Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Halloran

Robert M. O'Halloran

Professor & Director, School of Hospitality Leadership, East Carolina University

Robert M. O’Halloran is a professor and is currently the Director of the School of Hospitality Leadership at East Carolina University. He was previously Director of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis. He has also served in faculty and administrative positions at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, the University of Denver, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. Professor O’Halloran teaches courses in planning and development, financial feasibility and food and beverage operations. He is also an instructor for the Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) program offered through the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. He also was a pre-pilot instructor for the popular Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) jointly offered through ICHRIE, Smith Travel Research and AH&LA. His hospitality industry background includes management and training positions with The Harborside Inn on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Jolly Roger Restaurants Inc., in California, and Pannell Kerr Forster, a management and consulting company in Los Angeles and Boston. As an academic he continued to pursue industry experience through faculty internships with Aramark, Marriott Management Services (now Sodexo), Marriott International and the Club Managers Association of America; New Jersey Chapter. He has continued his industry partnerships serving on a variety of professional boards. Currently he serves on boards and or committees of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the North Carolina’s Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Board, The American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation, the Certification Commission of the Educational Institute of the America Hotel and Lodging Association (Chair), and the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Educational Institute of the AH & LA and the Training and Education Advisory Council of AH&LA. He previously served on the boards of the Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association, the Metro Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association, the Memphis Restaurant Association and the Memphis Convention and Visitor Bureau and the New York State Restaurant Association. Professor O’Halloran is a recipient of the Innovation in Teaching Award presented by International CHRIE and is recipient of the Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association’s Educator of the Year award. He is author and or co-author of over one hundred articles, columns, cases and chapters in books. He is also co-editor and contributing author for two case books, Cases in Food Service and Cases in Hospitality and Tourism published by Pearson Prentice Hall and has also served as a subject matter expert for the Pearson Foundation. He is also co-author of the book, Mise en Place for Teaching: A Handbook for Hospitality & Tourism Educators and Trainers published by the Educational Institute of the AH & LA. Please visit http://www.ecu.edu for more information.

Mr. O'Halloran can be contacted at 252-737-1604 or ohalloranr@ecu.edu

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.