Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. d'Elsa

Laura d'Elsa

Regional Director USA / Canada, German Convention Bureau

Laura d'Elsa is the Regional Director USA/Canada for the German Convention Bureau (GCB). Based in New York City, she represents the GCB in the North American markets and promotes Germany as a leading meetings destination. Ms. d'Elsa serves as the main point of contact for U.S. and Canadian companies, associations and organizations interested in hosting events, meetings, and incentive programs in Germany. She also oversees all operations for the NYC office. Ms. d'Elsa is focused on educating clients and prospects on the benefits of hosting meetings in Germany, which include excellent value for money, a world class transportation system, exciting and historic cities, and many green venues and convention centers. A major theme she is responsible for driving in North America is Germany's expertise in key sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, finance and economics, logistics management, technology and more. In leveraging these expertise clusters the GCB and its German partners are able to create memorable and strategy-focused experiences that have made the country the #1 association meetings destination in Europe and #2 in the World. Ms. d'Elsa joined the GCB in 2011 from Sydney, Australia, where she worked for event agency DKC International. At that agency, which focuses on events in the government, non-profit, and association sectors, she was responsible for the public relations and marketing for all events, including strategy development and implementation, sponsorship management, collateral production, and media planning. Among other projects, Ms. d'Elsa managed and coordinated all media relations for the Australian lecture tour of Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph Stiglitz, which was extensively covered in national and international media outlets. Ms. d'Elsa's previous professional experience spans all areas of integrated communications. She started her career at the Coca-Cola Company in Vienna, Austria, working first in the company's public affairs and communications department and then for the Coca-Cola UEFA Euro 2008 project team, where she managed the company's Austrian hospitality activities surrounding the 2008 European Soccer Championships. Ms. d'Elsa has also worked as a freelance editor and translator in the fashion and media industry and as a public relations consultant in the non-profit sector and now serves as a source on the meetings industry and business travel in Germany in leading MICE publications.

Ms. d'Elsa can be contacted at 212-661-4582 or gcbny@gcb.de

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.