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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...

Jed Heller

Small hotel owners know that every bit of material waste, every unoccupied room, every inefficient process, and every negative guest experience has a direct impact on the bottom line. While some owners are involved in managing the hotel on a daily basis, others rely almost solely on their managers and employees to operate the hotels around the clock. In the owner's absence, it becomes incumbent upon the onsite manager and hotel employees to carry the ownership flag - you trust them to share your values, implement best practices, and conduct themselves in a manner that creates the best guest experience. Undoubtedly, your hotel employees play the most visible role in making or breaking a positive guest experience, and in turn, making or breaking your profitability. Read on...

Jed Heller

Strong communications between an owner and general manager are vital to the success of any property. The general manager needs to share the owner's vision while clearly understanding business strategy, objectives, accountability and metrics for success. In many cases, the owner and general manager will have already developed a broad based business plan that documents the goals and objectives of the property. Once these goals and guidelines have been established, it is incumbent upon the general manager to create a detailed operating plan to fulfill the vision. Read on...

Jason Ferrara

One of the greatest benefits of a career in hospitality is the ability to connect with others - whether it's working directly with guests or developing programs and services that impact guests' experiences. Employment opportunities in hospitality are aligned with the qualities that many workers say make a job ideal. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 6,300 workers finds that 81 percent of workers feel it is important to impact others in their jobs - one-in-five (20 percent) say it is absolutely essential. Developing, implementing and promoting Career Path programs can help establish your company as a preferred employer and that has many advantages. Here are just a few of the ways Career Path programs can positively impact your organization. Read on...

Jed Heller

Have you read reviews of your property on the Internet? If you haven't, the experience may be a real eye-opener. At even the finest resorts and hotels, reviewers (past guests) often complain about rude or inefficient service from hotel staff. But at resorts where staff is friendly and welcoming, reviewers will often dismiss dated furnishings or other concerns to rave about the people who made their stay special. What does this mean to you? It means that your staff members really are your most important asset. And if that's true, shouldn't that be where you're investing your time and energy? Developing and maintaining an effective employee communication and training protocol may be the highest yielding management effort you can make. You just need to give employees the tools, information, and feedback they need to get the job done. 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.