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|The Inn at USC|
The College of HRSM prepares leaders and scholars who drive the economic engines of SC, the nation, and the world.
More than 100 students filled USC’s public health building auditorium on November 17th to attend the “Lodging Lecture Series: Fall 2011 Hotel GM Panel,” an annual college event providing HRSM students the unique opportunity to hear firsthand from leaders in the hospitality industry.
This year’s GM panel featured Jason Reader, area managing director and general manager at Columbia Marriott; Adriann Radder, general manager at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge Charlotte; and Diane Keally, general manager at The Inn at USC.
Each panelist spoke about their personal leadership styles, their thoughts on industry trends such as social media and “going green,” and gave advice on how to effectively enter into and advance within the hospitality industry.
Some of our favorite quotes from the evening included:
“Be patient and eventually you will conquer the world. Be passionate. Be focused. Be determined.”
– Adriann Radder
“Be patient, but not too patient. When you’re ready, go get it!”
– Jason Reader
“Ask questions every single day and be prepared to fail. From failure comes success.”
– Diane Keally
“When you get there, be the manager you would want managing you.” – Diane Keally
The event was organized by Dr. Sheryl Kline, associate dean at HRSM, and Olivia Vanesa Storia, graduate assistant and master’s student in the college’s school of hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at HRSM is nationally ranked and touts more than 600 students. It has a Ph.D. program for hospitality management and is one of only two schools worldwide with a club management specialization endorsed by the Club Management Association of America (CMAA).
Hospitality and tourism is a $14 billion industry for South Carolina. HRSM is preparing the individuals that will one day help lead this industry.
April 14, 2011
GM Panel Hosted by Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management
On April 14, 2011, a General Manager Panel was hosted by the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management as a part of the Lodging Lecture Series. The three GMs in attendance were Diane Keally, GM at Inn at USC; David Nelson, GM at Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort and Conference Center; and Jamie Dudley, GM at Hilton Garden Inn North Charlotte. The GMs’ participated in an open discussion with the students from different hotel and lodging classes to answer the students’ questions of interest. Some of the questions presented were focused around topics including: typical schedule of a GM; qualities of a good GM; hiring employees; difficulties in being a GM, and many other great questions. The GMs’ were very receptive, honest, and open with the students so they were well informed at the end of the panel. Immediately following the panel, the GMs and students were invited back to have an informal discussion and have pizza. This gave some of the students the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with the GM to discuss any other questions, interests, or concerns they had.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management recently welcomed Chris Eason of The Breakers and Thomas Banner of Ocean Watch Villas. The two gentlemen were participants in a recent resort panel discussion held during the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management Career Fair at the Koger Center. They represented vastly different resort products and functions.
Mr. Eason is the Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. This resort is an exclusive family owned luxury property with an enormously rich history. Mr. Banner is the Director of Marketing for the Ocean Watch Villas in Myrtle Beach, SC. This timeshare resort managed by Marriott Vacation Club International caters to vacation owners.
Speaking to students on March 1st, 2010, both men shared a similar passion for their respective companies and credited their company culture for their long tenure and success. The resort panel discussion was an opportunity for students to interact directly with resort managers in an open Q & A forum as part of the Lodging Lecture Series developed by Professor Brumby McLeod and Instructor Kiran Shah.
“The trick is to test everything--cheaply--then if something works, keep doing it until it stops working!” These are the words of Del Ross, VP of US Sales and Marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), in regards to implementing new technology to the hotel industry.
The School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management welcomed Mr. Ross as part of the Lodging Lecture Series February 17th and 18th as he enthusiastically gave his presentation duly named “Exploiting New Media and Separating Trend from Fad.”
As far as technology is concerned in the hotel industry, IHG was the first to offer a transaction site, even before Yahoo, Amazon or Marriott. Today the company, which has 4,400 hotels in over 100 countries, welcomes more than 150 million visitors to their website annually. IHG ranks amongst the top 25 companies in e-commerce.
Del Ross’s background deals mostly with technology, as he was part of a business venture in the “dot com” boom. He explained to students the difference between trends and fads in the field of technology and how the hotel industry, IHG in particular, tries to differentiate between the two to attract and keep clients.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management recently welcomed Fred Schwartz, President of the Asian American Hotel Operators Association (AAHOA), as a speaker at its Lodging Lecture Series.
AAHOA is a major lodging industry organization whose members own or operate over 22,000 of the nearly 50,000 hotel properties in the United States. The organization formed in 1989 to unify and represent the interests of Asian American hotel owners and operators. Their founding mission sought to protect against discrimination and unfair business practices against the Asian American hotel community.
Speaking to students on February 11th, 2010, Schwartz highlighted the role, history, and issues facing AAHOA. Schwartz provided insight into the reasons behind Indian success in hotel ownership and operations. He attributed much of the success to Indian culture and their entrepreneurial spirit. Schwartz ended his presentation by identifying some of the latest challenges facing hotel owners and operators.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management recently welcomed Mary Beth Cutshall, Director of Business Development for Hotel Equities, Inc., as a speaker at its Lodging Lecture Series.
Hotel Equities, Inc. is an award-winning third party developing and managing company representing 45 hotels. Working on a team platform has earned the organization the ability to work with some of the most well-known hotel brands in the United States.
Speaking to students on Nov. 11, Cutshall talked of the increasing influence of real estate in the hotel industry, and her role in the development and acquisition of hotels. Cutshall emphasized that a successful career in the hotel industry is based on building relationships. She said while the down economy is affecting the hotel industry, there are still many career opportunities available in the profession.
Cutshall also said the role of women in hotel and lodging is expanding and an organization called Women in Lodging is a valuable resource for women aspiring to work in the hotel industry.
Even in a down economy, the hotel and lodging industry is a powerful engine for economic growth, said Joe McInerney, president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), last month at the University of South Carolina’s Lodging Lecture Series. Citing the industry’s 48,000 lodging properties, 4.5 million rooms and 1.8 million workers, plus the 7.5 million other jobs made possible by the lodging industry, McInerney said the times nonetheless require more efficient and effective management and openness to restructuring and rebuilding.
A 45-year industry veteran, having worked from Manhattan to Madrid, McInerney says he’s benefited from his experiences working with individuals representing all personalities, talents and cultures. Those experiences, he says, prepared him for his role as president of the association.
Among his achievements, since beginning his career with Sheraton, McInerney established the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation to improve the lodging industry. The industry’s only premier non-profit organization, the foundation provides scholarships and professional certifications, as well as funding for industry research.
For almost a century, the American Hotel and Lodging Association has been the largest nationally recognized association representing the hotel and lodging trade. AH&LA represents all aspects of the industry from hotel companies to student members while working with 43 state associations. Through its headquarters in Washington, DC, the association allows advocacy for the hotel and lodging industry to reach Capitol Hill.
October 14, 2009
General Manager Panel Gives University of South Carolina Students Industry Insight (PDF)
COLUMBIA, SC — On Wednesday, October 14th at 5:30 pm, many University of South Carolina students in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management program took the opportunity to attend a question and answer session with a panel of general managers from five hotels . Prior to the event, students developed scripts to introduce each panelist as well as specific questions to be asked during the event. Each panelist was given an opportunity to respond to the questions before the open discussion began.
The general manager of a smaller hotel, Abbey Griffiths of the Courtyard Marriott at Haywood in Greenville, SC, cited communicating with her associates as a top priority. She came to her current position after advancing in her job over a period of 18 months. Griffiths is very active in her local community and takes part in Chamber of Commerce events as often as possible.
For Tom Manno of the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC, personally interviewing each of his potential employees is important. Over the years he has learned that the best and most successful employees in the hotel industry are friendly, multi-tasking and passionate individuals. Manno treats each day as a chance to build relationships between staff, guests and the community. His advice for interviewees is to “make eye-contact, have a firm handshake, smile, and be aware of your body language.”
During his 36 years in the hotel business, Radu Moldovan of the Spring Hill Suites in North Charleston, SC, has experienced the long hours it takes to open a hotel, but says that it is still one of his favorite aspects of the job. Noting the high turnover rate of employees in the business, Moldovan told students that hard work does pay off.
While working as a controller for four different hotel properties, Shane Williams of the Holiday Inn located in West Columbia, SC, values customer service at every level. He has seen the rise in popularity of trendy hotels and the utilization of the Internet as a powerful marketing tool. Williams suggests that students work in the industry to see if they are passionate about it before attempting to begin their adult careers.
Though Daniel Wilson of the Inn at USC in Columbia, SC, has not been with the property for a long time, he mentioned that the biggest change he has experienced in the industry revolves around the organizational structure and behavior of employees. He made remarks about moving people to positions that may better fit their personalities and the importance of leading by example.
Following the presentation, a reception was hosted at the Inn at USC giving students a chance to interact with the general managers. Students took pictures, exchanged business cards, had an opportunity to ask more questions and enjoyed dinner and refreshments.
September 22, 2009
Lodging Lecture Series Welcomes Karen Berg (PDF)
COLUMBIA, SC – On September 22, 2009, the Lodging Lecture Series welcomed Karen Berg, the Regional Director of the Southeast and Caribbean Regions of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The University of South Carolina School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management and the Greater Columbia Hotel and Motel Association hosted the presentation for interested students.
Berg’s talk emphasized the roles of franchisors, owners and managers in the success of a hotel’s performance. She discussed the involved role her company plays with the hotels and brands that exist within IHG. Students were also informed about InterContinental Hotels Group itself: the seven brands, 4,303 hotels and 629,700 rooms it encompasses as the world’s largest hotel group. All those in attendance were given an opportunity to ask questions about how best to build their future careers in the hotel industry.
September 9, 2009
Merkin Kicks Off Lodging Lecture Series At University of South Carolina (PDF)
COLUMBIA, SC — The Lodging Lecture Series kicked off September 9th with prominent guest speaker, John Merkin, senior vice president of brand management for the Holiday Inn brands of the Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group. Merkin spoke to two groups of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management students.
In his presentation, Merkin illustrated the importance and value of rebranding using the Holiday Inn brands as examples. He showed students the step-by-step process each hotel is required to go through in order to continue to hold the franchise name. Merkin discussed his 21 years playing a crucial role in the world’s largest hotel group. He also took time to showcase the work of Ogilvy Action of Atlanta and its President Chris Milhous. Ogilvy Action is a marketing company who assisted the InterContinental Hotels Group in their relaunching efforts of the Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express brands.
The Lodging Lecture Series was developed by Instructor Kiran Shah and Professors Sheryl F. Kline and Brumby McLeod in the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina as a way to better prepare students for their futures in the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries, and to introduce them to successful individuals in their general fields of interest.