We are Looking for the Next Generation of Hoteliers - Why?

By Stephen J. Renard President, Renard International Hospitality Search Consultants | November 20, 2016

The hospitality industry is repeated history! Every time an issue surfaces no one takes notice and the episode is repeated over and over like a "broken record". When a recession occurs, the last measure companies take is to hire anyone! We also have seen generations of hoteliers leave or never join our business, Why?

There is no dissimilarity between the recessionary lack of hiring and the current scenario of mergers and consolidation. Both have the same effect on talent entering or leaving our industry. The perfect storm would be a recession and consolidation at the same time. This may be ensue in 2017 based on the economists who state that, "our industry goes through peaks and valleys every 7 or 8 years". We have now been at the mountain peak of growth for the last 2/3 years (actually since 2011) so it is expected that we will eventually fall into a gulley in the next 24 months (I hope not).

Mergers and recessions affect our industry, exactly the same. Let us say you are a Vice President and we enter a recession; private owners and public companies are historically fickle and panic quickly; especially if they feel that their assets or shares may drop. They are therefore quick to discard anyone who is not revenue producing. This includes certain Senior Executives or Vice Presidents i.e. training, recruitment, IT, etc. whom during a recession or a consolidation can be replaced and so can be easily discarded. As a consequence of an alliance of two companies there may be more than one person doing the same role therefore, only 1 person will survive. If you are the Senior Executive or Vice President whom is retired due to lack of hiring during a recession or amalgamation; there are maybe less opportunities for you. What do you do then?

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The first thing you do is look for the same job you had before. If there are none, and at your previous salary, what are your options? If you were released due to a disruption, you will (hopefully) be given a fair severance. With this money in your pocket and realizing that there may not be a right opportunities for you now you will accept whatever is available in the marketplace. This includes lowing your expectations to an Area or a single unit role or perhaps joining a company of a lesser star caliber. You know that you need a job, and who knows what the future will bring? You also recognize there may be a better offer in the future, so you accept this role.

How does this affect those entering the industry? If you are an Assistant Manager waiting for your first General Manager opportunity, and a VP takes your GM role; you may feel you have no immediate upward mobility. This works its way down the "hierarchy chain" to the entry level who viewing this scenario decide there is little or no likelihood that they will move up quickly (or at all in some cases); so they decide not to enter or they leave hospitality and try another business.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.