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  • Success in the Sunshine State: Highlights from HFTP's 2018 Florida Regional Conference

    The beautiful Sarasota Westin Hotel — with its bright white facade, multitudinous windows and stunning rooftop pool area — made a very picturesque setting for the 2018 HFTP Florida Regional Conference, which took place July 25–27, 2018.

  • Annual Convention 2018: A True HFTP Experience in the Land of the Kentucky Derby

    On the bank of the Ohio River in the east south-central region of the United States looms Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville — home to the famed Kentucky Derby horse race, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Louisville Slugger baseball bats.

  • Countdown to Opportunity: The Club & Hotel Controllers Conference 2018

    Written By: Laura Resco, official event guest blogger for the HFTP Club and Hotel Controllers Conference 2018 - One of the most important jobs of a graduate student is to produce original research that furthers the existing knowledge within an industry.

  • Primary Club Metrics

    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

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How Consistent is your Club Leadership?

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·11 August 2018
Strong, stable, and consistent leadership is the single most important requirement for successful club operations. While there are many styles of leadership suited to any industry or endeavor, experience over many years in the club business makes it clear to this writer that a service-based approach to leadership works best in the service industry with its often young, mixed gender, and multi-ethnic workforce. This style of leadership has as its primary motivation service to others – to members, to the owners of the club, and to the employees.
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What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·26 July 2018
How often have we in private clubs heard that from our members? No one but a few creatures of inviolable habit likes the “same ol’, same ol’,” yet that’s what many clubs serve up month after month, year in and year out. Â Why not try a different approach that will “wow” your members? Make “wow factors” a part of your club’s traditions.
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Attending to the Basics in an Organized and Disciplined Way

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information· 8 July 2018
I received a phone call a couple of weeks back from an industry colleague who belongs to a private club. He said he was serving on a committee to look for ways to increase membership and revenues, while cutting costs. While I mentioned a couple of ideas, I launched into my familiar pitch that almost any club could benefit from attending to the basics of the business in an organized and disciplined way.
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The Hierarchy of Service

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·25 June 2018
While Service-Based Leadership stresses that the leader must serve the needs of his or her constituencies, not all constituent needs have equal weight or importance.
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Leadership Growth and Adaptation

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·29 May 2018
As any individual grows in leadership, his ideas about what leadership entails will mature and, in that maturation, one constant will stand out − change. Adaptation to insistently changing circumstances is a hallmark of success. One must approach life as a continual learning experience. What attitudes and approaches lend themselves to this continual learning experience?
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Personal Responsibility and the Will to Lead

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·14 May 2018
Personal freedom is often thought of as the absence of responsibility. In this respect, no one is free. Everyone is responsible for and to someone else. There is, however, a freedom that comes from accepting personal responsibility for oneself and one’s sphere of influence. When you blame no one else for the challenges you face, when you realize that where you stand today is the result of all your past decisions and indecision, you look to the true source of any difficulties. It is never the undefined “they.” It is always the ever present “I.”
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Make It Sparkle!

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·29 April 2018
When one considers all of the things that go into making a your hospitality operation distinctive and appealing to its guests or members, one of the most visible is its cleanliness. Whether a facility has its own housekeeping staff or contracts with a cleaning service, cleanliness is an essential element of a quality operation. As with any other aspect of quality, standards must be defined and ensured.
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Guiding Principles and Operating Standards

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·15 April 2018
Some time ago I blogged about a Culture of Service and the need for constantly reinforced organizational values. Among those values I suggested the need for principles and standards to guide the enterprise. Here’s one attempt to define the underlying values of an organization:
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Service-Based Leadership - It's Just Common Sense

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information· 1 April 2018
I recently read an Internet-posted news article entitled, “Disney Offers Customer Service Training.” Written by Adrian Sainz, the article talked about Miami International Airport employees taking customer service training from the Disney Institute, a division of Walt Disney Company set up to teach its principles and practices to other companies. Let’s pick up on the story.

Operating Standards

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·20 March 2018
As anyone who has ever read my writings knows, I am a firm believer in written standards, policies, and procedures as the basis for a well-organized hospitality operation. Here are some of the reasons why: Written standards (or the expected outcome of our “moments of truth”) for our products and services must be detailed in written policies and procedures. We cannot begin in any meaningful way to train our employees until we have defined for them the standards which we wish to achieve. These must be in writing to allow the General Manager and owners to evaluate and concur with the standards we contemplate. When written they allow us to consistently pass on the standards to succeeding generations of employees.
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Implementation of Remarkable Service

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·27 February 2018
While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so. At the end of the day it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs. It does, however, require commitment on the part of the owners or board, buy-in from the club’s membership, and a long-term, focused effort from the General Manager and management staff. The end result of Remarkable Service, of an organized and efficient operation, and a focused staff working in unison toward a common goal, comes from Jim Collins’ Flywheel effect. To quote from Good to Great,

A Discipline of Planning

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·22 January 2018
Managing a club without a plan is like driving through a strange land without a road map. Given the size, complexity, and money invested in making a club successful, why would anyone consider operating it by the seat of one’s pants? Yet, this is exactly what managers do when they fail to establish a discipline of formal planning. And make no mistake about it, it is a discipline – requiring managers and supervisors at all levels to conceive and document their plans for upcoming periods and specific events. It also requires that the General Manager review all planning documents, as well as review progress toward completing those plans on an ongoing basis.

Training

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·25 December 2017
All of us who work in this business understand that club operations are both people intensive and detail intensive. It takes a lot of employees to provide the requisite levels of service in a club and every aspect of service involves countless details. These two facts make detailed, ongoing training an absolute necessity for any successful operation. Types of Training. There are a wide variety of topics that must be taught to both managers and employees to fully prepare them for their jobs.

Hospitality Leadership

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·10 December 2017
What does it mean to be a leader? Much has been written to define what constitutes leadership, the role of the leader, the essential traits of leadership, and the habits of successful leaders. Though the exercise of leadership is situational, the following traits are essential to any successful leader. Leadership with vision: Moving large and complex organizations in a particular direction requires the ability to formulate and articulate a vision of what the organization should be. Ability to inspire others with a sense of purpose and excitement: “Selling” the vision requires constant hammering home of easy-to-grasp themes. Without the “big picture” sense of direction, employees become lost in the day-to-day detail of their jobs. Leaders must engage with employees on all levels and view such interaction as an opportunity to “spread the gospel.”
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Eight Key Basics to Successfully Operating a Private Club

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·26 November 2017
The club industry is facing difficult times and while we are all facing challenges, each club faces its own particular problems. As is usually the case when facing difficulties, this is the time to get back to the basics of our business. Here are 8 things each club should examine:
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Principles of Employee Relations

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·13 November 2017
We have spoken frequently about the importance of well-defined values in club operations. None is more important that the manner in which we conduct our employee relations. Here is a sample statement of those values.

Value Your People

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·22 October 2017
In speaking of Employee Empowerment, business consultant Susan M. Heathfield said, “Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you. Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person’s unique value.” So what things should a leader do to demonstrate your regard for people “in all your actions and words”?

The Many Ways to 'Kill' Employee Empowerment

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·14 October 2017
We have spoken before about the importance of creating a culture that promotes Employee Empowerment at your club. We quoted from John Tschohl, President of the Service Quality Institute, who said, “Without empowerment, an organization will never be a service leader.” Mr. Tschohl went on to say that, “Empowerment is the most critical skill an employee can master and a company can drive in order to lure and keep customers.”

Service Breakdown: A Failure of Leadership

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information· 3 October 2017
After thirty-five plus years in the hospitality business in both hotels and private clubs, I can state categorically that poor service comes from poor leadership. Show me an operation with poor, shoddy, inconsistent service, and I’ll show you an organization with a failure of leadership. This observation flows from the understanding that leaders who recognize service problems in their organization will take corrective action. They will establish a plan of action, set priorities, lead employees to execute the plan, and follow through to completion.
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Service-Based Leadership

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·23 September 2017
Service-Based Leadership is the foundation for Remarkable Service. With Service-Based Leadership, the attitude and primary motivation of the leader is service to others – to members, to employees, to shareholders. This approach to leadership naturally creates relationships – the deep and abiding bonds that sustain the efforts of the organization. This outward focus of the leader sets up a dynamic where...
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A Culture of Service

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·10 September 2017
We frequently talk about the importance of developing an organizational culture of service. What exactly do we mean by an organizational culture? The dictionary defines “culture” as the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another. With a slight modification of this definition we come up with the following working definition of organizational culture. The sum total ways of working and interacting built up by a group of people within an organization and transmitted from one generation of employees to another.

The Imperative of Manager Training

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·27 August 2017
Last week we talked a little about Employee Training and posed some questions about clubs’ training programs. This week we talk about an even more important topic – Manager Training. In many clubs the assumption is that if you hire good people as golf professionals, food and beverage managers, controllers, activity directors, golf course superintendents, membership directors, etc., they don’t need to be trained because they know what they’re doing. While this may be true of the job skills for their particular position, there is far more a manager must know and ignoring this fact can be dangerous to your operation.

Staff Training

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·21 August 2017
High quality and consistent service is something that our members not only expect, but demand. Yet in a detail-intensive business such as ours where so much has to be done just right in every service encounter, training employees is a gargantuan task, made even more challenging by a transient workforce and high turnover in critical service positions. Often our employees who have learned the most from our service culture are lost to the lure of the newest restaurant in town or the one with the highest tips. Given the importance of training and the reality of tight budgets, it seems the only solution to the club training challenge is to organize and format training materials to be easily-given with a minimum of time investment for both instructor (manager) and student (employee). One solution is to use “on-the-go” training materials where information and skills are provided in frequent, small and easily-digested doses.
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The Challenges of Standalone Club Operations

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·14 August 2017
My wife is a high school English teacher and I get to hear her periodic horror stories from the world of public education. Several years ago, growing interested in her comments on the state of our schools, I picked up a book called Crash Course by Chris Whittle. Whittle made his money in magazine publishing and with Channel One, the news program provided to public schools. He then turned his attention to public education and founded Edison Schools, a for-profit education management organization that would hopefully bring a solution to some of our worst-performing schools. While Edison Schools has not been as successful as originally envisioned, I found his review of public education insightful and full of interesting ideas.

Inspiring Your Work Teams

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·30 September 2016
You may direct and manage your operation, but it’s the line employees who deliver the quality and service you envision for your members and their guests. Without an effort to inspire extraordinary performance from this critical staff, they will respond like many other hourly employees in other industries – just going through the motions without dedication or passion, doing what they have to do to get by and collect their paychecks.

A Roadmap to Successful Club Benchmarking

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information·28 June 2016
In late June of 2012 I participated in a panel discussion on benchmarking at the Hospitality Finance and Technology conference in Baltimore. My fellow panelist was Russ Conde of Club Benchmarking. Some weeks after the conference I received a sheet summarizing attendees’ reviews of the session. While mostly positive, one of the attendees said that the discussion covered a lot of benchmarking concepts, but was short on the specifics of how to benchmark. As I have written in Twelve Reasons I Benchmark, there are a number of reasons to benchmark your club’s operations. One important reason is to compare your club’s performance to that of the wider industry – and Mr. Conde’s Club Benchmarking service does just that in a simple, automated way via the Internet while providing standardized benchmarks industry-wide. The CB analysis tools and reports support strategic versus tactical thinking in the boardroom. A study of data from more than 1,200 clubs currently in the CB system has revealed a number of Key Performance Indicators with direct impact to the bottom line and confirmed the existence of a common private club business model now known as the “Available Cash Model.” I cannot commend Mr. Conde and his partner Ray Cronin enough for this invaluable service to the industry.

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