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Zoe Connolly

Traditionally, hotels were most exposed to staff turnover in January, a timeframe directly after the holiday season had ended and corresponding holiday bonuses had been paid out. Today however, as many large hotels report their annual earnings in March, the timeline has shifted, and hotel leaders find themselves facing uncertain employee retention issues as we enter the second quarter of the year. Employees and hotel leadership alike should look at April as an opportunity to further develop career paths, either through open and honest dialogue that clearly establishes next steps within a career path, or through a change in role. Read on...

Mark Heymann

As a growing number of cities and states legislate minimum wage hikes, hotel operators might be tempted to respond with a hiring freeze to avoid higher labor costs. This article explores the potential negative impacts hotels risk with a halt-on-hiring approach as well as more effective ways to offset higher wages. The not-so-simple truth is that increasing the minimum wage will require hoteliers to take a more measured look at their business in specific time periods. They'll need to understand the wage increase impact at peak and non-peak times, and determine what their true minimum staffing levels can be while still servicing customers to their expectations. Read on...

Dennis Rizzo

The responsibilities of Human Resources are ever-expanding. Rarely does the staffing match the workload, and managers find themselves under constant pressure to meet the demands of their vital role in the organization. No other part of the job is as time-consuming or impactful as the search for - and recruiting of - top managers. As the hospitality industry continues to grow, the pool of available key managers gets smaller, and competition gets fierce. Making things even more difficult is knowing that the best candidates may not even be looking. Read on...

Peter Stark

Good people work hard to secure good jobs, and then they work hard to get promoted into increased positions of authority and responsibility. Sadly, once in those leadership positions, good people often fail. Why? The defining factor of a strong leader is rooted in the relationships they build with their team members and how effectively they propel the organization toward great achievement. Becoming a great leader and earning relationships with people who are motivated to follow you for long periods of time is hard work. If it were easy, there would be an abundance of great leaders, all companies would flourish, and all employees would be excited to come to work. Read on...

Haydn Shaw

How do we recruit Millennials? How do we motivate them? And how do we keep them from leaving? These three questions about the newest generation in the workplace, the Millennials, are the most commonly asked when I speak to organizations about generational sticking points and how they affect that organization's success. When some managers ask these questions, they want me to give them "six magical techniques" that will help their Millennial employees to "get with the program," fit into their system, and act like the previous generations. Read on...

Stephen J. Renard

Do you wish to be a Movie Star and record your own video outlining the highlights of your career and what you can offer a new employer? How would you like to be interviewed by a robot? If you think these are Star Wars interview, you are wrong. They are going on now. We all know that over the last few years, many companies have had filters on applications they receive and if certain words are present, they will review the resumes. If these buzz words are not, they will send the resumes on a one way ride to cyber space. Read on...

Megan Schuyler

While the busy summer season may have just wrapped up for most hotels, another equally busy season is right around the corner: the winter holidays. According to a past Hotels.com survey, about 58 percent of Americans plan to travel within the U.S. over the holidays. Of those who are planning to travel, about 43 percent of respondents prefer to stay in a hotel rather than at a family member's house. This surge of guests means opportunity to receive positive reviews, so your hotel should make delivering top-notch customer service a priority. To do so, having a strong, reliable workforce is critical. Read on...

Ken Edwards

Training is an important aspect in every hotel as it is the basis for cultivating superior guest service, maintaining costs, retaining employees and increasing profitability. While some owners and operators may question the return on investment (ROI) of training, the effects of not placing importance on consistent, ongoing staff training can be far greater over the long run. Preparing employees for situations, outlining role responsibilities and explaining how they are important in overall success can lead to happier employees, alleviate misunderstandings, skirt potential issues and result in better guest experience. That leaves more time for staying focused and creating a positive guest experience. Read on...

Lizz Chambers

You show up at 8am for a training workshop, dreading it all week. Right as you are about to step inside, you stop and the question pops into your mind, “Why am I here? Will this be worth my ever-so-fleeting time? And if they make me play games, I think I may be forced to commit hara-kiri.” Does this sound even remotely familiar? Games do not have to be painful or embarrassing. Some games, such as bouncing a beach ball, everyone standing on a sheet and turning it over without anyone leaving the sheet, lining up according to shoe size and everything in between have their place. We've been through them all. Read on...

Zoe Connolly

As the summer draws to a close, and many seasonal getaways get ready to wrap their busy-season, the Back-to-School phenomenon kicks itself into high-gear. While kids will get new clothes, haircuts, shoes, notebooks and backpacks,job seekers should do the same (all right, maybe they don't need the Hello Kitty lunchbox). And just like teachers are getting their classrooms set up with new activities for their incoming class, the end of the summer is a great time for hoteliers to refocus their recruiting efforts, gearing up for their next incoming group of team members. Read on...

Mike Burgelin

Still crawling out of the recession, businesses continue to employ a conservative approach with every decision affecting the bottom-line. This offers an even bigger challenge in the hotel industry, where guests expect top-notch properties at an outstanding rate. With the internet providing a seemingly endless array of travel review websites ready to critique each aspect of your property to offer affordable alternatives, how does a hotel stay profitable while keeping guests happy (and writing positive reviews)? Read on...

Mark Heymann

The days of having service industry workers wait by the phone to learn if they're needed or not, or sending people home when demand doesn't meet projections, are numbered if not already gone. The efforts of workers' rights organizations to eliminate on-call scheduling combined with growing demand from millennial workers for more flexibility and work-life balance is giving rise to the need for more predictive scheduling practices --- and the advanced technology required to support them. As the service industry is a pretty much a pure "just in time" environment, demand-based scheduling that balances company, customer and staff needs has become more critical with the advent of new employee expectations. Read on...

Zoe Connolly

Corporate culture is critical to ensuring that the experience guests actually receive is representative of the experience that hotel leadership hopes to portray. Culture can be affected in any number of ways, from management implementing employee appreciation programs to maintain top talent, through far less formal interactions like a couple of workers putting together a plan to ensure there's coffee to start a shift together. It can be augmented, strengthened, improved, measured, and yes; culture can be ruined. Read on...

Joy Rothschild

High potential talent retention is the thing that keeps me up at night. And nowhere is this a greater challenge than with millennials. I am thrilled when they stay and grow with us, and heartbroken when I have invested in them and they leave. Our industry needs new paradigms to attract, motivate and retain millennials. The expectation that they will manage their careers “the way we did” must be cast aside. Millennials are quickly becoming the foundation of successful companies today surpassing Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. Labor Force according to Pew Research Center. Read on...

Ken Edwards

Hiring and retaining great talent is by far one of the most challenging aspects facing businesses today. Hotel owners or operators know all too well that employee turnover in hospitality is high - and it can cost your property 100-200% of an employee's total compensation. In fact, the U.S. Bureau for National Affairs estimates employee turnover costs U.S. businesses $11 billion annually. So, what can you do to lessen turnover and keep those dollars flowing through to your bottom line? Focus on employee engagement. Read on...

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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.