Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Habeeb

Robert Habeeb

President & Chief Executive Officer, First Hospitality Group, Inc.

Robert Habeeb is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of high profile, multiunit experience in hotel, resort and food and beverage management. Throughout his career, he has successfully operated hospitality businesses in virtually every aspect of the industry, including luxury, select service, resort hotels, restaurants, and golf and ski operations—in every setting imaginable. After serving as the chief operating officer of the U. S. resort subsidiary of London's Rank Group, PLC (owners of the Hard Rock Cafe's) where he was responsible for a multifaceted portfolio of hotel, restaurant and leisure businesses, Mr. Habeeb joined First Hospitality Group, Inc. in 1997. In 2015, due to his wide reaching industry relationships, proven track record of innovation regarding development opportunities, superior operating performance, and the long tenure of his management team, he was promoted from president and COO to president and CEO. A recognized industry leader, he has won a series of awards, including the Illinois Hotel Association's Hotelier of the Year Award and Global Hotelier of the Year. With a strong passion for educating those pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, Mr. Habeeb serves as a member of the adjunct faculty of Chicago's Roosevelt University, where he teaches at a graduate level in the Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality Management. He has served on numerous industry boards and brand advisory councils, including his current seats on the board of directors and executive committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and his previous chairmanship of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association.

Mr. Habeeb can be contacted at 847-299-9040 or rhabeeb@fhginc.com

Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.