, staff, or GM. The hotelier shows him the unlocked chute and the laundry facilities door. Loren says that he's asked for locks, but the owners spend their money on auctions for other hotels. They went to a hotel and brought back old furniture, washers, and dryers. Loren shows Anthony the used mattresses and box springs, and Anthony figures that there are bed bugs there. They both smell mold, and Loren confirms that the owners are going to use the purchased furniture to renovate the hotel rooms. Anthony figures the owner is spending thousands of dollars in all the wrong places.

The housekeeper, Jennifer, is working when Anthony finds her. She's the only person, and Anthony asks if she's frustrated. Jennifer says that she's short of linens and pillowcases, and the owners are trying to find better deals. Rob is never there, and Anthony tells Jennifer that he's going to try to straight things out.

That night, Anthony finds Rob on the patio. He's drinking with the employees in front of the hotel, and Anthony says that it's inappropriate. Anthony goes out to the patio and Robert explains that it's an employee appreciation event. They talk privately and Anthony says that Rob shouldn't be drinking with his employees in front of the hotel. Rob says that there is a lot of bickering in his family, and figures that he's best qualified to be the GM. Anthony points out the two security issues, and Rob knows about them. He says that he went to the hardware store that day, and wants Anthony to show Smitty that he can trust Rob. Smitty doesn't like Rob drinking with his employees, and Rob confirms that when he was in the Navy, the commander didn't drink with the men. He got an honorable discharge or a series of misconduct. Anthony says that he'll get to the bottom of the family issues.

The next day, Anthony calls in designer Britany Simon and shows her the room. He wants her to update the room, and then takes her to the lobby so she can put in a more useful barn. Once Britany starts the renovation, Anthony meets with Smitty and asks why he got into the hotel. Smitty explains that he wanted to work out of the house and build to his retirement, and admits that he doesn't have a pension. There is $175,000 debt on the hotel: a loan through the original owners. Smitty has to come up with the money within a year. The bank would not give them a loan until they could show improved occupancy numbers. Smitty wants to increase the occupancy, and admits that he thought up the lobby renovation and the auctioned furniture.

Anthony says that the rooms have to drive revenue, and says that the employees are frustrated that they can't get the supplies that they need while Smitty is bringing in moldy mattresses. Smitty is surprised that Anthony was able to get the breezeway door open, and says that Rob does what he wants when he wants. He confirms that Rob was discharged because of failure to adapt, and it was very disheartening to him. Anthony shows Smitty video of the empty desk, and Smitty says that Rob uses it as his financial collection office. Smitty wants Rob to go out on his own while he keeps his three grandchildren. The owner breaks into tears and says that he hoped making Rob the GM would help him rebuild. Rob was supposed to bring his family in, but they're not coming.

As Smitty gets control of himself, Anthony brings Rob in so they can talk things out. Rob says that when he first started, he thought he was doing a good job. Smitty says that he didn't question what Rob did until Rob rebelled against what he wanted. Rob thought that he could date and party with employees, and he started drawing back from Smitty. His son says that the problems started when Smitty stopped traveling and kept overriding him. Smitty insists that Rob was making bad decisions, and the employees said that they never saw Rob. Anthony warns that it goes beyond his ability to help, and Rob admits that he's disappointed his father and himself. The hotelier then tells Smitty that he has to take responsibility and figure out how to work with Rob.

Anthony then meets with Mike and asks who should run the hotel. Mike says that he should be the GM and Loren the head of department. He's frustrated with Rob's management style because he shrugs things off, and figures that a GM should be around a long time. Mike was a MP for eight years with the Army, and says that he knows how to manage his father. Anthony explains the financial situation and warns that the hotel can't survive in the state it is.

Next, Anthony calls a family meeting and says that they have a great locationbut the three of them have made a mess of it. He wants Rob to step down as GM and Mike to take over. Anthony then tells Smitty that he has to step aside and let Mike strike out on his own. Rob admits that he's frustrated but relieved, and they all agree that they can spend time together outside of work.

Anthony takes Smitty and Mike to the storage room. Smitty says that he purchased wood panel to make accent walls. There are tires and a dented dishwasher, and Anthony tells Smitty that he has five rooms full of garbage. He tells him that he should never store stuff in a hotel room, and says that they have to use the cash flow and do one room at a time the right way.

Next, Anthony reviews Smitty's business plan, which was made by a company. They took most of it from a business plan off of the Internet, and it doesn't work because it's not based on anything in reality. Smitty planned to get 30 more units by buying the hotel next door, and Anthony points out that he can't get a loan for that hotel when he can't get a loan for his own hotel. Mike explains that he didn't know about the plan, and Anthony tells Smitty that he's going to get off Mike's back and then he'll work with Mike. Once the hotel shows marked improvement, the bank will give the loan. Anthony makes Smitty promise Mike that he'll get off his back.

Anthony checks with Britany and realizes that something is up. She explains that the man with her, Donny, was working on the lobby before they got there. Donny has been sending texts to her team saying that he's unhappy that they're there. Britany shows Anthony the texts, where Donny says the team is a joke and he's going to get his money. Anthony says that the bar feels 20 years old, and Donny says that Smitty wanted to do a colonial style. He apologizes to Britany, who asks Donny to trust the process. Britany then tells Anthony that they had used carpet tiles on the floor. They weren't glued down, and Anthony says that is Smitty's MO. She warns that the stuff Smitty has bought is only 25% useable, and asks Anthony to tell the owner to stop buying things.

Next, Anthony shows Mike how to do a walking inspection of the hotel. They meet Loren, who is putting a lock on the breezeway door and the chute. They go to the lobby and Anthony tells Mike that he has to protect the money. There's now a lock on the drawer, and Anthony gives Mike the key. He then shows him a hotel operation book made specifically for the Inn.

Once Mike looks over the operation book, Anthony points out the family's nearby house. He says that they'll lose the house if they don't get the hotel in the black, but figures that they can do it. Anthony then explains how to set rates on the weekends and sell all the rooms. They then meet with the employees and Anthony announces that Mike is the new GM. He says that they're going to have a stand-up, and Mike asks what they need. When Jennifer says that she needs pillowcases, Anthony and Mike unveil a pile of linens from American Hotel Register. Mike thanks them for their help and they go to work.

Anthony takes Mike and Loren to meet with Britany. Britany says that they can use the headboards Smitty bought, and shows them how to sand and spray paint them. Loren says that he can handle it, and Bethany shows them a headboard that has already been processed. Mike wonders what the design concept is, and Britany says that once he sees her initial plan then he'll understand.

On the last day, Britany and her team from Quality Built Construction, Inc. have finished renovating the bedroom and the lobby area. Mike and Loren come out and find Anthony on a cherrypicker next to the sign. He shows them the new sign with the new hotel logo and new lights. Once Anthony comes down, he explains that the hotel will get 30 days of free marketing. He takes them to meet Britany and Del, the head contractor. They check out the room, which has new sheets and a marble-top sink. Britany explains that she went with a lighter updated touch. They got the carpet out and replaced it with wood flooring. She got all of the furniture local, and has a book so that they can duplicate it. Anthony purchased new headboards, but Britany tells the owners that they can still use the original headboards. The hotelier tells them to take it slowly because they have a year.

Anthony takes the owners to the lobby area, which has been remade as a breakfast area. There's a new table and a donated breakfast spread, and the donated wood floor is the same as the room. Areaus Inc has donated a point-of-sale system, and Anthony wishes them well.

Written by Gadfly on May 17, 2016

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