Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blake

Michael Blake

Chief Executive Officer, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG)

Michael Blake is the Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG). Mr. Blake previously served as the CIO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, encompassing Joie de Vivre, Thompson, Tommie and Alila Hotels. He provided strategic leadership and sound perspective to contribute to the management and evolution of Commune's global IT functions.

Before his role at Commune, Mr. Blake was the CIO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he set the global technology direction for their global footprint. He has over 20 years of experience in finance and technology from various roles at numerous companies. Before his CIO positions with Commune and Hyatt, Mr. Blake was SVP of IT for First Data, CFO of IT Finance at Kaiser Permanente and Director of IT Finance for Sears. In each role, he was the highest-ranking IT Finance resource and key internal consultant and advisor to international senior leadership teams.

Prior to that, Mr. Blake held various financial roles within United Airlines including the controller of the IT organization.

Mr. Blake holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Utah, received his Master of Business Administration in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also his Master of Science in Information Technology from Northwestern University. He also maintains several credentials and licenses: CPA, CMA, CISA, CITP.

Mr. Blake served as a member of HTNG's Board of Governors since 2009 and held the Treasurer position for many of those years.

Please visit http://www.htng.org for more information.

Mr. Blake can be contacted at 847-303-5560 or michael.blake@htng.org

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.