Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Harkey

Justin Harkey

Director of Food & Beverage, First Hospitality Group

Justin Harkey serves as Director of Food and Beverage for First Hospitality Group, where he oversees the execution of all food and beverage operations and strategies, focusing on growth, consistency, and new and emerging food and beverage trends. Mr. Harkey joined FHG in the spring of 2015. A career-long food and beverage operations professional, Mr. Harkey brings more than 15 years of hands-on operations experience in the hospitality industry, where he has consistently demonstrated an ability to drive stronger market share for multiple brands and multi-unit operations. He has achieved successful outcomes for resorts, convention centers, multi-unit properties, and restaurant groups. With his multifaceted experience running both hotels and Food & Beverage operations, he not only understands both sides of the operations equation, he knows the importance of integrating them to optimize sales growth and maximize profit potential. His leadership style is keenly focused on executing and improving both the tangible and intangible offerings of food and beverage programs, products and services. Focusing FHG's buying power on commodity cost controls and supply chain management efficiencies, Mr. Harkey leverages activities in those areas that generate above-industry returns to FHG's portfolio properties. Prior to joining FHG, Mr. Harkey served as director of operations and marketing at The Francesca's Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for overseeing 2,700 associates in an operation that had a national footprint. Prior to that role, he was director of restaurants with Interstate Hotels and Resorts, where he focused on full service properties. Mr. Harkey holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Administration from Western Governors University.

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

Mr. Harkey can be contacted at 224-257-4000 or jharkey@fhginc.com

Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.