Hotel Online  Special Report


Belmonte ‘Talks the Talk’ in Role as Motivational Speaker 
Former Ramada President Takes to the Podium to Deliver Straight Talk on Improving Customer Relations by Empowering Employees 

RANDOLPH, N.J. — MARCH 17, 2003 — An ad lib moment during a speech he was giving perhaps best describes Steve Belmonte’s reputation for not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Belmonte, then president and c.e.o. of Ramada Hotels, one of the world’s largest hotel franchise companies, was giving the keynote speech at the chain’s annual convention when a cell phone rang in the audience.

“If that’s for me, tell them I’m busy,” Belmonte quipped. He’d barely gotten through the next sentence of his speech when he paused and said, “Unless it’s a franchisee—then I’ll take the call.”

The line was good for a lot of laughs, but it also conveyed a message that Belmonte now delivers to a variety of audiences as a professional speaker:  “The customer always comes first.”

Belmonte should know. As head of Ramada for 11 years, and before that a hotel owner/operator as chief executive officer of Equity Hotel Corp. in Chicago, Belmonte has experienced all aspects of the hospitality business. Now he has moved on to his own enterprise, Hospitality Solutions LLC, a New Jersey-based company that, in addition to his motivational-speaking engagements, provides expert witness and arbitration services, litigation support, franchise agreement formulation or termination negotiation assistance, asset management, targeted training programs, and special project services to all service industries. 
Steven J. Belmonte

“One of the things I got the most satisfaction from as president of Ramada was getting my message out about treating your customers right and, maybe more importantly, treating your employees right,” Belmonte says. “I’m passionate in my belief that motivating your people is key to the success of any business, be it hotels or real estate or making widgets. And the more I go around talking to groups—and, really, the more I experience as a consumer—the more I see a need for that message.

“Look, what I talk about isn’t rocket science, and I don’t go into a speaking engagement with the idea that I’m there to lecture people,” he says. “I see a need for some straight talk about how you can boost your bottom line by making sure your employees are motivated and passionate about their work, and I’m willing to travel anywhere to deliver that message.”

Belmonte did just that when he was retained to deliver the keynote address at the annual general managers meeting of Hostmark Hospitality Group, a hotel-management company based in Schaumburg, Ill. 

“We’ve had a lot of people speak at our meetings over the years, a lot of them more well-know than Steve Belmonte, but he gave by far the best speech we’ve ever seen,” says Robert J. Cataldo, Hostmark President and C.O.O. “He’s a plain-speaking, straight-talking guy who brings a ‘been there, done that’ authenticity to his speeches. You could tell our people had truly been motivated by what he had to say. He passed along his passion for good employer/employee relationships and excellent customer service to us in a thoroughly enjoyable and meaningful way. When he was done, I got up with everyone else in the audience and gave him a standing ovation.

“Steve’s talents as a speaker,” Cataldo adds, “would be a valuable addition to any conference in any industry.”

Maybe the best way to sum up what Belmonte has to offer in his speeches is to let him speak for himself:

“If you’re looking for a high-priced, well-known lecturer on this trendy management technique or that new-wave motivational theory, I’m not your guy. But if you’re looking for someone who’s seen it all and done it all, both as a small-businessman and the head of a huge franchise chain—and who’s passionate about how bottom-line success in business is based on treating customers and employees right—then I am your man.”

Hospitality Solutions LLC, based in Randolph, N.J., provides expert witness and arbitration services, litigation support, franchise agreement formulation or termination negotiation assistance, asset management, targeted training programs, special projects and motivational speaker services to service industries. In addition to heading up his new company, Belmonte serves as vice chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Assn.'s Educational Foundation. For more information, call (973) 598-0839 or e-mail


Steve Belmonte
Hospitality Solutions LLC
Tel: (973) 598-0839

Also See: Belmonte’s Back In Business As Hospitalty Solutions LLC / Feb 2003

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.