Using Talent Management to Drive Competitive Advantage

By Adam Cobb Regional Manager, Halogen Software | November 06, 2011

Hotel executives are looking for new ways to create a competitive advantage in a tight economy and talent management offers a relatively untapped opportunity to maximize operations and focus on delivering outstanding customer service. While other areas of hotel businesses have already been optimized, human resources continues to be challenge.

Human resource management is the most troubling issue of concern to managers and executives in the lodging industry worldwide. A 2008 survey of hotel managers conducted by the Cornell Centre for Hospitality Research identified a common set of shared problems that impede the ability of industry leaders to manage effectively, with human resources issues being at the forefront. Over 60 percent of respondents from six different regions of the world in both general manager and executive positions reported that the human resource issues of attraction, retention, training, and morale were key areas of concern.

Why Goal Management?

As a practice, talent management enables organizations to develop, manage and retain workers and includes functions such as recruiting, learning/training, compensation, employee performance management and succession planning. Talent management is based on the premise that employees are any organization's most valuable asset. In the hotel industry where customer service is the foundation of success, effective talent management is of particular importance.

A talent management program that includes effective goal management enables organizations to create a true competitive advantage. It aligns the workforce so that employees understand how their goals connect to and support overall organizational goals, enabling the entire team to pull in the same direction. However, goal management is more than simply assigning goals to employees and reviewing performance on an annual or semi-annual basis. It's about getting every employee to use and develop their talent, skills and experience in a way that drives business results for the organization.

To ensure your hotel creates and implements a goal management strategy with impact, here are four best practices to follow:

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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.