Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.

Library Archives

R.J. Friedlander

All communication available on the web - whether feature length article, tweet, or guest review - is classed as content, and it is a powerful tool. Leverage this tool to your advantage and you have the possibility to enhance your brand reputation, increase revenue and grow your business. As the quantity of web information has increased, so has the search for authenticity. People are savvy to advertising and marketing strategies, and want to hear real voices, and real guest feedback. To really harness this, every hotel marketer needs to know about this one thing: ‘earned’ or ‘user-generated’ content. READ MORE

Amanda Hitchcock

As the appeal of unique experiences continues to drive the success of the Travel-Tourism industry, hotels and hospitality brands must adapt to defend the current trend of industry success, engage with consumers by using a visual, personalized, experience-oriented language, and connect with 2018 audiences across a social media spectrum over-saturated by industry growth. With experience surpassing product as a driving factor, hotel and hospitality brands must address the change in consumer perspective by highlighting the personalized experiences of their brand and property. Perhaps the most successful tool available to hotels to convey and market these new, 2018 “destination” brands is the highly visual, image-sharing platform, Instagram. READ MORE

Patrick Ahler

Social media has become the new norm for hotels when it comes to free marketing. It’s easily accessible, there is no acquisition cost, and almost everyone uses some form of social media on a daily basis. Yet now, with the added competition of influencers, ads, and the high standards that have been set, this once “free” marketing tool has become anything but that. It can be difficult to quantify how much money you should budget for your social media platforms to market your hotel, but there are some methods that make it possible to get a reasonable estimate of your social media ROI. READ MORE

Bernadette Scott

Still worried about leadership potential and the quality and value of the talent in your pipelines? There is no escape from the challenges posed by on-going skills shortage and our attempts to maintain a credible talent focus as we navigate our way through the demands of an ever-changing HR landscape. Talent management is still a top agenda item for business leaders, as they flex approaches to try to secure and retain the talent needed to sustain operations and to ensure continued success. These efforts are considered necessary to counterbalance the impacts of constant change across societal, economic and demographic contexts. READ MORE

Fifi Arisandi

Internal communication is vital for all businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry where constant communication between the staff is crucial. Furthermore, choosing the right communication tools is just as important as the communication itself. Today’s mobile technology development has made it possible to use smartphones for a real-time instant communication just like a radio-based walkie-talkie. One of the most obvious benefits of a walkie talkie app is practicality since users don’t need to carry around multiple devices to perform different functions that are required to get the jobs done. That said, there are several important things you need to consider first before deciding to switch to a walkie-talkie app. READ MORE

Randa Tukan

Travel is inherently mobile. It is, thus, no surprise that mobile technology has come to play a critical role within the hospitality industry. At the very least, our constant connection with home, work, friends and family is an absolute necessity no matter where we are in the world. But as our mobile technology dependency increases exponentially, so does our expectation as to what this technology can do for us. From tactical to exploratory, the hotel industry is constantly trying to adapt mobile technology to enhance the guest experience. That guest experience is multi-faceted, and the technology applications are accommodating accordingly. READ MORE

Tim Sullivan

Social media has been ingrained into the fabric of our lives. For travelers, it has become an integral part of the guest journey during their research and decision-making as they book hotels. A typical consumer, when making a purchasing decision about booking travel, will have hundreds of touchpoints across multiple websites and social media platforms. Prospective guests use a hotel’s video and imagery to get a deeper sense of what it would be like to experience a location, and they use the interpersonal aspect of social media to get feedback from others who’ve been there. READ MORE

Michael Schubach

The digital revolution is upon us. If you are still in doubt about the truth of that statement, just look around (or up from your phone) and the evidence is all there in front of you. Everyone is constantly connected, seeking immediate access to whatever information, product or service they want and need. No longer do questions or requests go unanswered – every answer is available in the palm of your hand. In this article we will examine this consumer shift in the hotel industry and provide a few predictions for the future. READ MORE

Andy Ellicott

First it was bookings, then it was mobile, and now it's the Internet of Things (IoT) - a trillion dollar consumer market that is poised to disrupt the hospitality industry. Hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Best Western are already piloting IoT initiatives in the pursuit of improving their guests' experiences and reducing energy and maintenance costs. Some are even building custom Alexa devices to fundamentally change the way guests communicate with their staff. But IoT doesn't need to be complicated or eat up an entire hotel budget - boutique hotels can also leverage IoT strategies and see quick return on their investments. READ MORE

Joe Schwinger

Technology impacts every facet of our lives. From smart devices to mobile apps, we rely on innovative products to provide convenient and valuable services each day. Not surprisingly, the application of technology has made its way into the hotel industry. Technological integration has become an expectation of hotel guests and an opportunity for hotel managers to improve their bottom line. Well-known technological applications such as mobile check-in, smart TVs, enhanced Wi-Fi and mobile room keys are already present in many hotels. However, there are other ways to use technology in hotel settings that are less well known. READ MORE

Jason Brown

What's the next big thing in a hotel room? For today's hotel guests, casting personal content from their smart device to the hotel TV is the “next big thing” in innovative technology. It's been proven to work, and better yet, it's been proven to be affordable. Today's hotel guests want their in-room entertainment to be as good or even better than their home experience. They want to watch their own content from all their devices, whether iOS or Android, and most importantly, they want it to be easy. It falls to the hoteliers to keep casting as simple as possible. READ MORE

Grace Kaucic

Over the past 20 years, the workforce has changed dramatically. The evolution of the consumer landscape and employee demographics have resulted in a complete shift. In the service sector, however, the best companies know that one thing has not changed: the reality that you cannot succeed in the marketplace unless you first succeed in your workplace. People Report was founded in the mid 1990's by a group of chain foodservice companies that were tired of guessing what good performance looked like. Through benchmarking their employee metrics, these companies were able to establish more value within their organizations and within the community. READ MORE

Tony Heung

Wi-Fi has become the fourth utility after water, gas and electricity and its importance is growing so significantly that a hotel room cannot be sold unless Wi-Fi is working at an acceptable service level. While traditional Wi-Fi is primarily used by the hotel guests to access the internet or by the hotel staff to access back-office applications, the explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) changes the dynamic of next generation Wi-Fi design within the hotel property. The investment in Wi-Fi infrastructure today is an investment in the future and the success of your hotel. READ MORE

Carlo Cisco

In the age of social media and connected devices, companies have the ability to know more about current or prospective customers than ever before. In the highly competitive global hotel industry, this gives properties the opportunity to cater to their clientele more efficiently and more personally than was previously imaginable. Mobile applications can also facilitate faster and more seamless communication both on hotel property and when guests are out exploring. The mass adoption of smart phones and mobile applications, are giving way to a new generation of data-driven and on-demand personal touch, delivered directly to your smart phone. READ MORE

Tim Peter

Roughly 20 years ago, investors placed their bets on a variety of technology providers, expecting them to reshape the travel industry. And in the years since, Expedia, Priceline, TripAdvisor and others have done just that. You live in an environment largely shaped by these travel giants. The challenges hotel executives routinely recount in conversations with peers and the press — the increasing cost of distribution, the tyranny of guest reviews, the rapid pace of technological change — can be attributed directly to activities driven by guests and enabled by online travel providers. READ MORE

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.