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Paul Feeney

Professional baseball teams have developed a lucrative sideline letting middle-aged males sweat it out for a week at a real-life training camp. It's the dream of a lifetime for avid fans, and their mates pay dearly to send them, usually in honor of an otherwise depressing birthday. Travel with us instead to Fantasy Interviewing Camp, where Major League players make the hard-to-master process of candidate attraction and selection look easy. Note that we said "attraction" as well as "selection," because interviewing is a two-way street. It's great that you have chosen Mary as better qualified than Joe, but what if she has not chosen you? Oh, yes: And leave your baggage behind. If your organization is like most others around the world, interviewing is a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. Let's take a fresh look. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Are your employees simply showing up most days? Half of all workers hate their jobs. Wait, scratch that: let's be more precise. According to a new survey by The Conference Board, a non-profit organization that studies business issues, just 51% of all American workers say they are satisfied with their jobs. That figure stood at 59% just seven years ago. Perhaps most alarming, workers aged 35-44 had the highest level of satisfaction in 1995 (at 61%) - but today have the lowest (at 47%). Read on...

Paul Feeney

Recession and recoveries both have a way of sneaking up on the unsuspecting. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, government economists now believe that the current recession began the early part of 2001. In fact, the warning signs of an end to a decade of seemingly boundless growth stretched back to the previous fall, when various engines of growth began to sputter. Those warning signs included the implosion of the dot-com economy, lagging sales of telecommunications and computer hardware, a sagging stock market, the drying up of capital investment and the curtailment of corporate hiring. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Organizations seldom set out to pick the wrong person for a job - but all too often succeed at that task despite themselves. When the hoped-for superstar proves to be not so super, or maybe just a poor fit, much of the benefit of filling the position has been lost. Last year saw a record number of new CEOs lose their jobs, as their Boards decided that one misstep was one too many. At lower, less visible levels the weeding-out process may take longer. But, sooner or later, mistakes must be corrected, or they will begin to eat away at organizational effectiveness. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Is there a silver lining inside the clouds of the economic slowdown and the slow recovery out of recession hanging over the U.S. and other countries? Is a less overheated economy secretly good news for employers desperately seeking employees? As we all know the current Conflict with Iraq has put a major halt on economic growth. As layoffs increase the pool of unemployed workers, will companies have an easier time of hiring - now and in the future? Is it therefore time to slow down from overnight job offers and scale back those astronomical hiring bonuses? Read on...

Paul Feeney

Interviews are like blind dates: one prays for the best but fears for the worst. The job candidate hopes that he or she will find the perfect next place of employment - bright people working for a great organization that has its act together and operates with a powerful sense of purpose and high degree of urgency. The employer, likewise, hopes to find that rare individual who walks on water and motivates others to follow. Yet sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the parties fail to put their best foot forward, spend a frustrating day learning little about each other and part company uncertain about the outcome. Much has been written about the interviewing mistakes that candidates make. Less has been written about the other half of the equation. But, as one byproduct of tens of thousands of candidate debriefings after their "blind dates" were over, Sanford Rose Associates has compiled a list of 10 common employer mistakes, along with some practical suggestions for avoiding them. Read on...

Paul Feeney

The truth is that leadership is generally more apparent by its absence than by its presence. How often in recent years have corporations replaced their CEO with either the current Number Two officer or with the savior from outside the company - only to regret the decision within months, if not days? The answer to that not entirely rhetorical question is more than half the time. Companies, nonetheless, crave leadership and cite it in survey after survey as the most needed ingredient in CEOs and general business managers. Many search firms therefore tout their skills in identifying that elusive trait. Read on...

Paul Feeney

As the old saying goes, if there weren't problems, God wouldn't have created managers. And anticipating problems is at least half of the battle for solving them. The smart manager therefore, with the active participation of the organization's HR professionals, will do a little brainstorming to identify the "what-ifs" that may be lurking just around the corner. The even wiser manager will address existing issues and concerns as well. Read on...

Paul Feeney

What began as a dream search turned into a recruiter's worst nightmare. The top candidate for Marketing Director of the company's consumer products division had impeccable credentials, understood branding like few other individuals in the universe and was a natural leader. Highly recommended by the outside search consultant and by numerous references, he had survived tough interviews with the vice president to whom he would report, as well as a senior HR professional. Now it was time to meet the other division officers. All went well until he walked into the office of the division's legal counsel, who said, "I think I've met you before." Read on...

Paul Feeney

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL recently confirmed what many long have suspected - namely, that "Online job boards have lost their cachet." (July 12, 2005) Why? According to the Journal, they are yielding "landslides of r'esum'es" that mostly come from unqualified candidates. "The trick - something that executive-search firms and headhunters have known for decades - is that the perfect candidate is usually working happily at a desk somewhere." The Journal is exactly right. Read on...

Paul Feeney

When it comes to people, we tend to think of the workplace as pretty homogeneous. Certainly our inner circle of peers consists of people pretty much like us - in age, schooling, professional background, athletic and cultural preferences, family size, residential choices and even attire. Workers older than we may not seem quite "with it," while younger ones may dress a little funny. Nonetheless, the employees of any particular organization (be it corporate headquarters or manufacturing plant) seem to be cut pretty much from the same bolt of cloth - or are they? Read on...

Paul Feeney

Do employers pay the same degree of attention when they devise a hiring plan for a critical position opening? Good ones do, of course. Less adept practitioners often fall victim to fuzzy thinking and obscure outcomes, hoping to make up the plot as they go along. ("I'll know the right person when I see him.") Candidates meanwhile find it difficult to audition for their roles, having received only the vaguest description of the part they are supposed to play. Strong endings result from strong beginnings, and it is difficult to spend too much time at the start of a search nailing down those factors that will lead to a successful conclusion - the employment of that individual who will make a genuine difference in organizational performance. Read on...

John Ely

Realization: Consumers are thrilled with the prospect of anything over and above poor service. From the gas pump to the ATM, we have lost contact with live, personal service. From restaurants to hotels, we find live people imitating automated systems. Consumers are so desperate for good service that their expectations are at an all-time low. What a great opportunity for your business! Read on...

Doug Walner

Making bad hires in the hotel industry can result in more than just lost time and wages, extra paperwork and personal trauma for those involved. It can cause severe, even irreparable, damage to a hotel's reputation and loss of revenue due to cancellations, lack of repeat business and poisonous word of mouth. Hotel guests all have memorable moments about their stay. For some, it's the spectacular oceanfront view. For others, it's the four-star steakhouse downstairs. Amenities like pillow-top beds or HD TVs might also linger in their minds. But for the discerning guest, it's the four-star customer service...or the lack thereof. If a guest is left uattended at check-in or has to wait over an hour for his luggage to be delivered to the room, the blame isn't going to fall solely on the shoulders of those responsible for those tasks. It's the hotel as a whole that will suffer. Read on...

Lynn McCullough

As the holidays approach and another year comes to a close, it's only natural to reflect on what we have, or maybe more appropriately, what we have received. In the business arena, careers are enriched and rewarded in a variety of ways. For those of us in the hospitality industry, a person's successful career path is not enhanced and bolstered in a vacuum. Rather, it is a product of knowledge mixed with many varied and diverse relationships. For the Convention Services Manager (CSM), a convention bureau, hotel, convention center, or arena/special facility employee, one's career growth can be stunted without the receipt of a few "gifts." For those who have found ACOM (Association for Convention Operations Management), these gifts just keep on giving. Since its "The Season," consider the following gifts that organizations, like ACOM, provide 365 days a year: Read on...

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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.