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The ROOMS CHRONICLE : Paying it Forward Means Everyone Wins

publication date: Jan 11, 2013
 | 
author/source: HospitalityEducators.com Resources,
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Paying it Forward Means Everyone Wins

 | By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS

Contributing to and Learning from one of Hospitality’s Best Kept Learning Secrets

Lessons From the Field: Paying it Forward Means Everyone Wins | By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS

In the spring of 2009, I published a three part series titled “Getting the most out of your hotel franchise investment.”

The series included an overview on franchising and branding as integral parts of the hotel and hospitality landscape, and identified that roughly 56% (at the end of 2008) of the 49,500 hotels in the US belonging to a branded or franchised organization.

It is a challenge to define an exact number of hotels in most locations on any given day, as supply changes weekly as buildings change function, open or close or ownerships redefines their use. The purpose of this article is to expand on one critical element of all hotels - that of providing proper staff training so that they may successfully serve their customers on an ongoing basis. While economic forecasts vary by region and market segment, the overall feeling shared at many recent industry meetings, in professional publications and online services is that of a more upbeat outlook in hospitality and the hotel industry in the foreseeable future. This positive upswing will mean the need for both additional staff and increased training in evolving markets.

For the past several years, I have been sharing LESSONS FROM THE FIELD as a series of best practices, suggestions and “HOW TO" columns that have addressed many areas in hotels. As I was preparing this column, I selected to showcase what I referred to in the title as “ a best kept secret.” In fact, this resource is not really a secret, as it premiered in 1993. This resource offers many hospitality and hotel industry professionals both the opportunity to share their experiences and best practices, while learning from others in areas they want to increase their knowledge.

The resource I am referring to is THE ROOMS CHRONICLE (TRC) Focusing on improving quality, efficiency, and profits, TRC has built a positive reputation for its hands-on, common-sense, operational “how-to’s”. The articles generally address topics for front office, housekeeping, laundry, reservations, telephone, engineering, energy, purchasing, risk management, and related departments. These articles incorporate the experience and skills of many leading hotel people — people who currently work full time in the industry and many articles contain real examples from hotels that have found solutions to challenges.

HOW THE ROOMS CHRONICLE CAME TO BE


Professional organizations and magazines are plentiful for the sales & marketing staff, for food/beverage and human resources professionals, but Aleta A. Nitschke, CHA observed that the hotel front office manager and housekeeper were often overlooked even though they were integral parts of the largest areas in the hotel. Recognizing this lack of operational information for rooms division employees, Nitschke, founded The Rooms Chronicle in 1993 and The Rooms Chronicle…online in 1999. Ms. Nitschke had the opportunity to see many hotel operations during her career, beginning with a summer job of cleaning rooms at a tiny resort inn. Over the years, she worked for six companies, in 10 cities, and 13 hotels. She served as Radisson Hotels’ corporate director of rooms where she supervised the rooms operations of over 200 hotels. Ms. Nitschke is co-author of several editions of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute’s Managing Housekeeping Operations textbook. 

In 2003, the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management of Niagara University became the publishers of the print edition of TRC. With William D. Frye, Ph.D., CHE, as Executive Editor, the journal continues its mission of providing hands-on educational information for the hospitality industry. Dr. Frye possesses over 20 years management experience and has been associated with the hospitality industry for the past 18 years, primarily in hotel operations and hospitality education. Prior to arriving at Penn State, Dr. Frye was the general manager of a resort lodging property in Taos, New Mexico. He has also been employed previously by The Copley Plaza-A Wyndham Hotel, a historic, world-class luxury hotel located in Boston, Massachusetts as a night manager, as well as the Sonesta Hotel Corporation, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Hilton Hotels in rooms’ division operations. Along with Aleta Nitschke, he is co-author of AH&LA EI’s current housekeeping textbook, Managing Housekeeping Resources.

I contacted Dr. Frye, CHE , who I know to be very involved in both academic and industry associations and asked him to comment on the evolution of The Rooms Chronicle and what he viewed as opportunities and challenges for the future.

On the evolution of TRC  
The TRC continues to be well received and requested by many department heads, managers and owners of small properties and supervisors who are looking to increase their knowledge and skills. We serve both independent and branded properties, as the information and best practices found in our work support many different types and sizes of hotels. While most subscribers continue to receive the traditional hard copy version of TRC, an online edition is made available for master subscription contracts and select customers. Recognized by The Educational Institute of The American Hotel & Lodging Association for our work, TRC has established itself as a journal that can make a difference in the way a hotel is operated in customer service, operations, generating more revenue per guest visit and retaining employees. In short, the mission of TRC is to educated hoteliers on the tricks of the trade so they can operate their hotels more efficiently and profitably.

Where does your material come from?
From 3000-room casinos to 5-room bed and breakfasts, every brand and every type of hotel contributes to and reads TRC. I liked your expression on Paying it Forward , because that is where much of our most read material comes from - industry professionals in the various specialties associated with the lodging industry who are willing to share their experiences with others. This cadre of experts range from general managers, department managers, corporate executives, attorneys, expert consultants, professors, and even line-level employees that possess unique industry knowledge and are willing to help others by sharing their expertise through the medium of TRC. Putting things in an article is an excellent way for them to fine-tune their thoughts as well as sharing it with others.

Do you use TRC material in classroom work at Niagara University?
The TRC venue gives many of our honor students the opportunity to research specific topics and problem areas identified to us by industry or readers. Some of the students are also encouraged to contribute their findings in articles published by TRC (after faculty review, of course) TRC is incorporated into the readings and coursework within the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University, especially in the Advanced Hotel Operations course and independent research topics.

Could other colleges use this option?
We at Niagara University and TRC are always open to working with other universities and industry. Professors and graduate students from other universities have previously collaborated with TRC cadre and authored columns for publication.. Specifics would have to be detailed, but contact us to start a discussion.

What are your current opportunities and challenges?
The growth of the journal is primarily due to word of mouth, as readers consistently praise its contents. The highest recommendation is that TRC readers re-subscribe at a rate three times the national average for magazine publications. We do not have a marketing “arm” or manager and so we do rely on those word-of-mouth referrals. For eight years, TRC has offered a 100% money-back guarantee on the cost of the subscription; to date,, no subscriber has ever requested a refund.

While we do not have a marketing budget or manager, we have already developed many special services and personalized services for management companies and brands. Check the site for details or contact us to see how we can assist.

As mentioned earlier, the articles written by industry professionals are well read and appreciated by so many readers and students. I believe those who submit columns find that their careers are likely enhanced as well, as their organizations and managers recognize the value of their knowledge and want to retain them.`

Are there particular areas you plan to stress in the next 18 months? What areas could you use articles from industry most?

The entire rooms division is very important to the success of every hotel, but we plan to emphasize three areas and would welcome industry contribution in:

  1. Sustainability (including energy efficiency)
  2. Housekeeping
  3. Reservations and rooms marketing (a rapidly changing area)

Real world problems and real world solutions are always of interest and may help other hotel staff to approach their challenges with the information shared in TRC.

“Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.” Richard E. Byrd

Dr. Frye is an Associate Professor at Niagara University, teaches classes in hotel operations and management, hospitality and tourism law, club management, and hospitality marketing, and is the professor in charge of several of Niagara's hospitality and tourism internship and cooperative education programs. He is the current chair of the Lodging Special Interest Group for the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education. Dr. Frye has been certified three times as a Certified Hospitality Educator and served on the nominating board of the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education. Dr. Frye is also the editor of the Electronic Journal of Hospitality Legal, Safety and Security Research and in 2008, he co-authored a textbook, Managing Housekeeping Operations, published by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

Dr. Frye is a Founding Associate of a consortium of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. Services are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week: Focus on Hotel Operations
Late June and July is the best time to work on both capital and operating budgets for next year. The economic roller coaster will likely continue in some markets but those who plan with well-defined goals and measurements will be much more likely to succeed than those who “play it by ear.”

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, and a number of HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from and other industry sources.

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.

 

 

CONTACT

John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS
United States - Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
Email: john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com

 

 



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