Seven Hot Trends in Management Techniques

By Michael Goldstein President & CEO, Packard Hospitality Group | December 01, 2008

It's no surprise when I tell you that today's traveler has an overwhelming number of options available when selecting accommodations for business or leisure. The industry has become so keenly tuned in to what today's travelers are looking for, making it a challenge to rise above the competition and differentiate oneself from others.

We've equipped our stylish guest rooms with the most current, cutting-edge technology, provided unparalleled bedding made from the finest Egyptian cotton and luxurious spa-like guest baths and products. Yet all of those amenities and appointments can quickly dissipate in the eyes of our guests if they do not encounter employees who are responsive to their needs and sincerely hospitable.

Simply put, it's paramount to remember that the most logical and practical way to outperform your competition is directly through your employees. They are the ambassadors for your hotel - and should be recruited and trained to complement and enhance your multi-million dollar assets.

Recruiting Beyond the Classifieds

Many of us recall when recruiting for an open position simply meant that the personnel department placed an ad in the Help Wanted section of the local newspaper. That longstanding practice was routine and perfectly acceptable. Today, hotel management must be ready to recruit in increasingly creative and innovative ways. To catch the eye of the most qualified recruits in the hotel industry, think beyond common methods.

If you don't already, start using your company's blog to promote job openings. Encourage valuable staff to participate in a referral program that offers incentives if their suggested recruits prove a good match for the hotel. Have representatives at college fairs and local professional industry-related events - know your "backyard" talent. Advertise on professional organizations' websites. Offer competitive internships for college students. Bring department managers together regularly to discuss bright stars among staff - people who may be inside recruits when positions become available. In other words, cast a wide but targeted net to catch the best and the brightest.

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Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. 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.