Speaker Observations

Mark Hope, Executive Director of Brand Development, calls himself a “fixer, a broker” (personal communication, February 17, 2010) a person which consults potential and current hotel owners in an effort to maintain Coast Hotel’s dynamic brand. “Properties are carefully selected to complement and enhance business-oriented properties, resulting in a diverse network of unique hotels and resorts” (Coast Hotels, 2010). Mr. Hope investigates potential Coast Hotels on a rigid management and franchise requirements. I was very surprised how very complex this process is from inception to completion. In order to brand a managed or franchised hotel the interested party must follow a myriad of restrictions.  Each restriction is specific and un-adjustable, Coast Hotel’s management is proud of the brand they build and I can’t blame them for being picky surrounding who uses the Coast Hotels brand. “Mark Hope goes on saying if you want to be a Coast, here is what it is going to cost” (personal communication, February 17, 2010). For example if a hotel wants Coast to manage its operations, it must meet the full service 130+ room hotel requirement listed in Coast Hotels management contract. When this requirement is not met, Mr. Hope and Coast hotels do not accept the interested hotel; “it’s not worth the time or energy for Coast and its employees.” (M.Hope, Personal communication, February 17, 2010). This presentation really illustrated how slim hotel margins are. I knew that hotels do not earn quick ROI, however Mark Hope specifically highlighted the financial importance of forecasts and estimates. For example, The Cost, Coal Harbour hotel will not make a profit until the fifth year of operations. It is shocking that this hotel will operate at a loss for five years! The hotel developer must book rooms in advance to secure business even before the hotel is built. A simple concept really, however pre booking a hotel was a step to opening a new hotel I did not think of. This example solidifies the complexity of planning and forecasting necessary to successfully, one day, open my own hotel.  Mr. Hope makes if blatantly clear that one must be honest with themselves and the people they work with. I whole-heartedly agree with being a honest businessperson. Inconsiderate and over-confident business people will ever meet their full career potential. A successful businessperson, in my opinion, will accommodate his/her potential client even if the project does not work out.  Just because this one project or job is not successful does not mean you will not feel the effects from that person again, the hospitality industry may be global, but its people love to talk to each other. “Utilize your contacts. It is why you keep in touch with them” (personal communication, February 17, 2010). This industry, as I understand bases itself very heavily on whom you know. It is a very closely linked industry and word travels fast. Your contacts might only guarantee you and interview, but that is all your need. He speaks about capitalizing on the contacts one has in the industry. Use these contacts or lose them, they will make your life easier. From this presentation, Mr. Hope kept discussing the importance of staying in contact with your business acquaintances. I have always tried to be successful in life by myself, but I am starting to realize this may be vain. Without my business friends, I make throughout my life, I will not see the full potential of my career life. This relationship goes both ways, as explained by Mr. Hope. Help your contacts as much as you can, the favour is returned (Personal communication, February 17, 2010).

During Mark Hope’s recruitment process, he looks for employees that maintain an understanding of financial documents. It seems that there is no way to succeed in hospitality management without understanding financial documents and spreadsheets. You may not be the best at reading spreadsheets, but you should have a basic understanding so you can communicate intelligently with your supervisor. Like Mr. Hope discussed, “the best general manager is not an expert at any one thing, yet he surrounds himself with experts in each department” (Personal communication, February 17, 2010).  I finally realize why education is so important; it provides you with the basic tools to understand business financials. Companies teach their specific business processes once you start with them, but having that basic understanding makes learning easier. This education, however, does not secure you a job. Mr. Hope illustrates that education is never negative and it “demonstrates an aptitude to learn” (personal communication, February 17, 2010). Mr. Hope really highlighted the power that a blend of experience and education has on your career. Furthermore, I believe to be a successful hospitality manager, on must have a balance of both.

The hotel industry is like any other industry, which one may consider as a career. You must start at the bottom and work your way up. Mark Hope described how important it is for recent graduates to understand this concept. I believe that this key to accelerate my upward mobility is working weekend and night shifts. These very unpopular hotel shifts prove your dedication and aptitude to succeed. Mark Hope spoke about one’s ability to multitask and I think this skill is very important for the years approaching. As the speed of business increases and people are pushed to do more with less time, the art of multitasking will prove an essential skill to practice. One overriding goal in my career life is to maintain an active work/life balance; it seems that in order to achieve the balance, multitasking is required. Multitasking will not work if I do not organize my work and personal life. My once simple cell phone, now becomes my mobile desktop which I can organize and arrange my life. With this tool, I believe I will be able to interact with my business contacts and respond to emails while I am driving or on the subway. I must learn to utilize every available min of free time, during my business day, to frontload my workload. This front loading will free up time for my family and friends when I am home after work. “If I don’t do work in between the times of day that I am traveling, it all piles up until I get home, and that is in direct conflict with my work/life balance.”(M.Hope, personal communication, February 17, 2010)

References

Management &Franchise.(2010). Retrieved February 17, 2010, from http://www.coasthotels.com/about_coast/management

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