Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Starkov

Max Starkov

President & CEO, Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Inc

Max Starkov is Chief eBusiness Strategist at Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, Inc. in New York City. He advises companies in the Travel and Hospitality verticals on their eBusiness and eDistribution strategies. Mr. Starkov has teamed up with HVS International Technology Strategies to provide eDistribution strategy consulting services to the hospitality industry. Mr. Starkov also teaches a graduate course on "Hospitality/Tourism eDistribution Systems" at New York University. Mr. Starkov has an extensive eBusiness and Web travel technologies experience. He co-founded and served as CEO and Director of two eBusiness companies: Whale Media, Inc. (B2B travel technology infrastructure provider to the hospitality, corporate travel and convention and meetings markets) and Travelbreak.com, Inc. (B2C online travel marketplace). Under his leadership Whale Media won the prestigious 2001 Worldwide Microsoft RAD Award for its SmartSuite ASP technology applications for hospitality. Mr. Starkov has 17 years experience in pioneering and building successful travel businesses and eBusiness strategies for national and multinational hospitality and travel companies. He has written numerous reports, industry research, and articles. Mr. Starkov has an MBA degree, Beta Gamma Sigma Honors, from Fordham University in New York and an MS in Global Economics degree.

Mr. Starkov can be contacted at 212-752-8186 or max@hospitalityebusiness.com

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.