Editorial Board

Mr. Habeeb

Robert Habeeb

President & Chief Executive Officer, First Hospitality Group, Inc.

Robert Habeeb is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of high profile, multiunit experience in hotel, resort and food and beverage management. Throughout his career, he has successfully operated hospitality businesses in virtually every aspect of the industry, including luxury, select service, resort hotels, restaurants, and golf and ski operations—in every setting imaginable. After serving as the chief operating officer of the U. S. resort subsidiary of London’s Rank Group, PLC (owners of the Hard Rock Café’s) where he was responsible for a multifaceted portfolio of hotel, restaurant and leisure businesses, Mr. Habeeb joined First Hospitality Group, Inc. in 1997. In 2015, due to his wide reaching industry relationships, proven track record of innovation regarding development opportunities, superior operating performance, and the long tenure of his management team, he was promoted from president and COO to president and CEO. A recognized industry leader, he has won a series of awards, including the Illinois Hotel Association's Hotelier of the Year Award and Global Hotelier of the Year. With a strong passion for educating those pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, Mr. Habeeb serves as a member of the adjunct faculty of Chicago’s Roosevelt University, where he teaches at a graduate level in the Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality Management. He has served on numerous industry boards and brand advisory councils, including his current seats on the board of directors and executive committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and his previous chairmanship of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association.

Mr. Habeeb can be contacted at 847-299-9040 or rhabeeb@fhginc.com

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.