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‘HR in Hotels’ Sessions to Stress Building Loyalty and Managing
Talent at 3rd Annual HR in Hospitality™ Conference


Produced in association with Human Resource Executive® magazine, Cornell University School of
Hotel Administration, and Cornell University ILR School, this popular event provides HR
practitioners with access to the people and ideas shaping the industry’s future; 
March 17-19, 2009;
Pre-Early Bird Offer — Register by Jan. 16, 2009, and save $350!

HORSHAM, PA. — OCTOBER 20, 2008 — Are your customers coming – and returning – to your property because of how your employees make them feel, or despite how your employees make them feel? The 3rd Annual National HR in Hospitality™ Conference (, to be held March 17-19, 2009, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena, Fla., will feature six “HR in Hotels” educational tracks focusing on building employee and customer loyalty, enhancing your hotel’s service culture, and executing a talent management strategy that leads to employee development and growth. Early-bird registration is now open – save $350 if you register by Jan. 16, 2009.

The event is produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences and is developed and co-sponsored by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell University ILR School. The American Hotel & Lodging Association also is a platinum sponsor of HR in Hospitality™.

“HR in Hotels” track includes:

  • “Executing an Integrated Talent Management Strategy”
  • “Operating Metrics and HR Metrics: Connecting the Dots”
  • “Employee Development as a Strategy for Growth”
  • “Enhancing the Corporate Culture at Four Seasons with World Class HR & Learning Practices”
  • “Building Employee and Customer Loyalty at Joie de Vivre Hotels”
  • “Building the Employment Brand at B.F. Saul Hotel Division”
“The HR in Hospitality™ Conference – which is the first industry-specific event for hospitality HR professionals – has been an attention getter since its launch three years ago,” said David J. Makarsky, VP of Operations, B.F. Saul Company Hotel Division, Bethesda, Md. “The No.1 challenge facing hospitality HR executives today is the need to foster an engaged workforce. Our industry is notorious for high turnover. While competitive compensation and benefits are essential, achievement of high levels of retention and engagement require us to give our valued team members compelling reasons to look forward to coming to work each and every day.  We must transcend the notion of teamwork to that of a workplace family.”

During the session Building the Employment Brand at B.F. Saul Hotel Division, Makarsky will share how B.F. Saul’s hotel division leverages the performance of its hotels through the use of an internal brand that permeates what the company says and does. 

“Attendees will walk away with a solid understanding of the concept of internal branding and how it can be used to foster an engaged workforce and improved performance in their operations,” he said. “Simply put, the internal brand is the glue that binds the team together and stirs the passion to exceed expectations.”

Motivating Employees, Creating Guest Loyalty

Jane Howard, Chief People Officer, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, San Francisco, together with Jan McDougal, Vice President, Market Metrix, San Rafael, Calif., will host the session Building Employee and Customer Loyalty at Joie de Vivre Hotels. 

“Finding great talent, keeping your company out of legal hot water, containing medical benefit costs, maintaining our great corporate culture as we grow, and dealing with change in a fast growing company are all key issues that HR executives need to be kept abreast of,” Howard said. “At Joie de Vivre Hospitality, we invest in our employees – in both good times and bad. The return on this investment is impressive: our employee turnover is about a third of the industry average, and 70% of our customers say they are both likely to return and likely to recommend our brand.”

McDougal will share first-hand accounts from her experiences working directly with hotel management teams on how to use employee feedback to most effectively impact business results – from improved customer loyalty to reduced employee turnover.

Robert Mellwig, vice president human resources for Destination Hotels & Resorts, together with Katie Osse, Destination’s director of talent management, will lead an interactive and engaging two-part session titled Executing an Integrated Talent Management Strategy. Here the Destination duo will drill deep into the entire talent management process, including learning how individual strengths, HR technology, and organizational culture and competencies support the development of human capital. 

“I believe in the pragmatic and practical application of human capital ideas, which can be simplified, implemented, and make a real impact on the function and our industry,” Mellwig said. “Attendees will walk away from this session with a comprehensive understanding of how various aspects of talent management integrate and can be leveraged to add real business value. This session will provide discussion and exercises that will enable HR practitioners to make intelligent, well thought out and informed decisions with respect to where and how to integrate their talent management processes.” 

Mellwig said he believes the No. 1 challenge facing HR executives today to be the industry’s ability to source, qualify, and secure qualified labor to meet the staffing and strategic needs of complex businesses. The HR in Hospitality™ conference in general and the HR in Hotels track will offer an opportunity to learn from companies and adopt proven and implementable solutions to meet the challenges of the industry and workforce, he said.

Other sessions include:

Enhancing the Corporate Culture at Four Seasons with World Class HR & Learning Practices  — In this session, Ellen Dubois du Balley, VP-Learning & Development, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, will showcase the brand’s AAA five diamond culture of service excellence. From on-boarding to retirement. Attendees will learn how to acquire, develop and retain employees and enhance their company culture. 

Operating Metrics and HR Metrics: Connecting the Dots — Vail R. Brown, VP-Global Sales & Marketing, Smith Travel Research, Nashville, Tenn., and Margaret Dyekman, President and COO, Wagewatch, Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., will help HR practitioners during this session master the operating metrics that make them more effective business partners to their operators. Property metrics such as average daily rate, REVPAR, occupancy rates and more are always under scrutiny. Managers who don’t know how these critical indicators of hotel financial health are trending should attend.

Employee Development as a Strategy for Growth — Hillary McClain, VP-Internet Talent, MGM-Mirage, Las Vegas, and K.C. Blonski, Director of Travel, Leisure & Retail Markets, AchieveGlobal, Tampa, Fla., will examine how employee development at MGM-Mirage doesn’t just support their growth strategy — it is the core of their strategy. This session will provide the framework for developing talent at all levels. Employee development best practices and lessons learned from three different hotel/casino properties, each targeted at a different clientele, will be shared. 

Engaging Exhibits 

In addition to the conference, the HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and will feature approximately 75 exhibitors. The expo is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to: Benefits Administration, Compensation Systems & Services, Diversity Hiring/Compliance Training, Employee Assistance Programs, Foodservices, HR Consulting, HRO, Insurance, Payroll Software & Services, Recruitment, Retirement & 401(K) Services, Safety & Security Services, Training, Wealth Benefits & Group Life, Disability & Workers’ and more.

For registration details, including Pre-Early Bird registration and the conference’s full agenda, visit For exhibitor and sponsorship information, visit or contact Fred Kurst, Trade Show Manager: Southeast, Southwest, West, N.Y. and Europe, at (703) 393-8304; or Nancy Sommar, Trade Show Manager: New England, Midwest, Pa., N.J., Canada, at (215) 784-0910, ext. 6231. 

About HR in Hospitality™
HR in Hospitality™ is developed and produced by Human Resource Executive® ConferencesTM, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. HR in Hospitality™ is the premier event specifically for professionals in the hospitality industry who handle employment law, human resource management and labor relations.

In addition to the conference, the HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to benefits, HRO, legal, payroll, screening and assessment, training, and recruiting.

About HRE ConferencesTM
Thousands of HR professionals network, research workforce solutions and make buying decisions at the three annual Human Resource Executive® events: NY HR Week™, May 4-6, 2009; HR in Hospitality™, March 17-19, 2009; and the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, October 15-17, 2008.  More information about these conferences can be accessed at

Note to editors: HR in Hospitality™ is produced by HRE ConferencesTM, a division of LRP Conferences, LLC. Trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein remain the property of their respective owners. A limited number of complimentary press passes are available for HR in Hospitality™. To request a press pass, please contact PRPRO.


Barb Worcester
Tel: (440) 930-5770


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