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 April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.