The Baby Boomer Effect: Succession Plans Are Growing in Popularity

By Bruce Fears President, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging | October 28, 2008

With the first of America's 78 million Baby Boomers turning 60 this year, the hospitality industry is bracing themselves for the onslaught of active senior travelers, as well as a plethora of executive positions to fill, both in the hotel business, as well as in corporate America in general.

In fact, nearly 8,000 boomers are turning 60 on a daily basis, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. What needs to take place to ensure the successful transition of our retiring Boomers and the next working generation is education. Education comes in multiple forms whether its continuing education, succession planning and training or development of formalized mentorship programs.

Hotel Executive Positions on the Rise

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a labor force of 162.3 million individuals in 2012 and expects that the economy will require 165.3 million jobs to be filled. This does not mean that there will be a shortage of three million hotel executives in 2012 due to the retirement of Baby Boomers; however, it does mean the industry will soon see an increased need for corporations to schedule on-going training and education programs in order to replace the retiring boomer generation.

Not just Hotel Executive Positions...Corporate Training Sessions on the Rise

The hospitality industry isn't the only business that will be affected by the aging Boomer generation. The U.S. workforce in general will need to create contingency plans for their retiring workforce.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.