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 February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.