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Malpractice in Hawaii: Lihue, HI Recap

Anthony travels to Kauai, Hawaii to take in the scenery and then help out the 48-room Kauai Inn. After enjoying a jump in a waterfall pond, Anthony goes to Lihue to check out the hotel. The hotel was the first one on the island in 1890, but was gutted during the hurricane in 1993. The owners, Tom and Jami McKnight, purchased it and spent ten years rebuilding it. The couple makes all of the major decisions while sending their time out of state. They entrust day to day operations to their son Tony, who handles maintenance, and his wife Donya, who deals with staff.

When Anthony arrives at the hotel, he finds the exterior clean and a great view of the surrounding rain forest. He goes into the lobby and finds the front desk agent, Sharon, sitting down. Anthony asks her to sit down and then wonders what she'd like fixed. Sharon says that they need a new computer system because it takes five to ten minutes to make a reservation. Some of the rooms aren't able to call out, and others can't call to the front desk. The guests are frustrated that they can't book and confirm activities, or get hold of someone on the island. The island is remote so it's difficult to get cellphone signals. The Wi-Fi is really bad at the hotel, and the guests often complain.

Sharon gives Anthony the key to a room that John Wayne stayed in when they filmed Donovan's Reef in the 60s. Anthony points out that there is nothing on display that indicates John Wayne stayed there. According to the online reviews, the front desk closes at 9 p.m., and Sharon explains that a late guest gets hide-a-key instructions. She shows Anthony the hide-a-key cabinet, which is a shelf with pieces of paper. Someone could come in and steal anything that they want, and Sharon admits that she wouldn't want to do it. She confirms that they have lots of first-time Hawaii visitors, and Anthony figures that the owners are cutting costs in the wrong places.

On his way to the room, Anthony meets a family staying there. They explain about the late check-in procedure they experienced, and that they don't have a car. There's not much to do at the hotel, and they can't leave without a car. Anthony then goes to the room and finds it clean. There's a brand-new refrigerator and sheets, and real flowers on the vase. Anthony figures that they did it for him and it isn't normal procedure. Despite that, the phone doesn't work.

Suspicious, Anthony has a crew get him a key for a random room. That room has a gold sink, stains from glasses on the countertop, an older microwave and refrigerator, and the lamps have wooden roosters on them. The bedding is older and there are no sheets on the bed or linen on the pillows.

Anthony brings in designer Carrie Locklyn to elevate the rooms, and shows her the second room. She agrees with his assessment that it's grandma chic, although the outside is gorgeous. Carrie wants to bring nature in and make it bright and airy. Next, Anthony finds an outdoor space with beautiful landscaping but nothing there for the guests. He wants Carrie to spend time on the outside, and she goes off to do cartwheels. Anthony has no choice but to go with her.

While Carrie works out what to do, Anthony meets with Tom and Jami, who travel from where they live in Washington State. He also meets separately with Tony and Donya. Tony says that the hotel has taken over their lives, and Donya just sort of supervises and she's not the GM. Meanwhile, the McKnights say that Donya is the GM. Jami says that there are a lot of things that their son and daughter-in-law don't understand, and it's hard for them to work for their in-laws. Meanwhile, Donya says that the McKnights aren't always the friendliest, and breaks into tears as she explains that there's never a solution when she has to ask them for things. The McKnights rate Tony and Donya as sevens on a scale of one to ten. They say that they trust both of them, but don't believe that they can the hotel without their supervision.

Anthony inspects the hotel grounds and finds the cocktail breakfast area. The refrigerator and microwave are brand new, and the walls are freshly painted. The pool water is clean and everything looks like it's in good shape. A maintenance man explains that Tony and Donya keep the place well-maintained. Anthony talks to Sharon, who says that Donya is a very fair boss and doesn't blame them. Housekeeping says that Tony and Donya are always running around with lists in their hand, and say that Donya would be a good GM if she had the power to do what she needs.

Next, Anthony meets with the McKnights' daughter Megan, who is in charge of revenue management and marketing. She also lives out of state, and comes in to meet with Anthony. Megan explains that she built the website but it's outdated, and her plan to redo it is postponed. The site isn't linked to any social media. Anthony wonders how he can help the hurricane, and Megan talks about the hurricanes. He points out that the last hurricane was 22 years ago, but Megan says that people get nervous and electricity costs a lot. Anthony figures that Megan is making excuses, and Megan says that Donya is the only one who understands her job. Megan sets the hotel rates and says that it's complicated, and quotes a rate of $200 in the high season. Anthony figures that they could charge double that and that's why they're losing money.

Anthony meets again with Tony and Donya, and explains that they're losing $100,000 in profit a year because of the rates. They're charging the same rate at the slowest and busiest times of the year. Anthony says that he'd charge $600 a room in the busy season and get it, and figures that Megan, Jami, and Tom have no idea what they're doing. He wants Tony and Donya to be adults rather than treated like children, and says that he's going to ask the McKnights to rent the hotel to the couple and one day own the place. Tony agrees but warns that it's Tom decision, and Anthony says that everything about the hotel is the couple, and the other stuff isn't helping them.

Carrie and her team from DSK Contractor go to work, renovating a guest room. A team from Total Landscape care plants trees and flowers to liven up the backyard. Eighty percent of the island is inaccessible by car, so Anthony takes Donya to meet with Outfitters Kauai. They go paddleboarding and when they return, Anthony and Donya meet with the owner, Peggy. Peggy and Donya have never met, and the hotel is only 1,500 feet away. Outfitters Kauai has kayaking, stand-up paddle tours, and a combined tour. Anthony tells Donya that he's going to pick her hotel because it's convenient and gives them a good place to sleep, and they're not taking advantage of it. Donya agrees to partner with them so that she controls her destiny rather than waiting for Megan.

Back at the hotel, Megan asks to meet with Anthony. The McKnights believe that Tony and Donya can't do all of the things that Megan does, and Megan has heard that she's no longer in the picture. Anthony reviews the rates with her and Jami, and most of their rooms are coming through third parties when it shouldn't be. Megan doesn't know what a STAR report is, and Anthony points out that it's a basic marketing tool. He says that the hotel's success comes down to the rates going up 50%.

Anthony checks on the backyard renovation when he doesn't see much progress. He calls Carrie out and she says that she has games, picnic tables, and hammocks, and it will all go in three minutes before Anthony shows it to the owners. The designer says that the room isn't ready, either, but assures Anthony that he'll love it. Anthony says that he wants to bring the guess around for a celebration on the last night he's there, and points out that nothing is done.

Next, Anthony meets with the McKnights again. They say that they'd want $10,000 a month plus overhead to know the hotel was being taken care of. Anthony suggests that they rent the hotel to Tony and Donya, giving them a chance to feel like owners. He points out that the McKnights lose nothing, and warns Tom that he has no idea what Tony is capable of. Tom doesn't know what his son is capable of because Tony and Donya don't know what they're capable of.

Tony and Donya join their parents and Anthony recaps his suggested arrangement. The McKnights agree to lease the hotel and Tony says that it makes him feel good. He and his father hug and Tom warns that Tony will have a lot of responsibility. Donya is sure that she can do it, and Anthony assures her that she can.

On the last Day, Anthony introduces Tony and Donya to Carrie and Alika, the head of the contractors. They check out the room first and find new drapes and bedding with a vintage Hawaiian print. Carrie has repainted the old furniture and put in fresh flowers. World WiFi Network is going to hook up the entire hotel, and American Hotel Register has provided alarm clocks and sheets. RMS North America is donating a new property management system, and the phone system is from PhoneSuite. They also have a new website. Donya is happy that the room is beautiful, and says that Anthony is the first person to believe in her. Anthony assures her that she can do it, and then takes the couple to the backyard. There are chairs, hammocks, picnic benches, lights, and food trucks. There is a natural celebration between the backhouse and the hotel, which will grow out in five years. Finally, eCornell donates a $6,000 certificate for the couple to learn revenue management. The guests come out and everyone celebrates.

Written by Gadfly on May 31, 2016

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