Now is the Time to Invest in Your People.
By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS
Monday, 14th December 2009
For much of the past two years, many industries faced serious economic challenges, including dramatic erosion of revenue and profitability, as well as the loss of long-term customers and loyal staff. 

As an industry, hospitality in literally all segments struggled to find ways to meet the global financial meltdown and the scorecard is not yet in for 2009 end of year results.

Simple cutbacks and "tightening of  our belts" is not a full or effective course of action and the proactive leaders in our industry realize they must do more in 2010  than to "stay the course" in this economic slump. In my career, I have experienced four major economic recessions that all dramatically hurt our industry for a period and I have participated in four recoveries.

Now, beginning in January 2010, is the time for hospitality business owners and managers to invest in their teams.  As we rebuild our focus into an anticipated recovery over the next 8-24 months (depending on the particular forecast for specific markets), those practical industry leaders will recognize that now is the time to pay attention to those professionals in our organizations who are the key components of why guests will stay with our businesses.

I hated every minute of training, but I said,
"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."
Muhammad Ali

It is a challenge in cost-conscious operations today for managers to leave their properties for professional development, but it also a reality that there is seldom dedicated time for on-the-job training, which has habitually been a strong element of the hospitality industry's career advancement path.   There are many issues facing the diverse world of hospitality and today's managers need to be aware of that diversity, regardless of their own special focus

As an individual who has been involved with well thought-out learning as both an academic and a corporate educator, I have come to recognize that delivering a balance of real-world business skills and comprehension with structured learning is essential to long-term success.

An excellent example of this balance of learning is an annual program offered by the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association. The Association's 65th Annual Short Course program is scheduled in Houston in the 2nd full week of January 2010 and I am proud to have been asked to return for a third consecutive year. I will again participate with both a key note on service and a workshop on Operations in Understanding the Heart of Hospitality – Housekeeping and Engineering.

The 2010 Short Course1, proudly co- sponsored by American Express and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, has its traditional strong range of topics including:
  • Change is Good
  • Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively
  • Creating a Service Culture for the 21st Century
  • Customer Service
  • Employment Law for the Hotel Industry
  • Hire Tough,  Manage Easy in Today's Tough Times
  • Food & Beverage Strategies
  • Hotel Law
  • Building Operations:  Understanding the Heart of Hospitality – Housekeeping and Engineering
  • Interdepartmental Communications
  • Loss Prevention
  • Marketing
  • Positive Management for Positive Performance
  • Revenue Management
  • Team Building
  • The Connected & Committed Leader and
  • "Where Do We Go From Here?"
There is only so much content that can be included in a one-week program and other universities and associations globally offer strong programs of varying length, content and investment.

Additional programs of study I would recommend to individuals for consideration in 2010 include: 
  • Ownership and management structures (especially critical in family businesses)
  • Strategic Planning
  • Real Estate Development and Taxation
  • Technology for Executives
  • Global Marketing and Sales Management
  • Financial Management and Accounting for Executives
  • Diversity and Ethics in Human Resources
  • The Need and Value of Hospitality Associations as Business and Political Lobbying Resources
  • Capital Project Management and
  • Understanding Green Hotel Business Initiatives
1 - www.texaslodging.com/admin/membersonly/industryupdate/2010Registration.pdf

What are you doing at your hotel today?

Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com, www.smartbizzonline.com  and other industry sources.     

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication
John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is a frequent speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment leading organizations at multiple levels.  His professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development, consulting, management, including service as Senior VP of Operations.

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