AI and Talent Acquisition in the Hospitality Industry

By Dennis Rizzo President & CEO, Bentley Price Associates, Inc. | March 03, 2019

At this very moment at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley or Mumbai software engineers are working on new methods to change the way candidates are found, sorted, and recruited. Not just for the hospitality industry, for just about every job title imaginable from housekeeping to the executive suite.

The idea that human resources professionals will become displaced by hiring robots, or that your next job depends on the accuracy of a complex, yet intentionally unbiased algorithm, feeds into the dystopian narrative of hiring automation.

But let's get something clear. Since the first job board (Dice) was launched in 1990 (Remember online bulletin boards accessed via a dial-up connection?) followed by the first hiring website (Online Career Center in 1992) the hiring process has been disrupted. Robots conducting interviews is just the next step.

Sorting vs Selecting

When resume scanning began it seemed like a good solution to a time-consuming problem. But once everyone figured out how to "keyword load" it became less effective. Still, sorting through hundreds of pages to find target applicants made sense.

For certain job categories and levels the "sort and select" process gets the job done and narrows the field of qualified candidates for the next tier of hiring, the first interview.

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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.