Mr. Habeeb

Robert Habeeb

President & Chief Operating Officer

First Hospitality Group, Inc.

Robert J. Habeeb’s passionate leadership philosophy is founded on the principle that First Hospitality Group has 3 key constituencies, each of whom are equally critical to our overall success: Our guests, our associates and our investors. Further, FHG has an identical mission toward each group, which is to market to them and garner their loyalty. This focus is emphasized by the successful systems that Mr. Habeeb has created for gathering feedback, providing meaningful incentives and building a strong and effective culture. His approach has recently earned him the Industry Leader of the Year by the School of Hospitality Business Alumni Association at Michigan State University, as well as being inducted into the Alumni Association Hall of Fame at the School of Hospitality Business Alumni Association’s Annual Celebration of Leadership. In the past few years, he has also received Wabash & Lake’s Corporate Evangelist Award, The Illinois Hotel Association’s Hotelier of the Year award, and Global Hotelier of the year for 2007.

Mr. Habeeb is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of high profile, multiunit experience in hotel, resort and food and beverage management. Prior to joining FHG in 1997 he was the COO of the U. S. resort subsidiary of London’s Rank Group, PLC (owners of the Hard Rock Café’s) where he was responsible for a multifaceted portfolio of hotel, restaurant and leisure businesses. Over his career, he has successfully operated hospitality businesses in virtually every aspect of the industry including luxury, select service, resort hotels, restaurants and golf and ski operations in every setting imaginable.

In addition to his duties at FHG, Mr. Habeeb serves as a member of the adjunct faculty of Chicago’s Roosevelt University, where he teaches at a graduate level in the Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality Management. He has served on numerous industry boards and brand advisory councils, and is currently Chairman of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association.

Mr. Habeeb can be contacted at 847-299-9040 or

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.