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Showing posts from August, 2010

Haven't Got a Presence on YouTube yet?

YouTube teams up with Hollywood. Soon, people can watch pay-per-view movies on YouTube for as little as $5. What does this mean to business? Well, if your company does not have a presence on YouTube by now, it is time to put it on the to-do-list. In this blog, I have said enough about the important impact of Facebook and Twitter on hospitality business. As to YouTube, another important platform of social media, I suggest the following tactics to promote business and a company’s brand: • Be authentic --- I believe this is what social media is about. • Be short --- please don’t put anything over 5 minutes. • Be fun --- nobody wants to waste time on something bored. • Be informative --- please think of what viewers can “take away” when they finish the video. • Be cohesive --- please communicate with consistent messages about a brand, no matter what social media website is used. • Make continuous efforts --- consider posting a series of short videos with the same “theme” periodicall

Career Preparedness: How Early Is Too Early?

School officially kicked off last Friday. I met with several incoming students and their parents in receptions. One parent asked me what classes I teach. I teach three upper-division classes. One of them is Leadership & Career Management, which prepares students for a hospitality career. Even though I normally do not teach freshmen and sophomores, I encouraged them to visit me at anytime when they have questions about internships or jobs. A parent told me it was way too early to worry about her son’s career. Is that so? Entering college is indeed a huge change for most high school students. They need some time to get used to a new life. As a result, I do not recommend freshmen to work part-time because I want to ensure they adjust well in college lives and truly enjoy their first year college experience. However, it does not mean they cannot start preparing for a career when they are still freshmen. I conduct research in employee recruitment and selection, and I deal with corpo

Job Candidates Are Screened by What They Post on Social Networking Sites

According to this CNN news video, 53% U.K. employers and 45% U.S. employers have already screened candidates by researching them on social networking sties. Plus, 12% U.K. companies and 11% U.S. companies are planning to do so. Here are some “not-to-hire” examples: • Posting provocative pictures (suggested by 53% of the companies responded to the survey), • Showing drug and alcohol content (44%), • Bad mouthing previous employers (35%), • Posting emoticons/smiley faces (14%). No matter how “private” a person’s social networking sites are, information is stored in the Internet and can be found somewhere by somebody. So, please be aware of the potential risks when using social media. Meanwhile, social media may not be a safe tool of selecting candidates either. Relevant discussion may be found in: ”social media in recruitment” .

How Would You Like to Work in Company that Has Unlimited Vacation Policy?

This CNN video news shows an interview with a Netflix Spokesman, who speaks about Netflix' unlimited vacation policy. About 600 salary employees at Netflix can take as many days of vacation as they want and whenever they want it as long as their work is covered and they communicate with their managers. Netflix believes this policy promotes new ideas and represents Netflix' innovative culture very well. How would like to work for a company that has an unlimited vacation policy? Will employees abuse this policy? Do you think this policy works?

Travel Apps

As expected, 50% cell phone users in the U.S. will use smart phones by the end of next year. This ABCNews video introduces several cool travel apps. Which one do you find most useful? I wonder how long it takes before I share another updates of cool travel apps. (If you cannot watch the video, please check the video out at my blog via or via ).

Do You See the Big Picture?

It has been more than 50 years since Theodore Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia” was published in Harvard Business Review (The McKinsey Award Recipient in 1960). However, time has not make Levitt’s idea less important. The article was reprinted as one of the Best of Harvard Business Review series in 2004. Levitt illustrated several vivid examples of how product or research orientation firms failed to sustain growth over time while some customer oriented companies survive in competition: • “The railroads are in trouble today not because that need was filled by others (cars, trucks, airplanes, and even telephones) but because it was not filled by the railroads themselves. They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business.” • “Hollywood barely escaped being totally ravished by television. … It thought it was in the movie business when it was actually in the entertainment business.” Levitt sugges

Are You Willing to Work in a Quick Service Restaurant?

My career consulting experience informed me that few college students would consider working for a quick service restaurant chain. Most students prefer to work for big full service hotel or restaurant chains. Here, I would like to share with you an ABCNews video about the experimental kitchen in McDonald. Working in a quick service restaurant chain does not mean a lower pay job. In fact, people in the fast food business could be very influential. After watching this video, will you consider working in a quick service restaurant?

Recruiting with Social Media Tools conducted a survey with over 2,500 employers. The results found that 21% of them use social media to recruit employees. Social media has become a supplement recruitment tool for companies. also surveyed 4,500 workers in the U.S. The results reveal that • 35% workers use social media to search job listings, • 26% read facts about a company, • 23% seek information about career paths, • 16% look for “fun” in the work place, • 16% “want testimonials from other employees,” • 12% look for company events, • 10% check out a company’s products/service, and • 8% would like to see videos of a typical workday in a company. As to what turns off potential employees, the study found the following: • Communications that read like advertisements (38%), • Questions that receive no replies (30%), • Irregular posts (22%), and • Public comments being removed or filtered (22%). In my opinions, it doesn’t matter if a company wants to use social media in marketing, PR, or r

Displaying Plastic Food

Restaurants in Asia often display their signature dishes on the window. This video, which was released at, brings us to a plastic food shop in Japan. The costs of such “tasty” plastic food? $1,800 for a loaf of beef meat; $100 for a bowl of noodle soup; and $70 for a mug of beer. With such a high price tag, I would rather use iPad or videos even though these plastic food looks great. Probably that’s why plastic food is not that popular here in the U.S. What do you think?

Are You Ready for College Recruiting? (Part III)

I have shared some thoughts of college recruiting for corporate recruiters and career service staff in a university . Today, let’s discuss how college students can better prepare themselves. If I were a college student, I would do the following: 1. Understand my personality and identify several “ideal” companies or jobs that will make the rest of my life happy --- career service centers often provide free consulting service to help college students identify their personalities and/or strengths. 2. If possible, find a part-time job that is closely related to my “ideal” jobs. I want to see if I truly enjoy what I think I would love to do. 3. Thoroughly research a company. I want to know a company’s organizational culture and job responsibilities. If I don’t like what I see or hear, probably that company is not a good fit for me. 4. Be a Fan of my ideal employers and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, participate in their conversations and show how much I love the company.

Are You Ready for College Recruiting? (Part II)

Yesterday, I shared Kevin Wheeler’s tips for corporate recruiters in college recruiting . Today, I would like to visit with you about what a faculty or staff member in a university can do to enhance students’ and corporate recruiters’ college recruiting experience. 1. Research a company and be aware of a company’s updates in the industry. I see companies as business partners. I want to know how “well” my partners are doing before I recommend them to my students. 2. Spend time on building a trustful relationship with corporate recruiters. This means staying in touch with them with e-mails or on the phone, as well as visiting them in conferences or during field trips. Recruiters represent a company in the college recruiting process. They keep me posted with the company’s needs and future directions. Most of all, I can find out a company’s organizational culture from its recruiters. 3. Spend time with students and get to know their real needs. Understanding what the recruiters are looking

Are You Ready for College Recruiting? (Part I)

As I am planning for the career management class in the fall, I came across Kevin Wheeler’s discussion of five tips to assist corporate recruiters in college recruiting. Many people will probably agree with me that the job market is tough for students and career service staff in universities. The truth is corporate recruiters still find it difficult to find the top talent in college. Wheeler suggested that this recession brought many negative impacts to Corporate U.S.A. Layoffs, uncertainty, long working hours, and changes of corporate cultures have resulted in lower employee morale and engagement. College students observe such changes and consider other options. Some may go to graduate schools or move to other emerging markets for better opportunities. Others may start their own business or join non-profit organizations. College recruiting involves more than just recruiters and job candidates. Professors and career service staff also play a very important role. Here, I build on Wheele

Buying Air Tickets on Facebook

Even though I am not a big fan of Delta Airlines, I would like to share with you that customers can now purchase air tickets without leaving Delta Airlines’ Facebook page. If interested, you may check out Delta’s Facebook page via . I wonder if Facebook has a boundary. Do you? References: Picture was downloaded from

The Importance of Adaptability and Flexibility

Technology, management practices, and operation procedures … you name it, everything is now changing in a very fast pace. During the time when changes is the only constant, companies are seeking for CEOs who are adaptable leaders. Even under current recession with record high unemployment rate, “the number of executive searches in North America rose about 33% during the first half of this year” (Lubin @ The Wall Street Journal). According the Clarke Murphy, who leads a global CEO search firm, companies look for assertive leaders who are able to change quickly --- e.g. developing and launching new products and going into new markets. Those “strong operators who can adapt quickly and gain the confidence of employees and shareholders” are in high demand. Indeed, adaptability and flexibility are two critical attributes that a job candidate should have no matter if s/he is applying for a CEO position or an entry level job. Two years ago, I also interviewed a regional recruiter of a hotel ch

More Marketers Reach Customers with Cell Phone Ads

Cell phones play a very important role in our lives, and marketers have utilized the potential of mobile ads to reach target customers. According to Sheth at the Wall Street Journal, the money spent on cell phone video ads is predicted to grow from last year’s $12 million to this year’s $90 million. By 2014, this number will increase to $485 million, which contributes to $1.8 billion of cell phone advertising. Over the years, cell phone ads have moved from the “traditional” banner platform to “rich-media spots,” --- where ads can be expand to a whole cell phone screen, featuring videos and/or games. With rich media, marketers can hold cell phone users’ attention and charge more for ads. As compared to banner ads, which cost between $8 and $15 per thousand impressions, costs of rich-media ads range from $15 to $50 per thousand impressions. One challenge, however, is to play the “right ads” to the “right” customers. I expect this problem would be an “easy-fix” because cell phone carriers

Rooftop Garden - A Substantial Way to Supply Greens for Restaurants

If you run an urban restaurant, very likely, you have vegetable delivered to your location. Have you considered growing your own vegetables on the roof? This video news shows us how a restaurant in Manhattan can provide enough green supplies for its operations. If every restaurant is taking this green initiative, restaurants will have better controls on the quantitative and quality of vegetable suppliers; cities will also become greener. When I visit Manhattan next time, I will give this restaurant a trial to support its green effort.

We Got to Pay to Speak to an Airline Service Agent?!

Spirit Airline is proposing a new fee for those customers who want to talk to a real person at the airport. Spirit operates the business with a low cost model. By charging customers a variety of fees, the airline believes it will actually help customers save more on travel. The fact is I often don't need to talk to an airline agent in the airport. However, does Spirit go too extreme by taking the "personalized" component out of its core service product's supply chain? Will any hospitality or travel/tourism company survive without a personal touch? Personally, I still like the idea of "people serving people." Maybe I am just too old fashion. The following video was brought to you by

Still Feeling Reluctant to Adopt a Social Media Strategy? Please Think Again

I attended one industry session about social media in this year’s I-CHRIE Conference. Four industry professionals from White Lodging, Hyatt, Sodexo, and Marriott discussed their experience of using social media to boost bottom line. Their presentation focused on the “big four” tools --- Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and blogs. The content was very similar to the information presented by those event management and human resource management professionals at the Big Event Show and the SHRM Conference. What surprised me in the CHRIE Conference is I still felt the reluctance of adopting social media by the audience. One voice I heard is “it takes too much time to manage e-mails already; I don’t have time for social media.” I can certainly relate to that because many CHRIE members are college professors and graduate students. Research and teaching have become their top priorities. However, my question is: why can’t college professors use social media tools to enhance teaching and help answer

Is It OK for Hotel Staff to Wear Piercings and Tattoos?

Time has changed. I see more and more college students wearing piercings and tattoos nowadays, but is it OK for hotel staff to wear piercings and tattoos? The answer is “no, no, no.” According a report at, customers across the board do not want to see any hotel workers with pierced eyebrow, pierced tongue, tattooed arm, or nose ring. Some may argue that tattooed and pierced workers may seem more acceptable in edgy boutique hotels as compared to the big franchised hotels, but the survey results did not find any differences among a variety of lodging products. Many respondents believe people who wear visible tattoos and piercings are taking a high risk of their professional lives. If you stay in a hotel, do you mind being served by tattooed and/or pierced staff? What if you are the one who makes the hiring decision? References: Picture was downloaded from

Restaurants in San Juan Puerto Rico

I prefer to eat in local restaurants and try authentic food when I travel. I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the I-CHRIE Conference last week. I stayed in the Caribe Hilton, which is about 10 minutes away from Old San Juan (by bus; 50 cents one-way per person). As a result, I visited Old San Juan often, where I randomly picked three restaurants for lunch and dinner. They all served very good Puerto Rican food. First, I tried La Bombonera located on CII San Francisco (Picture 1 to 4). This restaurant was established in 1902 and still maintains an old Puerto Rico feel. I ordered a drink of pawpaw shake ($4.5), rice with lamb ($11.95), and rice with sea squid ($11.95) for two people. I felt the lamb was overcooked, but the rice with sea squid and the pawpaw shake tasted very good. I was too full to even try any dissert. Later, I found out this restaurant was recommended by Rachael Ray. If you like Rachael Ray, you may not want to miss La Bombonera when you are in Old San Juan. Also locat

An Event Management Lesson Learned at the Caribe Hilton San Juan

One may assume that attendees at the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE) Annual Conference and Marketplace would always experience the best of the best in the hospitality industry because this is the event for hospitality professionals and educators. Unfortunately, it is not necessary the case. Last week, I have shared with you my experience in the conference hotel (Hilton Caribe, San Juan Puerto Rico) and discussed the issues of guest service and satisfaction. Today, I would like share an event management lesson from this conference. The conference controlled the number of participants to every event with a ticket system, where each registered attendee received a single ticket for a designated function. Last Friday (July 30), I-CHRIE hosted the Award Dinner at the Caribe Hilton, San Juan. The dinner was scheduled at 7pm. Attendees’ tickets were collected as they entered the ball room. Very soon, the room was filled, but there were approxim