Industry Update
Opinion Article13 January 2012

What are today’s Most Pressing Issues for Hospitality Business Owners and Managers!

Hospitality Conversations™


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According to both consumer news and the industry press, the global economy continues to falter in many locations, yet there are signs of growth and optimism in certain market segments. While preparing this article, I elected to go in a slightly different direction and focus several pieces on identifying the most pressing issues facing owners and managers in hospitality today.


The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard.

People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choices words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech. - Edwin H. Friedman

In previous Hospitality Conversations™, we have shared with readers opinions and perspectives from professionals in a number of positions that support hospitality businesses, including brokers, executive search firms, designers, architects, educators, quality assurance firms and operational consultants. My co-founder at, Kathleen Hogan, has written several Hospitality Conversations columns on internship programs at universities with hospitality programs.

My first 2012 Hospitality Conversations™ is with a well respected educator and author, Dr. William Frye, CHE. Dr Frye has both academic and industry experience, has participated in faculty internships with Marriott and Hyatt Hotels and will be hosting the Lodging Track at the February 2012 annual conference

There are two basic questions asked:

1. What would you say have been the biggest changes in hospitality law affecting hotel owners in the past 5 years?

The biggest challenges that hotel owners have faced for the past five years have been related to increased government influence and new legislation aimed at curtailing employers' control over their business organization and workforce.

  • the NLRB Employee Rights Poster,
  • Wage Theft Protection Act,
  • increased enforcement of OSHA workplace regulations,
  • adjustments to the FMLA for families of military personnel,
  • increased protections mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for safer baby cribs,
  • the enactment of higher minimum
  • wage laws,
  • the possibility of the Employee Free Choice Act being implemented,
  • more stringent reporting requirements by hotel operators to their respective government agencies, and
  • so much more.

Likely the result of a Democratic influenced administration, the last five years has demonstrated greater governmental involvement and influence over how owners and managers operate their hotels and how they must comply with such increased mandates.

2. What would you opine are the two biggest issues hotel managers face in the coming year?

Undoubtedly the international trade imbalance, increasing national debt, increased unemployment rate, and concerns about the credit-worthiness of the American government have resulted in the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and lack of confidence in the American economy.

Such monetary devaluation when coupled with escalating food, energy and transportation costs makes travel for many Americans appear much less attractive and unaffordable. Americans continue to stay closer to home, are more frugal with their discretionary income when it comes to vacation plans, and seek greater value in their lodging accommodations when they do choose to travel.

On the other side of the equation, international travelers continue to flock to the United States because of a weaker U.S. dollar. It is these international travelers, many from emerging countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and India, which are helping to sustain current occupancy and profitability levels in American hotels. Yet, this will continue to pose a new dynamic for American hotels as they learn how best to serve these international travelers who are willing to spend their discretionary income.

American hotels must start to think how they can better accommodate international guests and meet their expectations that often differ from domestic travelers. This may require hotels to source new food and beverage offerings that appeal to these international travelers, train employees in the customs and languages of their new international guests, and demonstrate greater sensitivity to their needs and political/religious/ethnic concerns.

Brief Bio: William D. Frye, Ph.D., CHE is an associate professor of hotel management at Niagara University where he lectures and conducts research on various lodging and hospitality law issues. He serves at the executive editor of The Rooms Chronicle®, a business journal for hotel owners and managers published by the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University that educates hoteliers how to manage their properties more effectively, efficiently and profitably. He is also the co-author of the textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations published by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and has served for the past ten years as the Chair of the Lodging Special Interest Group for the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education. Dr. Frye is also a Founding Associate of

Contact Information
William D. Frye, Ph.D., CHE, Associate Professor, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 414 St. Vincent's Hall, Niagara University, NY 14109-2012, Tel.: 716-286-8274 [email protected]

Keys to Success

Hospitality Tip of the Week™:
Decide if you are a Manager or a Leader "The manager accepts the status quo; The leader challenges it."- Warren Bennis

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the inclusive title for my new 2012 workshops and keynote programs, hospitality services, columns and a new series of online training options. 2012 year's writings will expand to a series of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including:

  • Lessons from the Field
  • The P-A-R Principle ™
  • Hotel Common Sense and
  • Principles for Success


    More from John Hogan, CHA CHMS CHE CHO

    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. He is CEO and Co-Founder of , which has more than 2000 resource pages and has become the #1 independent website for hotel owners and managers. He is also the Principal of , which offers hotel expert witness services and hospitality consulting..

    Contact us for assistance – [email protected] 602-799-5375 : [email protected]

    KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for our programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™, THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™ and Principles for Success.

    All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

    John Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO
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