On March 23, 2016, HFTP held its first Digital Learning Day which was open to any professional who was interested in expanding their knowledge of the industry. Digital Learning Day covered a range of topics including ethics, cyber security, physical security and online presence. Perhaps the best perk of Digital Learning Day was that anyone could tune in to the webinars right from their own desk. Learning has never been so easy!
The first session of the day was presented by Philip E. Flora, CIA, CISA, CFE, CCSA of FloBiz & Associates, LLC. Flora’s session, “Business Ethics: Friend or Foe? Help or Hindrance? Important for Success?” delved into a great discussion on the impact that governance, ethics, culture, bias, greed and success have on organizations and their culture. Flora posed questions to attendees to help them reflect on their organization’s current ethical culture and described how to best handle instances of unethical behavior. In order to run a successful organization, Flora stresses that “tone at the top of an organization is critical.” As leaders, it is important to set clear policies, rules and guidelines and apply them consistently to all employees. Ethics continues to be a hot-topic for hospitality professionals as well as other industries across the board.
HFTP Past President Dr. Agnes DeFranco and Dr. Cristian Morosan, both from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, shared their insights during “Hotel Technology and Cyber-Security: Do’s and Don’ts for Hotels, Clubs, Guests and Members.” DeFranco and Morosan labeled mobile devices as “an extension of our being.” Right from the start, I knew this would be an interesting take on security. I would like to think that I can survive a day, ok let’s be real, a few hours without my phone, but I use it for everything! They presented a quick quiz to attendees to have them gauge the level of security for their own devices and it was shocking to learn that even IT professionals aren’t as up to date as you’d expect. With how quickly technology evolves, how can you blame anyone? DeFranco and Morosan shared perspectives of guest behavior and how a guest can safely stay connected while staying at a property. My takeaway from this session boiled down to education. Guests need to be educated on proper safeguards for their own devices and hotels need to educate their employees on guest behavior, plans in the event of a security breach and best methods for prevention.
Perhaps the most timely session, “Active Shooters: New Trends and New Solutions,” delved into the tragic past to help prepare us for the future. Timothy Dimoff began the session by noting that there has been “little introduction of new technology or tactics to mitigate the effects of an active shooter.” With an active shooter situation averaging 12.5 minutes (54 percent over in less than five) and an average response time of 12-18 minutes, how can you be prepared? The best place to start is by being proactive and surveying your vulnerabilities. Dimoff advised attendees to evaluate three core areas: personnel, hardware and procedures. Dimoff stressed the importance of having a plan and testing that plan. By following the A.L.I.C.E method, the likelihood of diminishing the effects of an active shooter is high. Ending on a poignant note, Dimoff shared a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “In a moment of decision, the best thing that you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing is to do nothing.”
Digital Learning Day concluded with a presentation from Danny M. Goldberg of Gold SRD titled “Building a Strong LinkedIn Profile.” Goldberg provided a very thorough step-by-step tutorial on how to use LinkedIn and how to create leverage for your professional career. After the session, I came away with a lot of useful tips and tricks that I had not heard before on how to optimize my LinkedIn presence. As Goldberg says, “if you are not on LinkedIn, you are not relevant in the marketplace,” so take the plunge!
HFTP membership is full of amazing benefits such as continued education through webinars (like Digital Learning Day) year-round, conference discounts, industry resources and unparalleled networking. Stay tuned to see what’s next for the association.
Danielle Earp is the public relations manager for HFTP. She received a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Florida State University and has been with HFTP since 2012.