Appointments & Promotions

American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation Brings on Two New Hires to Focus on Career Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. January 12, 2017 – The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) today announced the appointment of two new hires who will focus primarily on career development for the hospitality industry as well as oversee the new partnership between AHLA and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), which will enhance hospitality training, certification capabilities and educational products.

Tapped as Senior Vice President of Career Development, Shelly Weir will oversee the strategic vision of workforce development. She will support the AHLA and Foundation agenda through career development to help strengthen the lodging industry workforce, and will lead efforts to engage with community, non-profit, and governmental organizations where strategies to upskill American workers in the lodging industry align, including grants and contract management programs, such as the Department of Labor’s Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) initiative, which supports the growth of apprenticeship programs in the hospitality sector.

AHLEF Coordinator Kelly Vazquez will assist the Foundation team with workforce development efforts, government grants, scholarship efforts and other programs to ensure hospitality employers have the tools and resources they need to obtain skills and credentials that put them on a path to long-term successful careers. Both Shelly and Kelly come to the Foundation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), formerly AHLA’s sister organization, which recently transitioned to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), in a deal that goes into effect February 1.

In addition, Shelly will be spearheading efforts to expand apprenticeship opportunities in the hospitality industry through the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. AHLA, in partnership with NRA’s Foundation (NRAEF) and Jobs for the Future, recently received a $1.8 million award in which the three organizations are working with restaurant operators and hotel and lodging employers nationwide to recruit and place individuals in paid apprenticeships focused on management-level positions. Shelly will lead AHLA’s efforts to ensure new apprenticeship training regimens are created as well as working to build on existing programs already in place.

“As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry. We are excited to welcome two new talented members to the Educational Foundation team who will focus on ensuring our current employees and future talent have the training, skills and resources necessary to earn promotions and climb the ladder from entry level to management, upper management, senior executives and on to the C-Suite,” said Joori Jeon, president of AHLEF. “At AHLA and the Foundation, we are always striving to reach new heights. Our industry already supports eight million jobs, and both Shelly and Kelly will provide invaluable opportunities for so many in our industry today as well as for the next generation of hospitality leaders.”

Both Shelly and Kelly will serve as liaisons to bridge the work at AHLA and the Foundation with the NRA, ensuring the organizations will continue to provide hospitality professionals with the critical education and training that fosters long-term career opportunities.

ABOUT AHLEF

Founded in 1953, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation has spent 63 years identifying, cultivating, and supporting the human talent, research, and initiatives most vital to the progress and prosperity of the lodging industry. The Foundation works in tandem with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) to educate the future hospitality workforce, research trends and opportunities that will impact the sector, and empower the industry to grow stronger and faster. For more information visit: www.ahlef.org.

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.