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Showing posts from June, 2010

Employee Recruitment Goes Mobile --- 3rd Day at the SHRM Conference (Part II)

We discussed how mobile phones and apps change the way hospitality companies do business before. On June 29, I attended Steven Rothberg*’s session about mobile strategy of employee recruitment. Once again, I see why a company’s mobile strategy becomes so important today. According to Rothberg, 97% students are cell phone users, of whom 85% use smart phones, 9% use iPhones, 94% text. More significantly, 52% cell phone users can recall the mobile ads they received over a three month period. Moreover, half of those who recalled mobile ads also responded to them. There are four billion cell phone users as compared to one billion PC users today. Every month, there are 75 billion messages being sent and received via cell phones. Mobile strategy can help a company reach out target customers (e.g. those with area codes and opt-in customers), build brand recognition, and engage with customers. Rothberg offered several useful tactics for those who want to implement mobile strategy of employee re

Senior HR Panelists Session: The Future of HR Professionals --- 3rd Day at the SHRM Conference (Part I)

What role do HR professionals play in organizations when facing today’s challenging economy? Where do innovations come from? What skills and competencies do HR professionals need? Today’s general session featured a panel discussion of four senior HR professionals and addressed above timely questions. Angelia Herrin, Editor of Research and Special Projects of Harvard Business Review served as the moderator. The panelists included Michele Toch, VP of HR & Administration, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, Shannon Deegan, Director of People Operations - Strategy, M&A and Staffing at Google, Conrad Venter, Global Head of HR, Deutsche Bank AG, and Paul Records, Senior VP and Chief HR Officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospital. The role in HR has changed dramatically over the years. HR needs to be the counselors, business advisors, and the project managers of a company (Toch). HR is the department that initiates and leads changes. Venter emphasi

Social Media in Recruitment and Selection --- 2nd Day at the SHRM Conference (Part II)

I am conducting two research projects about social media because I have great interest in this topic. Today, I attended three concurrent sessions about social media at the SHRM Conference. I like two presentations in particular. One was about the power of social media in recruitment (by Matt Kaiser, VP & Talent Strategist for NAS Recruitment Communications). The other was about the legal and liability issues of using social media in recruitment and selection (by Jason Morris, President & COO for EmployeeScreenIQ). According to Matt Kaiser, “social media has changed the way we act, think, and communicate personally and professionally.” Companies can leverage the power of social media and recruit top talent. No matter if a company wants or not, its “employment brand” has been widely discussed by people at career websites like,, and Companies need to take an active role in defining its employment brand. Social media strategy starts from a good

Al Gore’s Speech about HR --- 2nd Day at the SHRM Conference (Part I)

Al Gore was today’s keynote speaker (June 28). He discussed the crucial role of Human Resource in today’s business world because HR can help leaders: 1. Deal with the emerging diverse workforce issue that challenges organizations. 2. Provides cutting-edge, continuous education and career development opportunities --- the changing needs of the workforce require constant updates of employee skills and competencies. 3. Prepare for the historic movement of the “Internet Evolution” --- the ways people communicate with each other are quite different today because of the Internet. 4. Work on organizational development. 5. Motivate and engage employees and deal with compensations and evaluations. 6. Develop a sustainable capitalist system --- companies should optimize the long-term return of the business, yet many CFO or CEO focuses on the short-term earnings on the balance sheet. Indeed, HR is facing many challenges in today’s business, but challenges are embedded with opportunities. Recruitm

What is the Future of HR?

We know that the economy is far from fully recovered even though we have seen some hopes. What happened? Where are we at right now? What will happen next? Attendees of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) 62nd Annual Conference & Exposition are expected to find the answers to these questions in the event. From today’s welcome speech by Lon O’Neil, the President and CEO of SHRM, I see the future of HR. Business leaders have been working with HR strategists to manage an organization’s human capital. Strategic HR helps business hire untapped talent and gain competitive advantages with higher productivity, more innovation and lower staff turnover. Afterwards, today’s keynote speaker, Steve Forbes, President and CEO of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, suggested four factors that may very likely influence the recovery: (1) Dollar --- stable and strong dollar will help; (2) Taxes --- making taxes less complicated will release people’s tension and allow them to cre

Video News from Disclose.TV: Crude Oil Found in Oysters at N.C. Restaurant

In this video: crude oil was found in oysters at a N.C. restaurant. The other day, I watched another news video showing that supermarkets at NYC informed customers of seafood sources with signage. Now, the direct impact of the oil spill accident has reached everybody. Interested in more discussion about the oil spill accident in this blog? Please check out the following topics: The Impact of the Oil Spill Accident: A Sustainability and Supply Chain Issue on May 3 ( ) Oil Spills, Recession, and the Hotel Industry: A Fox Business Network Video on June 8 ( ) Reference: Video was downloaded from:

Complaints via Social Media: A Better Way to Get the Attention You Deserve?

If you don’t like your hotel room or service, where will you go to complain your unpleasant experience? Front Desk? Guest Service Manager? General Manager? How about your friends or fans on Facebook or Twitter? Sarah Nassauer suggested in the Wall Street Journal that travelers’ complaints within their social networks may actually have more power. Hotels are well aware of the important influential effects of online reviews and comments. According to a study by comScore Inc., 41% of leisure travelers and 50% of business travelers admitted that online reviews influence their travel decisions. Many hotels have already been tracking and/or monitoring current and past guests’ posts on Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and other social networking sites. As a result, complaints posted on social media may receive prompt attention and be addressed quickly. As a guest, if you want to receive better service, you may take Sarah Nassauer’s advice: • Reach your hotel online via Twitter and Facebook. •

Recruit and Keep Top Talent with Employment Brand

While the unemployment rate stays at record high, is it too early to talk about recruiting and keeping top talent? I believe leaders will always be ahead of the game. Since we have shared several news articles in this blog about the slow recovery of the industry, now, it is time to plan for the future. The Corporate Executive Board discussed the importance of recruiting and keeping top talent. It is crucial for a company to build an Employment Value Proposition (EVP), which is also known as a company’s employment brand. Research has found that companies who effectively manage their EVP see significant results compared to those who do not in a variety of ways: • The voluntary turnover rate reduced by 8%. • The application rate of qualified candidates increased by 25%. • The ratio of person-job fit among new hires raised by 32%. The question is how can we accomplish this goal? The Corporate Executive Board shared the following four-step process: 1. Use both quantitative (e.g. survey) and

Tech Tourism

Have you heard of “Tech Tourism”? How much interest do you have in touring the following top 10 tech-tourism destinations suggested by CNN? 1. Apple’s headquarter:1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014 2. The American Classic Arcade Museum: 579 Endicott Street North, Laconia, NH 03246 3. Hub of web entrepreneurs, including Twitter: South Park, San Francisco, CA 94107 4. Microsoft’s “corporate campus” (with Microsoft Visitor Center): 15010 NE 36th Street, Redmond, WA 98052 5. Birth place of Facebook: Kirkland House, Cambridge, MA 01238 6. HP Headquarter: 367 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94309 7. The place for the unofficial debut of iPhone 4: 2615 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063 8. The Computer History Museum: 1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View, CA 94043 9. The Homebrew Computer Club (a bar, but Apple 1 was named in this place back in the 70s): 241 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025 10. Google founder’s garage: 232 Santa Margarita Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025 Seven of t

Video News: An Example of E-mail and Social Media Marketing

Tim Burke, the owner of In A Pickle Restaurant, shared his experience of using e-mails and social media in marketing in this video. How do you use e-mails and social media to market your business? Interested in reading more about e-mail marketing, you may find some tips via the following hyperlink: The official website of In-A-Pickle Restaurant: Video was downloaded from

Optimize Facebook News Feed Presence

Issie Lapowsky discusses the tactics of how to optimize a business’ Facebook news feed presence at She suggested people can use EdgeRank to calculate three statistics: 1. How often two people interact on Facebook? 2. How many comments and likes a particular post has? And 3. How old the post is? These statistics can certainly help business identify the popular messages and post the “right” messages to reach the target audience. In addition to EdgeRank, there are some other tactics: 1. Initiate a post with a question. Raising a question at the beginning is more effective in drawing responses than putting it in the end. 2. Fill-in-the-blank posts can also help advocate discussion. 3. Do NOT use industry jargons. 4. It is fine to ask for comments and likes. 5. Post photos and video of an advertising campaign and ask for feedback. 6. Interact with your friends’ or fans’ friends/fans. 7. Create a welcome page for new users. 8. Add Facebook’s “Like” button on your company’s website.

Courtyard by Marriott to Put Calorie Count Postings in the Lobby

Soon, travelers will see calorie count postings in Courtyard’s lobby bistros across the nation. Courtyard becomes the pioneer who responds to the proposed health-care legislation that calls for calorie count postings in all eateries in the U.S. Courtyard is a Marriott’s mid-scale brand that targets business travelers. Courtyard began its property make-over several years ago, including guestrooms and lobbies. Its lobby bistro features prepared and made-to-order food, café-style environment, and free Wi-Fi. Courtyard’s new design creates a welcoming feel and brings more guests to the lobby. After testing the calorie-count initiative in Seattle, Courtyard found that the postings did not impact sales of the bistro but hotel guests provided positive feedback to this change. How do you like Courtyard's strategy? Interested in reading more discussion about hotel lobbies, you may read more via the hyperlink of References:

Linchi Kwok in the News - by SU News Services*

Syracuse University assistant professors Linchi Kwok of the College of Human Ecology and Bei Yu of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) received a 2010 Harrah Hospitality Research Center grant award for their project, “Typology of Social Media Marketing Messages: A Social Networking Website Perspective.” The $32,333 grant awarded to Kwok and Yu will fund a two-part study concerning how hospitality companies use social media in marketing. They plan to build on media and marketing theories with the aid of text analytics techniques. Research findings may help hospitality and marketing professionals identify means of communicating with target consumers through social media tools and possibly develop strategies to shape consumers’ discussions in social media according to a company’s mission and marketing goals. To facilitate large-scale data analysis, Kwok and Yu will develop new computational methods to automatically code informational and transformational marketing messages and the

The Partnership between TripAdvisor and Facebook

TripAdvisor and Facebook are now connected, which allows people to ask for recommendations from Facebook friends without leaving TripAdvisor. For example, when people search for information about a place at, their Facebook friends who grew up, have visited, or live in the destination will show up in a tab. Through this tab, people can post questions on their friends’ Facebook wall or ask them private questions without leaving Friends’ Responses will be saved in a special folder at This app is part of Facebook’s social networking evolution. After Facebook introduced a “plug-in” function, within two months, more than 200,000 websites have implemented Facebook app. TripAdvisor is the most visited travel website in the world, with 34 million monthly visitors. Many Facebook users have already used "Cities I Have Visited" app on Facebook. The partnership between these two websites will benefit both parties. After Sheraton and TripAd

Tactics that Prevent Us from Wasting Time on Social Media

Today, few people have doubts about the significant impacts of social media on business. Yet, many people still feel reluctant to social media because they do not feel they have time to manage “another life.” Karen Klein offers several tactics of managing social media in a more efficient way. 1. Use,, or to tie all social media tools together., for example, allows users to send an identical message to all of their social media networks with one figure click. I prefer to send personalized messages to communicate with my friends in different networks. As a result, the feeding apps provided by the social media websites themselves work better for me. I can feed the posts from my blog to my LinkedIn and Facebook pages and save time. 2. It is fine to put the same content in different social media networks, with or without variations. The key is to keep the content relevant and useful to the audience. 3. Engagement is the key --- asking questions and

An Insightful Look into Business Travelers

Embassy Suites Hotels’ conducted a second national Business Travel Survey. Here are some of the findings: • The number of American business travelers dropped from 51% of last year to 43%. • 71% respondents changed their travel habits --- they pay more attention to “value.” • The top consideration of choosing a hotel is price (29%), followed by location (27%). • Other important factors include free breakfast (7%) and complimentary shuttle service (3%). • Differences between male and female business travelers are: flying first class (male 29% vs. female 16%) and staying in five-star hotels (male 33% vs. female 26%) • Compared to the more senior business travelers, 48% young business travelers (21 – 34 years old) visit Facebook before making travel decisions (vs. 26%); 54% bring a MP3 players (vs. 33%); 50% carry smart phones (vs. 32%); 19% travel with portable DVD players (vs. 10%); 14% pack portable gaming devices (vs. 6%). Embassy Suites Hotels is a Hilton Family’s upscale, all-suite h

Video News (Bloomberg TV): Interview with Marriott's CEO

In this video, John Willard Marriott, Jr. the Chairman and CEO of Marriott Int., suggested (1) the RevPAR of its portfolios was up 9% in May; (2) The company sees overall improvement of all brands, especially the luxury segment like the Ritz Carlton; (3) Business travel activities are up; (4) The U.S. and Asian markets recovered better than others; (5) Consumers will not easily find hotel bargains. Have you seen signs of recovery in your property yet? If so, by how much? This YouTube (Bloomberg TV) video was downloaded from:

Oil Spills, Recession, and the Hotel Industry: A Fox Business Network Video

In this news video, David Kong, CEO of Best Western, discussed the oil spills' impact to the hotel industry in Florida, as well as the outlook of the industry under recession. Do you agree with his statements? A relevant discussion about this oil spills accident may be found in this blog via: *The video was downloaded from

Video News: MenuPad at a Sydney Restaurant

I have heard more and more restaurants and hotels using iPad in operations. This video news is another example --- a Sydney restaurant replaces menus with iPads. In your opinions, how much will iPad improve customer service and efficiency of work? Interested? Click the following hyperlink to check out the video: VIDEO: MenuPad Additional discussions about iPad in this blog can be accessed via: (with video) and References: Picture was also downloaded from the same site at

Hotel Mogul: An iPad App for Hotel Operations Class?

For $6.99, one can download a popular iPad app “Hotel Mogul HD” and practice managerial and entrepreneurship skills in this game. This game was set in a background where entrepreneur Lynette’s husband cheated her out of her hotel business. She decided to revenge by repurchasing her company and sending her husband to jail. In this game, one will play Lynette and … • Buy land and build hotels in a variety of locations --- starting from campgrounds, then to hotels/motels, and to luxury hotels if the business is successful. • Increase property value by adding more attractions and employees. • Attempt to get gold-star rating for the hotels. • Make managerial and business decisions as level advances. A reviewer called this game a cross-over between “Sim City” and “The Apprentice.” It seems like a “perfect” game for hospitality students and professionals. Will “Hotel Mogul” be able to replace a hotel operations class in school? Interested? You may google “Hotel Mogul.” You shall be able to fi

What Social Media Can Do for a Restaurant? An Example of 4food in Midtown Manhattan

A small eatery named 4food was featured in Reuters yesterday, not because it sells organic burgers or it has a premium location. It is because it sets an excellent example for small business in this social-media era by integrating social media in menu development, marketing, entertainment, social exchange, employee recruitment, and more. Located at the corner of 40 th and Madison in Midtown Manhattan, 4food is also equipped with a 240 square foot monitor, which is used to publish the restaurant’s and its fans’ tweets and updates. If ordering online, scheduling a pickup, and using an iPad onsite to place an order are not new, here are some “fresh” examples: If a customer tags 4food’s Facebook wall, he/she has a chance to win an iPad. If a customer tweet a picture of him or her “in front of the restaurant’s ‘tag wall’ --- an under-construction wall in front of the store where people can write ‘tweets’ with a Magic Marker,” he/she will receive $20 worth of food from the restaurant. Being

A Cutback of a Luxury Hotel Chain

For decades, Four Seasons has been a symbol of luxury life style. People associate Four Seasons with white-glove, impeccable service, a grand palace with huge vases of fresh flowers, elegant furniture and decors, and superb amenities. Now, this luxury icon is striving to operate the hotel s in a more effective way. Four Seasons agrees to work with franchisees and make some changes to cut costs. Examples include: closing high-end restaurants during slow days in the locations with multiple eateries, replacing fresh flowers in lobbies with sculptures or ornate vases, outsourcing laundry service, reconstructing restaurant menus, cutting duplicate positions, combining managerial responsibilities, and cross-training staff for multiple jobs. Such cuts can help the San Francisco property reduce expenses by 6.6 million, or 15% a year and the Miami hotel save $5.4 million, or 19% a year. Do you feel such changes will hurt Four Seasons’ brand image and customer service? Are there other alternativ

Facebook’s New Service Called “Questions”

Facebook is launching a new service that allows “friends” and those within a “friend’s network” to post and answer questions. Facebook users (within or beyond the network) can rate if a statement valuable or invaluable by clicking on a tick or a cross. This new Facebook app sounds very similar to Yahoo!Answers, isn’t it? Yet, just because it is a Facebook app, it could be different. How so? 1. People often ask questions about others’ experience of intangible products. To a hospitality or travel/tourism related question, answers from a “trustful” friend or someone in a friend’s network may become very influential because a answer’s “Word-of-Mouth” marketing effect can be greatly manifested. 2. Facebook allows users to search questions and answers of related topics that have already been answered and rated, which increases visibility (very similar to Yahoo!Answers). 3. Facebook has 400 million registered users --- only if it can open the market of mainland China, that number could be