HFTP Connect – Hospitality Blog

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HFTP Annual Convention — Invest in Yourself

Written by: Jessica Vint, CHAE

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.

Unsuccessful people are always asking, “what’s in it for me?”

The inspirational author Dr. Stephen Covey once said, “strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” This quote encapsulates a large part of the HFTP Annual Convention. If you have ever attended, then you understand the quote. If you haven’t, you owe yourself the opportunity to participate and come to learn from the insight of other long-serving HFTP members.

HFTP is an association that frequently, generously and effectively provides education dedicated to the furthering of the hospitality industry. Having been a part of the industry for over 20 years, means I have a lot of information in my head that could no doubt help others with their hospitality challenges and hiccups. In my experience as an active member of HFTP for more than 10 years, I have found a large part of the membership falls into the “successful people” category as stated above.

So here we are, over 500 wonderful hospitality driven people all networking in the same hotel, in the same meetings, in the same education sessions with all of our differences… sharing our knowledge to help others. If you think about it, how much more “priceless” can you get? Read More »

Meet Jessica Vint, CHAE — Your Annual Convention Insider

Written by: sara

HFTP Connect will feature posts throughout the week of the 2014 Annual Convention & Tradeshow provided from the viewpoint of the official guest blogger, Jessica Vint, CHAE. Find out more about Jessica below and keep watch during the week for her insights as a convention insider. Look for the Official Blogger image in the daily newsletter.


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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

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 »

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.

[Ask the Experts] Cindy Estis Green

Written by: Administrator

As we lead up to HITEC 2014 in June, HFTP Connect will be talking to various hospitality professionals about specific areas of the industry through the Ask the Experts column.

A Marketing Professional’s View on Hospitality Distribution

Cindy Estis Green is the CEO and co-founder of Kalibri Labs, LLC., with a career spanning thirty-five years in the hospitality industry. Green spent 12 years as managing partner of The Estis Group providing consulting to hospitality organizations. Co-author of the 2012 Distribution Channel Analysis: A Guide for Hotels, Estis Green has been inducted into the prestigious HFTP Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. She is also a frequent speaker at hospitality industry conferences and is currently a member of the HITEC Advisory Council.

1. How is your specialty changing? How will it evolve over the next two to five years?

The area of distribution and digital has changed dramatically and continues to do so as new vendors enter the space and as consumers adopt new technology as part of the travel experience whether it’s shopping, buying, part of the stay or sharing about a stay. The pace of change is rapid now and not slowing down. This will continue to add many more options for the consumers and create change in the way hotel brands provide services to their hotels. Read More »

E-cigarettes: Is it time for hoteliers to butt in or butt out?

Written by: Frank Wolfe, CAE

Editors Note: Since the publication of this article, movement to regulate e-cigarettes by the FDA has progressed. On the local government level and in other countries e-cigarettes have been banned in public places or banned all together. Recently, the European Parliament rejected a proposal to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices.

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) boasted the largest show floor in its history featuring more than 3,200 exhibitors. It was a sight to see, with a lot of improvements on things we have been hearing about in the industry for quite a while.

One trend that really stood out to me was the proliferation of e-cigarette vendors and users. The growth in sales of the e-cigarette will likely make it a habit that’s here to stay. Many large tobacco companies seem to think so, including R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Altria (think Marlboro).

Read More »

Top 5 Trends in Hospitality for 2014

Written by: Matt Zajechowski

The faculty experts at the Kendall College School of Hospitality Management recently released its trends outlook for the hospitality industry for 2014. The hospitalitymanagement program is highly regarded in the Chicago for preparing students for careers in the hospitality industry. With the combined collaboration of the entire faculty from the hospitality program, they were able to come with this infographic that provides a lot of insight into the top trends within the hospitality industry for the upcoming year. I’ve highlighted some of the more interesting findings below: Read More »

How Replying to TripAdvisor Reviews Keeps the Four Seasons No.1 in the City

Written by: Taylor Short

Ranking highly on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index, a rating system based on quantity, quality and recency of customer reviews, is the best way to draw new customers to your hotel. Knowing that responding to reviews can entice others to write their own, the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin jumped 26 spots to become the highest rated hotel in the city. But how exactly did it happen? Read More »

Employees Untethered

Written by: Warren Markwart

This is the year of the tablet. Try and find a vendor, that doesn’t have a tablet as part of their product.

In two years we will have forgotten that there was actually a “year of the tablet.” As mobile, hand held computing will become so ubiquitous in the operation of our business.

Tablet productivity will come from two sources. The guest and the hotel employee.

The guest becomes another user on your system without the training you would normally give to your staff. They make reservations, will check themselves into your hotel, order room service, request towels, all with no training.

Now just think of the effect tablets in the hands of your employees will have. They will be mobile, but more importantly, training times will be greatly reduced. You will even be able to train a general manager or director of sales to check a guest into the hotel. Read More »

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