Choosing a career path is a big deal. And deciding whether or not to pursue a bachelor's degree is a major part of that career plan. So what to do during a pandemic -- especially when you’ve been considering getting a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management (hotel and restaurant management)? You’d be right to take a minute to consider whether or not pursuing a degree in hospitality is really worth it, given that hospitality has been hit especially hard by the pandemic and there are tons of low-cost online accreditations available today. There are a few key areas to explore, such as the outlook for the industry, what you’ll learn, and what marketable skills you’ll get from your investment in the degree. From there, you can make an educated decision about whether or not a hospitality degree is right for you. Developing a Framework to Answer the Question Like anything in business (or life) there is a cost and a benefit calculation you'll need to make to decide which path to pursue. The cost side of the equation includes both the direct expenses of higher education like tuition as well as the opportunity cost (i.e. how much money would you be making during those years if you went straight to work?). Hospitality and tourism management school tuition varies widely based on pedigree (reputation of the school) and location. A Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management from EHL costs around $206k (188 CHF) over 4 years including food and accommodation. According to NerdWallet's student loan calculator a $200,000 loan with 5% interest and a 10-year term requires $2,121.31 in monthly payments. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to make $25,000 per year more from year 1 but you should expect that over the long run the difference in salary helps to more than offset the cost of a degree. Let's use a stylized example to illustrate this point: you are considering whether to leave high school and go straight to becoming a hotel concierge to refine your skills and ultimately become a hotel manager. The average full-time hotel concierge or guest services manager makes from $23,000-$38,000 per year. Let's say, for simplicity, it will take you 10 years working your way up as a concierge before you can become a hotel manager without a degree. During those 10-years you would make $300,000 using an average of $30,000 per year salary. Hotel managers typically make from $61,000-$200,000 per year. Now let's say that with a degree from EHL it would only take you 3-years as a concierge to become a hotel manager. That means in years 1-4 you spend (-) $200,000 on education. Then in years 5-7 you make $90,000. Finally in years 8-10, you make $210,000. In this scenario, you would have netted $100,000 in salary so all else equal you would be better off without the degree. This example is designed to stylize the decision-making process, not to tell you whether or not you should get a degree. What if EHL grads make more as hotel managers than non-grads? Are there other long term benefits of a degree like the potential to move into higher-paying corporate management roles? Are there networking and alumni opportunities that must be factored in? Will you get paid real-world experience with your degree or exposure to differentiated entrepreneurship coursework that are otherwise inaccessible to those without one? Do you need the degree program to be eligible in the future for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and unlock even higher salaries in the future? Are there financial aid packages or scholarships available to lower your expense levels? The first step to answering this question is plotting out what you think the future looks like and then going out to validate your hypotheses by talking to real people who work in the hospitality business. Ultimately this exercise will show you that there is no black and white answer, these calculations vary dramatically based on which segment of hospitality you aim to work in. It probably doesn't make sense to attend EHL at full tuition in order to get into foodservice or entry-level guest service roles but it may be the only way to grow into a business management role VP level or higher at brands like Marriott and Hilton. What’s The Outlook for Travel and Hospitality? The pandemic has put industry forecasts into disarray. What had been shaping up to be another strong year in a decade-long boom of travel and tourism turned into quite the opposite. Travel has flatlined and things are changing so fast that it’s hard to get a grasp on the industry’s future prospects. One of the most reliable forecast sources is STR, which tracks the health of the hospitality industry. STR’s Data Insights Blog has been tracking the regional and global impact of COVID. The bad news is that STR predicts a long road ahead, with recovery back to 2019 levels not happening until 2023. That’s a long way away; but as we’ll see below, this long road to recovery can be an advantage to those just starting out in their careers. The good news is that industry fundamentals remain strong. People love to travel. And, even though it’s likely that business travel will be slower to return (and may forever be changed), the industry’s gradual recovery provides ample opportunity for career advancement. What Marketable Skills Will I Learn? The value of a hospitality management degree lies not just in the future career opportunities but also and be marketable skills that you will learn. There are four core areas that a hospitality management program will cover: Operations. First and foremost, you will learn the ins-and-outs of the business of hospitality. This includes all day-to-day aspects of hotel operations: checking guests in at the front desk, managing guest requests in the back of the house, scheduling staff, Revenue. The business of running a hotel involves three key departments: sales, marketing, and revenue management. You’ll learn how each department contributes to a property’s topline revenue and bottom-line profitability. Increasingly, these departments are overlapping and so it’s helpful to have a grasp across all aspects of a hotel’s revenue-generating roles. People management. One of the most important skills for any hospitality professional on the management track is people and human resources. It’s a critical piece of any job in hotels because there are so many people to manage. You’ll learn about what it takes to manage a workforce, including performance management, hiring and training staff to meet service standards. Customer service. The essence of hospitality is customer service. This is the most practical skill that you will learn, as people skills will always come into handy. With the practical hands-on training of a Hospitality Management degree, you'll get Leadership. Many college degrees struggle to include a hands-on component that teaches you real-world leadership. You can go through college for four years and end up without any practical experience. All of the best hospitality management programs include an internship component of part of the graduation requirements. This means that you will have hands-on experience in an actual business upon graduation. So even if you decide not to go into hospitality, you'll be able to translate your real work experience into conversation points for your job interviews. What Can I Do with a Bachelors in Hospitality Management? The most obvious career path involves a role in hospitality. Your potential path with a hospitality management degree may include roles in a few different departments, such as: Operations: The operations of a hotel include the front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, and day-to-day management. Roles here include managing a department, such as the front-of-house or housekeeping, and culminate in a job as a general manager. Revenue: Sales, marketing, and revenue management are responsible for generating business for the hotel. There are many roles here to consider: Revenue manager, HR: One of the core back-office functions at a hotel is HR. This could be both at the property level and corporate level. HR managers are responsible for people operations: overseeing the hiring, firing, and performance management process so that everything is legal and according to company standards; handling employee complaints and generally being an advisor and resource to employees across the operation. Accounting: Another core back-office function is accounting. These employees are the ones that manage the financial inflows and outflows from property (or group of properties). Most roles in this specialization require a further degree in accounting, so keep that in mind if you want to pursue a dual degree alongside hospitality management. Business Development/Finance: Business development involves finding locations for new hotels, evaluating the financial feasibility of acquiring existing hotels, and working on the financial side of the industry. Someone with a hospitality management degree working in business development has a very unique skill-set but maybe in high demand. Gaming: Casinos have a very unique footprint and require their own set of skills. Specializing in gaming can give you a competitive advantage in certain circumstances, especially if you're interested in working in a hotel market with a heavy gaming component, such as Las Vegas. Also, if you are interested in gaming, it makes sense to strongly consider UNLV’s hospitality program! Food and beverage: Many properties have expensive food and beverage operations. There are many aspects to manage here, from room service and catering to individual outlets, which means that F&B offers many opportunities (both in and outside of hotel-affiliated outlets). The skills you learn from your degree in hospitality management are transferable to other areas as well. A graduate with a strong grasp of management, leadership, and operations will be well-positioned for other roles too. Some related roles to consider: Hospitality tech: Expertise in hospitality is in especially high demand with technology companies serving the industry. You could translate your hospitality management degree into an entry-level role at one of these companies, which will put you on a career path in the technology industry. Account manager/sales manager. Sales and account management requires a lot of soft skills that you'll learn when you get a degree in hospitality. There are also many entry-level jobs in these two fields -- especially for those with strong sales and people skills. HR. People management is an essential part of any company. Put your organizational and operations knowledge to work, alongside your interpersonal soft skills, in HR. Management training: Your degree is a signal that you are organized and capable of. You could also look for a role in a different industry that come on a management training track. Hospitality consultants: There are many firms that serve hotels and Hospitality brands as contractors and independent hospitality consultants. If you wanted to tackle a broader array of challenges for multiple clients, this could be a great choice for you. Event planning: Event planners don't necessarily have to be on staff at a conference center attached to a hotel. From independent wedding planners to corporate event specialists, you could put your hospitality knowledge to use as an event planner. See more in our in-depth guide to hospitality careers, including job descriptions, salaries, and more. How Do I Choose a Hospitality Management Program? There's a lot at stake when you choose a hospitality management program. It’s a major investment. A few things to consider as you evaluate programs: Quality: First and foremost, make sure that you are going to a reputable school. A few of the most well-regarded are the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Hotelschool The Hague, and the University of Nevada’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. For a full list, check out the top hotel schools in our hospitality industry guide. Each school should be evaluated for the quality of instruction and access to industry leaders. You also want teachers that are practicing experts in their field, rather than relics of an industry long gone. Specialization: Next, look carefully at the program’s class offerings. Does the program offer the courses that you need for your career path? Do you see specializations that interest you? Remember that it is not just a general education that matters; you also want to get deep dives into the most marketable skills for today's economy. Make sure that you can get the type of education you need to position yourself for success. Network: Major part of the investment is getting access to a quality Alumni network that can help you find jobs once you graduate. It might seem far away, but you’ll want to leverage the power of the university’s network when you're looking for a job. And also: a career office that can connect you to the best job opportunities. Some notable alumni from the top schools: Cornell: Andrew Tisch, head of Loews Hotels; Will Guidara, restaurateur of Eleven Madison Park and NoMad and TV personality Aida Mollenkamp. UNLV: Marco Benvenuti, co-founder of hospitality tech company Duetto; hotel-casino mogul George Maloof; Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International; Celebrity Chef and Restauranteur Guy Fieri. EHL: Daisy Soros, philanthropist; Craig Claiborne, New York Times restaurant critic; Georges Plassat, businessman. Hotelschool: Joris Bijdendijk, Dutch celebrity chef; Marc Bolland, businessman and CEO of Marks and Spencer; Erik Tengen, founder and CEO of Oaky. Cost: Finally, you want to make sure that the cost is worth it! Sticker shock is understandable, especially in the United States where college costs have skyrocketed. Look at the overall cost of the program tuition, as well as related cost-of-living, and measure against the income potential for your career. See next section, as this is usually a top criteria under consideration when deciding on a Hospitality Management program. How much does a hospitality management degree cost? Out of the criteria listed above, cost is often one of the most important ones. With the cost of fees and other non-tuition expenses, the total cost of a degree can get quite expensive. As a prospective student, you want to know that your degree will be a good investment. Here's a breakdown of the cost of the best hospitality management programs, followed by a quick calculation you can make to see your return on the investment. Cornell School of Hospitality. Undergraduates can expect to spend $58,586 (out of state) or $58,586 (in state) per year on tuition and around $16,000 on housing and dining. For a Cornell Master in Hospitality degree, expect to spend $87,879 for tuition and around $2,500 per month for books, fees and other living expenses. There are also several scholarships and financing options for those looking to fund the program with federal and private student loans. More on Cornell Hotel School tuition, financing and scholarships here (undergrad) and here (graduate). There’s also a useful financial aid calculator. EHL. The total cost of an undergraduate degree is 197,789 Swiss francs, including housing and health insurance. That cost is less if you are a Swiss citizen or are eligible for a subsidy: “only” 112,010 Swiss francs, also including housing. There are also scholarships for international students and Swiss citizens. More on EHL’s tuition and scholarships here. Hotelschool. One of the more affordable hospitality business schools, tuition for a bachelor's is 24,300 Euros per year for non-Europeans and just 10,360 Euros for Europeans. Other expenses are variable, depending on where you decide to live while on campus. International students can also apply for the Holland Scholarship for students outside of Europe who want to do a Bachelors or Masters in the Netherlands. More on the bachelor program’s costs for non-Europeans here and Europeans here. University of Nevada. Annual undergraduate tuition costs at UNLV run $8,604 for residents and $24,258 for non-residents. Graduate tuition is $6,517 for residents and $22,171 for non-residents. Depending on whether students live with parents, on-campus or off-campus, non-tuition expenses range from $20,000 to $40,000 per year. For financing the degree, there are both federal and private loans available, as well as scholarships. More on tuition here, with this calculator to estimate total tuition and fees. Of course, the sticker price doesn't necessarily mean that you need to pay out-of-pocket. Each program offers financial aid and scholarships, so you can take out a combination of loans and perhaps some “free” money to make the program tuition accessible to you, regardless of your personal financial situation. To calculate the return on your investment in a hospitality management degree, you need to first determine what your career path looks like. Review the average salary of hospitality jobs in our hotel industry guide and then calculate a 10% payback rate, a reasonable expectation on repayment. And then divide it by the cost of your degree to calculate how quickly your investment will be repaid. Since the goal of getting a degree is to earn a higher salary (and thus increase your lifetime earnings over your entire career), this helps you compare one program to another. This is just a rough estimate but it is a helpful calculation! ROI= (target role salary*.10)/cost of degree For instance, let's say that you go to the University of Nevada as a non-resident undergrad and your target role is GM at a boutique hotel. Per our guide, the average salary of a hotel general manager is between $75,000 and $140,000. Take the midpoint of that as $100k, multiply by .10 (assuming that you use 10% of your salary to pay down loans) and divide by an estimated total cost 220,000 for a 4-year program. You get a payback period of 22 years. Of course, that doesn't include any amounts paid out of pocket, scholarships or interest costs. So you should adjust this comparative calculator accordingly, adjusting for your own interest and non-tuition costs. So...Should I Get A Bachelor’s In Hospitality Management? Ultimately, the decision is yours. While it may seem like a tough time to go into hospitality, we are bullish on the future of travel and hospitality, especially when the time frame is three to five years out. So now could be the perfect time to get a degree in hospitality management, as you have two major advantages being early on in your hospitality career: your salary needs are lower and you have plenty of time for the industry to recover. You could take the time to earn your degree and really dive into a specialization that will remain competitive as the industry recovery unfolds. Then, right when you're ready to enter the workforce, you’ll be well-positioned. For instance, you may want to consider focusing on revenue management and marketing, which are marketable skills regardless of industry. and then you will have more options upon graduation, so you could enter the management track and operations, revenue, or marketing. Hotels will be doing more with less for the foreseeable future. So you just want to make yourself as competitive as possible if you choose to get a bachelor's in hospitality management. If you use your time earning a degree wisely, develop a broad base of soft skills around collaboration, communication, team building, and leadership, you'll be well-positioned to thrive! Further Resources Want to learn more about the hospitality industry as you decide if a bachelor’s in hospitality management is right for you? Check out these resources: Our complete guide to the hospitality industry Our complete guide to the hotel management industry A deep dive into the various hospitality careers to consider Everything you need to know about hotel operations Exploring the revenue management career path
Hotel HR & Staffing Software Articles
Whether you're a boutique hotel manager or the owner of an expansive resort, your most important resource is your team members. How do you juggle payroll, paperwork, and performance reviews? Just as a PMS organizes everything related to your property operations, HRIS systems streamline your human resources operations, from benefits administration to HR systems reporting. Modern HRIS systems are not just used by HR professionals but are so user friendly today that most have employee self-service software solutions that improve the employee experience. In this article, we’ll introduce you to this important software, explain the features it can offer, and explore the benefits your hotel can realize by implementing it. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about your HR organization’s technology needs. With the proper technology partner, you can empower your employees to thrive at work and focus on what matters: providing a great guest experience. HRIS Software or HRMS: What’s the Difference? A human resources information system, or HRIS, goes by many different names. You may also see it referred to as a human resource management system (HRMS), a talent management system (TMS), or a human capital management system (HCM). All of these acronyms stand for the same thing: a system that centralizes your human resources operations. These systems house your employee database, handle payroll, compile performance reviews, run reports and analytics, and more. Human resources staff use the system on a daily basis, while all employees and managers can access a portal as needed to view payroll information, clock in and out, and track their goals. What Features Does an HRIS Offer? At a high level, an HRIS helps your human resources team do their jobs better, and it helps employees manage their payroll and performance. But what specific features will you find in an HRIS? Employee database: An HRIS holds your employee database; you can securely store employee information like birthdays, contact details, start date, compensation, contracts, and more for easy access within the system. Time tracking: Hourly employees, like housekeeping staff or restaurant servers, can clock in and out via a module in your HRIS. Integrated, digital timesheets decrease the potential for human error and allow you to analyze human resource data to optimize scheduling. Payroll: Your HRIS can automate the entire payroll process from managing compensation information to disbursing payments. Benefits: The HRIS makes benefits enrollment easy; employees can sign up or change policies in a self-service portal. Employee portal: Employees have access to a self-service dashboard in the HRIS where they can view and manage not only benefits, but also payroll or banking information, goals and performance, an employee database, time off requests, internal job openings, and more. Applicant tracking: Hotels hire frequently, and managing applicants is no easy task. An HRIS can streamline the application process both for the applicant and for your HR team. Some software vendors offer separate applicant tracking systems (ATS), but a comprehensive HRIS will include one. Onboarding and training: You can centralize the onboarding process for new employees in the HRIS to ensure consistency in every new team member’s first few days at your property. Your HRIS can also organize and monitor ongoing training for employees and managers. Performance management: An HRIS often includes functionality for setting goals, tracking performance, providing feedback, and recording notes from performance reviews. Reporting: With so much data in one central system, the HRIS provides robust reporting features to help you better understand your employee demographics, scheduling needs, benefits use, and more. Some leading HRISs, like Workday and Oracle, include all of these features and more. If your hotel has specific HR software needs, you can also find vendors that provide just one or two of these services. For example, Greenhouse and Lever are applicant tracking systems, so they don’t provide payroll or benefits to hired employees. Why Use an HRIS? It’s certainly possible to handle benefits and payroll without an HRIS, but that’s not the ideal way to run a human resources organization. Especially in the hospitality industry, where turnover is high and teams are large, an HRIS can deliver efficiency, transparency, and even cost savings. What benefits can you expect when you implement an HRIS? Automation of recurring tasks and data entry, such as payroll, employee records and contracts, so your HR team can spend time on more important and impactful projects. More efficient HR operations by offering self-service access to employees. Instead of contacting HR for assistance enrolling in benefits, checking payroll information, or requesting time off, employees can use the self-service portal. Employees will also appreciate having immediate access to these services. Accuracy across timesheets and payroll by eliminating the chance of human error. Secure storage for employee and financial information - much more secure than a filing cabinet! Digital storage is also less expensive and more eco-friendly than traditional paper employee files. Access to employee, tax, and legal documents to ensure compliance. The HRIS can store various forms of employee documentation, certifications, and contact information should you need it at any time. Clarity into human resource allocation. By analyzing timesheet data, you can optimize scheduling for hourly departments like housekeeping, front desk, and F&B. Happier employees and higher employee engagement. Through the performance management functionalities, managers can better coach and guide their direct reports toward their career goals, which can reduce turnover. How Do You Choose the Right HRIS? Want to bring the benefits of an HRIS into your hotel's HR management process so that you can streamline employee data (and employee benefits) while improving decision making? Deciding to implement an HRIS is a relatively easy decision; deciding which HRIS can be difficult. When deliberating between the various systems available, it’s important to keep these criteria in mind: Cost - how much do you want to spend? Functionality - which features do you really need? Customer support - do you want hands-on, 24/7 support from the vendor? Industry expertise - while you don't necessarily need your HRIS to be fully customizable you'll want to make sure that it's built for the needs of your HR department. Hospitality businesses typically have lots of shift labor and part time workers so you'll want to make sure that any system you choose has worked with hotel businesses before. With such a broad range of systems on the market, you’ll find there is also a wide variety in terms of cost and functionality. If you run a small independent hotel, you probably don’t need a system that offers a suite of features for global talent management. On the other hand, if you are deciding which system to implement on a brand or corporate level, then robust reporting tools and support for employees in multiple locations will be crucial. The best way to determine whether an HRIS is right for you is by signing up for a demo or a free trial. Did we miss any key features or benefits that an HRIS can provide? What systems do you recommend? Let us know!
Considering a role in hospitality? Looking to nurture your hospitality career by taking on new responsibilities or a new role? You've come to the right place. Below, we've broken down all of the various roles and responsibilities across different hospitality departments. You'll see which skills you need to move up the career ladder as well as common career progressions. We also share hotlinks to live job postings and reviews on popular websites like Hcareers. Armed with this information -- and the hotel management tips and tricks on our blog -- you’ll be ready to nurture your career through this challenging time. Hospitality professionals have a wide array of opportunities from food services to housekeeping jobs, event manager roles and even the ones you won't find in job postings like c-suite hotel management company positions. Hotel jobs in particular can be incredibly diverse ranging from menial tasks to advanced data science, part-time to full time and everything in between. Hospitality Jobs, Descriptions and Career Paths Hospitality management career opportunities are broken down into two buckets: the front office (front of house), which has direct contact with the public, and the back office (back of house), which includes support roles with less frequent frontline contact. For larger brands, and franchises, many back office roles are centralized off-property and have purview over multiple properties. While we focus on the hotel segment many of these roles are similar across cruise ship, restaurants and all facets of the industry. Here we break down the various hospitality roles and responsibilities, along with key skills that you need to thrive in each of these roles, as well as the potential career path. Many corporate roles, such as marketing, finance and sales, earn more responsibility by moving from a single property to a cluster, where the role oversees that function across several properties. In order to get into higher paying corporate roles you'll need at least a high school diploma and likely a bachelor's degree (ideally from a hospitality school). Having said that, even some of the most advanced roles and management positions can be achieved without fancy degrees through proper job training and determination. Also, larger properties will see more atomization of these roles. A hotel in Times Square with 2,000 rooms will need more housekeeping shift supervisors whereas a smaller hotel with only 50 rooms may have just one housekeeping manager overseeing the department. As far as skills required, we've added some specific to each row. These are in addition to the essential traits of any hospitality employee: problem-solving, customer service, effective use of technology and time management, among others. There are dozens of wonderful career paths so skip to the category that's most relevant for you: Front of House Back of House Revenue Management Sales & Marketing Hospitality Management FRONT OF HOUSE HOSPITALITY JOBS Front Desk Agent/Clerk The front desk agent is responsible for checking guests in and out, keeping the front desk area tidy in the lobby clean and fielding guest requests on the phone and in-person. They also contribute around the hotel as needed. This is often an entry-level role and doesn't require any specific skills, beyond authentic customer service, a desire to learn and a lack of tardiness. Career-minded front desk agents could eventually become shift supervisors and then assistant managers, front-of-house managers, and other management roles within the property. [Explore job data for Front Desk Agents on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Reservations Agent Reservations Agents handle everything related to guest reservations, so just handling phone calls for new reservations, updating existing reservations, and answering guest communications via email, phone and other channels. This may be an entry-level role but still requires emotional intelligence, as well as patience, customer service, follow-through and the ability to focus and stay on task with limited oversight. A Reservations Agent could cross-train on the front desk and then move onto the management track. [Explore job data for Reservations Agents on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] F&B Director The Food and Beverage Director is responsible for managing the frontline staff and mid-level managers of the food and beverage outlets on-site. Depending on the size of the property, the F&B Director can manage anywhere from a few to dozens of employees. This person can do anything from running interviews with potential new employees, developing new menus with kitchen and bar staff, working with marketing on promotions, doing performance evaluations and handling customer service issues. The F&B Director is the primary liaison to upper management and attends regular management meetings. Often, the Food and Beverage Director has worked her way up from frontline roles at restaurants and bars. As a career, the Director can transition into a larger property with more responsibilities and staff, open a new hotel’s outlets or seek out a GM role. [Explore job data for F&B Directors on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Assistant F&B Director As the assistant to the F&B Director, this person contributes to the day-to-day operations of food and beverage outlets. This can mean working supervisor shifts and generally supplementing the work of their boss. This role is often promoted up through frontline staff and has aspirations to become a director and move into managing larger food and beverage outlets either at a hotel or elsewhere. [Explore job data for Assistant F&B Directors on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Outlet Manager This role manages the daily operations of an on-property outlet. Do this could be a spa manager, bar manager or restaurant manager. These roles are most often found on larger properties with more amenities. Responsibilities vary depending on the outlet; this person will be responsible for hiring and firing, scheduling staff, handling customer service and monitoring overall performance. An outlet manager usually has three to five years of experience in a related service sector, with some management experience prior to arriving at the hotel. And all that manager may aspire to become a Director of Operations, Director Of Food And Beverage, or another director-level role. [Browse open Outlet Managers roles on Hcareers] Executive Chef The Executive Chef is responsible for all food that is served on site. This can include banquets, meetings, food and beverage outlets, room service and even external catering. Most often found in larger properties with bigger budgets (and greater operational need), the Executive Chef leads a team that may include multiple Sous Chefs, a Banquets/Events Chef, and a Pastry Chef, with each of those people responsible for different areas of food and beverage operations. As the head of the kitchen, the Executive Chef may also be asked to participate in pitches for large conferences and events, and have a much more public-facing role than other kitchen managers. The Executive Chef may move on from a single property to a hotel group as an Area Executive Chef, or even to a restaurant group or corporate entity. [Explore job data for Executive Chefs on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] BACK OF HOUSE HOSPITALITY JOBS Accountant The hotel accountant manages all aspects of a hotel’s finances, from processing payroll to reconciling income and expenses, paying taxes and creating reports for management. This person will also spend time presenting these reports and working with management to understand the drivers behind the numbers. Accountants need a specialized college degree and will need different levels of experience, depending on the hotel’s size and revenue. for an accountant just out of college, a smaller property would be the best place to start, while a more experienced accountant will look for a larger hotel group. Accounting principles generally translate well across industries, although specialized industry knowledge enhances competitiveness in the labor market. In addition to strong financial management and sound judgment, a great hotel accountant has forensic skills to track down discrepancies and investigate the story behind the numbers. A successful accountant also needs the ability to communicate about numbers in an understandable way to others. An accountant could become a Director of Finance or an accountant role elsewhere, such as moving up to a larger property with more responsibilities or in another industry entirely as a VP of Accounting. [Explore job data for Accountants on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Night Auditor A hotel's Night Auditor audits each day’s financial transactions, such as reconciling and settling credit card transactions and verifying cashiers’ work for any outlets that take cash. As you can guess from the name, this work generally takes place at night once the hotel has completed the majority of its business. This person is also often in charge of the front desks turn the overnight hours While some aptitude with finances is desirable, this is often an hourly position that is less experienced than an accountant. The Night Auditor must be comfortable working overnight hours and also managing the customer service element, in addition to supporting the property’s financial management. A night auditor could become a shift supervisor and move their way up the management ladder. [Explore job data for Night Auditors on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Director of Finance The Director of Finance manages all accounting functions and financial controls of a hotel. This person ensures that all financial reports, budgets, forecasts and other financial data are compiled accurately and that all legal and tax documentation is maintained and secured according to accepted accounting practices. This person also makes recommendations based on financial data and helps hotel management achieve its financial goals. The Director of Finance is a senior role, which requires an accounting/finance degree and at least 8 to 10 years of experience in hospitality. A Director of Finance pursues progressively more senior roles, such as VP of Finance or potentially moving into new hotel development and launching larger properties. [Explore job data for Directors of Finance on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Human Resource Manager At a certain point, a hotel’s headcount merits full-time Human Resources support. This role advises management and helps everyone adhere to the strict legal guidelines around hiring, firing, and monitoring performance. This person will also be responsible for much of the paperwork around staff and supporting the on-boarding process for each employee. A human resource manager could be fresh out of college, or with multiple years of experience. The essential skill here is balancing empathy and humanity with laws and business. On one hand, a human resource manager must protect business; on the other, there must be some level of humanity involved and what is often an emotional area of hotel operations. The Human Resource Manager eventually moves onto a Director of Human Resources role, moving from an individual property to a regional manager. [Explore job data for Human Resource Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Executive Chef The Executive Chef is responsible for all food that is served on site. This can include banquets, meetings, food and beverage outlets, room service and even external catering. Most often found in larger properties with bigger budgets (and greater operational need), the Executive Chef leads a team that may include multiple Sous Chefs, a Banquets/Events Chef, and a Pastry Chef, with each of those people responsible for different areas of food and beverage operations. As the head of the kitchen, the Executive Chef may also be asked to participate in pitches for large conferences and events, and have a much more public-facing role than other kitchen managers. The Executive Chef may move on from a single property to a hotel group as an Area Executive Chef, or even to a restaurant group or corporate entity. [Explore job data for Executive Chefs on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Director of Housekeeping The Director of Housekeeping is responsible for all things housekeeping: the daily cleaning of rooms, maintaining service standards, managing housekeeper schedules and room assignments, collaborating with maintenance to perform regular, hiring and training, managing performance reviews, and any other duties related to the housekeeping department. As the leader of the department, this person also attends management meetings and serves as a liaison between direct reports and upper management. A Director of Housekeeping has at least five years of experience working in hospitality, with major preference given to those with direct housekeeping experience. it's helpful to have that hands-on experience, not only to see things on the ground but also to build credibility with housekeepers. As a career, a Director of Housekeeping works at progressively larger properties and transitions into managing housekeeping departments at a cluster of hotels, hotel group or another institution such as a college or hospital. [Review job data for Directors of Housekeeping on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Housekeeping Manager The housekeeping manager assists the Director of Housekeeping and manages daily operations of the hotel cleaning staff. This usually includes scheduling staff, maintaining cleanliness standards, and supervising individual shifts. Smaller properties may only have a Housekeeping Manager; larger properties likely have multiple managers reporting into the Director of Housekeeping. A Housekeeping Manager usually has several years of experience as a housekeeper and may be promoted internally. A logical next step for this role is as Director of Housekeeping and then seeking more responsibilities by working at larger properties and portfolios. [Explore job data for Housekeeping Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Head of Maintenance/Chief Engineer The Head of Maintenance/Engineering maintains a property’s Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) to extend their useful life. This is an extremely important role, as it ensures that ownership extracts the most value out of its investments in the hotel asset. To accomplish this, a Head of Maintenance must be both organized (for routine maintenance) and extremely capable at troubleshooting -- especially when it comes to things that impact the guest experience, such as fixing a broken guestroom AC unit. A friendly demeanor is also a helpful asset, as this role often interfaces with frustrated guests who want a problem resolved quickly. Flashlight certifications are almost always required for this role; if not, there needs to be a minimum of five years of experience in engineering elsewhere. [Explore job data for Engineers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] IT Manager/Systems Manager The IT Manager is responsible for everything related to the alphabet soup of hotel technology: WiFi, in-room technology, PMS, CRS...If the technology optimizes hotel operations, the IT/Systems Manager is responsible for sourcing, implementing and maintaining it. As more properties transition to cloud-based technology, this role is increasingly seen only in larger properties, hotel groups, and corporate offices. Independents and smaller properties rely more on vendors and contractors to provide this type of support. For example, if the Wi-Fi goes down, a vendor or contractor would help the front desk/management resolve the issue. The skills required to be an effective IT Manager are, well, geeky. This person needs to have a thorough understanding of how technology Works come on as well as the way that technology can improve operations. The IT manager should be able to translate “geekspeak” into plain language so as not to alienate others and to build trust and credibility. The career trajectory involves taking on progressively more responsibilities at larger organizations and eventually moving into a corporate role, culminating in a Chief Technology Officer. [See open roles for System Managers on Hcareers] Loss Prevention Manager/Security Officer At a certain size, security becomes non-negotiable. This role may sometimes be called Head of Security or in other instances, it may be a Loss Prevention Manager or Security Officer. The job is simple: keep guests and staff safe while preventing theft and other incidents that cause a loss to the hotel. This role is often hourly but may also be salaried. As far as skills, strong judgment, effective risk assessment, and a detective’s mindset are all important for a loss prevention/security officer. Like other roles, the career path involves taking on more responsibilities at larger properties and eventually managing multiple departments across properties as a regional or corporate manager. [Explore job data for Loss Prevention on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] HOTEL REVENUE MANAGEMENT JOBS Revenue Manager/Revenue Analyst The Revenue Manager’s job is to define and execute a hotel revenue strategy that optimizes a hotel's revenue across channels. The revenue manager uses technology and analytical skills to translate historical data into demand forecasts and then setting pricing accordingly (usually in real-time). A revenue manager's work is done in collaboration with other departments, especially sales and marketing. So collaboration is a must, as is creativity, strategic thinking, scenario planning and robust analysis. A revenue manager could be just out of college or with a few years of experience working in other revenue roles or in other parts of the hospitality industry. With enough experience, a Revenue Manager could take on revenue responsibilities of multiple properties as a Cluster Manager or lead revenue as a Director of Revenue. Eventually, the career path could include VP of Revenue and Chief Revenue Officer. A revenue manager could also move over to marketing or a revenue analyst role in another industry. [Explore job data for Revenue Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Cluster Manager/Area Revenue Manager Cluster Revenue Manager is responsible for revenue management at a “cluster” of several hotels and is often based at corporate headquarters. An Area Revenue Manager handles a specific geographic area and could be located on-site or remote. Given the greater responsibility, these roles generally have three to five years of experience working in revenue management or a comparable role in another industry. As far as skills, they're similar to a revenue manager, with an additional layer of interpersonal skills and time management. When managing revenue for several properties, there's more to juggle -- especially when it comes to managing relationships with each individual property. A cluster manager also needs to spot trends across multiple datasets for broader insights. A Cluster Manager might become a Director of Revenue, a hotel GM, VP of Revenue, and eventually a Chief Revenue Officer. [Explore job data for Area Revenue Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Director of Revenue The Director of Revenue could be a solo practitioner (for instance, at a smaller boutique property) or she could be responsible for a team of Revenue Managers. It really comes down to the property's size, revenue profile and individual needs. A Director of Revenue needs a minimum of 3 years experience, with the majority of it in some revenue-related role. However, it's more common to see around five years of experience or more at this level, depending on the market and hotel category. Alongside the typical revenue management skills of collaboration, creativity, strategy and data analysis, a Director of Revenue has to be able to translate analysis into digestible language that motivates others. Success in this role requires the ability to communicate and collaborate in a way that aligns everyone -- especially sales and marketing, who are key stakeholders in achieving revenue goals. Next steps on the career ladder are lateral moves to a larger/more prestigious/more challenging property, moving from an individual property to corporate, as well as becoming a hotel GM, VP of Revenue and eventually a Chief Revenue Officer. [Explore job data for Directors of Revenue on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] VP of Revenue This leadership position is found at larger hotel groups and major chains, where the VP of Revenue will be responsible for multiple teams across properties, brands, and/or geographies. These teams will most definitely include revenue, and may also include sales and marketing. Basically, anyone that has to do with bringing in revenue may report to the VP of Revenue. A VP of Revenue requires strong management and leadership skills, next-level strategy and ability to align/motivate teams in different geographies towards shared objectives. There's also I have to go staff managing competing priorities, acting as the conduit between management and frontline revenue management teams. This is a senior role, so you’ll need around 5-7 years of experience at the very minimum. It greatly varies depending on a brand’s location, with smaller markets requiring less experience than larger ones. For the largest, most prestigious brands, you'll need at least 10 years of relevant experience to be considered for a role at this level. The next steps from here are the hotel C-suite (Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Commercial Officer), or another leadership role in another industry or hotel group. [Look for job data on VP of Revenue roles on Glassdoor and open jobs on Hcareers] Chief Revenue Officer This C-suite position is found only in the largest of hospitality brands and requires decades of experience. This person is responsible for driving revenue across all areas of the brand’s business, working closely with the Chief Marketing Officer on demand generation efforts at the brand level, as well as being directly responsible for revenue management and group sales on a regional level. The CRO has world-class management skills, with a clearly demonstrated ability to work across a global organization. With so many distributed teams, it's a massive challenge to motivate everyone around a common vision with shifting priorities. So communication and empathy are vital. A CRO may move to become CEO onwards to another commercial C-suite role in another industry. SALES AND MARKETING HOSPITALITY JOBS Sales Manager/Group Sales Manager The sales manager is responsible for prospecting corporate and leisure groups, as well as conferences and other events that draw larger groups to the hotel. The role also works to sell property amenities to locals and other groups that may be interested in the property. As far as experience, a sales manager could be just out of college or have one to three years in a related role. That role should showcase skills such as strong networking and relationship building as well as the ability to read people and close deals. a sales manager will also need to excel in proposal writing, using marketing technology to automate prospecting and business development, and the ability to set achievable targets and deliver without folding under pressure. The next steps on the career ladder for a sales manager would be as Regional/Cluster Sales Manager, Director of Sales, VP of Sales and Chief Revenue Officer. This role also provides plenty of experience for someone looking to eventually become a hotel GM. [Explore job data for Sales Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Marketing Manager A Marketing Manager is responsible for creating targeted advertisements across digital channels, such as email, social media, display advertising and traditional channels. This could be an entry-level role for a recent college graduate or someone with one to three years in a marketing role elsewhere. Since this role is all about marketing a hotel, a marketing manager needs to have a balance of creativity, such as copywriting and storytelling, and analysis. A marketing manager needs to understand how to segment audiences, create targeted campaigns, measure performance and adjust strategy as needed. Also required is a thorough understanding of various marketing channels, effective networking, effective collaboration skills and the ability to both create and execute strategy. A marketing manager can be promoted to Area/Cluster Marketing Manager, Director of Marketing, VP of Marketing and eventually CMO or CRO. A marketing manager could also translate these skills into a management role of an individual property as GM. [Explore job data for Sales Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Events Manager/Meeting Planner The Events Manager (or Meeting Planner) works with sales managers to craft proposals that convert into business for the hotel. Once a contract is signed, this person manages all elements of an event relationship, from planning to execution to post-event reporting. With experience ranging from one to five years, this role is very customer-facing and requires great customer service skills in addition to planning and time management. Since this person manages scheduled events, there's usually a less traditional work schedule as well. You’ll need strong organizational skills with attention to detail, an authentic desire to deliver a memorable experience, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and effective use of technology to plan and execute events, The career path could include Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, Director of Events, and GM. [Explore job data for Sales Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT CAREERS Hotel Manager (GM) The General Manager is responsible for every detail about a hotel's operations, all in service of managing costs and increasing revenues to maintain a profitable operation. All director-level roles report to this person, who is ultimately responsible for maintaining service/brand standards and delivering on performance expectations from ownership/corporate. To hold everyone accountable and maintain a culture of service, the GM sets the tone for everything. The GM also prepares yearly budgets to submit to hotel ownership or the corporate office. More often than not, the GM has a college degree with a specialization in hospitality. A general manager that may not come from hospitality, this person usually has invested in a hospitality certification to develop a deeper understanding of the industry. A successful GM has strong leadership and communication skills, which she uses to clearly articulate a vision and motivate staff. Organized and effective, a GM can balance many competing priorities each day Barstow to Lorain on the Brand's promise of hospitality. Also useful are a commitment to training, knowledge of safety, hygiene and employment law. Having already reached a significant milestone in her career, a GM could look to manage multiple properties or perhaps go into the corporate organization as she moves up the corporate ladder. [Explore job data for General Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Operations Manager/Assistant GM Reporting directly to the general manager, the Operations Manager (or Assistant GM) monitors performance across departments and supports all Heads of Departments as needed. This includes running weekly meetings with all relevant teams to address any guest feedback, discuss sales targets and any other operational issues. The Operations Manager must be exceptionally organized, able to juggle priorities and tasks that change frequently. This person must also have a firm grasp on all aspects of a hotel operation, which is why the ideal Operations Manager candidate has experience in multiple departments. An Operations Manager has multiple paths for promotion, from stepping into the GM job to overseeing several Operations Managers as a regional Director of Operations and then onwards to VP of Operations at the corporate level. [See job data for Operations Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] FOH Manager/Guest Services Manager The Front of House/Front Office Manager oversees all things guest relations. This role hires, trains, and manages the team of front desk agents that handles guest relations. As the most visible frontline staff at a hotel, this team exerts a major influence on the guest experience. As such, the FOH Manager must have an eye for talent and a heart of hospitality, building a guest-centric culture that's reflected in guest reviews. The FOH Manager has often learned the ropes from the ground up from a front desk position, which builds credibility and shapes approach. One of the most important skills here is the nuance needed to motivate a team of hourly workers with high turnover while still maintaining service standards. This requires a significant amount of conflict resolution, patience, resilience and a “get it done” mentality The FOH Manager may move into operations as an Operations Manager or become an Assistant General Manager with an eye on the General Manager job. [Explore job data for FOH Managers on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Reservation Manager Reservations Manager supervises other Reservations Agents and makes sure that the team stays on task and meets its objectives. Smaller properties may just have a single Reservation Manager and no Agents. an ideal reservation manager has some experience, anywhere from one to five years. The most relevant experience involves customer service, not necessarily and hospitality. This person needs the ability to communicate warmly and graciously across the phone and an email, an eye for hiring and training, as well as a mentality that motivates a team of hourly Reservations Agents. [Explore job data for Reservations on Glassdoor and open roles on Hcareers] Night Manager/Duty Manager The Night Manager, Duty Manager or Shift Supervisor handles all front desk operations during a specific period. This could involve handling reservations, fulfilling guest requests, and managing other front desk agents. A few years of experience in a related role is required, often as a front desk agent at another property. The Night/Duty Manager is a great candidate for moving up to assistant manager, front of house manager or another management role in operations. [Explore job data and open roles on Hcareers] -- Adapting for Covid-19 The pandemic is a standard feature of our foreseeable future. As such, job descriptions and roles must be updated to reflect the shifting nature of hospitality work. In most cases, the pandemic necessitates amplifying existing roles. Housekeepers are no longer only cleaners, they’re sanitation experts. GMs and other department heads are no longer just managers but also therapists, cheerleaders and process optimizers. Everyone is doing more with less and that must be accounted for in job descriptions and staff expectations. Here are a few ways that hospitality roles and responsibilities must adapt to doing business during a pandemic. Sanitation Superstars: Cleaning is no longer limited to certain staff. It'll be everybody's job to clean their stations and participate in facilities upkeep. Since constant and consistent cleaning is at the center of any reopening strategy, the increased work must be spread broadly. Everyone must be empowered, encouraged and rewarded for contributing to a culture of guest and staff safety. Hybrid Roles: As with cleaning, staff will need to adjust to an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Lower occupancy means fewer employees. As we embark on the road to recovery, with demand fluctuating in fits and spurts, staff will take on expanded duties to cover for vacant roles. For example, you'll see more front desk staff double as valets and bellhops -- especially at larger hotels built for higher guest throughput. Motivational Managers: As staff returns to work, managers must expand their skill sets to be even more attuned to their staff and guests. Many have suffered trauma and the lingering effects of uncertainty can cause ongoing stress. Managers must be careful to balance the property’s needs with those of staff. Everyone is living in stressful times and managers must account for that by being more empathetic, patient and understanding. Digital Concierge: As hotels reduce touchpoints to increase safety, hotel concierge services will increasingly be performed via digital communications, such as text messaging and live chat. Voice calls will also make a comeback in certain property types.
Relentless turnover challenges the sanity of even the most composed hotel manager. I would know: after owning two restaurants that employed 70 people at peak times, the constant battle against turnover triggers plenty of stressful memories. We tried offering health insurance and a living wage for BOH employees, but the economic realities of the low-margin restaurant business made this nearly impossible. Add in the appeal of jobs in less low wage industries, and hiring and retaining quality candidates with a passion for hospitality was always the top challenge. While hotels enjoy slightly better margins than standalone restaurants, the labor crunch extends equally. As hospitality businesses struggle to stay staffed up, a “mercenary frenzy” leads to lower-than-usual loyalty among workers who shop around for the best offer -- and jump ship at the slightest opportunity for a greater wage. Even with generous benefits, it can be incredibly difficult to retain staff. Rising rents and low wage growth, coupled with low unemployment in the U.S., have sharpened employee focus on gross wages above all else. To combat these employment trends, HR managers for hotels must rely on tools to increase their own productivity around sourcing new hires, as well as retaining dedicated team members with flexible scheduling and professional development opportunities. While there are certain features of the hospitality business that make hiring difficult, such as wage competitiveness, the right technology helps HR managers excel in an challenging labor environment. The role of an HR manager When it comes to technology, It's important to match the functionality with the desired outcomes. Let's briefly review the roles and responsibilities of the hospitality HR manager: Sourcing. The HR manager sources potential candidates through online platforms, employee referrals, and personal networks. Interviewing and hiring. The HR manager screen candidates and oversees the process alongside hiring managers. Onboarding. Once hired, the new employee’s onboarding must be swift and thorough, balancing quality with speed. Retention. Existing employees are assets that must be treated as such. An HR managers helps retain staff, which is vital to the consistency of the guest experience and the profitability of the hotel. Each of these roles as a specific subset of technology that, when implemented correctly, makes the hospitality HR manager more productive and successful in the role. Candidate sourcing Turnover for most hotels reaches far into the double digits. This figure is even larger for those hospitality brands that also hire for extensive food and beverage operations. The churn puts hospitality HR managers on constant offense when it comes to sourcing quality candidates. HR managers should use a three-part strategy, sourcing potential candidates through staffing and recruiting networks, employee referrals, and personal networks. A blended approach brings a greater mix of candidates, and contributes to a healthy talent pipeline. An emerging category of online platform especially compelling for today’s hospitality HR managers is on-demand staffing. With an on-demand workforce, HR manages can fill unexpected labor gaps, both short and long-term. While the hiring process may be less rigorous and more suited for filling roles with specific responsibilities, these platforms are a useful addition to any hospitality HR managers toolkit. Speed to hire Staff departures are common -- but can still catch management off guard. The HR manager must be equipped to quickly hire candidates by moving them through the hiring funnel in the shortest amount of time. The “speed to hire” metric, which Hired defines as “the total time the candidate spends in the funnel,” is an immensely useful metric for hospitality hiring. “We define speed to hire as the total time the candidate spends in the hiring funnel from initial sourcing to offer acceptance.” -Hired.com By tracking how long it takes to hire, HR managers improve business outcomes by helping department heads replace outgoing stuff and fill new roles quickly. Another benefit: quality candidates have less time to be snagged by others. In the competition for talent, a mere hours can make a huge difference in closing a new hire. The Applicant Tracking Software is the hospitality HR manager’s greatest ally. It encompasses all aspects of the hiring funnel, from sourcing candidates down to the eventual hire. Effective management of this process leads to greater hiring success. Once the candidate is in the funnel, avoid scheduling hassles and use on-demand video interviews which are more candidate friendly. Potential employees can submit these videos on their own time, which also frees up HR managers with far fewer initial candidate screens. When evaluating Applicant Tracking Software, look for these types of automations that boost productivity and enhance the hiring experience. The best candidates see disorganized hiring processes as warning signs. Onboarding Once the candidate has accepted, now it's all about how quickly she can be trained. Just like with speed-to-hire, an efficient training process prepares the employee to be an individual contributor. The faster this happens, the lower the turnover costs associated with filling an open role. The trick is to balance speed with quality -- what’s the minimum amount of time that this person, at this experience level, needs to become an integrated team member? In collaboration with the hiring manager, the HR manager should shape the training process to be as mutually beneficial to both the organization and the candidate. Most candidates want to be trained, but many will be turned off by overtraining or a disorganized onboarding process. Applicant Tracking Systems with on-boarding functionality make it easy for HR managers to check-in with new employees periodically in the first few weeks on the job. Retain and reward Regardless of the business, turnover costs money. With each lost employee, the business faces additional costs related to finding replacement workers, training them, and often paying overtime to workers covering the schedule gaps in the meantime. [Turnover] has high management costs associated with it as you’ll need more exempt managers to ensure training, quality and to pick up the pieces when the quality is just not there. -Restaurateur Azhar Hashem on Why SF Restaurants are Suffocating. Mitigating these costs must be top-of-mind for an HR professional. Since it's far more affordable (and beneficial to both the guest experience and staff satisfaction), focus on retention through a positive employee experience and strong professional development support. The current state of the employee experience can be captured with employee engagement software that gather real-time feedback so HR managers can take the pulse of the organization often. These platforms also improve on-property staff communications, reducing mistakes, increasing productivity, and generally making everyone’s day that much better. Workers and hospitality often prioritize flexibility when it comes to scheduling. For those workers, it's important to offer mobile-optimized scheduling tools that facilitate shift trading and communications among colleagues. Some employees won't have access to computers at home, so these mobile-optimized solutions encourage engagement without alienating a core subset of staff. Many of these tools also integrate labor management, which provides a better on-property life for staff with digital logbooks, as well as performance benchmarks to reward high-performing teams. Payroll solutions should also be reliable and accurate, as a consistently paid staff is the bedrock of any hotel. Hotels must also reward the most promising employees with additional responsibilities and perks wherever possible. Beyond the obvious, such as promoting from within and seeking growth opportunities for the most promising staff, HR managers can more productively support staff with professional development features embedded in staff engagement software. By codifying the professional development process, HR managers boost retention by lighting the path for ambitious staff. All in all, be communicative, adaptable, and action-oriented. The best hospitality HR managers stretch across the entire organization, collaborating and hustling to keep staff quality and retention high. And never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.”
Creating a great work environment is the single biggest determinant of success for any business. Companies that foster great work environments attract the best people and the best people build the best products. A 2017 study that analyzed 326,000 employee reviews at publicly traded companies found that firms with high employee satisfaction outperformed the overall stock market each year by 135bp (1.35%). A similar study of 400,000 employee ratings found evidence of a statistical relationship between employee perception and a firm’s future earnings. Sophisticated enterprise software buyers know that when they partner with a technology company, they are buying into not just its products but its vision, mission and team. These buyers perform due diligence to understand the viability of any business that they plan to partner with and a deep analysis of employee satisfaction and vendor culture is part of that process. Hotel Tech Report hosts this award not just to help the community find great jobs, but also to help fast track diligence for hotel tech buyers who want to learn about the best vendors to work with. Understanding organizational culture is important for software buyers because companies that create great work environments retain employees longer, service customers better and innovate faster. Perks like ping pong tables, office snacks and vacation days are nice, but our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list is determined by the glue that holds companies together. Each year we ask thousands of employees at hotel tech companies how they feel about their employers and anonymize the results. The 2019 scoring is based on 7 key data points: Work-life balance: Please rate how well your employer promotes work/life balance. Personal development: How much importance does your employer place on your own personal development and succesful hospitality careers? Gender equality: How would you rate the opportunities available to women in your firm? Employee confidence: How much confidence do you have in the future of your company? Values alignment: How well do your values align with the culture of your organization? Employee engagement: How passionate are employees about the company? Growth prospects: How many open roles are there for your employees to grow into? Without further adieu we give you 2019's 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech: 10. Triptease Our research on Triptease validates that the Company truly lives and breathes the ethos of its name. Employees consistently cited off-sites and team trips as the highlights of their year. According to LinkedIn data, Triptease has grown its employee count 72% in the last 2 years. Sometimes when companies grow that quickly, it’s hard to maintain a great team culture. With the team spread all around the world, Triptease brings new employees for training and team building to the LondonHQ. New employees rave about the experience for the learning and friendships that come from it. Other notable events include Triptease’s renowned Direct Booking Summits (America, Europe, Asia) and a company wide Christmas party in Madrid (let us know if you need HTR on the scene to cover next year’s party - this one sounded like a rager!). Triptease employees are constantly blown away by how much management cares. One employee cited an unexpected bonus for a month of killer performance and another described to us how open management is to employee travel focused on career development. Ultimately, Triptease is one a big happy family and employees around the world are constantly connecting through a multitude team building activities and trips. Employees love the fast paced nature of consistently launching new innovative products. Check out open positions at Triptease 9. GuestRevu GuestRevu had a year in which critical company milestones rallied the team together. Not only did GuestRevu acquire a large regional competitor but the team also launched a major version update that required all hands on deck. Despite all the craziness of rapid growth, a new version launch and a major acquisition - one employee raved to Hotel Tech Report about how supportive the entire team was during the loss of a loved one. Another told us that she often needs to bring her 9-year old to work where he is always made to feel welcome and at home. The firm is so committed to its team that it sent out a company wide survey asking what employees wanted to learn and then purchased everyone access to Udemy classes to help them develop those new skills. The marketing team took classes on video editing and is already leveraging those skills to develop a series of video case studies for GuestRevu. Check out open positions at GuestRevu 8. Beekeeper For a company building software to help teammates communicate better - Beekeeper takes employee engagement and experience very seriously internally. As one employee told us, “Beekeeper does an excellent job of capturing feedback and always checking in to understand where you want to go and providing actionable feedback and support to get you there.” The Company promotes a healthy lifestyle through lunchtime sports and CrossFit. Taking it one step further, Beekeeper offers unlimited PTO and flexible work schedules to accommodate the expectations of the modern workforce. Beekeeper’s culture exudes transparency and humility. One employee told us that the team was initially put off by management’s decision to require employees to clean dishes at an off site before they realized that this was all part of the team building. This employee told us that the people they ended up washing dishes with ended up being their closest new friends and that the experience gave them an opportunity to bond in a way that most rarely do in the modern workplace. Another employee told us about a rewarding experience they had volunteering together at a homeless shelter. The team’s humility shined through further when a new employee (2 weeks in) alerted management about tensions between two departments. Much to their surprise both teams were thrilled to hear their new colleague’s insight and showed their appreciation. Management even went one step further offering this individual to run a huge cross-departmental retrospective 5 weeks into their job. It’s not often that companies are so open to self-reflection and change coming from a new junior hire and we really admire the culture that Beekeeper has nurtured. Check out open positions at Beekeeper 7. Hotel Effectiveness Hotel Effectiveness is an incredibly successful company that largely flies under the radar of hotel tech buzz. The Company provides revolutionary labor management software that we’ve covered here. If there’s one word that sums up the Hotel Effectiveness team culture - it’s ‘performance’. Employees are unilaterally motivated by consistently hitting lofty sales goals time and again. As a testament to this performance driven culture - one employee told us that one time their boss had to tell them to go home early and make some time for family when they were overworking themselves. This performance culture isn’t mandated from the top and is completely grassroots in that it’s driven by internal employee motivation and ambition. While you can expect to work alongside incredibly driven and ambitious colleagues at Hotel Effectiveness - they definitely know how to have a good time host a hilarious annual white elephant Christmas party. Check out open positions at Hotel Effectiveness 6. Revinate Revinate’s culture is characterized by constant iteration and testing. The Company is always trying new things and that affords a ton of learning opportunities to team members. This year while the technical team executed a full shift from hosted data center to cloud based AWS infrastructure the sales and marketing teams were tasked to rapidly grow the install base of the Revinate Marketing product. Both teams executed with near perfection and everyone celebrated with an impromptu party where key team members reflected on the incredible achievements of such a relatively short time period. Revinate embodies the startup spirit with enterprise scale. Revinate CEO Marc Heyneker is deeply involved in the day to day operations of the business and employees across the organization rave about his ability to inspire and teach. One employee told us a story about a serious head injury that left this person working remotely for several months. His team made sure to make him feel included as part of the office through the entire time away but that was only the beginning. The employee recalled being shocked that over a year after his injury Heyneker pulled him aside to check in on his health and to ask what he could do personally to help. Check out open positions at Revinate 5. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds management recently surprised its team with a beautiful new San Diego headquarters equipped with a 14 ft indoor willow tree, a massive outdoor workspace, game areas, stand up workstations and more. The environment is fun, welcoming and echoes the company theme - all things travel. Cloudbeds has an extensive wellness program because management knows that healthy employees are productive ones. This productivity paid off in 2018 where Cloudbeds achieved #75 on Inc Magazine’s fastest growing companies list. How are they growing so fast you ask? Well it’s probably because CEO Adam Harris told the team he’d dance to any song of their choosing. We will keep you posted once we get our hands on the video from Harris’ co-founder Richard Castle. The Company maintains several internal chat threads exclusively for team sharing of funny photos, videos and memes - so we expect the video to surface there as well. All jokes aside, Cloudbeds takes both employee and team growth very seriously. Each employee has weekly 1-1 meetings to review competencies and revisit their path to promotion. The Company is growing rapidly and there are constant opportunities for employees who prove themselves. Cloudbeds is also a 100% flexible organization where remote employees and those stationed at the headquarters all enjoy the ability to work from anywhere anytime. Cloudbeds has fostered a culture where its team members truly enjoy hanging outside of work and building friendships important for their personal and professional lives. Several Ukrainian teammates trained for a marathon together and one customer success rep has leveraged her friendship with the UX designers to pursue her passion for design. After taking several courses independently the UX team has given her several opportunities to practice her skills on live projects. Check out open positions at Cloudbeds 4. Clock Software Clock Software is another company on our list that is growing insanely fast but doesn’t take itself too seriously. One Clock employee told us that on their birthday coworkers wrapped his entire workstation and even put a bow on it. The only complaint we heard from Clock Software team members was that they are growing too fast and needed more staff to manage the growth. This is the best kind of problem to have. Clock is the oldest company on our list and celebrated their 22nd anniversary this year - a testament to the longevity of the business. Clock founder Krasimir Trapchev has focused on growing the client base without scaling the team too quickly. Trapchev is all about execution and he’s prioritized building a long term sustainable business over rapid scaling which is extremely unique in an environment where funding is so plentiful that CryptoKitties, a company that enables users to breed and trade digital cats can raise $15M. Clock is now starting to scale the team so it can take on more enterprise clients and its employees are fired up. If you want to learn how to build a real business without massive amounts of venture capital - check out open jobs at Clock because Trapchev is the Mr. Miyagi of entrepreneurship and you’d be wise to make yourself his Karate Kid. Check out open positions at Clock 3. Screen Pilot Screen Pilot takes team building very seriously with activities like bubble soccer, a British Bakeoff (it’s ok we Googled it, too), volunteering at an animal shelter, an escape room and even a city wide scavenger hunt around its hometown in Denver. The scavenger hunt and Screen Pilot’s quarterly volunteer days are a testament to Screen Pilot’s commitment to the surrounding community. While Screen Pilot is a top rated digital marketing agency, it’s a technology innovator as much as a marketing service provider. The Company has created what it calls SP Labs where employees brainstorm ways to better leverage technology to help its clients win more direct bookings. Think of SP Labs like an ongoing internal hackathon with dedicated teams set on solving acute problems for clients. It’s this kind of innovative mindset that lead Screen Pilot to a 2018 Adrian Award for social content creation. Check out open positions at Screenpilot 2. Mews Systems If you caught the Mews Systems booth at WTM you might think that it was a rocket science company with all the lab coats and futuristic decor that earned it the Best Stand Award. While Mews isn’t quite a rocket science company it is taking off like a rocketship having doubled its client base in the second half of 2018 alone. To support that kind of insane customer growth Mews had to 4x its team size in the last year - the fastest growth of any company in our list. So how can a company even hire that fast? Mews attracts 40% of new hires via referrals. If that doesn’t say something about the company culture we don’t know what does. With that kind of insane growth supported by an $8M Series A in June you’d think it’s all business but Mews employees say it’s very much a “work hard, play hard” culture. One employee told us that one of his favorite things about working at Mews is “daily banter with the boizz” - this kind of hilariousness is exactly what’s helped the Company take the industry by storm. Hoteliers everywhere are sick of generic jargon and boring brand marketing from hotel tech firms and Mews is the antidote. Employees frequently cite founder Richard Valtr and CEO Matt Welle as saying “At Mews we are family and we will take care of any family member in need." Mews also boasts an extremely inclusive culture illustrated by the firm’s attendance at the Prague Pride celebration wearing special edition Mews gear to the event. The Company also has a shared value culture at its core and participated in UK Byte Night last year. Byte Night prevents youth homelessness by having corporate teams sleep in the streets to raise awareness and funds for the cause. Richard and team participated which is really cool and a statement to the quality of people that you’ll work with when you join the Mews team. Check out open positions at Mews 1. ALICE ALICE employees widely agreed that quarterly town hall meetings are the foundation of ALICE’s connected team culture. ALICE staff loves the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world, align around the company vision and get transparency into how the business is performing at a macro level. More than doubling its size in 2018, ALICE unsurprisingly had to upgrade its HQ office to add more space and acquire obligatory startup amenities like a cold brew keg, stand up desks and lockers. ALICE goes so much deeper for its team and invests heavily in career development. Employees participate in a company wide book club, receive access to free Udemy courses and are nurtured along a very clear path to promotion. ALICE employees talk about the clarity of path to promotion more than any other company’s employees on our list. Setting a clear path to promotion is important for making employees feel like they’re constantly progressing and puts them at ease knowing that there’s always room to grow internally. Major consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey have perfected this art but rarely do we see startups who are able to provide such transparency to their staff - kudos ALICE management.One employee told us that she was promoted 4 times in the last 3 years - a testament to ALICE’s ability to reward top employees. Even a remote worker was able to win ALICE’s Culture and Values Award twice in 6 months. This individual told us that they felt like they were on an island while working previous remote jobs - but felt very connected to the inclusive ALICE team. ALICE acquired GoConcierge this year and is making serious strides with major enterprise clients after its $30M Series B funding - a testament to the strong prospects for the firm and probably why employee confidence in the firm is best in class. “When you receive a high five from the CEO, that says a lot about the culture of the company,” says one team member. High fives all around! Check out open positions at ALICE -- Looking for open roles at hotels and hotel groups? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to use Hcareers to find and land your next role.
Del Ross built IHG into a billion dollar e-commerce business in 2 years, now he’s determined to solve hospitality’s labor problem1 year ago
Marketing, distribution and guest experience are undoubtedly the most buzzy topics in the world of hospitality technology. It’s easy to see why given the rapid rise of OTAs, the proliferation of mobile devices and recent innovations in data analysis techniques. Del Ross is no stranger to the tectonic shifts happening in hotel marketing and distribution technology having built IHG’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce business from the ground up. Perhaps that’s why we were initially surprised to see Del move into a senior role at labor management software company Hotel Effectiveness. The Company uses labor standard-driven staffing models that are built on deep analysis of real data to build real-time schedules for every function and department at a hotel in just a few minutes. Take a look at any P&L - you’ll notice that 50% of that hotel’s operating expenses are attributed to labor cost. If you’re based in unionized markets like San Francisco you’re probably spending most of your time focusing on these critical lines of your P&L. You’re also probably worrying about rising labor costs and talent acquisition in a low unemployment world. Low unemployment helps hotels (and the broader economy) by driving more revenue into businesses but there is always a trade-off. When unemployment is low - constrained supply causes labor costs to rise. When labor costs rise it becomes more expensive (and difficult) for hotels to attract talent. Many hotels are leveraging the gig economy to tap on demand staffing networks that fill these gaps. Others are focused on maximizing the existing talent that they already have. What do we mean when we say “hotels are maximizing their existing talent”? Hotels are investing in staff task management solutions to make a smaller team more efficient by tracking guests requests across shifts. They are also investing in technologies like cloud based property management systems that leverage mobile check-in to offload repetitive responsibilities and enable their teams to focus on delivering truly differentiated experiences. Labor management software is better at solving workforce related challenges because it hits the problem head on. You’ll see faster and quicker improvements to your strained P&L from using tools like Hotel Effectiveness to make better staffing decisions. Hotels are highly labor intensive businesses - there are tons of opportunities to increase efficiency and cut costs sitting right under your nose that technology can unlock. We sat down with Del Ross from Hotel Effectiveness to learn how his experience being a restaurant waiter while at Georgetown University eventually lead him down a path to becoming a senior leader at IHG, a McKinsey advisor and eventually to help hotels maximize labor efficiencies by leveraging the power of technology. Del Ross of Hotel Effectiveness Tell us about your career background in hotels My first hotel job was working in a Marriott restaurant at Georgetown University. This is how I paid for college. During my time at the hotel, I frequently served as the room service attendant in addition to waiting a 100-seat restaurant (often by myself). I returned to the industry in 2001 as a dot-com ecommerce veteran recruited to build the online business for IHG. I served as the global leader of IHG E-Commerce for several years before being promoted to lead Distribution Marketing (all channels) for the Americas region. Later I was promoted again to lead all commercial activities including sales, marketing, advertising, revenue management and loyalty for over 3,600 hotels in the Americas region. In that role, I was responsible for delivering over $12 billion in topline revenues to my hotels each year. I left IHG in 2012 and began a dual career as a hotel investor and a travel industry executive consultant, leading strategic and distribution projects for many global clients across the travel industry. For the past three years, I served as a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, helping to build their large travel practice. In October 2018, I re-entered the hotel industry by joining Hotel Effectiveness as Chief Revenue Officer. When did you first become interested in leveraging technology to become a better hotelier? In 2001, our industry was being slowly encroached by several online travel agencies who were taking advantage of the lack of e-commerce expertise among hotel companies. I re-joined the industry for the specific purpose of restoring balance and building a powerful direct booking channel for hotels. We grew IHG's direct e-commerce channel to over $1 billion per year in less than 2 years and it now provides more than 25% of revenues to nearly 6,000 hotels worldwide. What was one technology that you couldn't live without in your former role as a hotelier? I probably was the most hands-on with my CRM solutions, but I also worked with our CRS platform, e-commerce and distribution platforms, digital marketing tools, and loyalty systems. It's hard to think of how I could be successful without each of these systems (and more). As a hotelier what was your biggest frustration with technology vendors? Technology providers are usually too focused on their own features and product design than on the problems I was trying to solve. We needed them to help us figure out how to use their product to address our needs and not focus on how we could increase how much we spent with them. In addition, most technology companies have no appreciation for the scarcity of TIME at the hotel level. Our managers and staff are the hardest working people in the world, and the last thing they want to do is spend their days in front of computer screens looking at charts and graphs and buttons. Tech companies need to design products to save money AND time. No matter how great the product is, if it takes a lot of time to use, hotel people will simply not buy it. What is the most widely held misconception that hoteliers have about technology? Most hoteliers are skeptical about technology - for good reason. Tech companies have a long history of over promising and under-delivering. As a result, new technologies are not often eagerly adopted by experienced hotel people. They would rather "wait and see" before embracing yet another "shiny object" tech solution. The last thing we need is another complicated software program that takes up all of our time and delivers little value. Tech providers need to focus on the benefits of their solution and design products to require minimal effort for maximum value. Don't assume that because hotels are multi-million dollar businesses that we like to sit around on our laptops all day - we have become successful by taking care of travelers - and each other - with the service and care that we'd provide to our own families. Tell us about your journey from hotelier into technologist? I've always been comfortable with technology. As a teenager, I wrote computer programs - mostly video games. In college, I continued to program even while attending my studies and working almost full-time. While later in my career I got away from writing code, my comfort with and appreciation for technology has stayed strong. I love finding ways to leverage technology to make difficult problems easy to solve. Hotel Effectiveness is my dream job because (1) I get to work with hoteliers every day, (2) as a hotel investor I am deeply concerned about the threat to hotel profitability, (3) no other solution I have used can have as immediate and profound a positive impact to hotel GOP and NOI than our labor management solution. What was the most challenging part of moving from hotels into technology? It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest new technology. All technologists embrace innovation, but sometimes tech people can solve problems that don't really need solving! As a hotel person at heart, I am always thinking of the customer first. If a technology solution does not in some way make it easier to provide the best possible service to a guest, we simply cannot afford to consider it. How does Hotel Effectiveness help hotels maximize labor efficiencies? Hotel Effectiveness gives hotels perfect control over their labor costs. Using labor standard-driven staffing models that are built on deep analysis of real data, we can build real-time schedules for every function and department at a hotel in just a few minutes. Using our solution, hotels can avoid wasteful scheduling and excessive overtime & contractor usage while ensuring that guests receive the best possible service and quality. Our 5-minute Daily Labor Check-in is the easiest and most impactful part of our customers' everyday routine. Every department manager uses this tool to keep track of their team's actual hours compared with the plan and makes any adjustments to the schedule in order to meet operating needs and maintain efficiency. The hotel general manager and any regional leaders can then look at the overall performance of the hotel, quickly research any areas of concern to verify that the appropriate action is being taken, and rest easy knowing that each hotel is staffed appropriately according to the needs of the business. Imagine that you're going to open the hotel of your dreams tomorrow. What would it be and why? As an investor, I'd eagerly develop a well-located extended stay or select service hotel near a major market or demand driver. As a hotel fanatic, I'd of course love to open an upscale boutique in a historic market with a small but 5-star restaurant and the most charming staff in the region. We'd be known for creating memorable experiences that our guests treasure throughout their lives. Since my own name is already taken (Delano), I'd probably name this hotel after one of my kids - maybe the Amelia? What technology would you leverage at your hotel? A cloud-based PMS with an integrated channel manager, revenue management system and intelligent pricing tool are the foundation. Add to this a solid sales and catering system and a simple but effective CRM and we'd keep the hotel full. The Business Intelligence overlay would keep my team on top of performance, and of course, we'd have 100% perfect labor costs and quality scores by using Hotel Effectiveness for labor management, time & attendance, and performance analysis. What is the most exciting technology you've seen in the hotel tech space that is not built by your own company? I'm a big fan of Revinate. Not only are those guys building great technology services (CRM and reputation management), they are also some of the nicest people I have ever met. If they were not in the tech business, every one of them would be perfect to work in a hotel. What's one piece of advice you have for hoteliers who have dreams of working in tech? Stay current. Set aside time to learn about new technologies and even attend a conference or two to keep your knowledge up to date. Experiment - you should try just about everything (most services can be tried for free or for very short periods of time). Keep the stuff that performs and learn from the stuff that doesn't. Finally, spend time with young technologists and startups. Incredible things are happening all around you, but the inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs rarely have enough context or experience to know how to make the most of their new innovation. The combination of industry experience and technology expertise can result in some of the most impactful new solutions our industry has ever seen - just look at Airbnb for an example of this! What's one podcast, newsletter or book that you recommend hoteliers read if they're interested in tech? Read the quarterly earnings transcripts of Tripadvisor, Expedia and Booking. Sounds boring but you will learn a lot about what matters to these hotel tech giants. Google publishes some great articles on their "Think with Google" website. For fun, subscribe to the TechCrunch podcast and surprise your tech vendors with your knowledge of the latest gadgets and gizmos that are about to hit the market. What is your favorite hotel in the world and why? 25 years ago my wife and I spent our honeymoon at The Reefs in Bermuda. It was amazing. We have not been back but talk about it all the time. I have been fortunate to see or stay in thousands of hotels in my career - the ones I love are always the ones where the staff is smiling, the rooms are quiet and clean, and everything makes me feel welcome. What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I love hotels and technology, but my first love is my family. We have four kids, three dogs, a turtle, a bunny, and about 50 large goldfish. If you want to know what I am doing in my spare time, see the above list!
Close your eyes and picture yourself on a plane. Pick up your magazine, sit down, fasten your seatbelts, put your phone in airplane mode and get comfortable. Now imagine a smiling flying attendant coming to you asking: "Would you prefer the plane to be flown by the captain or the co-pilot?". If you answer is "the captain, of course!" you may want to think again. Statistically speaking, in fact, planes crash more often when flown by the most experienced pilot. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Yet, it is true. The Korean Air case In his book "Outliers", journalist Malcolm Gladwell covers the story of the dangerously high ( and at first view inexplicable) rate of Korean Air plane crashes in the 90s. Data are alarming: between 1988 and 1998 its aircraft loss rate was almost twenty times higher than United Airlines. Korean Air used to have (and still does) fully functional planes, subject to periodic and accurate maintenance, together with excellent airports and crew. Yet something went wrong for ten years. Although television has led us to imagine the air disasters as episodes of LOST, the reality is that almost no air crash is due to a single exceptional cause (for example a lightning hitting the plane or an engine failure), far from it. Statistically, in fact, almost all air accidents are the results of an accumulation of several insignificant problems. The National Transportation Safety Board has found a recurring pattern in air crashes, set in seven consecutive human errors: the pilot makes a negligible error, then the second driver commits another, and so on up to seven. At that point, the plane falls down. PDI and miscommunication But is it possible that all Korean Air pilots were so incompetent? Let's analyze the question from a different perspective. Perhaps not everyone knows that cockpits are designed in a way that, in order to work properly, all operations should be performed by two people, dividing tasks and checking each other to avoid or correct any procedural errors. This means that cooperation, teamwork and a system of flat communication is essential for the success of any flight. What did not work, back then, in that nefarious decade in Korea? Back in the 70's, Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede, Professor Emeritus of the University of Maastricht, formulated the theory of PDI ("Power Distance Index"). According to Hofstede, "PDI is designed to measure the extent to which power differs within the society, organization and institutions are accepted by the less powerful members". Hofstede measured this distance with tests composed of questions such as "During your work, are you afraid to express your disagreement to a superior?" PDI is, therefore, the unit to measure how much a culture, a Country or, in this case, a company, recognizes the hierarchy and relates to it. A totalitarian regime has a high PDI, while a democracy has a lower one. In the same way, a start-up has a usually a lower PDI than an established company, although some big companies like Apple or Google (which are familiar with Hofstede's theories) try to keep a low PDI. The dangers of hierarchy Back to Korea Air, listening to the black boxes recordings during its dark decade, you frequently encounter situations during which the co-pilot, does notice a pilot mistake, but does not dare to contradict his superior, or at least try to mitigate the message to make it less direct (but, consequently, less incisive). Now, the Korean language has six different degrees of courtesy. Six. Can you imagine the difficulty a co-pilot pilot faces trying to correct his superiors without breaking the rigid Korean hierarchy etiquette? According to the Hofstede tests, Korea is in second place among the countries with the highest PDI. The United States, on the other hand, is fifteenth. Back in the 90's, American Airlines had 20 times lower air disaster incidence rate compared to Korea Air. See where I am going with this? In 2000, however, Korean Air fate suddenly changed, becoming one of the safest airlines in the World. What happened? No new airplanes, no higher safety standards, no mystical astral conjunctions. In 2000 the new company CEO imposed the use of the English language during all phases of the flight. Talking in a more direct language (in which there are no degrees of courtesy), the captain and the co-pilot were finally freed by the limits of the communication hierarchy and could work together properly as a team. Korean Air offered free English classes to all its employees and encouraged the team spirit. When hotels crash too The Korean Air example can be applied to the hotel Industry as well. Hotels with lower PDI (where employees can freely share their opinions or debate inappropriate strategic choices taken by their superior without fearing the consequences) have far better results. A wrong rate strategy, for example, can be corrected quickly and with limited damage if taken in time. Even the best GM can make a wrong assessment, and blind perseverance can lead to tragic results. A first negligible error, then a second one, then a third one, it is easy to get to the critical quota of seven errors, and now you know what happens once you reach that number. A prompt correction makes sure that a small mistake, not very significant in itself, does not turn into a disaster. This mutual control is impossible in hotels with rigid hierarchical and pyramidal schemes because even if someone recognizes an error, he will not dare to say it loud if he is afraid of the consequences. A hotel is not a craftsman studio, where all the production is in the hands of a single person but, on the contrary, it is a highly cooperative work. My experience with PDI In 2010, I was asked to manage a hotel in Rome that was in a critical financial situation. At the end of my first year, profit was up to 25% and the owner had enough cashflow to buy another hotel. During that year I did not fire any employee, I made no investment in advertising, no rooms update. I even went from a rather expensive PMS to an OpenSource one. I was basically flying a Korean Air plane, but the plane was finally out of the turbulence. I would like to say that I have applied some magic marketing trick or revolutionary revenue policy, but I only made two things: 1. The previous GM office was on the opposite side of the front office desk. I decided to use it as a baggage deposit and I preferred a simple chair next to the receptionist on duty; 2. I declared ties "illegal" for me and for all my employees. This physical proximity with my staff and the lack of a cultural filter (the tie in this case, or the Korean language six degrees of courtesy for Korea Air) made everyone in the hotel begin to relate with me in more informal, open way. And, more important they started to disagree with me. A lot. Correcting my errors or making me notice things that I overlooked ("There is a Depeche Mode concert next week, did you raise the price? "or" That group canceled but it is still on the PMS, can we reopen availability?") created a more cooperative environment and boosted productivity and revenue. Conclusions Lowering the PDI worked great for Korean Air, so you should really give it a chance, because if no one knocks at your office door, there are only two possible explanations: either you are infallible or you must prepare a parachute, because we have just lost cabin pressure...
There is a lot of information provided in this seminar which we have incorporated into our company culture. Our company has a culture and a vision, but it has never been refined and promoted through all levels of the company in a structured way as much as we would like. Every year we attempt to improve our company's culture and that of each of our hotels. If the Walt Disney Company is any benchmark, it's clearly worth doing. Leadership and Creativity Disney believes that storytelling is an important part of the company's job for its guests, staff, and investors. When Frank Wells and Michael Eisner were brought on-board, they made a video for the stockholders to watch to learn about them and where they felt the company should go. Walt Disney had a short video about himself and his dreams. These videos are very effective in communicating their "story". Communication of history and vision is essential to developing a well-run company whose staff are supportive. Traits of Disney leaders: risk taker; childlike (curiosity, creativity, wonder, etc.); iron fist in a velvet glove; visionary; motivator; and management by walking/wandering around. Apparently this was very important to Walt Disney who saw himself as a bee, going around from flower to flower pollinating other people and their efforts. Whenever staff is overheard saying "I" or "they" to a guest that person is always immediately corrected. They must always say "we". As in a Guest Service Agent (desk clerk) saying, "I'm sorry we didn't get your room made up on time." As opposed to, "I'm sorry they (housekeeping) didn't..." If they say "we" enough, they will come to believe it. Disney believes strongly that creativity can be enhanced with synergy, adding 1 + 1 and getting 3. Bringing diverse groups together with different perspectives to create "dynamic tension" such as in brainstorming sessions is used to develop creativity. Brainstorming sessions must always have the following: defined goal; structure; a facilitator who can control flow; diverse participants; and a scribe. It is important in brainstorming sessions that creativity be promoted. Always say "yes, and" because it keeps discussion going while "yes, but" stops the flow of ideas. Disney's goal in planning is creating value for all of their stakeholders (guests, staff, stockholders, etc.). Both their financial objectives and strategic objectives focus on increasing value for everyone. The example given in the seminar was IllumiNations, a fireworks, light, laser and music show each evening in EPCOT. The restaurants in the pavilions were not doing well. By adding the IllumiNations show guests enjoy an additional event included in their admission and there were substantially increased food and merchandise revenue for Disney's lessees. Staff Selection, Orientation and Training When it comes to staff selection, Disney believes they are not hiring, but are casting for a role in a show. Aren't we doing the same thing at our hotels? Each person hired needs to project the image of the company. Before they fill out an application they watch a nine minute video which projects, without being obvious, the company culture. Specifics covered are: pay availability; transportation; and appearance. This is in effect a pre-orientation and serves to screen out potential applicants who don't want to or cannot fit it for what ever reason. Men who watch and know they won't adhere to the hair length standards (above the ears) simply tend not to apply. We have adapted this idea into a brochure which is given out to job applicants. The brochure, titled "What you can expect when you join our team and what we expect from you", has eight panels. Three give information about the company, the hotel (about types of guests and what various departments do) and its culture. Three panels give details of our expectations of employees and our promises to the employees. Disney uses personality profiling to determine where there is a fit. Even if the person is not selected, the process makes them feel good about the company. After all, their friends and relatives are both potential guests and cast members! Orientation is done through videos and other consistent visual aids and the central element is communicating the following in order to begin the process of getting them wrapped up in the company culture: the company's past (its traditions), the company's present (how operations work), and the company's future (the vision). New cast members get a name tag day one, and are told if the name tag is not on at all times, even backstage (back-of-the-house), they are sent home because they need to maintain the feeling and standards among employees as well. Of course, this is true about their entire uniform (costume). Variations or missing items are never allowed. Name tags have first name only and city if they want. No last names to break down barriers with guests and other staff. Disney gives many quizzes throughout orientation and training as to Disney facts (name the seven dwarfs) and facility facts (extensive tours of the entire property are essential). All orientation is done by line staff from different areas of the company (like the guy who loads the Space Mountain cars) who are picked to be "Tradition Assistants" for two to three days a month. This builds self-esteem, loyalty, sense of importance, and the applicants can really ask questions about working on the line. Training is either 1-on-1 or 2-on-1. They teach job skills and people skills with equal emphasis - more on this in the service section of this article. When it comes to caring for staff, they feel you must ensure that the physical environment is supportive. Disney's Golden Rule: treat staff as they expect staff to treat guests - this is essential to set an example. If any supervisor notes a crabby staff member they will talk to that person and send them home, if necessary, so that negativity is not spread. Upbeat attitudes must be engendered back-of-the-house to carry to the front-of-the-house. No Disney visuals are in break rooms or cafeteria because the staff told management they overload on it and need a real break. Many personal services are provided because staff cannot get anywhere easily once at work, such as vehicle registration, voter registration, dry cleaning, etc. In addition, Disney provides a private lake with recreational area for staff and families only. Longevity and performance recognition through pins, awards, parties, etc. are also important aspects of caring for employees at Disney. Service Since nothing is unique (people can alternatively go to Universal Studios or SeaWorld), then what Disney is selling is only 10% product and 90% service. This is obviously very true of hotels, too. 65% of Disney's guests are repeat. But more important to them than their repeat guest, is the guest who becomes their advocate. The one who goes home and says, "We won't be going back to Disney in the next few years or maybe never but it was great, you should go". Disney recommends taking a magnifying glass to what you are doing RIGHT (rather than what you are doing WRONG), examine it, map it out so you understand and can translate those elements to what you are doing wrong. The guest (or employee) might not always be right, but always allow them to be wrong with dignity. In order to give good service you must have these four elements: Know who your guests are, what they want, and when: Poor service is different for everyone, so you need to treat each one individually. Since 65% of guests are repeat, their "wow" threshold is very high, and one needs to be raising the bar at all times. So you always need to pay attention to detail and exceed the guests' expectations. Disney has "guestologists" that study who their guests are and what their needs are. They do this through telephone surveys, in-person surveys, comment cards, guest letters, focus groups, and secret shoppers. Some facts: 38% from New England (#1 state is New York); 23% international; saved 2.5 years for Disney vacation; families of 3.3 people; and the #1 need is to see Mickey Mouse (translation: need to escape reality) Sometimes guests want "aggressively friendly" and others just want "warm and welcoming" and staff are trained to recognize the signs. For instance, if the family has driven to Disney (the valet should notice out-of-state plates), they are tired and anxious, so just welcome them and move them along to their Disney hotel room efficiently. However, if it's 8 am at the turnstiles into the Magic Kingdom , welcome them aggressively. There are no newspapers in any Disney store When their tickets are taken at the turnstile, it's easy to tell from the ticket if it is their first day or last day and the staff is trained to acknowledge this to the guest Need to communicate the service goal to staff: Everyone's job description whether they be in accounting or line staff on a ride has the Same first two items: Keep the property clean. Everyone must pick up trash - it's a big no-no if anyone is spotted walking by trash anywhere Create happiness. Service Standards (in order of priority): Safety for guests and staff is never sacrificed. Courtesy, treat every guest as a VIP - all staff must offer to take the family's picture if they see one being left out - it costs nothing to create a magical moment (Cast members must always be anxious to help and be aggressively friendly.) The show is extremely important so they must pay attention to detail in everything - never lose the theme anywhere Efficiency, the system and equipment must be effective. Also, all staff learns that they are needed to show up when they are told and do what they are trained to do otherwise the whole show suffers. People need to be needed and know they are important. All of the staff's performance appraisals rate the person using these standards. They are taught that they need to make all of their decisions based on these four goals and in this order. For instance, have they ever sacrificed courtesy for efficiency? That is a no-no. Never sacrifice courtesy for the show either. Two Disney Tidbits: It takes 37 magic moments to recover from 1 tragic moment. A good coach has a staff that has confidence in him/her while a great coach has a staff that has confidence in themselves! Set the stage The setting must be consistent with what you want people to feel and must always communicate your essence. The setting supports both the service theme and the service standards. The setting includes: The environment: They have "smelletzers" which spew specific smells throughout the park. When you first walk into the Magic Kingdom onto Main Street, they have the smell of just-baked chocolate chip cookies. Objects within the environment: Size and arrangement of objects, shapes and lines, lighting, shadows, color, temperatures, and sound. Look at everything in your environment and assess its impact on the guest experience. Procedures that enhance the quality of the environment: Never allow procedures to negatively impact on guest experience, always have procedures that benefit the experience. Facts are negotiable, perceptions are not so no matter what really happens, all that matters is how your guests perceive it. Deliver a quality show (service delivery): In order to deliver service, you must have well-trained people and they must have systems that support them and enable them to provide good service. At Disney, a quality show is made up of three components: people; systems; and service recovery. People: Staff are taught that the front line is the bottom line. Orientation of all staff includes behavior skill training such as: importance of first impressions; posture; gestures (their staff is taught not to gesticulate when talking to guests); facial expressions; vocal image; and use of humor (everyone's view of what is funny is different so humor is to be avoided). Cast members are also taught tips on how to be comfortable in their job, like standing for long periods of time without getting tired. Disney tries to keep staff motivated to succeed in their jobs. It is communicated that 62% of all managers were in line positions to start, that they have a future with the company and it is a good company to have a future with. Lateral moves are celebrated and acknowledged like promotions. They teach staff that getting skills in many areas makes them more versatile, more useful for the company so line staff is cross-trained in many different areas of company. All management staff are required to work in the park in line positions (cleaning tables, etc.) during peak times for a specific number of hours. They are all dressed in blue lab coats so other staff knows who they are. It's fun for everyone. Turnover of permanent staff is only 17.8%! Systems: Systems have been developed to enable line staff to provide timely, useful service. For instance, losing your car, locking keys in car, or running out of gas. Attendants in golf carts can be there within minutes to open car doors, provide two gallons of gas, cut keys (even with the computer chip), jump batteries, etc. to help the poor parking lot attendant who is facing the tired dad and his troop. Disney believes that only 5% of top management knows what the operational problems are, only 20% of middle management knows, and 100% of line staff knows. So, Disney looks to learn the service needs of guests and what is preventing staff from fulfilling them directly from the line staff. Service Recovery: It's ok to apologize to the guest even if they are wrong; always ask the guest: What can I do for you? Empower line staff to fix the problem; follow up with the guest and in a timely manner, it makes them feel important; and provide feedback to staff. Obviously you had to be at this seminar to benefit the most from it. Properly adapted and implemented, there are many things here that will help my company and yours do better. We can't all be Disney and we don't all have their resources to accomplish some things. But, concept is also important and we, too, are in a service-oriented business with guests (we don't even have to translate their language!) who want happiness in a clean property. Oh yes, so, what time IS the 3 PM parade? First, cast members know never to laugh at the person asking this question. Apparently, it is the most frequently asked question in the Magic Kingdom . Next, they are taught to understand that what they really need to know is what time does the 3 PM parade pass by where the guest plans to be during the time of the parade. In other words, the answer is, "Where will you be?" And then, answer the question, "The 3 PM parade passes the fire house on Main Street at 3:12 PM." Think about the orientation and training that street sweepers receive from Disney in order to ensure that everyone can provide quality service to their guests. Can you match it? We all need to try!