HFTP Connect – Hospitality Blog

Ebola in America — Is It Safe To Travel?

Written by: Frank I. Wolfe, CAE

Somewhere on the globe, a door latch was just locked, pharmacies and grocery stores are probably a bit more busy, stock markets might be preparing for an unexpected downturn and some people may even cancel travel… All because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just confirmed America’s first Ebola case.

Would I fly into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Today? Absolutely! Would I visit Texas Presbyterian Hospital where the patient of the confirmed case of Ebola is being treated? Sure. Am I crazy? Sometimes, but not on this issue! WHY? Because in spite of the sensationalism of the press and the human nature tendency to panic when something unexpected happens, Ebola is VERY difficult to catch. It can only be spread through direct contact and it is not spread through the air, water or in general food. The only way that Ebola is spread is through direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola (sex, excretion, vomit); direct contact with items (like needles or syringes) that are contaminated with the virus; direct contact with infected animals (apes, monkeys and gorillas are thought to be responsible for transmitting the disease to humans); and in Africa, as a result of handling bush meat.

It has been reported that the person in Dallas infected with the virus had returned from Liberia, an African country. Little details are known if the person was a rescue worker or volunteer helping fight the virus there. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Liberia has a very weak health care system. But even travelers to Liberia are told by the U.S. Government that the risk of traveling there and contracting the disease is low and Americans have been traveling there since 1976 when the disease was first reported.

It will be easy over the next few days, weeks or maybe even months, to get caught up in all the media hoopla over Ebola. There might even be an additional case or cases which the media will talk about in every news break, ticker tape or tweet that they possibly can. While their goal is not necessarily to create hysteria, they do want to sell views and good news does not make the news.

Please forgive this former Health Educator for being a bit graphic in the ways to contract Ebola. But it is important that all of us in the hospitality industry and your guests understand that Ebola is not a contagious disease like the common cold.

Frank Wolfe, CAE, is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and an inductee into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and a Paragon Award winner. He often speaks on hospitality and travel related issues. He is an author, speaker and an advocate of careers in hospitality technology or finance. E-mail: frank.wolfe@hftp.org Twitter @frankwolfe. Or Facebook: Frank I. Wolfe

Recharge, Re-energize and Refocus — At Our Best in a Changing World

Written by: Murray Banks

The hospitality industry is competitive and challenging. In this always changing environment, the most successful accountants and tech pros work hard to be adaptable and resilient. Like world-class athletes, they may not love tough challenges, but they know how to focus to get the job done and they continually do the things they need to do to be successful. And what do they focus on? The goals, not the problems; the outcomes, not the obstacles; what success will look like, not what failure will feel like; the stimulation of the challenge, not the fatigue of the struggle. At several world championships, in both triathlons and skiing, I usually felt a little intimidated, stressed and worried about what might go wrong to ruin months of preparation. A successful performance however, depended on my converting that nervous energy to a positive focus on goals, adapting to the conditions of the day, and knowing that once we got going I would be in my element and that months & years of training had prepared me well for the challenge. You can do the same… convert your stress into positive energy by taking care of yourself, focusing on strategies for success, being agile and staying optimistic.

Here are six tips to help you be at your best every day:

1. Adapt a“lava lamp philosophy”for your work (and life)

Remember the Lava Lamp? Once turned on and warmed up, it is always moving and changing. A Lava Lamp philosophy means you always look at what you are doing and how you can do it better, differently and more effectively. Be agile, flexible, resilient, innovative and imaginative. Read More »

The 411 on the HFTP Global Hospitality Accounting Common Practices (GHACP) Database

Written by: Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM

What is the GHACP?

GHACP stands for the Global Hospitality Accounting Common Practices. The goal of this initiative is to provide a searchable database of detailed operating financial reporting practices used at lodging properties around the world, along with guidance on industry standards, and commentary and analysis from industry experts.

The Idea

The users of financial information come in many forms, from owners to investors, from controllers to CFOs, from financial professionals to academic constituents. Thus any benchmarking information services that can be used by these groups to compare common practices for hotel management reporting from region to region would prove to be very useful.

As with any benchmarking services, in order to stay relevant, it is imperative that the GHACP is a fluid product requiring continuous updating and development. The project leaders started by collecting information from Europe and Asia with the assistance of industry practitioners and university students. For North America, HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe gained the permission of the Financial Management Committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) to include the 10th and 11th editions of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI) in the GHACP.  To-date, the database hosts approximately 5,000 items. Read More »

HFTP GenYP Challenge — Are You Ready?

Written by: Dailey Fly

HFTP aims to help develop the professional skills of the industry leaders of tomorrow, and will support this initiative with an exclusive Young Professionals education program at the upcoming HFTP Annual Convention & Tradeshow. A highlight of the program is the first GenYP Challenge, an interactive competition that will encourage the participating young professionals and students to put their professional skills to the test.

About the GenYP Challenge: The Big Easy Edition

The objective of the GenYP Challenge is to increase the involvement of the young professional and student members of HFTP and HFTP Annual Conference & Tradeshow attendees. This challenge will:

  • Engage the student and young professional attendees with specific conference education;
  • Allow participants to network with peers and industry leaders;
  • Push participants to think outside the box during GenYP case studies;
  • Provide hands on learning experience to apply education and real life experience. Read More »

Adding Diversity and Taking the Scare out of the Visa Process in the Club and Hospitality Industries

Written by: Keith A. Pabian

As someone that often speaks about visas and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency (green cards), there are two common looks that I see in the audience when I start my presentations – a look of dread that the presentation will be boring (visas – yawn!) and one of apprehension (the visa process – that is so much work!).

As much as I would like to think that I give fun and engaging presentations, the fact is that by the end of the presentation, most in the audience are excited about the possibility of adding a diverse, multicultural staff to their existing workforce and one that is often more professional than what can be found using seasonal college students and young adults.

Traditionally, many in the U.S. hospitality and club industries have used the J-1 visa when hiring and employing foreign nationals. The J-1 visa is a temporary visa that goes through a third party company/program administrator and is usually valid for four to 12 months in duration. The hospitality organization/club is not the employer or visa sponsor; rather, it is a client of the J-1 visa program that sponsors the foreign national.

There has been a recent and ongoing trend in the hospitality and club industries to break away from the J-1 visa as organizations look to take control of their visa processes rather than go through third-party J-1 visa programs. Additionally, I hear more and more opinions from those in the hospitality and club industries that a more experienced and professional international workforce can be achieved using the H-2B seasonal visa. Another benefit is that it can be easier for the employer to bring back the same employee year after year on the H-2B visa, allowing for less training, more familiarity between the employer, employee, and the employer’s customers/patrons, and less stress in wondering if the employee will be a good staff member.

The H-2B seasonal visa is available for up to 10 months in duration and can be applied for annually. We help those in the hospitality and club industries to define their seasons of need – meaning what periods are the H-2B visa workers needed and what are the busiest months of the year for these organizations. Once the H-2B visa process is implemented, it can be a very straightforward visa route for organizations year after year.

The biggest challenge surrounding the H-2B visa process is ensuring that there is enough time to go through the application process. We always advise clients to start the process five months prior to the date that they need their H-2B visa workers. Therefore, if your organization is interested in learning more about the H-2B visa process, it is worth starting the discussions as early as possible to ensure that there is enough time to go through the process.

If your organization is interested in a diverse, multicultural, and professional workforce, it may be worth looking into the fun and not at all scary world of visas!

To learn more about adding international employees to your workforce and navigating the visa process attend the upcoming HFTP Prolinks Webinar on September 18, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CST.

Keith A. Pabian is an immigration attorney at Pabian Law, LLC.  He has developed a unique niche in representing organizations in the club and hospitality industries across the United States in visa and immigration matters. He can be reached at keith@pabianlaw.com or +1 (617) 939-9444. This article was prepared for educational use only.

Big Data – Just a Marketing Gag?

Written by: Michael Toedt, CEO

Big Data is omnipresent. Statements such as “Data is the new oil,” and “Data is the salt of modern merchants,” show how valuable data has become. But what is so important about this data? The majority of hotel managers will have no answer to these questions, although they should.

Big Data is more than the rapid increase of data, although it builds the foundation. According to forecasts the amount of data will increase 50-times from 2010 to 2020.

In business context the question is how data can be used to enhance the products and services offered or to even develop new products, also how Big Data will change the way hotels interact with their customers on and off-site. Read More »

2014 Annual Convention Guest Bloggers Needed – Apply Today!

Written by: sara

Returning this year, HFTP Connect is looking for professionals involved with the hospitality industry who would like to write original and educational blog posts about their Annual Convention & Tradeshow experience.

Official Blogger Benefits:

Complimentary Full Conference Registration which includes admittance to all convention activities, including scheduled meal functions, exhibits, Welcome Reception, President’s Evening and educational sessions.

Credit as the author of the blog post and links to blogger’s web site, social media accounts, etc.

Official Blogger Requirements:

Five blog posts related to the conference, see Guidelines for acceptable posts:

•  One prior to Annual Convention & Tradeshow
•  Three during the week of  the Annual Convention & Tradeshow
•  One post conference
If the official blogger fails to perform the blogger requirements, the blogger will be charged for the amount of the Annual Convention Full Conference Registration ($625 USD).

If you’re interested, please send a brief description on why you would be a good guest blogger and a sample of writing to Sara Shafer by August 25, 2014.

Disclaimer: As an association, HFTP may not endorse or promote a product or vendor. HFTP Connect is educational in nature and blog posts must not be sales-oriented. Products or vendors may only be mentioned in an educational format.

Paragon — A Model of Excellence

Written by: Agnes L. DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE

With the Annual Convention and Tradeshow  just a few months away, the time has come again to nominate a peer for the 2014 HFTP Paragon Award. A panel of industry experts selects the award winner, who will be recognized at the Annual Convention & Tradeshow in October. Nominations for 2014 are due to the HFTP Global Office by August 11. Read the post below from recipient Agnes DeFranco, CHAE to learn more about this distinguished award.

The word paragon means a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality, a model of excellence. To that end, in 1999, HFTP selected two individuals, who have made a significant and lasting contribution to both HFTP and the hospitality industry, to be the inaugural Paragon Award recipients. Ms. Alice Bank and Mr. Henry “Buddy” Weeks carried the banner in 1999. Since then, a total of 18 individuals have been honored with this accolade.

Unlike other awards, the Paragon is most inclusive. It is an HFTP award, however the nominees are not restricted to HFTP members. They can be representatives of industry-related associations, societies or trade publications. They can also be leaders from hospitality businesses, educational institutions and other related disciplines. The Paragon is also most prestigious because individuals are not only nominated, but the nomination requires recommendation letters to be submitted to a panel of industry experts — peers of the potential recipient — to choose the winner. Read More »

A Final Glance Through the Rearview Mirror

Written by: Monica Henegar

Sitting at my departure gate at LAX, I am reflecting upon the events of the that took place during the Club and Hotel Controllers Conference. It will take some time for all of the information  to settle into my mind, so I can fully appreciate the true value of the experience.

The conference center felt overwhelmingly large at the beginning as my colleagues and I were learning to navigate our way from one session to the next or through the exhibitor booths. The exhibits addressed all the technological needs, opportunities and dreams our properties could ever have. Everyone was very helpful, welcoming and above all knowledgeable about the products they were marketing. The one thing I would complain about is that the sessions rooms were on the cold side, which meant that I ended up spending half my breaks warming up in the sun instead of browsing through the exhibits.

The educations sessions were very informative and addressed a variety of subjects that I found relevant for improving my daily work, from information security, to career advancement, to revenue management and fraud detection. All of the speakers were inspiring and passionate about their subject. I was happy to note that the subjects were general in nature, which made them relevant to all properties internationally. Read More »

HITEC in Hindsight

Written by: James Lingle

For the longest time, the running question for late night TV viewers was “Are you Leno or Letterman”? For me it has always been Letterman. Don’t get me wrong, Leno is great – but there was always something about the Top 10 list that I looked forward to. It is in that spirit, but with far less tongue in cheek humor, that I share with you 5 (or so) things I found pretty cool at HITEC this year. Warning – some of this is just for fun!

  1. Robert Irvine – I love the Food Network – and if you know me – I love food. I heard he was at the Comcast Business booth a couple of times. That would have been almost as cool to see as Warren Moon was in Minneapolis!
  2. Intello – This is a company that had a start in HSIA with our friends north of the border and is bringing a seriously compelling and affordable product to the market of digital signage. Cloud based and cost effective on the hardware and services side, I will be getting to know this company much better. They could bring affordable digital signage to hotels that previously would have never considered it. Read More »

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