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 February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.