Business & Finance

MFHA Hosts First New Orleans Career Enhancement Symposium

"Face the Challenges: Building a Future"

NEW ORLEANS, LA, August 24, 2006. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), a non-profit organization promoting the economic benefits of diversity in the industry, will host a mini-conference in New Orleans October 4 - 5, 2006. Held at The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, the first New Orleans Straight Talk Career Enhancement Symposium will offer workshops and information sessions aimed at maximizing the potential of mid-level managers. Welcome ceremonies will be led by Leah Chase, co-owner and renowned chef at New Orleans' famous "Dooky Chase" restaurant, and Gerry Fernandez, President and Founder of MFHA. The curriculum of this 2-day event will offer practical communication tools and guides on the art of cultivating multicultural talent and the initiating and leveraging of employee affinity groups. The symposium will also provide essential professional development and educational information through a variety of speakers, panelists and interactive discussions.

"The foodservice and hospitality industry in New Orleans continues to face a variety of challenges as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Just one of those challenges is the rapidly changing composition of the New Orleans workforce following the storm. Thus, it is now more important than ever that multicultural workplace training be implemented not only to bridge communication with the Hispanic community but to also encourage and develop African Americans and other minorities to grow from hourly employees to industry and civic leaders," stated Gerry Fernandez, MFHA founder and president.

The October seminar is a "must attend" for mid-level managers and directors of color, non-minority executives working in diversity-rich settings and other professionals interested in creating a diverse workplace through the development of minorities. Attendance at the Symposium is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is limited to 300 persons. The cost to register is $250 per person and can be done by visiting www.mfha.net. Registration is open now. For more information on the Straight Talk Career Enhancement Symposium in New Orleans including a complete agenda, visit www.mfha.net.

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Guest Service: Customer Service is a Key Business Differentiator
In today's hyper-competitive, hyper-connected global marketplace, customer experience has assumed a major role as a key business differentiator. There is a growing understanding that competition based on products or price alone is no longer a viable strategy. Since feature or function advantages can be quickly duplicated and/or enhanced, product innovation is no longer the differentiator it once was. And competition based on price impairs profitability. On the other hand, research indicates that 86 percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for a better customer experience. To protect both market share and margins, hotel companies must provide customers with consistent, compelling experiences - before, during, and after their purchases - across all major channels. There are many things organizations can do to deliver a superior customer experience. Management must align everything a company does with the customer service experience in mind. They must assign high value to anticipation of customers' real needs and desires, and they must incentivize and reward personal initiative in the pursuit of customer satisfaction. They must respond quickly to customer requests. They must ensure that customer interactions are highly personalized, and they must deliver the right information to the right place at the right time. And perhaps most importantly, upper management must create a culture where customer service is valued and esteemed, taught and rewarded. Customer experience leaders who can drive this kind of cultural change will radically affect their companies? competitive position and business performance. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.