Editorial Board   

Mr. Leopold

Gary Leopold

President & CEO, ISM

Gary Leopold is President and Chief Executive Officer of ISM, a Boston-based advertising and marketing firm that specializes in the travel and leisure industries. Among their clients are Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, American Express, Emirates, Harley-Davidson, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and Harley-Davidson. Prior to joining ISM, Gary was the corporate director of public relations for Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, overseeing 13 hotels worldwide. Gary is a past president of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and currently serves on their Board of Directors as well as on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation. He is the founder of the HSMAI Golden Bell Public Relations Awards and Golden Click Web Awards, and a co-founder of the Annual Travel Awards Night dinner. A noted expert in travel marketing, he has taught and lectured on the subject at Cornell, Boston University, University of New Hampshire and many other colleges and organizations. He's also written articles for Business Travel News, HSMAI Marketing Review, Successful Meetings and other industry publications. Mr. Leopold is also the recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award in travel advertising from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), an honor he shares with Michael Eisner and Sir Richard Branson, among others. He is also the current president of the MAGNET global agency network.

Mr. Leopold can be contacted at 617-353-1822 or gleopold@ismboston.com

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.