Who's Watching Your Asset?

By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | January 12, 2010

Sound familiar in your business? Unlike Waldo, owners wear many hats - especially multi-property owners and those with supplemental real estate investments outside of hospitality. Managing a vast portfolio can't be done alone, so oftentimes these owners hire a management company to oversee day-to-day operations.

But who's watching the watchdog when the asset isn't performing and investment objectives aren't being met?

Enter the role of the asset manager. Selecting an asset manager from among a sea of look-alikes, however, is a risky business for owners and institutional investors. Neither party, not even those who own a lodging property on a temporary basis, wants to turn over a hotel's operation to someone who is a rank amateur at the task.

Asset Management Defined

Understanding the role of an asset manager can be confusing. To many, there is a fine, almost invisible line between an asset management company and a hotel management company-especially when a hotel management company offers asset management services. The differences, however, are distinctive, as the asset manager provides more of a protective layer between owners and third-party management companies.

An impartial, third-party asset management company becomes the eyes and ears of owners, identifying quickly if the management company is overseeing the property skillfully and professionally, meeting operational efficiencies and charging appropriate fees. Likewise, an asset manager acts as a knowledgeable intermediary between the owner, the franchise company and management company to generate the best returns on their investments.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.