Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me| Javier Tomé, Guest Columist@ HospitalityEducators.com & President, People & Organizations for Business

“Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,  and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.  This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry, with participants answering at least five of the listed nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.

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Javier is President and HR Solutions Director at People & Organizations for Business (POB Consulting). A Systems Engineer from Universidad Metropolitana of Venezuela, Javier started as a software developer, and promoted to Manager Level in a short time because of his drive, proactive thinking style, leadership, and expertise development.  He earned a Master’s degree in Management Consulting from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

Passionate about food, restaurants, and hospitality, he obtained a Culinary Arts’ degree at Le Cordon Bleu Miami, which introduced him to the Hospitality Management Industry. He has worked as a cook, chef and restaurant manager, in both restaurants and hotels.Javier has been involved in Business Consulting for the last 10 years, developing knowledge and experience in several fields and industries.   Dedicated to helping business owners and executives develop their businesses to their fullest potential, he works with them through Organizational Modeling, Strategic Focus, and People/Culture best practices.  His stated goals include helping professionals in the industry to become more productive and successful.

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1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you
  •  My favorite Hotel is actually a Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean. I find the experience of Cruises incredibly satisfactory, because when I take time with my family to rest and enjoy, I really mean it. Cruises make everything for you, the only thing you have to do for yourself is the basic stuff: sleep, eat, walk… I mean, is there anything better.
  •  I love their service. People that work in Cruises is like people from Disney, they really believe in what they do, especially on how to make you feel happy. Of course there are always opportunities to grow and do better, and I know not everybody have had the best experiences, but in my case I have.

2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you

  •  I have to say that I don´t have a favorite restaurant, but I have many depending on the type of food. And that is because I love to eat.
  •  I am a good cook, so I can make me almost any type of food there is. But I don’t have people at home to serve me and treat me like a king. And there are times where I don´t feel like cooking and need the extra attention.
  • When I go out to eat, if the food is in average good, it doesn’t need to be of the charts, if it is comforting and the service is outstanding, I will love it. I go out to eat good food, but also to be treated great.


3.
Where do you vacation the most often?

Aruba. We love the resorts there, the people, the nice food, and the beaches even more. Great place to relax.

4. What is your favorite charity or cause?  

There are two types of charities we love to help: Schools and Entrepreneurship, Education and Work. Always putting in front causes that matches our values and believes, where family and society are putted in front, or actually are the ends.


  1. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?

 I have so many. I have mentors for both my personal and professional life. What I look in a mentor is not only a person that can teach me or make me do things better, but a person that I can share my principles, values and vision of the world, and also learn from their personal and professional experiences in the practical way. Most of them have been teachers, bosses, or work peers.

 7. In the last five years, what has been your most memorable meeting or convention experience and why?

  •  A meeting. Actually a personal and professional development coaching session. In that particular meeting 4 years ago me and my wife decided to change our life.
  •  We decided to stop waiting for the right moment to have kids, and now we have two beautiful little ones.
  •  We also decided to leave Venezuela. We moved to the US and since then we are amazingly happy, and a lot less stressed. We recaptured our life and now have more purpose than ever.

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?

 Work hard, don’t limit yourself to your obligations, always ask for a little more, learn from books as much as from other peoples experiences. Knowledge, experience, and skills development is a 24/7 work.


9. W
hat is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?

 Why do you think you will be a top performer in the position and why? (not to let them sell themselves, but to let them explain their understanding of what it takes to be great for the specific job, meaning that they have researched, they are prepared, and understand what has to be done in terms of approach, knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, development, day to day, and growing)

We have asked dozens of people involved in hospitality businesses around the world to answer up to nine questions in this special section of HospitalityEducators.com.  If you would like to participate, please contact   John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com 

 Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Dr. John Hogan, Crowne Plaza Chicago, MeetingsQuest Oct 2010

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Az

Phone: 602-799-5375

www.hoganhospitality.com/Email: info@hoganhospitality.com.

“Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™| Philana Cunningham, Community Volunteer and Fund-raising Consultant

Hospitality is arguably the largest industry in the world and many of us have worked in many dimensions of the business. We also realize that people change companies and sometimes industries and that is the scenario today. This response comes from Philana Cunningham, who was involved in the industry with several companies in a number of states. She is now a Community Volunteer and Fund-raising Consultant in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, working in Non-Profit Management .

I have worked with literally thousands of people in my career, and Philana was unique in that I  first met her when I was teaching hospitality courses at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Philana was a hospitality major and her enthusiasm toward the industry was apparent from the beginning. Her interests continued to grow and I was pleased to have her join our team part time at the Sheraton Nashville Hotel while she completed her degree. I recall she graduated with honors and she joined our Sheraton team (where I was the General Manager) as a management trainee and excelled at developing her skills, matching them to her academic learning. I know she continued to grow in the industry when she relocated to another part of the US.

  1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you

I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAME, BUT IT WAS IN DORADO, PUERTO RICO; IT WAS VERY OPEN WITH LOTS OF FUN WILDLIFE MILLING AROUND.
2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you

BENIHANA’S – ENTERTAINING & GOOD FOOD AT A SLOW PACE

3. Where do you vacation the most often?   FRANKLIN, TN

4. What is your favorite charity or cause?    MISSIONS ORIENTED

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it

SERVICE PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT PLEASANT. HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE RIGHT POSITION.

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?

  • JOHN HOGAN!
  • HE EMPOWERED ME TO SUCCEED AND FAIL ,WHILE MAKING BOTH LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES!
  • THANK YOU!! (I DIDN’T JUST SAY THAT BECAUSE YOU ASKED THE QUESTION. IT’S REALLY TRUE!)

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. IF YOU CAN’T DEAL WITH THAT, FIND ANOTHER CAREER. 🙂
9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

“Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,  and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.  This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry. We ask participants to answer at least five of the listed nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.

We have asked dozens of people involved in hospitality businesses around the world to answer up to nine questions in this special section of HospitalityEducators.com.  If you would like to participate, please contact   John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com  _________________________________________________________________________

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com.

Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix,

Phone: 602-799-5375   www.hoganhospitality.com/

Email: info@hoganhospitality.com

“Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” | Professor Jennifer Calhoun, MBA CHE | Director, Prince George’s Community College’s Hospitality and Tourism Institute

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,  and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.  This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry. We ask participants to answer at least five of the listed nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.

In this article, we contacted Jennifer Calhoun, MBA CHE a Founding Associate of HospitalityEducators.com, and  former Director of Seminar Programs leader at the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Professor Jennifer Calhoun, MBA CHE | Prince George’s Community College’s Hospitality and Tourism Institute

Professor Calhoun was honored for her work as director of the Prince George’s Community College’s Hospitality and Tourism Institute.  She received the 2010 American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding US Educator at the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s Summer Summit in June 2010.      

She is responsible for leadership, program planning, marketing, recruiting, and determining the Institute’s goals and curriculum development priorities.  She is the primary liaison between businesses, government agencies, and professional associations.

3. Where do you vacation the most often?

  •  We love Bermuda with it British charm and great beaches

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it

  • Indifference by service providers; I pay a personal compliment to them and their attitude usually will change. 

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?

  •  My mom, her faith in God that made the impossible, possible.  

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?

  • Develop a plan of action for employment that includes research about the organization(s) where you would like to work

9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?

  • How would you define success for yourself?

Professor Calhoun’s full bio is available at Founding Associates at HospitalityEducators.com

Contact information:Ph: 301-386-7596        www.jjcalhoun.comcalmor@aol


We have asked dozens of people involved in hospitality businesses around the world to answer up to nine questions in this special section of HospitalityEducators.com.  If you would like to participate, please contact   John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com 

  ______________________________________________________________

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Dr. John Hogan Crowne Plaza Chicago, MeetingsQuest Oct 2010

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com.

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™ – J R Davis, Producer/Owner Winco Productions, Nashville Tennessee USA

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,  and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.  This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry. We ask participants to answer at least five of the listed nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.

In this article, we reached out to J R. Davis, Owner and Producer @ Winco Productions in Nashville, Tennessee USA.  JR had an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing, working with Sheraton and several major properties before he evolved to working with country music entertainers in broadcast media.  As CEO of Winco Productions, he has traveled the world with a number of well-known performers and produced quality shows and recordings.

Winco Productions is a Nashville, Tennessee based award-winning film and video house. Having shot around the world, Winco works closely with the Nashville music industry providing creative television exposure for new and established artists.  The firm has produceed television specials with Charlie Daniels, Eddy Raven, Lee Greenwood, Restless Heart, and scores of others.

Winco’s awards include the 48 Hour Film Project best SiFi, Hollywood DV Film Festival – Best Music Video, and National Videography awards – Best Graphic design.   The Winco Crew has shot in Italy, England, Switzerland, Baghdad, Kuwait, Turkey, Germany, Abaco Islands, Hawaii, Korea and Japan. Winco also visited Holland, Denmark, Switzerland and Amsterdam shooting the travels of artist Billy Yates.

I have personally worked with JR in a hotel and in other projects and his enthusiasm and commitment to everyone’s success is a delight to watch!

1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you

Ritz – Class – Crazy attention to detail – with guest – Stayed at Marina Del Rey property

  • – Watched two bellmen at front door coordinate in whispers on how to orchestrate opening the car door of a incoming car.
  • Walking through the lobby and having desk clerk address me – by name and telling me that my ride was running a few minutes late – I had never met or seen that desk clerk.

 

2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you
Morton’s – Everyone treated like a big wig

3. Where do you vacation the most often?
Florida – great memories and many choices

4. What is your favorite charity or cause?
Men of Valor Prison Mentor Program

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it
Person at the desk asking to wait or simply ignoring as  they finish their “chores” at the desk – The Person in front of you is the most important person

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why? H. David Smith – He taught me a true Can Do attitude

7. In the last five years, what has been your most memorable meeting or convention experience and why?
Tom Black Center for Selling – Bank Source meeting – Positive – Motivational  – High Energy

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?
Master Serving the guest will skill and grace even in the most difficult situations.  I have found that the most difficult client’s with problems – can become your most loyal client – if you master working the problem with skill and grace.

9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?
What do you think about Serving People?

J. R. Davis, Owner and Producer @ Winco Productions, Nashville, TN

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Dr. John Hogan Crowne Plaza Chicago, MeetingsQuest Oct 2010

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com.

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™- Ed Iannarella, President Stonehenge Consulting Group

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™” includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,  and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.  This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry. We ask participants to answer at least five of the listed nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.

In this article, we reached out to Ed Iannarella, President of the Stonehenge Consulting Group,  an international firm specializing in hotel sales training and consulting. Ed has developed and delivered sales training programs for all types and segments of hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Aruba, England, and Central and South America. 2011 marks his 31st year in the hospitality sales world.

1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you:
Princess Hotel Zona Rosa in San Salvador, El Salvador during trips in 2000 and 2001.  In what some might consider an impoverished country, there sat a gem of a full service hotel in the exclusive Red Zone (Zona Rosa) section of the capital city. It was magnificent from an FF&E standpoint , but what allowed it to stand apart from the hundreds of hotels I’ve consulted for or stayed at as a paying guest, was simply this: a staff that truly epitomized hospitality. Whether in the fine dining restaurant (and I do mean fine dining in the European tradition) or in a conference room, the service was “non pareil.” Staff members not only assertively, yet politely, recognized and satisfied my needs immediately, but they did so with genuine thankfulness. Their attitude conveyed their gratitude. There was no sense of entitlement or any feeling that their jobs were burdensome. Instead, there was joy in their eyes and on their faces for having the “privilege” to serve all guests. My guess is that pioneers like Kemmons Wilson, J.W. Marriott , or Conrad Hilton would have thought that this hotel really showed what hospitality was meant to be.

2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you:
Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia, PA. It has, for years, defined culinary excellence and attention to detail. Some might find it a bit too formal, but I was always so impressed by the taste/presentation excellence of all parts of their nine course dinner. Dessert-monger that I am, I once tasted portions of 17 different desserts from their legendary cart.

3. Where do you vacation the most often?:
Ft Myers, FL now since moving here 2 years ago, but in my hay day of  true getaways, Italy was my preference. The country has numerous sub-cultures so you can get lost in the unique and rich traditions of each. The country’s history is staggering, its people are fun loving and can teach us lessons on “la dolce vita,” and the food and wine are beyond description.

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it:
2 are tied for first place

  • 1) inability to access a human quickly enough by phone (1 solution is that companies should listen to their customers’ input/suggestions via phone surveys, online surveys, etc.), and
  • 2) locating a service agent who actively listens and can verify a customer’s problem/concern before attempting to solve problems (1 solution: better training/re-training/performance tie-in to job security).

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?:
In retrospect, my mother. With a 9th grade education, her actions spoke volumes as she taught me to be kind to people in a world where kindness seems to be dwindling.

7. In the last five years, what has been your most memorable meeting or convention experience and why?:
In 2006, I spoke at a Blackstone convention on the Big Island of Hawaii and it was special for 2 reasons.

  1. I was able to bring my wife, and what’s not to like about Hawaii?
  2. Second, it was the first large convention I was able to work after a 2 year bout with cancer.

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?:

Ask yourself if you are able to be humble with all types of people, and if the answer is “no” or “not sure,”  then do the hospitality industry AND yourself a favor by considering other careers.

9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?: What makes you unique?

Ed Iannarella, President Ed Iannarella Stonehenge Consulting Group 17149 Wrigley Circle Ft. Myers, FL 33908

(w) 239-481-5586
(c) 717-475-4255
(f)  239-482-0420

ed_i@comcast.net

 

Dr. John Hogan Crowne Plaza Chicago, MeetingsQuest Oct 2010

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com.

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™- Meg McDonough, President of Luxury Hospitality Consultants, LLC

HospitalityEducators Contributor
Meg McDonough, President of Luxury Hospitality Consultants, LLC

Meg has extensive travel experience, held prominent positions working with corporate presidents and CEOs, is a licensed real estate sales associate in Florida, and holds a Certificate in Hotel Management from the University of South Florida. She began her consulting business, Luxury Hospitality Consultants, LLC, in 2008.  www.LuxuryHospitalityConsult.comSRQHotelMgmt@aol.com

Questions I Wish You Would Ask MeTM includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS,TM and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion.   This segment will include a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry.


We ask participants to answer at least five of the following nine questions.  Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.
If you would like to participate, please contact John.Hogan@hospitalityeducators.com.

  1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you

Princess Hamilton (Bermuda) as visited during the summers of September 1967 and 1968. I was impressed with the professional standards of the hotel operations overall: the staff were exceptionally attentive to providing the penultimate in services; waitstaff were mostly European-trained (many were interning at the hotel and their cross-training efforts were requirements for their future employer (a major cruise line) – I believe this was standard for that time period. White-glove service for fine dining on 6-course meals. No price menus were provided to our guests (only the host received the priced menus, as was appropriate at that time, and as a form of etiquette/courtesy to ones guests). Five-piece orchestra provided music during the dinner hour, followed by dancing. An outdoor gazebo lounge provided live jazz ensemble for entertainment and the bar was at capacity through the late night hours. The hotel also had two outside swimming pools (one with fresh seawater) which provided an alternate choice of pools. Complimentary Rum Swizzlers greeted every guest upon arrival (nice touch). The hotel also maintained a private beach enclave to which complimentary coach service was provided throughout the day. F&B also available at the beach site. Although there were no televisions to the hotel rooms (in those years – it may have changed since), an oversized Drawing Room in the common area was the choice place to meet other hotel guests and socialize over cocktails and card games. This was truly a place of leisure for the hotel guests and was always a social hub for cocktails and high tea service. Subsequent years led to the expansion of the hotel chain by adding a newer hotel – The Southampton Princess (set on the opposite side of the island).

My recent hospitality educational coursework led me to incorporate many of the hotel’s features within my own proposed hotel project for branding a collection of independently operated boutique hotels geared towards the high-net worth individual, specifically. My marketing / business plan incorporated seasonal stays at the hotel as an option for those who desired the experience of living at such a hotel within a resort environment.

2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you

My favorite restaurant (chain) was the former Magic Pan (Creperie) with two operations in Boston: Newbury Street and Faneuil Hall. I found the business model to be a great concept for not only its wide range of menu selections of hand-made crepes but also the aesthetically attractive interior design. Aside from its great location at Faneuil Hall in the historic district, there was an oversized fired crepe-making machine covered in a resplendent use of porcelain tiles to its massive surround. This certainly became the focal point for guests as they entered the restaurant. Crepes were served as appetizers, entrees, and desserts and complimented by their signature house salad incorporating a mild yet tangy combination citrus vinaigrette. Dining at The Magic Pan was always the choice location for social and business power lunches. I had the pleasure of knowing the interior designer for these two particular restaurants as she worked in our firm in Harvard Square (Cambridge) known as TAC (The Architects Collaborative), founded by Walter Gropius. Unfortunately, the entire chain was phased out in late 1989. I have incorporated the fundamental Creperie dining experience as part of my business/marketing plan for my proposed boutique hotel collection (currently under review for investor relations).

3. Where do you vacation the most often?

A favorite place for us to vacation and visit with family is at The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. We have been patronizing the member’s only private club since the 1970s. You will note my earlier Q&A interview with the Club’s current Senior Director of Culinary Operations, Philippe Reynaud, and therefore my continued interest in this location. Although this Club tends to be a seasonal highlight for members who either stay at their vacation homes, or on their yachts at the marina, there are a few full-time residents who live at ORC and enjoy the wide array of hospitality services, dining options, shopping, and sports activities. Its tranquil setting is ideal for getting away from business. A private jet airstrip on the property offers quick access to major airports; limited takeoff / landings are strictly enforced.


4. What is your favorite charity or cause?

The Southeastern Guide Dogs – They are a local charitable group that creates and nurtures a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life’s journey with mobility, independence and dignity. They have a wonderful Paws for Patriots program providing beneficiaries with veteran status the aid of a guide dog which has been specifically trained to meet the individual’s needs. www.GuideDogs.org

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it

I am, personally, not fond of certain chain restaurants where the climate permits (encourages) servers to become overly friendly with the dining patrons and host/hostess. My list includes: servers who are encouraged to sit down alongside the guests while taking an order, loud announcements of the “daily specials” and a recitation ad nauseum on how dinner will be prepared (which can be quickly countered by addressing these issues in writing posted on the menu for quick edification); constant interruptions and return visits to the table to ensure everything is OK (even to intrude on guests’ conversations with one another to make their point) – it’s just plain rude and, believe me, we will certainly let the waitstaff if there is anything we need. I would opt to suggest someone develop a “silent buzzer” system discreetly placed within reach of the dining host/hostess to call for service when needed (recollecting the formal home setting with the dinner bell was always placed at the host’s setting).

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?


Giles S. Gianelloni (my father) continues to be my most important mentor in my life for his lifelong conversations on keeping truth and integrity at the forefront of everything you do. He constantly promoted dignity and respect for all, notwithstanding social level, ethnicity, race, age, or handicap. He maintained a strong work ethic during his work years and was an equal among his fellow workers and colleagues wherever he went. I have great respect for the level of camaraderie and social integrity for someone who guided me through all the choices I would make during my career years and a great defender of continuing onward whenever choices were either bleak and seemed defenseless: it just meant persevering forward, never faltering to educate oneself and learn new skills and careers – if necessary.


8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?

While I was a student at USF (Sarasota) where I received my Certificate in Hotel Management, I took advantage of my prior 38 years of work experience as a corporate professional executive secretary / personal assistant. I already knew enough about how private-sector corporations operated and had sufficient insight on how high-level “think tank” operations worked vis a vis public, government, and private fundraising activities.

My knowledge and levels of expertise came through years of hard work and not being complacent in undertaking new tasks and assignments that were required of me. As I observed the interaction (or more precisely put – lack of interaction) of my fellow classmates during my coursework, I sensed a lack of commitment to learn, observe, and communicate in appropriate settings. Although most of the students had current work experience in the hospitality trade, they appeared impervious to the fact that their own interaction among their fellow classmates – as well as the faculty, instructors and visiting corporate department heads from area hotels and restaurants – came across as outright negligible to (in some cases) rude and blatant disregard for authority figures.

It would concern me that these particular students might not fare well or succeed in anything that would require them to make a living at a job that demands the utmost in professionalism and being capable of making critical decisions when necessary. With the expectation that students of the future seeking to expand their repertoire in their particular trade / career, I am a proponent of students undertaking internships that will provide them with not only hands-on knowledge and experience but also learn how corporations value their employees with security and promotions.

Many students could not see a future path in their field of studies other than to take the requisite courses needed to get a passing grade. The lack of dynamic thinking amongst this particular group of students seemed to have been overwhelmingly simplified and met only with their lack of etiquette and professionalism beset by the constancy of quick texting and superfluous conversations on cell phones (and this was done during class time). The path to a successful career in hospitality does, at times, require the use of technology and social media components; however, the ability to listen, communicate and focus on one’s chosen field in hospitality, per se, requires a graduating student to have sufficient decision-making capabilities built on knowledge learned, merits earned through successful completion of assignments / tasks, and ownership of a problem when it may arise – and not by default through complacency and insubordination. The student who meets a stricter set of priorities will be successful and recognized for growth within their chosen field.

Aside from the psychology of challenges any hospitality grad student will face will be the need to recognize that continuing education, training, and leadership skills will be the constant in their career path. Having a former instructor act as your mentor would be beneficial for the novice and experienced worker alike.
9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?

Some of my most relevant and important questions I typically pose to an interviewer have to deal with the current structure of the corporation, specifically: what has occurred to create the position for which I am interviewing. I want to know what may have been a deciding factor for the opening as this would divulge the level of factors for my own decision to “accept” or “decline” the position as offered. Scenarios range from poorly performing former employee (where was there fault – difficult employer or difficult employee – not a good path to follow); change in management structure or re-structuring to meet growth demands (this is good); vacancy due to lawsuit involving former employee (you really want to know a little more about that situation – as much as you can legally extract and with some sort of decorum – you want to avoid future challenges); maternity / paternity leave has given way to a full-time opening (and the firm has no plans to return the former employee to their job – really an unsafe choice); or DOA (overworked employee falls over dead on her first day – tune yourself into the abstract excuses you may receive).

Now… I only wish someone would ask me why I (as a qualified and experienced professional, with references ready on demand, and a multi-year career path noted in a well-written resume, etc.) am applying to a job which states the minimum requirements to become a candidate for employment. My resume, job skills and conversation level clearly indicate I have not only met their minimum criteria but now that I am “over-qualified”, there is no interest to proceed with an interview. The fear factors: (1) won’t be staying long on this job and will leave us as soon as something better comes along – quite possible; (2) will be quickly bored for the simple tasks accompanying this position and become stigmatized and leave us (not too bad on that one); wants “my” job (said the interviewer to self) – the threat of possibly taking the interviewer’s job is quite paramount and easily recognized when the level of questions become defensive and brisk (trying to dissuade interest from applying at all) – close, but no banana; or even the contention that this job only requires English-speaking candidates (concern that my other spoken languages might interfere with some strange union-afflicted drama about to take place and I might interfere with ongoing negotiations with the other staff or tradesmen (huh, but worthy of rewaxing my eyebrow by this time which has become stuck in the up-position).

So, when asking me why I would apply at all to a position that is, in someone else’s mind, subservient to my repertoire of skills and abilities, I remind them that I am present before them to provide in good conscience a bona fide interview, backed with a truthful resume, and complemented with past reference letters, etc. because I have: (1) researched the company and feel my contributions in the position as advertised would be beneficial to the company and look forward to becoming a part of the company and its future (generous mindset); (2) I am clearly a candidate willing to undertake other assignments that may come forward and which may accentuate new avenues the company had not yet considered (team player); (3) I may be the solution to your mutual future corporate path by cross-training in the company’s various departments (less reliance on hiring temps and agency fees in the long run); and (4) I can be relied on (that should have some level of impact).
Meg McDonough www.LuxuryHospitalityConsult.com SRQHotelMgmt@aol.com

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Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them to  Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consulting

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HoganHospitality.com

Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations

http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjohnhoganchache

CONTACT

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375

www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com

Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™ – Conor Kenny, Dublin, Ireland 3.17.11

Subject: RE: Questions I Wish You’d Ask Me™

In this article, we reached out to Conor Kenny who has been the Principal of Conor Kenny & Associates in Dublin Ireland since 2002.

Hi John, Happy New Year. Interesting initiative.

1. Name your favorite hotel and why it is special to you

The Merrion in Dublin, Ireland. Because it is in a beautiful part of town and the buildings are restored Town Houses. The staff work hard at minding their guests but deliver their unique brand of service in a friendly, real and ‘non manufactured’ way. They are led by a superb GM. They strive constantly to innovate, to excel and to be the best yet they never forget the basics of great service. It achieves that long lost and very unusual moment where – no matter who you are – they make you feel special. We are human beings and being made special is just about the most cost effective thing you can do but also the most difficult. The Merrion manages to – everyday.

2. Name your favorite restaurant and why it is special to you

Nico’s in Dublin. Almost as old as me. Same food, same menu, same decor and still serving brilliant food everyday.

3. Where do you vacation the most often?

Majorca, Spain.

4. What is your favorite charity or cause?

Anything to do with homeless people (there for the grace of God go all of us)

5. Name your pet service peeve, why and any ideas you may have to address it Disinterested, detached, unfocused, lethargic, argumentative, uninspiring, knowledgeless staff.

6. Who was the most important mentor in your life and why?

  • My Dad.
  • He listens well.
  • Has an incredible background of success.
  • He is usually right.
  • Then, my real friends. You know the type? Tell you what you don’t want to hear.

7. In the last five years, what has been your most memorable meeting or convention experience and why?

Last year. My own team.

They solved a puzzle way beyond me. Better still, they rebuilt a new brighter model that is working far better. Let them drive. If they crash kick ’em out. If they drive better than you – keep going.

8. What is the one piece of advice you would offer to a graduating student with a hospitality degree?

Do it for love or don’t do it at all.

9. What is the one question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview today?

Two.

  1. What are you bad at?
  2. What are you most proud of outside work?
Questions I Wish You Would Ask Me™  includes interviews such as those found in our HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS, and and it also allows industry professional the opportunity to share their perspectives, values and opinions on additional areas and subjects that may not have been part of the planned discussion. This segment includes a wide range of hospitality professionals from all portions of the industry. We ask participants to answer at least five of the listed nine questions. Their responses will interest, sometimes amuse and definitely inspire you to consider how YOU might answer.
If you would like to participate, please contact John.Hogan@hospitalityeducators.com.

Conor Kenny & Associates are experts in helping you get the most out of people and business. As skilled innovators in marketing, sales and communication, we know that you and your people have skills too. Companies don’t innovate. People do. http://www.conorkenny.com/