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Showing posts from November, 2011

Technology Allows Marketers to Track Consumers’ Shopping Routines

Thanks to mobile technology, marketers can now track where and probably how consumers move from one location to another in a shopping trip.

As illustrated in this MSNBC News video, as soon as a consumer enters the parking lot of a shopping mall, his/her cell phone signal will be recognized by the sensors. Then, this consumer’s whole shopping trip will be recorded. The cell phone users’ personal or demographic information, however, will not be identified by this tracking system.

Such information could be critically important to marketers, and probably the landlords as well, but some people feel that tracking consumers’ shopping routines may violate their rights of privacy. This concern makes sense. If a hacker connects cell phone users’ personal and demographic information with the data of their shopping routines, customers are indeed being watched. Also, it would be quite different if consumers are tracked in a larger neighborhood rather than a mall, such as in a city, and if they a…

Thanksgiving --- Let’s Thank Our Service Providers

What do you do in Thanksgiving? Eating a nice family meal? Shopping for bargains? …

I love those traditions, but quite often, “Thanksgiving” also reminds me the importance of showing genial appreciations to those who have done something nice to me in the past. This CBS News video reminds us the same thing --- we need to be nice to waiters and waitresses. Servers in restaurants often receive very minimal hourly wage as they must count tips towards their incomes. Accordingly, it is important that we tip them 15-20% of the bill.

In addition to tips, showing genial appreciations can mean a lot to the service providers. For example, it is nice to maintain an eye contact with the servers while they take the orders, give them the attention when they place the food/drink on the table or remove the empty plates, and often, use words like “please” and “thank you.” Being a good server is not easy. S/he must be very patient, possess good communication skills and multi-tasking skills, work long ho…

Professional Dress in the Workplace

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This Tuesday, a colleague of mine, who is also a restaurant entrepreneur, briefly spoke in my Human Resource Management (HRM) class about the importance of HRM in his career. When he screened candidates, he started from three observable details: (a) whether the candidate carries a pen for interviews, (b) how well the candidate dresses for the position, and (c) what demeanors the candidate shows during the interview.
Indeed, how we dress and handle ourselves matter! According to the recruiter working in an international hotel chain (Kwok et al., 2011), hospitality is a still a conservative field; the hotel chain wants to see that candidates dress in business attire during job interviews, as what they would be expected at work.

Before, I shared some thoughts on business attire and business casual attire. In addition to those “common” what-not-to-wear tips (e.g., tattoos in most workplaces, mini-skirts, low-cut shirts, etc.), this ABC News video tells us more. For example,

Do NOT wear c…

International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show 2011

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This is the third time that I attended the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (Hotel Show) in New York City. While my schedule did not allow me to “explore” the new neighborhoods and trends in the City, I attended the Leadership Forum in the Hotel Show and the Alligator Hour hosted by CHRIE.

I did not find any “wow” factors or information that really surprised me in the Hotel Show. I, however, wrote down some notes taken in the Leadership Forum. If you attended or presented in the Hotel Show, let me know if you agree or disagree with me on the following: 
Overall, the statistics have shown signs of recovery based on ADR and occupancy, but the performance has not bounced back to the “peak” yet. Many uncertainties still exist (from a variety of sources).Opportunities can be found in the university, military, and airport markets because they have captive customers. There are several market “myths.” The truth include: income does not define segments; leisure, not business, drives…

Highlighting the Deliverable and Quantifiable Results: A Piece of Career Advice from a White Lodging Manager

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Today, Jason Bretz, the General Manager of Hilton Garden Inn Saratoga Spring (White Lodging), spoke in my Hospitality Human Resource Management class and conducted some job interviews on campus. He received his bachelor’s degree in Marketing, but he started his career in the lodging industry upon graduation. I was glad to hear his career advice in class today.

According to Jason, relevant work experience is definitely important, but he is also looking for candidates who can deliver quantifiable results. For example, if a student tells him that s/he worked at the Front Desk, Housekeeping, or any position in a hotel, he knows what kind of work the position is involved. As a result, a resume that simply lists a person’s job responsibilities does not help this candidate stand out from the crowd. It becomes critical that a job candidate can describe how much impact s/he has made at work. More specifically, it will be helpful to see a statement like “increased sales/revenue by 10%,” “reduce…

Smart TVs in Hotels

I heard about the gadget of smart TV soon after 3D TVs were introduced. According to this CNN News video, smart TVs are internet-enabled TVs that allow people to surf the internet and download/use the apps that were designed for smart TVs. I expect that smart TVs will appear in hotel rooms very soon because of the following reasons:

Many hotels have already linked their PMS (Property Management System) and on-demand services with the traditional TV sets in guest rooms. For example, guests can check out, play video games, and watch on-demand movies on TV. Very likely, smart TVs will allow hotels to manage these functions in a better way.  Hotels can purchase brand new smart TVs. Or, they may purchase some “boxes” to upgrade their existing TV sets to smart TVs.  Instead of charging guests the WiFi service, hotels may sell a “Smart TV Package” instead. Guests can use the smart TV and the internet service for an additional fee. Otherwise, they can still use the machine as a traditional TV…

What Is the Future for Newspaper in Hotels?

We just talked about hotel fees last week. Newspaper happens to be one of those possible charges. This CBS News video reported that a man in Sacramento, California filed a class-action lawsuit for 7 million consumers against Hilton Hotels for $5 million. As quoted in the statement, the Hilton family was sued because the hotels “intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently concealed, suppressed, and misled customers about the scheme.”

This lawsuit was triggered by the man’s stay in a Hilton Garden Inn. The man picked up the 75 cent USA Today that was lying in front of his hotel room without knowing the fact that he would be charged the 75 cents for the newspaper.

Here, I will leave the decision on this case to you and the judge. I, on the other hand, would like to share with you another relevant CBS news article: Marriott, which was the first hotel chain that delivered USA Today and other newspaper to guest rooms, had ended the “automatic delivery” of newspaper to guest rooms in Apr…

Will You Turn down a Job Offer because of the Company’s Strict Social Media Policy?

It is no doubt that more employers are using social media in recruiting and screening job candidates. As a job candidate, however, will you turn down an offer if the company does not allow you to use social media at work?

This CNN News video reports some very interesting statistics. According to a survey of 300 job recruiters:
91% employers use social media in screening job candidates; 9% do not. When screening job candidates on social media, 76% use Facebook, 53% use Twitter, and 48% use LinkedIn. 69% had rejected a candidate based on the “negative information” they found online about the candidate; 26% never rejected anyone; 5% do not use social media in screening at all. The top “negative information” includes lying about a candidate’s qualifications and the inappropriate contents posted on social media sites. 68% had hired someone because of the “positive information” they found about the candidate on social media sites. “Positive information” is helpful in portraying a candidate’s …

Do You Think Hotel Fees Reasonable or Rip-off Charges?

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In 2009, the airline industry collected $7.8 billion revenue because of fees. Seeing airlines’ ability of pocketing fees, I asked a question last year: Will fees become a new revenue stream for hotels? At that time, I was in doubt that hotels could do the same as what airlines did because there are way too many hotels. Customers have more options when selecting hotels than taking a flight, which makes it almost impossible for hotels to make travelers pay un-necessary fees.

Today, a student in my Hotel & Resort Operations class raised a similar question by presenting a CNN news article about hotel fees. According to the estimation, the lodging industry in the U.S. will be able to collect $1.8 billion fees this year, up 80% from a decade ago.

It happened that ABC News Network also raised a concern about hotel fees and thus provided some advice for travelers on how to save money when travelling (as shown in this embedded video). Probably because I worked in hotels before, I feel ma…