Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Rourke

Tom O'Rourke

President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality

Tom O'Rourke is an innovative and forward-thinking leader in the hospitality marketing industry. Entrepreneurial by nature, he founded O'Rourke Hospitality in 2001 and grew the business to become what it is today; an award-winning hospitality marketing firm specializing in hotel website design and development, Internet marketing, SEO services, and mobile marketing. His innate ability to see new possibilities and generate fresh ideas, combined with his passion to bring these ideas to fruition, differentiates O'Rourke Hospitality from more traditional agencies. Leveraging over two decades of marketing experience, Mr. O'Rourke architects strategic marketing plans resulting in increased ROI for luxury resorts, hotels, restaurants, spas, and golf resorts. His hands-on approach and his keen ability to combine strategy and execution, makes him popular with his current clients and continually attracts new accounts. O'Rourke Hospitality Marketing currently supports world-class brands including Marriott International, Renaissance Hotels, Trump International Chicago, Shangri-La Tokyo & Philippines, Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Arizona, The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel Israel, Sebel Pier One Australia, Ireland's Blue Book, Landmark Hotels London, and OB Sports Golf Management Arizona. O'Rourke also caters to a wide range of boutique and independently owned hotels and resorts. Always open to new technology, Mr. O'Rourke saw great marketing opportunities for hotels in mobile. He recognized that the smartphone market was growing at a rapid pace and it would become imperative for hotels to meet their guests' increased service expectations. After much research, it became evident that mobile apps were the best option because they are cost-effective, popular among smartphone users, and allow for interactive features. Mr. O'Rourke partnered with DeCare Systems Ireland, and together they created SmartstaySM, a mobile app platform that can be customized for hotels. Smartstay was recently launched in March 2010, and is now the leading hotel app. Hotels in over 9 countries and across 4 continents have created their apps with the Smartstay platform. Prior to opening O'Rourke Hospitality Marketing, Mr. O'Rourke partnered in the growth and development of two very successful and innovative enterprises, honing his ability to move a concept into a reality with dramatic results by applying solid business practices - market research, product development, sales and marketing resource deployment - and a high level of creativity. Energy services company, KBC in metropolitan New York, where Mr. O'Rourke was the regional director of sales and marketing, was a classic demonstration of how those elements are best combined for success. By matching comprehensive market research to product development and the implementation of a strategic, targeted sales business plan, Mr. O'Rourke secured results for more than 100 metropolitan New York-Long Island companies, producing energy cost savings of 50 to 75%. In the second venture, Mr. O'Rourke partnered with an architect and an interior designer to bring a new lighting technology to market. As Marketing Consultant, starting from a zero base, he developed the territory, staffed the sales team and arranged strategic alliances that built revenues to $4 million per year. Mr. O'Rourke continues to grow O'Rourke Hospitality Marketing and is working with partners across the globe on innovative projects in mobile. He is continually developing the Smartstay mobile app platform and working to expand it into other hospitality verticals including restaurants, casinos, cruise lines, and events planning. His insight into upcoming trends, combined with his strategic thinking, has made him a leader in hospitality marketing. Mr. O'Rourke is often asked to share his ideas with Hospitality and Marketing MBA students at Universities including The Roosevelt University, Chicago, and The European Center of International Hotel Management, Paris, France.

Please visit http://www.orourkehospitality.com for more information.

Mr. O'Rourke can be contacted at 978-465-5955 or Tom@ORourkeHospitality.com

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.