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Showing posts from February, 2011

Social Media Officer

People heavily rely on social media for information and updates. In responding to this trend, more businesses and non-profit organizations hire full time staff to manage their online presence. For example, a news video shared in November 2010 reported that hotels in Las Vegas had created full time positions that monitor travelers’ online reviews and comments. Today’s Fox News video takes us to the Police Office in Dallas, which shows what the Police Officer of Social Media does at work.

If you are hiring a social media officer, what candidates are you looking for? What skills do you think a candidate must possess in order to meet your organizations’ needs and expectations? What courses about social media do you want a university to offer?

Here at SU, students are informed in classes and/or seminars about social media tactics used in business, personal branding, job search, communications, and maybe more. As a SU student, how comfortable will you feel at work if you are hired as a so…

Using Facebook for Background Checks

Today, more employers use social networking sites in researching job candidates. According to Meinert’s (2011) report on HR Magazine, 45% employers being surveyed in June 2009 use social networking sites to find job candidates, as compared to 22% in 2008. In addition, 11% will start using social networking sites for employee screening. Another survey conducted in 2010 also indicates that 70% of recruiters had turned down candidates based on the information they found online.

Facebook, as one of the most important social media sites, has received more employers’ attention lately when they need to do background checks. This Fox News video reports that more companies are using Facebook for employee screening. Some companies even ask applicants for their usernames and passwords on Facebook. Do employers have the right to do that?

I never set my social networking profiles private. Everyone can check out my profiles as s/he wishes because there is nothing I want to hide --- I do not put m…

Barcode Tag: An Excellent Tool for Business

Mobile devices, especially smart phones, have received plenty of our attention lately. This Fox News video takes us to the first “Barcode City” in the U.S. --- Lakewood Ranch, FL, where smart phones become almost a necessity for residents. People can find Microsoft Tags (barcodes) almost everywhere in the Barcode City. With a Microsoft Tag app on smart phones, they can retrieve information about a place or business on their phones by scanning a tag (barcode).

The good news for business owners is that Microsoft Tag does not cost them a penny. Business can decide what information they want to link with the barcode, such as YouTube ads, exclusive discounts, pictures, and websites. Better yet, business can keep track of customers who use barcodes and save those valuable market research data for future analysis.

Do you have a barcode app in your smart phone? How useful is it? Are you ready to live in a barcode city like Lakewood Ranch? For business owners, what do you think of this barco…

Do Tattoos Go Alone With Professionalism?

Tattoos are more acceptable now than ever before. A 2008 survey revealed that 25% of those who are aged between 30 and 39 had at least one tattoo. The percentage for the age group between 25 and 29 increased to 32%. As tattoos seem to be very common these days, will it be acceptable to wear tattoos or piercings in a professional setting?

There is no question about people’s rights of putting tattoos or piercings anywhere they like on their bodies. However, I agree with this CNN News video that people had better cover their tattoos up when it comes to professional occasions, such as job interviews, sale pitches, and presentations. It is just another human nature --- people judge others by their “looks,” especially when people do not know each other well.

Since 2010, we have discussed professional dress in a variety of ways. We talked about how event planners’ professional look may influence their business, how college students need to dress in business attire in job search, and how a …

How Talent Management Programs Can Impact Employee Retention: A Post Contributed by Sean Conrad*

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In the hospitality industry, employee turnover can be a significant problem that costs the organization in numerous ways. Among other things, high employee turnover:
drives up recruiting and hiring costsimpacts the engagement and satisfaction of remaining employeesaffects the quality and consistency of service you provide to customers (and thereby impacts your brand) The reasons for high turnover are numerous. But many of the root causes can be addressed through effective talent management programs. Here are just a few of the ways your talent management processes and practices can help you retain a high performing workforce.
Hire the Right People Before you interview candidates for a role, you should make sure that you have an accurate, up-to-date job description for the role, as well as a list of the competencies (also called skills or values) that are important for success in the role. With these in place, you can more effectively assess whether a candidate has the right experience a…

Free Group Texting Service

It is no doubt that social media is very powerful in spreading words and building long-term customer relations, but is social media the best way to reach target customers? In terms of getting audience immediate attention, mobile devices could be more effective than social media. For instance, 52% of cell phone users can recall the ads they received on their cell phones over a three-month period; half of those cell phone users who recalled the ads responded to them. In other words, about 26% of customers will respond to mobile ads. Using the example of Target mobile coupons, I always open the text messages sent by Target and click on the hyperlink in a message. Even though I do not use every mobile coupon, I at least respond to Target’s text messages every time.

The technology that allows companies to send text messages to a large group of target customers is not new. Here, I am sharing a Fox News video about a free group texting service (http://www.groupflier.com/). People can use th…

When Cell Phone and Laptop Become One Single “Real Smart” Device

When we questioned whether a cell phone or a laptop seems more important to us several days ago, probably few of us considered the option of combing these two devices into one “real smart” tool. Motorola introduced the Atrix 4G that allows us to bring a smart phone, a lap top, and an entertainment center (TV) together. For a little less than $700, consumers can bring a Motorola Atrix 4G home, including a smart phone, a laptop, an entertainment dock, a keyboard, a mouse, and a remote control. I agree with this MSNBC News review that Atrix 4G still has several flaws and needs improvement. However, I see the future of this new tool.

The more powerful a cell phone becomes, the more people will rely on this gadget. Accordingly, the more attention a business should pay to smart phones. Because of cell phones, what consumer behaviors have changed over the years? What emerging consumer behaviors do you see? What strategies does a business need to adopt in responding to the cell phone trend?


Visit of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse

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Yesterday, students in my Hotel & Resort Operations class and I toured the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse. In addition, we met with the General Manager, Director of HR, Director of Sales & Marketing, Director of Operations, and Director of Engineering. We all enjoyed our visit as well as the conversations with the managers. These managers share a diverse background and have distinguished career paths. Yet, it seems that they all agreed on at least three points.
First, hospitality is an exciting field. The managers in Crowne Plaza are passionate about what they are doing. They feel that “every day is different, and there is no a typical work day.” New guests are coming every day. Employees and guests raise different questions every day as well. It is the excitement of dealing with new challenges on a daily basis that makes these managers love their jobs.
Second, knowledge in F&B (food and beverage) is critical in hotel operations. Many managers we met today have extensiv…

E-Textbooks in the U.S.

About 40 days ago, I shared a news update that a Canadian school introduced the idea of using e-textbooks. Here in America, schools are catching up. This Fox News video reports that Clearwater High in Clearwater FL becomes the first school in the U.S. that uses e-textbooks on Kindles. The advantages of using Kindles are obvious:
Students can store and carry all textbooks they need in a 10 ounce, ½ inch thick electronic device. Kindle books are usually cheaper than hard copies. Reading online is more eco-friendly as compared to paper books. Information is easy to update in electronic devices. My biggest concern of using e-textbooks, however, is that students may easily get distracted by searching irrelevant information on the Internet during class other than reading course-related materials as instructed. If e-textbooks are used, professors need to come up with new methods of keeping students’ attention because policies like “no-texting, tweeting, or Facebooking” or “tough cell phone …

Competencies of Entrepreneurs: Sales & Marketing + Financial Management?

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Entrepreneurship is exciting. I often hear hospitality students telling me that they want to become restaurant owners upon graduations. Some restaurant concepts, such as mobile food trucks, are very popular and require relatively small amount of start-off investments. As a result, it may seem easy to start a restaurant business after college. However, I believe many professionals will agree with me that managing a small business is not as easy as it may look. This ABC News video provides a checklist for entrepreneurs so that they can frequently measure their success. This checklist suggests that entrepreneurs need to:
Focus on sales and profitsContinuously grow the client baseKeep track of all pitches and proposalsStay on top of the expendituresManage cash flow (“cash is the king”) I actually see two themes from this checklist --- Sales & Marketing plus Financial Management (Accounting). It makes sense because very few entrepreneurs hire many employees. They may face minimal “manag…

HR Outlook of 2011 for Small Business: An Inc.com Report

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We saw some small improvement in the job market. A recent survey conductive by Insight Performance and the Small Business Association of New England also indicates some positive signs of recovery:  69% of those companies being surveyed stated that 2010 was a better year than 2009. 78% predicted that 2011 will be even better than 2010. 38% plan to offer base pay raise. 58% plan to add staff. 93% plan to retain or increase staff level. It is nice to hear some positive news, but good news also comes with new challenges. Companies need a long term sustainable plan to attract and retain the best human capitals. During recession, everyone operates with a minimum budget in a “leanest-possible” organization. Chances are companies may end up keeping their A players and laying off most C or B players. When the economy is bouncing back, more companies are hiring, which requires companies to pay more attention to their existing A players because these top performers may go work for a competitor f…

PC or Smart Phone: Which One Seems More Important to You?

Smart phones can do more and more for us these days. We used mobile devices to fill in almost every space in our lives. Meanwhile, PC seems to become a commodity product. To many people, PC is just another tool to manage data or do the jobs. Is that real? I bet many of us can easily recall the last time when we used cell phones in an elevator, in a bus or subway station, in a waiting room, in bed, or even in the restroom. The chances are cell phone will become, if not have become, the most important device in people’s lives. What do you think? Which device seems more important to you? PC or smart phone?

Also suggested in this CNN News video, security issue is the biggest obstacle of turning cell phones into “credit cards.” Yet, this concern can be solved when such payment method is processed with a cell phone user’s biometric information, such as figure prints. The day may arrive very soon when smart phones become a popular means of payment. What shall business do in responding to thi…

Healthy Food Trends

Today’s discussion is about healthy food trends. Video I shows us a great example of how restaurants can incorporate the healthy food concept in business. The key for this featured restaurant is to replace processing food with nutrient dense food, which reminds me the philosophy of ancient Chinese about food and herbal medicine --- healing the body and soul with food. What other healthy food trends do you observe in the food service industry?

Video II continues the debates about whether the government should regulate people’s consumptions of food (i.e. salt intake and cooking without salt). According to this video, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, urges restaurants to serve smaller portion and healthy meal to children. Should the government dictate what people eat? If restaurants are only allowed to sell items with smaller portion, will restaurants be prohibited from serving more than one dish to a customer even if the customer wants to pay for two or more smaller-portion meals? How c…

Using a Well-Known Figure in Commercials

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It usually takes companies detailed legal considerations and a big price to use public figures, such as celebrities, cartoon or movie characters, and their lookalike images, in commercials. This ABC News video shows us an interesting KFC commercial that is broadcasted in Hong Kong, China. In this ad, an Obama lookalike figure is “promoting” the newly introduced soft-roll fish filet burger in KFC. I am not a lawyer. I am curious to find out whether a federal or government agent holds his/her image rights as other public figures do --- I assume they might not have as much control as those who are private entities. Furthermore, how much control do public figures have over their image rights in a global market?

In addition to the legal issues, this video also indicates that it is very important for companies to adapt to a local “favor” or culture when doing business internationally. Many Chinese love seafood. It sounds natural to me that KFC is promoting a fish sandwich instead of deep-f…

What Are Your Pricing Strategies?

Travelers become “smarter;” they know how to shop around and find the best deal before making a hotel reservation. This MSNBC News video, for example, teaches travelers how to find the best price for a hotel room. Here are some of the advices: haggling, asking for the best available rate rather than a specific discounted price, being loyal to a brand, and joining a hotel’s social networking sites.

Many hotels use yield management or revenue management tactics to maximize revenues. Hotel revenue managers closely monitor the demand, price, room inventory, and distribution channels. They can manipulate one or more of those variables to “yield” the maximum revenue for a hotel. During the recession, I see all kinds of sales and promotion messages. Some hotels offer big discounts attached with a prepaid and non-refundable agreement. Other rely more on its loyalty programs and social networking sites. For example, they offer exclusive discounts to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

The Price Tag of “Like” on Facebook

There is a price tag for almost everything, well, except for those priceless items. According to this Wall Street Journal video, the “Like” button on Facebook also has a price tag. It costs a company approximately $1 to “motivate” Facebook users to like the brand or the company. Is this $1 well spent?

Being the No. 1 visited website and the website on which Americans spend most time, Facebook has 650 million users. 50% of them spend half an hour on Facebook every day. Online retailers see massive draw of traffic from Facebook. Amazon, for example, increased the traffic drawn from Facebook by 300% in one year. Very impressive! In addition, Facebook also creates a two-way communication platform, which can provide a company rich and valuable market research data.

Do you think that $1 is reasonable for the “Like” button on Facebook? How so? What suggestions do you have for helping a company or a brand attract Facebook users’ attention and make them “Like” the company or brand?

Social Media Etiquette for Business

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Seeing that social media has become an inseparable part of people’s lives, this ABC News video discusses some social media etiquette for business. Business is advised to pay attention to the “3Ds” --- Disclosure, Defamation, and Discrimination --- where disclosure is referred to the ways of protecting trade secrets as well as intellectual properties or posting advertisements on social networking sites without a disclosure statement; defamation is about making a false statement about a person or a business; and discrimination means all protected classes under current laws and regulations are also protected on social networking sites. In particular, this video outlines seven suggestions for business owners:
Let employees know that you have the right to monitor their social media activitiesLimit employees’ access to social media sitesRequire prior approval for postings related to a companySet parameters of making friends between co-workers on social media sitesLimit time spent on social …

Salt Intake: Shall We Leave This Decision to Individuals or the Government?

In March 2010, I shared a news article about a proposed regulation in New York City that prohibits restaurants from adding salt on food. If it is passed, the City will issue a fine of $1,000 to those restaurants that are caught using salt. This CNN News video raised the same question: should the government regulate how much salt a restaurant can put on food in order to save the Americans from over-taking salt?

The restaurant industry is making good efforts in informing customers of the calories information on food. Many of them do not use saturated fat in cooking. After watching this video, I wonder how far we shall push the laws and regulations. In the future, will chefs no longer be allowed to use any seasoning in cooking? Let’s face it, too much sugar, too much salt, too much fat, … , basically, too much of anything is not good. Furthermore, will chefs be regulated with how much meat they can serve per meal or per menu item? What are your opinions?