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Mark Heymann

Time was that knowing one's customer was as easy as standing in the lobby and interacting with guests as they came and went. "Welcome to the hotel." "Is there anything we can do to make your visit more enjoyable?" "How was your stay?" No more. In today's world, travelers are increasingly self-directing their contact with hotels, before, during and after their stay. So much of the traveler's journey is accomplished without any human interaction. So, how does one optimize the hotel operation from a guest services standpoint? By using the same thing that has created the distance – technology. Read on. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

Recruiting is hard. It's harder when a full team of amazing professionals stops thinking about ways to augment their own crew, and comes to the logical conclusion that it's better to focus on their specific roles than it is to go outside comfort zones. After all, no one wants to rock the boat for a group that's doing amazing work. However, leaders who can encourage their employees to build a pipeline of talent will almost never find themselves unable to meet every guest's requests. READ MORE

Jeff Hart

Jeff Hart, General Manager of the Los Angeles Airport Marriott shares tangible and practical insights and tips on how hotel executives can motivate and inspire the team during a hotel renovation. From facelifts to complete overhauls, properties must take the necessary steps to stay up-to-date with current trends, latest technologies, and the needs of today's travelers – which brings many hotels to renovation. Hart discusses the idea that during a renovation, emphasis must be placed on inspiring and uplifting staff, as it is their overall project knowledge, enthusiasm, and feelings towards the transformation that ultimately trickles down to the guest and the experience they have on property. Keeping the staff motivated, invested, and enthusiastic is a vital piece of the job when it comes to team leadership, and Hart shares nine tools in which managers can do so. READ MORE

Adria Levtchenko

Labor costs are a significant portion of any hotel's total operating costs. At the same time, hotel property management companies are competing with other service industries to find enough qualified (and affordable) entry-level and experienced candidates. No one wants to lower service levels or possibly negatively impact guest satisfaction. The solution applies in applying new technologies that can enhance worker productivity, job satisfaction and the overall hotel experience. This article discusses how today's best hotel task optimization software platforms can accomplish these goals and make a positive contribution to a hotel's bottom line. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

Guest satisfaction data, while critical, will do little to increase intent to return and recommend if an operator lacks the ability to view it in the context of other key aspects of the hotel's business. Today's hotelier must break down the departmental silos that have traditionally assigned guest satisfaction to marketing, employee engagement to human resources and productivity to operations, to gain a holistic view of the factors impacting the guest experience and, ultimately, drive business. READ MORE

Philia Tounta

Human Resource Management in a small business can be a vital task leading to success. Specifically in the service sector, service quality depends mostly on the quality of personnel since it is labor intensive and requires face-to-face interaction with customers. Unfortunately, small-sized hotels are faced with unfavorable conditions but they have opportunities to expand using their strengths as small firms with high levels of flexibility. Smaller organizations need to change HR practices compared to larger organizations because of the different workforce requirements and legal. Specifically, they must focus on improving customer satisfaction and the quality of service through a procedure of well organized HR management. READ MORE

Bruce Tracey

The term 'Future of Work' (FoW) has quickly become part of our everyday lexicon and has arrived with very real-world implications for companies and firms across the globe. Hospitality organizations are certainly not going to be an exception. From dizzying advances in FoW technology and consequential job design, to sweeping workforce demographic changes, to the reality of having to leverage greater numbers of agile/on-demand talent, hospitality companies will need to rely even more on their HR functions to navigate these inevitabilities. All this, on top of an industry already with a bit of an image problem. This article discusses some of the implications of FoW for the hospitality industry and presents three questions for organizations to ponder as they begin to adopt the necessary strategies, tactics, and practices to support FoW. READ MORE

Rick Garlick

Regardless of how technologically driven or popular a hotel brand is, customer service can truly make or break a hospitality experience. While our homes and daily lives can be reliant upon Alexa, hotel experiences still require personal touches and a "ready to serve" experience. What can we do to consistently deliver high customer satisfaction rates? This article takes a deeper dive into a variety of different approaches which hotel management can implement to continually motivate their employees leaving customers feeling positive, satisfied and fulfilled from the overall experience. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

From things like being up to date on the latest job board or careers site, through finding the time to screen every qualified potential candidate, hiring can be a brutal experience. This is among the chief reasons that the recruiting industry came into being; recruiters can make things easier for hiring managers. But not all roles and situations merit the help of a seasoned hiring professional. In facat, there are a number of circumstances that travel tech and hotel leaders should consider before bringing on a recruiting partner. This article identifies when it is, and when it is not time for hiring help. READ MORE

Christopher Manley

Hotels operating in a seasonal market must be prepared to continually adjust to the drastic variations in business throughout the year. By far, one of the greatest challenges for such properties is to maintain proper staffing throughout the seasonal swings. Hotels that proactively combat staffing challenges – through tailored strategic planning and cultural efforts – will be well positioned to thrive in seasonal environments. Hiring team members during the proper season, incentive programs, referral programs and career pathing efforts all contribute to creating an "Employer of Choice" brand, which is an often overlooked yet critical factor in successful recruitment and retention. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

A persistent labor shortage means the hospitality industry is facing tough workforce questions: How can a hotel deliver the level of service it promises with a smaller staff? Will tougher competition for workers impact average wage rates in a historically low-paying industry? What solutions, like cross-utilization, can hotels implement now? And what solutions will require larger-scale legal and societal change? Among the more transformational ideas this article will explore are rethinking current minimum shift requirements and looking to nontraditional sources, from retirees to training the formerly incarcerated, for future hospitality work. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

Industry-wide, there is recognition and agreement about the pitfalls of hiring the wrong person. Aggressive estimates say that the cost of a poor hire can go as high as $240,000, and the US government says it is 30% of the the (ill-fated) employee's salary. But as we all know, turnover is real, and there is a 100% chance a hotel, hospitality company, TravelTech provider or chain of properties will need to make a new hire. Below are five ways to ensure your next hire is the right hire, every time. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

Hiring the right people is hard work, in and of itself. From casting a wide enough net to attract a variety of quality candidates, to getting the ideal hire to accept an offer, there are many pitfalls through the hiring process. There are external elements recruiters and HR leaders in the hospitality industry face that increase the level of difficulty. These include budgetary constraints, brand reputation and location. That's not to say there aren't best practices that will help to overcome these issues and ease the mind of quality candidates, getting them from prospective employee to actual hire. READ MORE

Susan Tinnish

Coaching relationships offer a pathway for personal and professional development. Many organizations expect their senior leaders and middle managers to coach their team members toward higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. This internal coaching serves as an important employee retention tool as employees see a pathway for their career within the hotel, brand or company. More senior hotel executives can benefit from external business coaching from a professional coach. These relationships support an executive working on goals, strategies, and real-world, real-time issues that arise. This article focuses on the value of external coaching. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

Hiring great people is critical to the success of a hotel or hotel tech company. It takes considerable effort and money to find employees that are the right blend of cultural and experiential fit. But hiring is only one part of the human resources equation. After going to great lengths to find the right employees, it is just as critical to keep them. This article looks at the ways many hotels are building employee engagement to increase retention, focusing on both obvious initiatives (like proper pay) and newer approaches (such as points programs). READ MORE

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Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.