Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gilbert

Robert Gilbert

President & CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Int. (HSMAI)

For the last decade, Bob Gilbert has been guiding HSMAI through an exciting period of change. At the helm of what has become the definitive hospitality and travel marketing association in the world, he has made tremendous strides and enjoyed great successes as he’s worked to establish HSMAI as the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry. During his tenure, HSMAI has launched a number of initiatives. In keeping with its overall objective to create relevance for its members and to be a vital information source for the industry at large, HSMAI has created Special Interest Groups (SIG) in five key industry segments: Travel Internet Marketing; Revenue Management; Resort Marketing; Hotel Director of Sales & Marketing and Sales and Marketing Faculty. Each SIG is strategically focused on the needs and concerns of its individual discipline and constituency, and reaches out to educate and inform its members through initiatives such as strategy conferences, webinars and publications. Furthermore, under Mr. Gilbert’s guidance HSMAI has strengthened its chapters worldwide, with presence now in North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia/Pacific. Prior to joining HSMAI in 1995 (in an executive capacity), Mr. Gilbert was the vice president of marketing for Richfield Hospitality Services, Inc., at the time, the largest hotel management company in the world, where he oversaw the corporate marketing support for all Richfield hotels, which included product from every price tier in the industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and has been a member of HSMAI since joining the student chapter at Cornell. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the School and is on the adjunct faculty of the summer executive education program. Mr. Gilbert serves on the Board of Directors of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and the Convention Industry Council (CIC), is on the HITEC Advisory Council, and is also on the Board of Trustees for the World Tourism Foundation as well as the Travel and Tourism Coalition of the Travel Industry Association of America.

Mr. Gilbert can be contacted at 703-506-3280 or bgilbert@hsmai.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.