Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Bowden

Barb Bowden

Director, Corporate Revenue Management, Peabody Hotels

Barbara Bowden serves as general manager of The Peabody Orlando and the director of corporate revenue management for Peabody Hotels. A native of St. Louis, MO., Ms. Bowden began her hotel career in 1984 at the front desk of the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Two years later when The Peabody Orlando opened its doors for business on November 1, 1986, she joined the hotel as front desk supervisor. As general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 1,641-room hotel. Since being appointed to this role in February 2010, Ms. Bowden helped lead The Peabody Orlando's $450-million expansion which was completed in September 2010. Most recently under her leadership, The Peabody Orlando was once again awarded with the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rating for the 23rd consecutive year, making it the largest non-gaming hotel in the United States with this distinction. In addition to her role as general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the creation and implementation of the corporate revenue management and distribution infrastructure for Peabody Hotels, including organizational structure, strategy, supporting processes and operations, internal education and training. Currently, Ms. Bowden serves as Chair for the Board of Directors of the Americas Region of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and is past-chairperson of the HSMAI Revenue Management Special Interest Group. In addition, she holds a position on Visit Orlando's Board of Directors. Her years with The Peabody Orlando have been star-studded. She won the Department Head of the Quarter, 1989; Department Head of the Year, 1995; General Manager's Special Achievement Award for Excellence, 1998; Peabody Hotel Group Rooms Division Leadership Award, 1999, and Peabody Hotel Group's President's Award for Excellence, 2006.

Ms. Bowden can be contacted at 407-352-4000 or barb.bowden@peabodyhotels.com

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.