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THG Says Management Success Stems from Successful
Hiring within the Hospitality Industry

'Driven, Balanced, Principled, Energetic, and Inspired' describes the hotel ownership and management group and the characteristics its HR department looks for when hiring the industry's best and brightest corporate executives, property managers and employees

Edmonds, Wash.— August 10, 2010— "You can't teach hospitality. You either have what it takes to achieve and maintain greatness in this industry, or you don't." That's the recruitment philosophy of Isabel Dreher, Director of Human Resources at The Hotel Group, a nationally recognized hotel ownership and management company that is celebrating 26 years of "Hospitality Greatness." 

For THG, turnover among the management team is below the industry average.  Within THG, the average tenure is 13 years per corporate executive and approximately five years for property General Managers. The company's retention success stems from its aspiration to hire from within the hospitality industry -- 80 percent of its corporate executives have roots deeply planted in some aspect of the lodging business.

"The perfect resume doesn't necessarily translate into the perfect employee," Dreher said. "We search for people whose core values mirror those of THG: Integrity, Passion, Ethics and Balance. If those match, and the person has the desire to work hard and to serve the needs of the guest and the owners, then we know we've found another great employee for our company -- whether it's at the corporate or property level."

Dreher began her hospitality career as a Guest Services Representative at a THG-managed Hampton Inn. She quickly worked her way through the company to the position of Guest Service Manager & assisted with project work at several THG properties. Eventually, Dreher joined the THG corporate staff in an operations capacity, then transitioned to the Human Resources role. Today she successfully spearheads a number of initiatives designed to keep managers accountable for their teams, and teams accountable to guests.

"In 1995, when I was introduced to the hospitality industry, cross-departmental training was common," Dreher said. "Today, the same holds for most departments outside of Human Resources. The dizzying array of changes in labor law, compliance issues related to employment policies and practices, and costly retaliation claims have created the need for more dedicated HR professionals. In essence, tomorrow's Human Resources leaders are today's HR trainees for no other reason than the hospitality industry desperately needs their commitment and expertise. 

"This all stems from the fact that the economy has everyone living in an HR world," she said. "Human Resource professionals in the hotel business have never been busier. Layoffs have cut some of the top-line bleeding, but the industry as a whole is being hit with more discrimination and harassment cases than ever before. Five years ago, if someone lost a job, he or she was pretty confident that a new one could be found and rather quickly. It's a completely different world now, as general managers and department directors are finding out by getting caught in the middle of ongoing employment issues. 

"In order to meet the full gamut of new changes hoteliers are being faced with  -- from the recession and in preparation for recovery -- owners need to rely on a team that has the experience to anticipate industry changes and prepare accordingly," Dreher said. "THG not only has that experience, but we have the passion to weather any storm."

Training, Trusting and Talking are Key

Training is a big part of THG's retention success. Whether it's HR Discipline & Documentation, Payroll, Safety or "Lead Us Toward Hospitality Greatness" employee training, Dreher said she is continually in education mode. In fact, she said she participates in HR-related Webinars whenever possible. 

"Everyone at THG wears a lot of hats," she said. "Sara Michener, THG Operations Manager, has a strong human resources education, able to assist with matters at the property level and beyond," she said. "Lynne DeMatteo, THG Special Projects & Recruiting Manager, shares her many years of hospitality experience with the team by conducting the Lead Us Towards Hospitality Greatness employee training program. This course is designed to tell employees about THG from A to Z, as well as share with each of our employees THG's customer service culture: Lead us Towards Hospitality Greatness and The Key 3 (Acknowledge & Smile, Anticipate & Deliver and Sincerely Thank). The Key 3 are words to live by from our corporate team members to our line level team members. We believe it's important that all staff know how our management company fits into the bigger hospitality picture and how we -- and the hotels we own and/or manage -- differ from others in the industry. It comes down to knowing that employees trust the company they are working for and vice versa."

Being hands on and talking face-to-face with staff members is also a key to THG's success, Dreher said. Town Hall meetings -- in which THG corporate executives visit the various properties to discuss how things are going, what is working or not working, and how THG can be a better employer -- are a recurring event. 

"As THG President and CEO Doug Dreher always says: 'THG isn't for wimps,'" she said. "We don't sweep things under the rug. If there's a problem, we expect our employees to tell us about it, whether it’s face to face or through other vehicles such as our Employee Survey Program. It's the same way that we expect our employees to address guest requests and concerns. With 26 hotels and more than 1,500 employees, operating with 'Integrity, Passion, Ethics and Balance' is the only way to fulfill our hospitality mission: "To create maximum investment value for our client partners and to provide personal and professional growth opportunities for our associates."

All THG employees actively participate in the company's Good Neighbor Program, in which team members of each hotel find ways to support their local community. 

"As part of our corporate culture, all hotel employees are encouraged to volunteer their time to help local community organizations, whether it's raising money for a cause, planting trees on Arbor Day or donating shampoo and soap to the various shelters in the area," DeMatteo said. "Since the inception of our Good Neighbor Program, THG has donated more than $10,000 in funds from our renovation and salvage sales, including offering excess furniture, fixtures, televisions, etc. from hotels during renovations and upgrades. The properties also collect and donate partially-used amenities to local shelters and other organizations. This is THG's way of showing how much we care about our neighbors and the community where we work. It's also a great way to put things into perspective at the end of a hard workday."

For more information on The Hotel Group's Good Neighbor program or on THG's operational, marketing and asset management services, visit or call 425-771-1788.

About The Hotel Group
THG is a nationally recognized Top 40 hotel company and currently manages and/or owns 26 properties in 10 states, representing 13 brands and employs more than 1,300 people. Since its inception in 1984, THG has managed more than 100 properties in 20 states, directed the design and construction of 30 new hotels, completed the acquisition of more than $125 million in private investment as the sponsor of Hotel Group Opportunity Funds I, II, III and IV. For more information, visit or call 425-771-1788. 


The Hotel Group

Also See: Douglas Dreher Appointed CEO of The Hotel Group / August 2009

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