Editorial Board   

Mr. Taillon

Justin Taillon

Professor & Program Manager, Highline College Hospitality & Tourism Management

Justin Taillon spent 8 years in hospitality operations before joining academia including stints with Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton. He began his career in Food & Beverage operations, moved into hotel operations, and was an Assistant General Manager with Hilton before moving into academia.

Justin's academic endeavors include working toward a B.Sc from the University of Houston’s prestigious Conrad Hilton School of Hospitality Management, an MBA from the University of Guelph, and a PhD from Texas A&M University’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences. He also holds a certificate in revenue management from ESSEC in Paris, France.

He is currently the department head for Hospitality & Tourism Management at Highline College in Seattle, WA, a university featuring eight emphasis areas to pursue within the hospitality and tourism industries including: aviation, casino, cruise lines, destination marketing organizations, ecotourism, event planning, food and beverage, and hotels.

Justin maintains an academic and applied focus in his research and outreach by serving as an Editor for Anatolia, being a Global Director for HFTP (Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals, the professional association responsible for HITEC), and working with industry partners to create grants that can improve the hospitality workforce. Some recent and current industry partners and projects include:

- Starbucks, where he oversees a project that trains 16-24 year-olds in customer service and barista skills in Seattle;

- Project Feast’s Ubuntu Café in downtown Kent, WA, where refugees to the United States learn customer service, food & beverage, and event management skills while sharing their home-cooked meals and cultural experiences with patrons;

- Port of Seattle (i.e. SeaTac Airport), where he works with SeaTac Airport’s human resources department to prepare potential employees for the workforce in one of the world’s largest airports;

- STR, where he worked in Hendersonville to co-create CHIA (Certification in Hospitality Industry Analytics) alongside STR and other applied academics.

His primary research emphasis area is market-based socio-cultural conservation through hospitality operations. The aforementioned projects are examples of ventures that fall under the guise of his research areas.

He is currently based in Seattle, WA, but holds three citizenships (Canada, Hungary, & USA) and has conducted projects globally over the past decade in locations such as Jeju Island in South Korea, Madre de Dios in Peru, Samburu’s Sabache Camp in Kenya, Velika Plaza in Montenegro, and many more.

Mr. Taillon can be contacted at 206-592-3953 or jtaillon@highline.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.