Monthly Archives: October 2009

What’s Your Revenue Per Hire?

Do you know what the average revenue per hire is for your property or company? Is that measurement one of your Standards for the HR Department?

This article by David Earle comes from an organization that studies Optimum Performance. Enjoy

What is your average revenue per employee? We went to Hoover’s and spent a few minutes to find out that..

Microsoft’s is about $628,000
GE’s is about $565,000
WalMart’s is about $193,000

Exxon Mobile’s is $5,974,455 (and that’s not a misprint)

We did this after talking last week with Tom McGuire, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Coca-Cola. Tom is the rare staffing director with both CFO and operations experience who views his current responsibilities from those blended perspectives.

Tom views each of his new hires as a $7 million proposition, meaning that over time each one will be associated with that much additional revenue. He isn’t so much concerned with time, cost and other efficiency metrics. Instead he focuses intently on quality because the corporate impact of getting quality right – the right people performing at a high level in the right jobs – is vastly more consequential to Coke than shaving a few days off time-to-hire or a few dollars off a job board contract.

Which is not to say that Coke ignores efficiency. They know exactly how much is going where and what the results are. But they have figured out that the traditional wide mouth funnel that produces lots of applicants is not efficient for them. They get better results hunting for talent with a rifle than with a shotgun.

In our view, Coke has a number of things exactly right: a) They have a Director who can talk financials with anyone in the company; b) He works from a strategic perspective, understanding the link between talent and enterprise performance; c) He works at the highest level of the company, with full corporate understanding and support; d) Having held operational positions as well as financial ones, he understands what types of people Coke needs to hire to remain successful; and e) He has thoroughly analyzed the efficiency of his recruiting channels and optimized their efficiency.

If 20th century staffing was built on two key relationship formats – those with candidates and those with hiring managers, 21st century staffing will require one more: the relationship with senior management. As we have explained before, senior managers operate according to the law of large numbers. Small numbers, such as department budgets, are not where they can afford to spend very much time. Mid-level managers need to manage those, with senior managers becoming involved only when problems are identified.

The practical impact of this law on staffing managers is that, to catch the attention of senior management, they have to, as Tom has, connect their efforts to the largest possible corporate line item. Doing so is not all that difficult. All corporate endeavors, even non-profit ones, have a revenue line which, divided by the total number of employees, yields a revenue-per-hire number. You can use FTEs or part-timers or, as the Federal Government does, both.

Comparisons to individual companies can be calculated using Hoover’s ( and the U.S. Government can provide the data for groups of companies organized by NAICS code (  For example, the average revenue/employee ratio for 6,293 oil and gas extraction companies is about  $1.4 million. The average for 16,349 hardware stores is $140,275. (Both stats based on 2007 data.) The average for the Fortune 500 is about $300,000.

So first look at your retention and productivity numbers, both the actuals and what you wish they were. Now start playing around with the impact of good hires vs. bad hires. You can frame this by comparing the performance of your strongest and weakest performers. Coke, for example, can compare the performance of local brand managers who perform similar functions in various, distinct geographic markets. What jumps out quickly are the revenue consequences over time of a poorly managed territory vs. a well-managed one.

If diving into these calculations doesn’t come easily, ask for help. Enlist your CFO in the cause. Just asking will demonstrate your business acumen. And if you are fortunate enough to actually develop meaningful data and use it to guide staffing policy, you will have developed an exceedingly marketable skill.

Of the three relationships that will be key to 21st century staffing, the senior management relationship is currently the weakest and thus needs the biggest makeover. As the chart shows, we often believe it to be quite adequate, but that’s because we have been satisfied with an influencer role rather than a driver role. The driver role is descriptive, that is, one drives business results. While influencers are certainly respected, it is the true drivers who are indispensable.

Lock and Load: The Basics of Triggered E-mail Campaigns

Event-based and behavioral triggers are a great way to continuously communicate with your prospects and customers and extend the lifecycle of any campaign, traditional or interactive. As long as your messaging points respondents to your Web site and you can get them to opt-in, you’re in business.

Triggered e-mail campaigns send out messages based on:
· Specific events, such as a birthday
· An action taken by a customer or prospect, such as a whitepaper download
· Information they’ve provided you with, such as where they plan to go for their next vacation

It’s important to understand that the information you have in your database and how it’s organized will largely determine the success of your campaign. When planning a lead generation campaign with an event-based or behavioral trigger component, be sure to take the time to think about:

1. What information do you need to capture so you can send relevant, timely and personal e-mails?
2. How are your prospects and customers already interacting with your company and/or Web site?
3. What are the critical moments during your sales cycle that determine whether or not you are going to make a sale? How can a strategically timed e-mail help?
4. How might a recipient respond to each triggered e-mail? Think of follow up trigger emails based on these actions.
5. How often can you communicate with a prospect without causing them to opt-out?
6. What actions will stop the triggers altogether?

Once you’ve gone through the above exercise, select two or three questions that will enable you to send prospects relevant, timely and personal e-mail communications. Add them to your lead capture forms so that you can base your e-mail triggers on the information you capture.

And your existing database is just as important. However, the information you might want to gather for your prospects could be slightly different from your customers. You can capture new information for your existing database by sending an e-mail survey or asking customers to update their information when they log in to their account.

Now what? The next step is to develop a communication strategy for the different segments of your database: existing customers, existing prospects, past or inactive customers, new leads, etc. Though the end goal for all of your campaigns may be to generate sales, the strategy, messaging, offers and frequency of the triggered e-mails could be quite different depending on who you are talking to. Once your communication strategy is in place, it’s time to create targeted e-mail messages for your campaigns based on the answers to the questions in your lead capture form, which campaign is being responded to, and the actual interaction with your product / service.

Let’s say you are offering a free 30-day trial to test drive your project management software. You create a series of benefit driven e-mail messages that encourage prospects to upgrade to the paid version of the software and program these e-mails to go out once a week.

Then, take it a step further by including a question in your trial sign up form asking what industry they work in. Then, instead of triggering a generic e-mail, the industry they select triggers a message that illustrating the benefits specific to their industry.

While planning this campaign, you also determine that unless they actually use their trial account to test drive the product, the chances of them upgrading are very low. As a result, you create another rule that sends a different set of e-mails to those who are not using their trial. These focus on getting recipients to use the trial, offering them assistance to help them get started. Once they start using their trial account, the industry specific e-mails kick in. Last but not least, you set up a rule to stop these triggered e-mails completely when a prospect converts into a paid customer.

The beauty of event-based triggered messaging is that you can make it extremely relevant to the person receiving the e-mail. It also enables you to automate a large portion of your marketing campaign, even while coordinating efforts with a sales team.

And remember, it’s dangerous to never look back once you’ve implemented a strategy. Continuously monitor every campaign.

Yael Penn is the founder of Imagine 360.

The above article comes from Chief Marketer, an excellent publication on sales and marketing techniques. To subscribe to Chief Marketer:

Nagib’s Corner: Front Desk Training Is The Key To Capturing More Walk-In Business

Who generates the most room nights in your hotel?

The article below speaks to a critical component of our sales processes – the Front Desk. Some hotels focus on this realization – that the FD is your biggest contributor of room nights and hence your hotel’s most valued sales ally – while others look upon this team as more operational. From the standpoint of channel contribution, in almost all cases, few compare to the power of the FD team to generate/capture more traffic.
Whilst the walk-in guest listed below is a very important opportunity for all of us, the implication to other segments is what is even more significant, from my perspective.

The Power Play – A Sure Win.

If you view your FD team as a primary and critical cog in your sales apparatus, then they should be trained and encouraged to
1. Engage the guest in conversation about which company they are with
2. What brings them to the area – remember, they may tell you a company that is large in your area when they are actually a vendor to that company. Very important to recognize the difference.
3. Are there others team members who also come to the area
4. Obtain a business card (use some competition or draw type of program to stimulate this tried and true program)
5. Offer them an upgrade because …. they are so nice and we sure know how to take care of nice people!
Incent your desk for their efforts. More leads and opportunities can be obtained by data mining your own in-house guests than most realize. However, this is not an easy, simple or sporadic exercise. You need a systematic and focused approach by multiple team members to effectively utilize this information to your advantage. This takes thought and discipline to convert into an effective program to drive sales.

It can be, and most often IS, your MOST powerful sales generating opportunity. I do not say that lightly.

So what’s next?
Try it ……. You’ll like it!

Nagib Lakhani
RevMax Hospitality Consulting Services
O: (425)677-7866 C: (425)445-7750 F: (866)508-7866
Front Desk Training Is The Key To Capturing More Walk-In Business – By Doug Kennedy
Date: 2009-06-01
Industry: -Gaming-Hotel- Category: Features

While many hotels have focused attention in recent years on helping reservations agents increase their sales effectiveness, many are still overlooking the numerous other sales opportunities that front desk sales associates encounter everyday.
One such opportunity is the walk-in inquiry. Depending on your market segment, brand, and especially your location, walk-in sales can represent a significant source of additional revenue.

Unfortunately, the hotel industry overall does a less than adequate job of selling to walk-ins. Typically, the car pulls up out front and someone gets out; sometimes it’s the mom, sometimes it’s the dad, sometimes it’s the 12 year old kid. Regardless of who it is, they all ask the same question: ‘How much are your rooms?’ All too often associates simply say ‘$99 a night.’ Nothing more is mentioned other than price. And what’s the worst mistake you can make in sales? Quoting a price without demonstrating value.

When you stop to consider it, the walk-in sales opportunity provides the hotel with some significant advantages over other distribution channels. For one, the sales person can visually evaluate the guests needs and wants. Are they dressed as if on a business trip, or on vacation? What is their age? Are they traveling alone or with family? What is their level of commitment; do they park the car and walk-in with luggage, or do they just run in to find out the price?

A second advantage is that the sales prospect can see the product firsthand and is able to formulate a first impression. (This is why it is critical for hotels to maintain curb appeal.) Another significant advantage in selling to walk-ins is that it takes more effort for the prospect to shop around. It’s harder to get back in the car and drive down the road than it is to click on the next Internet link or to dial the phone number of the next property.

If you’re looking to capture and convert more walk-in inquiries into bookings, here are some training tips to review at your next front office meeting:

• Connect With The Customer. Fundamental guest service principles will help you gain a competitive edge. Greeting the guest before they greet you, establishing eye contact, smiling, and using positive body language will set you apart from competitors.

• Offer A Menu Of Options. Depending on your inventory of rooms and packages, you’ll want to offer two or three choices when possible, versus only quoting the lower rate. For example, offer a traditional guest room and then an executive level room, or non-view and view rooms; or a room versus a suite. Or if your hotel has a limited number of room categories, you might still be able to offer a menu of ‘rate’ options such as a ‘room only’ rate and a second rate option that includes other services (such as breakfast, parking, or Internet.) Offering a menu of options migrates guests into a ‘which should I choose?’ versus ‘Should I choose to stay here?’ decision making process.

• Describe The Room And/Or Rate Option. Common industry terms like ‘standard room’ and ‘continental breakfast’ do little to convey value and to entice guests. Instead, help them take psychological possession by fully describing the furnishings, views, concierge level lounges, and/or continental breakfast presentations. Remember to use the knowledge gained from reading the guest to point out features that might provide a benefit; instead allure and entice them with visually and emotionally descriptive language.

• Avoid positioning last-sell or higher rated options in the negative. When the only rooms available to walk-ins are either the highest-priced or least desirable, which is frequently the case in high-demand situations, it’s important to make them sound as appealing as possible. Rather than saying ‘Oh, we only have our suites left’ instead, create a sense of urgency with ‘Oh good, we still have some of our suites, which feature…’ Instead of saying ‘All we have left are our limited view rooms,’ reiterate value by saying ‘Although this room does have a limited view, you still have all the same amenities and services as with all our rooms, and I have to say this room really is a great value at this time.

In addition to training your front desk to utilize these and other sales techniques, it’s also important to measure the results both individually and on a department-wide basis. If your property management system allows, assign a special source code to walk-ins. Otherwise, create a form to manually record your results. Of course, you’ll also want to challenge your staff’s competitive spirit by posting the results on a ‘daily,’ MTD, and YTD basis, and then to celebrate your success via staff recognition and/or incentive programs.

By employing the basic sales principles for capturing walk-ins, your front desk team can help your hotel maximize it’s market share even in a down market.

Doug Kennedy

Visit for details or e-mail him at:

This article comes from Hotel News Resource

Tom’s Take: Decreasing Turnover

Just read a very interesting report from the Aberdeen Group on Decreasing Turnover. The Aberdeen Group studies and reports what and how Best in Class companies are addressing various issues.

It’s no secret that the current ecomonmy is increasing the importance of Human Capital Management. The challenge is how to connect talent and workforce initiatives to the priorities of the business. Then how to measure the results.

Aberdeen Group studied 233 companies for their report.

Best in Class companies measured turnover, but then looked to see if the employee turnover was related to lack of skills. If so, these companies identified the current skills gap against current and future needs. Each of  us in the hospitality industry needs to do this each time a job is vacant. As we consolidate more jobs, we must be sure we are hiring the skills to enable employees to succeed in their new roles.

That means we need to be more accurate when we are describing jobs in our employment ads

What are some of the tools Best in Class companies use?

-Actual spread sheets that track turnover and identify if person released had skill set to succeed. If so, why did the employee leave.

-Best in Class companies have well defined processes to collect data on employees. What kind of data? Data on the key skills to assure success in the job.

-Staffing models based on strategic needs of hotels or companies. Right now, hotels are consolidating a lot of management jobs. A lot of these consolidations don’t make sense long-term, but they can work now, based on skills of people in your organization. Best in Class companies may have to do this as well, but they are careful to identify how the organization should ideally be staffed to assure long term success.

-Best in Class companies share data on what skills are needed with employees on a regular basis. Employees need to know what is expected short and long term. Best in Class companies give employees the opportunities to acquire the skills to advance.

-Clearly define competencies for all positions.

Nagib’s Corner: Surprised, or Stubborn? U.S. Hotel Managers Missed Their Budgets In 2008

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are all in the throes of developing, or defending, your budgets the following article may be helpful. Last year I had offered some articles that alluded to the same propensity of optimism (that’s a really good thing, by the way) although it does make for a difficult year to achieve results! This year, the future is somewhat cloudy although the general sentiment is that the second half should bring some relief by way of stronger and growing demand.
As we all know, at the end of the day, this demand is so regionally specific and equally more specific to your sales and marketing efforts within the sectors that are likely to show this increasing demand.

Be strategic in focusing the efforts of your sales force and keep a handle on undue expenses, particularly those with minimal guest impact.
For guest impact items and for marketing to the strategic segments, it should be full steam ahead with no hold back! It’s the surest way to hold what you have and shift share.

Enjoy the PKF article. Good luck and have a great weekend,


Surprised, or Stubborn? U.S. Hotel Managers Missed Their Budgets In 2008 – By Robert Mandelbaum
Date: 2009-10-22

The U.S. lodging industry rebounded strongly after its 2001 to 2003 industry recession. RevPAR growth exceeded 7.8 percent each year from 2004 through 2006. While hotels achieved a relatively strong 5.8 percent growth in RevPAR in 2007, industry performance started to show its first signs of softness. During the year, demand grew less than 1.0 percent contributing to a slight drop in occupancy (-0.4 percent).
Despite the decline in 2007 occupancy, U.S. hoteliers remained optimistic when preparing their budgets for the following year. Hotel management forecast increases in occupancy, ADR, RevPAR, and profits for 2008. In hindsight, we now know that the U.S. hotel industry suffered declines in all major performance measurements during the year

When preparing their 2008 budgets, did hotel managers miss the early warning signs observed in 2007, or did they stubbornly follow the historical practice of not budgeting for performance less than the prior year?

To answer this question and assist U.S. hotel management in the preparation of their 2010 budgets, PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) examined the accuracy of 518 hotel budgets for the year 2008. The data was taken from the Trends(R) in the Hotel Industry database of PKF-HR.

Budget Inaccuracy
Looking towards 2008, the hotel managers in our survey sample were budgeting for a 6.8 percent increase in total revenue. Unfortunately, at the end of the year, total revenue declined 1.8 percent.

The main reason for the revenue shortfall was an overestimation of the number of rooms expected to be occupied. The properties in our research sample budgeted for a 1.6 percent increase in occupied rooms in 2008, but actually ended up accommodating 3.7 percent fewer rooms than they did in 2007. Fortunately, hotel operators were able to raise their room rates to some degree. In 2008, the ADR for the sample grew 2.1 percent, but fell 2.9 percentage points short of the budgeted growth rate of 5.0 percent.

Growth in ADR was welcome news, but not enough to overcome the deficit in occupancy. The net result was an actual 1.8 percent decline in RevPAR in 2008, far short of the budgeted increase of 6.5 percent. Since rooms revenue comprised 64.7 percent of total revenue for the hotels in our survey sample, this explains most of the underperformance in budgeted total revenue.

Facing less revenue growth than expected, the hotel managers in our survey reacted by controlling their costs. Total operating expenses (operated departments, undistributed departments, fixed charges) were budgeted to grow 6.5 percent from 2007 to 2008, but only increased 0.5 percent. Part of the moderation in expense growth can be attributed to the reduced occupied room count and corresponding reduction in the variable expenses that would have been needed to serve these rooms.

Despite controlling their expenses, the hotels in our survey sample were unable to achieve their target net operating income (NOI). NOI was anticipated to grow 7.3 percent in 2008. Instead, the sample properties suffered a 7.7 percent decline on the bottom-line. At the end of the year, hotels fell short of their budgeted profit levels by 14.0 percent.

Looking Towards 2010
PKF Hospitality Research has been tracking the accuracy of hotel budgets since the late 1990s. During this time, we have learned that hotel managers are very adept at budgeting during prosperous periods for the lodging industry. However, when the industry suffers through a slowdown, the accuracy of hotel budgets deteriorates dramatically. Under poor market conditions, hotels have missed their profit targets by as much as 20 percent.

Budgeting for 2010 will be extraordinarily tough for U.S. hoteliers. Current year market conditions continue to deteriorate each month, thus creating an environment of pessimism. While the final results are not in, it is expected that most hotels will not meet their budgeted performance marks in 2009. In a June 2009 survey conducted by PKF-HR, 86 percent of the 407 managers surveyed stated that their property will perform worse than their budget for the year.

Compounding the current negative situation are forecasts of continued declines in the overall performance of the U.S. lodging industry for 2010. According to the August 2009 edition of Hotel Horizons(R), PKF-HR is projecting RevPAR to decline 2.7 percent next year. With the decrease in RevPAR driven mostly by a 3.1 percent decline in ADR, PKF-HR is predicting that unit-level hotel profits will drop 8.3 percent.

Given these factors, it will be difficult for hotel managers to buck historical stubborn behavior and budget for further declines in revenues and profits during 2010. However, as we have observed in the past, external pressure from the corporate offices of the management company or ownership may force the establishment of more aggressive operational targets.

Robert Mandelbaum is the Director of Research Information Services for PKF Hospitality Research. He is located in the firm’s Atlanta office. For more information on the reports and services PKF-HR offers to assist hoteliers in the budgeting process, please visit Parts of this article were published in the September 2009 issue of Lodging.

Leverage Your Own Social Network

Kevin Wheeler, President of Global Learning Resources, Inc, had an interesting article how to use Social Networks to more effectively recruit.

Kevin points out that we don’t have to be confined by the existing social networks. We can shape our social network to acquire the specific types of candidates we want, and the specific skills and competencies those people need. This enables us to focus on our brand and build awareness of your company and the kind of jobs you offer.

A Social Network from a recruiting perspective should be a pool of potential candidates, or a community of talent. It’s ever changing, expanding network of people who have chosen to associate with one another. This is significantly different than a static database.

Why rely on established social networks. Create your own. It will give you better results and more impact. The purpose of creating a social network is to bring the best people into your innermost circle. Build the relationship through frequent communication.

Ning is a free social network that provides some level of customization. There are others. Still others can be built from scratch by using open source tools and modules. When you build your own social network you can build in tests, require certain information, or in many ways decide is someone is the right person for your organization, thus eliminating hundreds of unqualified people saving time.

Candidates are stressed and unhappy with the employment process provided by most employers.

What do candidates look for?

Candidates want to work for organizations that are responsive and friendly. They want companies that can showcase their talents. Candidates are pleased to be invited to a social networking community that has common career interests with them. Candidates appreciate quickly knowing if they “fit” or not.

If you are in the planning stages for next year, set aside some of your budget to explore creating your own branded social network. You might be surprised at how well it works and at how it creates a far more efficient and candidate friendly environment than you probably have today.

To read Kevin Wheeler’s entire article:

Nagib’s Corner: Credit Crisis Continues To Affect U.S. Pipeline

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nothing new here, just an update to statistics on forecasted opening, FYI. I have attached their earlier projections from July.

Key highlights:
1. Transaction volume in 2009 is expected to be just 25% of what it was at the peak in 2007, with selling prices down by 50%.
2. Pipeline guestroom totals are down 34% YoY and 11% QoQ
3. Approx 153K new rooms scheduled for 2009
4. Approx 112.6K new rooms scheduled for 2010
5. Approx 75K new rooms scheduled for 2011.
As we know, irrespective of what the statistics state, the real impact is if new supply enters into YOUR market. If that is so, declining rates mean little. If new supply in your market has been postponed or cancelled, then it has real meaning. No matter what the case, you have the advantage of forewarning in, whichever the case. That is the leverage to maximize.

Either way, new supply in your market requires a pro-active and aggressive response – a response that should start well in advance of the opening. You can mitigate some of this impact by a well planned and thoughtful series of steps that position you positively with your clients as well as strengthen the relationship you have with each of them. It does not have to be a devastating occurrence, merely a call to pro-active intervention.

Take care.
Nagib Lakhani
RevMax Hospitality Consulting Service
O: (425)677-7866 C: (425)445-7750 F: (866)508-7866

Tom’s Take: Smart Phone Marketing Opportunities

Many people are using smart phones instead of computers

How can hotels use this technology to drive revenues?

1. Advertise evening specials in your lounge, restaurant, or spa. Make sure your message is very short. Think of the Twitter concept that only allows 140 characters in a message.

2. Advertise room night specials or weekend specials.

3. Advertise products from your gift shop that can be easily shipped. Brand some of your amenity products to build brand loyalty.

Smartphone usage skyrocketed 187% from July 2008 to July 2009.

IPhones and Google Android-enabled devices offer ads on large screens. You can use display and banner ads.

Remember, majority of SmartPhone users are twenty somethings. While younger, they are very tech savvy. About 65 million of Facebook’s 300 million members are mobile users. Eight months ago, it was 20 million. Of MySpace’s estimated 125 million members worldwide, about 25 million use mobile devices. A year ago, it was 6 million.

Your Company Website’s First Impression: Remarkable or Forgettable?

By Phil Wagner, Optimum Performance

The article refers to corporate web sites but contains information that is important to know when placing ads on job boards as well. Our Job boards incorporate these suggestions to make it easier for employers to write ads that will appeal to talented job seekers.

When we asked in our Job Seeker Attitudes and Behaviors: Mastering Internet Marketing report earlier this year, “What do you consider the most efficient way to begin a job search on the Internet?,” only 20% Internet audience/18% job board audience) answered “Go directly to individual company websites,” while 33% (each) said “Search large job boards.” This confirmed what we learned in its 2007 predecessor report: Job seekers harbor a pronounced frustration with poor corporate websites. They are, in fact, far more likely today to consult Monster (where 41%/59% actually applied for a job in the past year), CareerBuilder (38%, 69%) or Yahoo! Hotjobs (14%, 36%) than they are to instinctively go to your corporate website and apply directly for a job. In fact, only a modest 13% regularly even visited your site back in 2007 compared with more than twice as many (28%) who never paid you a visit.
Why is this? According to both surveys, it is partly an issue of trust; not believing that most enterprises are capable of presenting themselves honestly. More important, though, is the job seeker’s reaction to a site that, plainly put, turns them off, that is unappealing and/or tedious to navigate, or that just does not contain the nuts and bolts information they expect and deserve. Advantaged job seekers, those with greater education and higher job status, are better prepared to use corporate websites by efficiently matching openings to qualifications. They depend on their experience and networks to facilitate wider exposure to competitors and desirable opportunities. Top managers are lesser users, predictably more accustomed to receiving calls directly from a headhunter or recruiter.
It may appear counterintuitive that job seekers would not search first and foremost for jobs with your company on your website. However, such is the case, making it imperative that you weigh in with IT and other departments to make your corporate site superior, particularly its HR and jobs-careers sections. We found in 2007 that 45% of your audience can readily distinguish between a good site and a mediocre/poor one. And common sense would suggest that these discerning job seekers are the very ones you most want to attract. Can you afford to turn off that many potential candidates? We doubt it. As for the other 55% who said they don’t notice then, don’t take them for granted either.
Just because your site is pretty good doesn’t mean it’s doing the job it could be doing. In today’s appreciably more difficult recruiting environment, pretty good won’t improve any of your recruiting outcomes or metrics.
Our advice: For the benefit of ample numbers of discerning job seekers in all demographic categories, err on the side of positive communication, necessary disclosure and overall excellence. Value your website for what it is, the first direct encounter a majority of job seekers will have with you, your culture, and your crucial role in the economic landscape. Make it your welcome mat to their dreams, their talents, their contributions. Make it stimulating and colorful, conversational and compelling, and not overly busy. Seize the day to build and sustain relationships by overreaching to ensure that job seekers do more than too quickly visit, too harshly judge and stroll on. When a corporate website does not fulfill their needs, an overwhelming majority (75% in 2007) tell us they were dissuaded from applying.
So what exactly are these needs? In 2007, our job seeker sample allowed as how:

  • Salaries and benefits, including valuable comparisons with peer companies, ruled the roost – 81% agreed on that
  • Next was lifestyle in terms of flexible hours, work-at-home, work-life (or life-work!) balance – about 67%
  • Training and developing programs, at a few ticks over 50%, came next
  • Brand, culture and values (what your company stands for and how you want prospective employees to act) – 40%
  • The type of employee that succeeds or fails in your company – 33%
  • Finally, environmental awareness and initiatives, and community involvement and contributions, both hovered at 25%, while how employees build wealth was under 20%.
  • This time around, we learned that:
  • As to “Have you found that a company’s website is a good indicator of whether or not you would be happy working there?,” miniscule numbers termed it “superior,” almost half “reliable,” but “almost half either “unreliable” or “poor.”
  • As to “Have you ever not applied to a company due to any of these drawbacks?,” the worst news is that 47% Internet audience, 58% job board audience chose “Their applications process was frustrating” and high numbers said “The application took too much time and I had to quit mid-way”; 44%/36% said “The job descriptions were too vague”; and a third complained that “Information about the company was inadequate.”
  • Again, much as before, as to “What content do you specifically look for when reviewing a company’s website?,” the top four responses (of 10 offered)  were salary ranges/ benefits offerings, training/development programs, lifestyle, and career tracks and promotion opportunities.
  • As to, “Few job sites are perfect. If you could offer advice to corporations on theirs, what would it be?,” the top three responses were “Make your job application process clearer,” “Provide job status reports so I know where I stand,” and “Acknowledge receipt of my resume.”
  • As to “Which of the following provide you the best guidance about working for a company?,” top responses were “What current employees say on the company’s website” and “Content and design of a company’s website.”
  • As to “Have you applied to a job posting and/or submitted a resume on a company website within the past year?,” usage of this avenue is definitely up, with only 32%/26% saying “No,” while hardly second nature, with only 15%/36% choosing either of the “5 or more times” answers.

The takeaway here is, tell job seekers what they want to know. Be direct, honest and specific. From a recruiting standpoint, it can only be self-defeating to withhold particulars from those who may be your next generation of talent. Looked at another way, encourage an open exchange of information, secure in the knowledge that, if they still care, they can and will dig on the Internet for answers that matter. Keep in mind that, while salaries and benefits may top their list, they’re looking for more. So as long as yours are competitive, you then have many other fronts on which to possibly close the sale. __Take advantage of them all.

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Nagib’s Corner: 20% Solution to Increased Market Share

Some very sage advice from Carol.

With the very many domains not within our control, there are some that we DO control. And, they happen to impact revenue – imagine that! Her observations are spot on.

Whilst Carol speaks to the opportunities in the social media environment, I remain somewhat skeptical about plunging into this arena. My concerns emanate from some observations:
·         There are many opportunities within the traditional avenues of ecommerce which many hotels are not fully exploiting yet. The payoffs here are tried and well proven.
·         The greatest impact in these media is still, in my opinion, a proper and vigorous attention to guest feedback sites – TripAdvisor, Expedia, Travelocity, etc, etc. With a strong ecommerce and internet strategy coupled with a disciplined approach to responding appropriately and honestly to guest comment postings, you can influence a larger number of travelers than diverting limited resources prematurely to exploring new outlets.

BTW: I have set up a Twitter account, and have received many requests from others to follow me but have yet to come across someone I know who actually uses this! I plead guilty to the same too!
So, where would I push first?

So, that is my two cents. Read on and good luck, as always!


The 20% Solution to Increased Market Share and Revenue – By Carol Verret
Date: 2009-10-07
Industry: -Gaming-Hotel- Category: Features

The local market may be fraught with challenges – new supply, major demand generators cutting back on budgets and revenue dilution due to heavy discounting. These factors comprise the 80% that is out of control of individual properties – accept it and move on to the 20% that you can control.

PKF states that ‘Our research over the past 10 years reveals that seventy-five to eighty percent of a hotel’s performance is systematically a function of changes in the larger market in which the property is located,’ notes John B. (Jack) Corgel Ph.D., Senior Advisor to PKF Hospitality Research and the Robert C. Baker Professor of Real Estate, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. ‘And who is better at knowing that remaining twenty to twenty-five percent than the local property owner or operator? The person in charge of the hotel knows when rooms will come in and out of service, when renovations occur, and when competitors open across the street.’ (Hotel Marketing, August 14, 2009)

The local market may be fraught with challenges – new supply, major demand generators cutting back on budgets and revenue dilution due to heavy discounting. These factors comprise the 80% that is out of control of individual properties – accept it and move on to the 20% that you can control.

How would the numbers look different if you generated an additional 20%? That means that 80% of your market is out of your control but that 20% is the difference between 100% market share and 120% — that 20% could be the difference between servicing the debt on your hotel or not, that 20% can save a few jobs in your hotel. 20% can easily be spread among multiple market segments.

Market share will determine which properties are best positioned to move rate when the recovery begins. There are various reports that most hotels have access to that indicate market share by market segment. Those include the Hotelligence report, the monthly STR report and some of the reports furnished by the OTAs. An analysis of these reports read with an eye toward market share reveals opportunities for achieving that additional 20% over the market average.

Achieving an additional 20% or whatever percentage the hotel is below 120% market share is doable. A strategy developed across all market segments based on report analysis of which market segments have room to move the needle on market share, can yield significant revenue benefits.

Corporate Business: ‘The next six weeks are very critical in my point of view, said (Starwood’s) Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu during a presentation at Deutsche Bank’s leveraged finance conference. It is ‘the first indicator of what next year’s trends look like.’ relation to the return of corporate business. (Forbes, October 1, 2009) Using the Hotelligence report, where can you steal share? Have you examined the in-house reports to locate smaller volume businesses that may be using you but aren’t on your radar screen? Are these businesses in a market sector that is growing and are there any others in that market sector in the local market? Build a corporate package for the smaller accounts that won’t beat you up on rate like the big RFP accounts.

Corporate Groups: You have exhausted the database, you have done your internet searches and the battle fatigue has set into the sales staff. Have you tried nontraditional sources such as social networks to put out ‘hot dates and rates’? Is there a corporate group promotion on the hotel’s FaceBook page in addition to the usual ‘specials’ for F&B? Have you put out a subtle tease on the LinkedIn discussion groups in which you participate? While only 13% of meeting planners say they use Twitter can you reach that 13% with a Twitter promotion provided that you have meeting planner followers? Is the hotel on i-Meet, the social network for meeting planners and suppliers? Are you absolutely sure that you have mapped all of your accounts to locate every contact that can give you business?

Leisure: Autumn and the holidays are a heavy travel time for both leisure transient and leisure groups. Going back to social networks, have you posted leisure packages on the hotel’s FaceBook page? Is the LinkedIn hotel profile ‘tagged’ with links to landing pages that have special packages for leisure groups? Is the hotel still implementing Twitter campaigns for leisure business? Going back to the database, corporate clients also have leisure travel and groups that come into the market. Send out mini eblasts to the corporate database promoting leisure packages. Promote special rates for holiday travel family travel to your corporate clients. Be present on internet platforms where leisure groups go to check out their options such as Hotel Planner and others.

The bottom line is – are you absolutely sure that you have exhausted all of your sales and revenue management options to achieve small percentage gains in both revenue and market share? Can you get that incremental revenue up by another few percentage points in share?

If the next 45 days is critical in terms of demand, are ready to ‘own’ an extra 20% of any increase in demand?

The 20% Solution Consulting Package is available now – email for details.

Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on To contact Carol send her an email at or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065. Visit

This article comes from Hotel News Resource

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