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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...

Paul Feeney

"The new year is expected to usher in a flurry of job hopping," announced USA Today. A large staffing firm quantified the percentage of disaffected employees as being "more than half," while a retained search firm put the number at precisely 42 percent. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 38 percent of HR professionals believe employee turnover is increasing. To date, few if any organizations have seen a mass exodus from their ranks. In truth, talent shortages will begin to catch many employers unaware - but that problem is not across the board, nor will it happen all at once. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. Read on...

Doug Walner

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of job applicants isn't an easy process. Conventional interviews and first impressions can often be misleading. The candidates you may have thought would be strong performers could buckle under pressure or be ill equipped to handle what you may consider the most basic tasks. So, what can employers do to "hedge their bets" and help ensure that they're hiring the best candidate possible for the job at hand? Read on...

Tracey Holloway

In this business, our over-arching focus is often on how well we are serving our guests. Yet, perhaps an equally important question for management to ask is, how well are we serving our employees? Having a healthy and productive staff is an obvious boon to a hotel. Yet, most often health care benefits fall short of providing all employees with options that truly serve their day-to-day wellbeing. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 22.3 million people in the U.S. did not receive medical care in the last year due to cost, and another 15.7 million did not receive much-needed care due to cost. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Some employee acts are so offensive that immediate response is in order. Your employee handbook enumerates them: theft, fraud, insubordination, sexual harassment, etc. Others fail to rise to that level of concern, yet, like small cancers left untreated, begin to poison the organization. Those latter acts may be committed by otherwise likeable employees and, in fact, may be difficult to pinpoint. (Did Mary really mean to do that?) Yet you know, and the employee knows, that mischief has taken place. Read on...

Doug Walner

In the hotel industry, customer service positions require exceptional interpersonal skills. The ability to deal with a wide range of personalities--he flexibility to adapt quickly to changing situations and patience are key. When hiring for these positions, it can be difficult to get a clear sense of a candidate's true fit for the position at hand - most people put their best foot forward during job interviews, but do they really have the capabilities and characteristics needed to be successful on the job? And, if you do hire whom you consider to be the right candidate, can you have any assurance that he or she will remain on the job? Read on...

Doug Walner

Hiring the wrong customer service employees can become a public relations nightmare when a frustrated hotel guest complains about an experience or tells friends about it. The Internet compounds the effects of negative word of mouth. A quick Google search will pull up reviews of nearly every hotel, restaurant or travel destination in the world. And some websites are dedicated to helping customers spread the word about their experiences. For example, popular websites such as planetfeedback.com or yelp.com post customers' comments from on their experience with a variety of industries - this is positive or negative feedback to which anyone online has access. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Because good interviews help ensure successful hires, they should be conducted with the same foresight and finesse that one would bring to a major sales meeting, union negotiation, security analyst conference or board of directors presentation. To paraphrase a well-known saying, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. Read on...

Paul Feeney

No candidate is likely to possess every characteristic you desire, nor may the best qualified (on paper) of three or four finalists prove to be the best fit for your organization. Ultimately, we hire those whom we like - and the more inclusive we can be at the beginning of the search, the more exclusive we can be at the end. Read on...

Doug Walner

Service orientation, aka personality traits and a predisposition to be helpful, thoughtful, considerate and cooperative, can impact your company's reputation for customer service - an important factor for success in the hospitality industry. Some people have it... and some people don't. Some people appear to have it (especially during job interviews), but, in reality, they're not suited for a service oriented position. Recent research has shown that being able to predict employee customer service behavior before an employee is hired would be extremely valuable to hospitality managers who must select and assess applicants for service orientated positions Read on...

Paul Feeney

Theories and concepts compete constantly for our attention with most fleeing out minds as quickly as they entered. A few, however, begin to appear with such frequency that it is hard to ignore. Concepts that become of continual concern shift from simply ideas or musings to solidified trends. As the members of the Generation X leave the work force, multiple movements are made within the business world that potentially affects your organization. While we cannot predict the future, these six trends will contribute to the way in which many of our future business practices and processes operate. Read on...

Jason Ferrara

In the hotel industry, your employees truly are your brand and as the labor market continues to tighten, understanding and appealing to the next generation will be critical to your organization's long-term success. Beyond salary and benefits, what are you doing to attract recent or prospective college graduates? How are you distinguishing your employment opportunities? What are you doing to dispel some of the myths about hospitality jobs and raise awareness about the lucrative career paths the industry offers? Read on...

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Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.