Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Festinger

Robert Festinger

General Manager, YVE Hotel Miami

Robert Festinger is General Manager at YVE Hotel Miami, a property managed by Destination Hotels, the largest operator of independent hotels and resorts in North America, and owned by Host Hotels & Resorts, the nation's largest lodging real estate investment trust. The 245-room property is ideally situated in the heart of downtown Miami at 146 Biscayne Blvd. Mr. Festinger was formerly the Vice President and Managing Director of the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, also referred to as Florida's Riviera. He oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Newport Group; Kitchen 305, Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon, Newport Marketing, Newport Hospitality and Newport Vacation Club. He was also responsible for sales, marketing and operations for the oceanfront resort's 360 rooms and more than 600 employees. Prior to the Newport, he was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as Director of Sales and Catering/Convention Services for the Westin and Sheraton brands. During that tenure, he was awarded the Starwood Platinum Award in 2006 before joining the Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club of Chicago to oversee event and catering operations. Mr. Festinger officially started his career as a social and corporate catering sales manager at Terrace on the Park, New York's most recognizable event venue for more than 40th years where he boosted fundraising, corporate and social sales. Mr. Festinger's father, Wilhelm Festinger, was a European trained chef and successful restaurateur so he was raised in the hospitality business from an early age. His family owned Pappagallo Restaurant of Glen Head in New York. He officially began his career in the hospitality business in 1997 after graduating from Hofstra University with a degree in political science and economics. Today Mr. Festinger resides in Aventura, Florida with his wife and three-year-old son.

Mr. Festinger can be contacted at 305-358-4555 or rfestinger@destinationhotels.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.