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 December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.