Mar 20

Learnings from HSMAI’s Digital Conference: How to Know if You Have a Budding Superstar in Your Midst

By Jon Moore, President, Jon Moore & Associates, LLC and Adjunct Professor at the University of New Hampshire Hospitality Management Program

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to take a group of Hospitality Management students from the University of New Hampshire to the HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis. These millennial students were bursting with excitement to be exposed to the many wonders of the digital space from a business and career opportunity perspective.

The conference did not let us down. Titled “Optimizing the Digital Experience From Today’s Tools to Tomorrow’s Needs”, there were fascinating presentations, panel discussions, and a Partner Showcase with exhibitors such as Expedia Solutions, TripAdvisor, TravelClick, Adobe, IDeaS, and several other strong digital brands.

2017 HSMAI Digital Conference Panel

2017 HSMAI Digital Conference Panel
Moderator Dr. Laila Rach-Rach Enterprises; Gary Oster, SVP Business Development-USTA; Dorothy Dowling, SVP & CMO-Best Western Hotels; Jeff Senior, VP Marketing-KSL Resorts; Josh Lesnick, EVP & CMO-Wyndham Hotels

I was fascinated by sessions such as “Demystifying Distribution” and “Hotel Search and Booking Insights”, and in an earlier article connected the dots between identifying a hotel’s optimal mix and how to improve that mix through marketing to all levels of the sales funnel.

My greatest “aha moment” came from a panel discussion of some extremely seasoned Hospitality veterans. One of those panelists, Jeff Senior, VP Marketing for KSL Resorts, was asked what advice he would offer to the next generation of leaders and young professionals entering the workforce. His response was to be “curious in all areas” and to “show tenacity for getting valuable ideas of change across the goal line.”

That really struck a chord with me! As a father of 3 Millennial professionals, and being a Hospitality leader for four decades, this is something I have always valued, admired, and tried to instill in those around me.

Jeff continued to elaborate his sage observations:

  • Get out of your comfort zone, and test yourself in areas you are not familiar with. Ask questions that perplex you. Be curious about how and why things are done. Bring an attitude of wanting to know if there is a better way.
  • Learn to fail and make mistakes, and make improvements through your and your team’s journey.
  • Through insights you have gained and ideas you have developed, influence the organization to push the ball over the goal line. Many curious people are left behind because they don’t develop the tenacity and fortitude to inspire others take them in a new direction.

As I listened to Jeff Senior speak, thoughts of a boss I had on a former Marriott Regional team resonated in my mind; “Our jobs are to take people where they don’t want to go on their own.”

It is that type of tenacity that drives the type of change well-run organizations need. And well-run organizations need leaders at all levels, from all generations, to contribute with a perspective of curiosity and inspirational drive made up of strong tenacity! If you find this person, you know you have a budding superstar in your midst!

Back to Blog