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Bright Outlook For U.S. Hotel Growth

Dec 18, 14 Bright Outlook For U.S. Hotel Growth

Prepare for strong growth and demand in the hotel industry.

By Erika Prafder for

Put away those umbrellas.

There are sunny skies ahead for the U.S. hotel industry, which just wrapped up a record-breaking, banner year, according to forecasting experts.

“In 2014, the U.S. hotel industry sold more rooms and will have generated more room revenue than ever before,” says Jan Freitag, senior vice president of strategic development at STR, a leading global provider of competitive benchmarking, information services, and research to the hotel industry.

The company anticipates occupancy to end the year at around 64 percent, a level unseen since 1996, according to a recent STR press release.

Driving factors of the strong demand growth include, “Leisure travelers, a healthy demand from business travelers, and a continuing rebound of the group traveler, which was hit hard during the recent recession,” says Freitag.

The highest RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) gains were seen in such markets as Denver, San Francisco, and Nashville, Freitag adds.

“Leisure demand for a city in the heartland (Nashville) with a wholesome brand is very healthy. Group travel has sky rocketed here. It also doesn’t hurt to have a TV show named after your city,” he says.
Bright Outlook For U.S. Hotel GrowthMore development and hiring needs on the horizon.

Since hotels take a while to come to fruition, the majority of newly opened lodgings this year and the next were planned in 2010-2011, says Freitag.

Therefore, “We’re expecting slow growth in new supply. But, since the industry is very attractive now, developers and bankers are putting money into the industry now, and you’ll likely see new rooms in 2016-2018,” he says.

As they’re fairly cheap to construct in comparison to full-service hotels, the majority of new properties will be limited service hotels. “Those that don’t have big ballrooms or restaurants. They are basically just offering rooms, a gym, and serving breakfast. There’s a need for people at the front desk, in housekeeping, and general management, so the staffing model is much more attractive than for a full-service hotel,” says Freitag.

With the timing right to enter the hospitality field, those with the drive and commitment have carte blanche to carve out a rewarding profession—whether you’re at the early or more advanced stage.

A view from the top.

“Our industry is ripe with opportunity for young professionals looking for a life-long career,” says Jim Abrahamson, chief executive officer, Interstate Hotels and Resorts and chair of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) 2015/2016. “Hotels offer good paying jobs with benefits and a fast track to more senior positions. No other industry epitomizes the American Dream like our industry. And it’s a lot of fun, too.”

Abrahamson himself, worked his way through college as a desk clerk at a Bloomington, Minnesota area hotel.

“I’ve done every job imaginable in hospitality,” he says. “So many industry leaders started out with little or no hotel experience and worked their way up the ladder of opportunity the hard way. Along the way, myself included, we got that specialization that is unique to hotel businesses. And that’s really important to grow as an individual and to help further your career. That said, education is incredibly important in helping individuals get further faster. Before you specialize, find your passion, then do all you can to become an expert in that area.”

With key career moves to Hilton, Marcus Corporation, Hyatt and IHG, to his current role at Interstate, an organization which manages over 45 brand relationships worldwide, Abrahamson largely credits his focus and important mentors for his success.

“My career has been very linear, I set strong goals for myself and the organizations that I have led. I think it’s very important to know where you want to end up and aim for that. Our industry is one that fosters mentoring, and I’m a big believer in making room for the next generation of leaders,” says Abrahamson.
Bright Outlook For U.S. Hotel Growth

Think global and cast a wide net.

For aspiring industry frontrunners, “Global exposure is a solid path for the right individuals. It takes a different mindset and adaptability to new cultures and surroundings. I encourage young managers to look for international options early in life—it gets more difficult and complicated with spouses and children later on,” says Abrahamson.

To stay on top of his game, Abrahamson maintains a strong connection to his team.

“Stay in touch with them, understand what they’re dealing with on the front lines. Stay in touch with your collegial network and have a strong peer group to relate to, too,” he says.
It’s also advisable to get involved in your industry at the local, state and national levels, says Abrahamson. As incoming chair of AH&LA, he’ll seek to further fortify such relationships.

“Supporting and participating in efforts to strengthen our industry make my day job and everyone else’s easier and more effective,” he says. “It also makes our businesses more successful. We all win. Our industry thrives when we are united, speaking with one voice and one vision. I’m excited to take the helm of AH&LA as chair. We have so many opportunities before us, but also many challenges. It’s more important than ever for everyone in our industry to remain engaged and involved because together, we are stronger,” he says.

With momentum and positive hotel performance set to continue into 2015, above all, “We are in the people business and the people our industry employs, love what they do. You have to if you want to be successful in hospitality. The most crucial element is passion—we are all incredibly passionate about what we do and the people we serve,” says Abrahamson.

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Golden Corral Hiring in Houston!

Dec 04, 14 Golden Corral Hiring in Houston!

Houston, Texas, we have good news! Golden Corral is hiring for three awesome positions:

Watch the below video to learn more about Golden Corral management opportunities. Golden Corral managers share their personal stories on how they achieve professional success:

More about Golden Corral

At Golden Corral®, we know that successful people are the foundation of our very successful company. We hire managers with the talent, integrity, and passion to promote our Caring Culture. We provide an environment that supports and empowers our people – not only to exceed our guests’ expectations, but also to achieve their professional and personal goals. With nearly 500 restaurants in more than 40 states, Golden Corral is always in search of excellent leaders for Restaurant Management opportunities, in both our company and franchise-operated restaurants nationwide.

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Great Wolf New England is Hiring (and it’s snowing in their lobby)

Oct 28, 14 Great Wolf New England is Hiring (and it’s snowing in their lobby)

Earlier this summer, we shared that Great Wolf Lodge was hiring for its New England location. We’re back to announce that they’ve had a fantastic few months with new employees and that they’re hiring for more positions. Check out open positions today!

Who wouldn’t want to work at a place that offers Snowland? It actually snows in the lobby!

About Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge is North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts and the brand leader in the
waterpark resort industry. Great Wolf Lodge is a first-class, full-service, year-round destination resort. Extending far beyond waterparks, Great Wolf Resorts provides families with quality accommodations, exceptional service,as well as popular proprietary amenities all under one roof – creating family traditions, one family at a time.

Great Wolf Lodge New England is the company’s 12th indoor waterpark resort. Great Wolf Lodge properties are located in: Wisconsin Dells, WI; Sandusky, OH; Traverse City, MI.; Kansas City, KS; Williamsburg, VA; Pocono Mountains, PA.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Mason, OH, Grapevine, TX, Grand Mound, WA; Concord, NC and Fitchburg, MA.

Apply today!

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How To Earn 6 Figures In Restaurant Management

By Erika Prafder for

Want a big tip?

Some of the restaurant world’s highest paid have earned their titles using innovative wit, social media-savvy, rock-star charisma, and passion-driven hunger to succeed.

If you’re prepared to live, breathe and eat the industry, plus adopt an entrepreneurial spirit, the opportunities and dough are yours for the taking.

Read on for three inside scoops on how to land such coveted roles. Executive Chef Thomas Connell

As a child, Thomas Connell’s culinary passion was inspired by his grandfather. “I watched him make soups, salads, and braises for my grandmother — and was captivated. I never had another desire professionally,” says the Los Angeles native.

Today, Connell oversees roughly 350 signature restaurant employees and a conference/catering business raking in $40 million annually. Patrolling all kitchens daily, he tastes products, conducts random line checks, and attends service in all dining spots.

“I’m making sure plates are rolling, discussing reservation counts, expected VIPs, earlier shift challenges and functions tied to global initiatives, such as an upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness event,” says Connell.

With distinguished credentials from institutions including the Culinary Institute of America, Connell says, “The main objective for aspiring top chefs is to inspire those around you. With their support, you can do anything in an operation.”

Other high-income generators (F&B Directors, Restaurant Managers, Chef de Cuisines) have typically served at least five years in leadership capacity in a professional kitchen. Along with strong technical cooking skills, “Attitude is number one,” says Connell. “I want level-headed, professional, courteous, and refined people.”

If you fit that bill, “A lot of jobs are incentivized. You can get beyond six figures. It takes heartfelt desire, says Connell. “I’ve been [working for] 30 years in kitchens. It’s a tough job. When you have to work nights, weekends and holidays, you’ll only do it when driven passionately.”

Bites of advice:

  • Rouse those around you to share your passion.
  • Success is in the details of your daily check list. Everything speaks when the buck stops with you.
  • A polished, poised and considerate attitude is the key to staying power and rising leadership rank.

Kim Lapine

A love of food, wine and people lured this marketing pro to work within this space. She bartended at Houlihans to cover Boston University’s hospitality school tuition, and later assumed operations and marketing roles with notable restaurant groups, before joining Smith & Wollensky in 2010.

“I strongly encourage operations experience. If you can’t communicate to the boots on the ground, you won’t be great at marketing. They’re your brand ambassadors,” says Lapine.

Business foresight prompted her to study Web and graphic design, better preparing her for her current job.

“The hardest thing to do in marketing is prove that spending millions in a particular arena reaches anyone. With digital media, there are so many analytics available throughout a campaign. Everything you do is measurable. You can build an ROI model to share with financial folks and marketers, monitor progress, and base decisions on real data,” says Lapine.

Today, the company utilizes online media platforms to communicate its commitment to quality.

“Our key bartenders and brand partners post on their social media accounts. We share stories and video about our USDA prime beef vendors, wineries, and food purveyors that engage guests,” says Lapine. “We also monitor an online dashboard that pulls customer reviews from Open Table about our brand, from which we often make decisions.”

With nine nationwide locations (the original NYC location is owned and operated by another restaurant group), over 1,000 employees, and sales topping $18 million at some restaurants annually, to nab a top earning spot, “There’s no one set path,” says Lapine. “The president of our company began as butcher’s assistant. I’ve seen dishwashers become Sous Chefs. For those with passion and a willingness to learn, the sky’s the limit.”

Lapine herself aspires to become Chief Marketing Officer.

“At the senior level, you’re able to partake in an equity sharing program,” she says. “You’re more of an invested partner and involved in strategic decisions.”

Bites of advice:

  • Gain operations expertise to connect with workers who uphold your brand from the ground up.
  • Increase yours and your organization’s social media savvy to boost customer loyalty and the bottom line.
  • Absorb all you can and maintain razor sharp focus. Success is bound to follow such commitment.

James Lin

With huge growth expectations over the next three years (2,000 new posts) and the company’s restaurants sales alone tracking towards $250 million for 2014, Kimpton’s concept development group plays a pivotal organizational role.

These idea generators work with a real estate development team to analyze a location’s competition and determine which restaurant concepts will likely succeed.

For example, “We recently re-launched a space in San Francisco, now named, Dirty Habit,” says Lin. “The new bar-centric concept includes an outdoor patio, which proved to be a game-changer for that neighborhood. It’s one of our best performing restaurants to date this year.”

When conceptualizing Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar, at The Brice, Kimpton’s recently-opened Savannah, Georgia boutique-hotel property, “We recruited a popular local chef/restaurateur as a consultant to help us connect with the local community. It’s played out well. We’ve gained great press in that marketplace,” says Lin.

And on the F&B side, “Top management are earning at least six-figures, with profit incentives tied to performance,” says Lin. “We’re competing against independent restaurants and want to foster an entrepreneurial environment to make people feel more vested in the business.”

Bites of advice:

  • Creativity is a hot commodity. Use it to your advantage and to evolve your company’s brand.
  • Take advantage of local PR opportunities to craft great word of mouth for your business.
  • Assume an entrepreneurial mindset. The money is there for those fixated on a business’ potential.

A view from the top in the restaurant world takes innovation, drive and impassioned concentration. Lead chefs and bartenders with rock star appeal can reap monetary and intrinsic rewards for their culinary and motivational prowess. For innovative and Internet-savvy minds, hot professional niches, including social media marketing and new concept development, are worth exploring. If you can handle biting off more than you can chew and hungry to succeed, you can command a six-figure paycheck, while living your passion.

Related Career Articles:

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Join Us – Toronto Career Fair on 9/23

Sep 03, 14 Join Us – Toronto Career Fair on 9/23

Join us for our Hcareers Hospitality Career Fair in Toronto on September 23rd from 1-5p.

Spend the day speaking with representatives from leading hospitality companies and meet HR reps and hiring managers face-to-face! Save time, money and effort interviewing with multiple companies in one day.

Hcareers Career Fairs are a great way for you to explore potential employment opportunities and learn more about hospitality employers who are actively hiring.

Register today and find your dream job next month!


Sheraton Centre
123 Queen Street W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada

We’ll see you there!

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Vegas: Finally

Aug 27, 14 Vegas: Finally

By Hcareers Account Executive, Mike Horan

Having never been to Las Vegas before, I thought it ill-advisable to write a blog about it. After all, I must be the ONLY person on this planet who has never been to Vegas. Most people would just think….’been there, done that. Nevertheless, a hub of the Hospitality Industry; several culinary treats awaits even the meekest of travellers.

“Vegas is great”! Say my friends, whom have, on several occasions (usually in the middle of my back-swing or a difficult, breaking putt) regaled me with stories I find utterly distasteful, if not meaningless and outright pestilential. Vegas has always struck me as place without soul; a quagmire of greed, spurned-on by the darker and less-intelligent side of human nature.

“You go down with $1000, and you come back minus that $1000, and another $1000 owing on your credit card”!  They would say, big smiles on their faces….looking at me like I was some kind of idiot….Um, sorry fellas, that does NOT sound like fun to me.

My pre-conceived images bore visions of baseless, immoral, greedy people; zombieistic wanderers seemingly wearing dollar sign contact lenses; groups of money-minded hustlers, intent on pursuing the fantastical concept of ‘easy-money’. I recall so well the words of actor Robert DeNiro’s character ‘Ace Rothstein’ in the movie Casino, “….Vegas is a place where millions of suckers fly in every year on their own nickel, and leave behind about a billion dollars….” How true. I harboured images of James Bond films (Diamonds are Forever) casino scenes where the dress code seemed to be tailored tuxedos coupled with sultry sequins worn by people buzzing on the noxious mixture of alcohol and oxygen. Was this what I was in for?

Surely enough, during a hot week in August, while my two daughters were busy with their annual Girl Guide Campout Week on the Sunshine Coast, my wife and I, accompanied by another couple, decided to take that ‘frivolous pilgrimage’,  that ‘adventure venture’, that ‘soulless sojourn’, …..Yes, I would finally see for myself the charming, luring siren we call Las Vegas, Nevada. An apparitional sign slapped on my back saying “Soddom and Gomorrah or Bust”….away we went; four nights of restaurants, shows and casinos (not to mention a solo road trip through the hot, sticky, deceiving Nevada desert across The Extra Terrestrial Highway up to Area 51 and an alien burger at the Little Aleinn Restaurant in Rachel NV)


Staying at the MGM Grand was an experience all in its own; the lobby, for instance, was the size of a hockey rink, and this seemed common to all the properties along The Strip….they were huge! (Better get those skates moving to beat the growing line-up at check-in, but by the time I crossed the blue line, the queue had diminished substantially.). Of course, the casinos were three times the size of the lobbies. The room was nice enough, overlooking The Strip and offering a view of the distant brown, arid mountains all the way out to Nellis AFB. The view was not at all British Columbia-like. Rather the opposite. I became enraptured in its rustic, plain, bromidic beauty. The landscape and sky was utterly mesmerizing….taking on the look of a back-lit, multi-toned chroma key. A vast blue sky offered various hues of baby blue, and acted as a backdrop for the majestic expanse of ochre-coloured, dusty-tinged mountain ranges. I was ruefully ripped from this brief, peaceful introspection by the shrill of the bedside phone; our friends had arrived in their room and wanted to organize a quick blackjack blitz (already? Geez)

Directly across the street stood the New York, NY hotel, in all its fraudulent, simulated glory, resplendent with a surrounding roller coaster dazzling and weaving above and around a miniature Manhattan. Who knew that Las Vegas Boulevard housed the Empire State Building as well as the Eiffel Tower? Distances along the Strip are highly deceiving. A walk up to the Mirage to see the Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil took close to an hour….if only because I wanted to stop to see the fountains of Caesar’s Palace….you know, the ones Evel Knievel jumped over at the cost of 42 broken bones? No hotel impressed me with such zeal as The Venetian though….wow, what a great job done here to stand out amongst other The Strip hotels. If you’re there, take a Gondola ride; it was quite nice (who cares that the water is a chlorinated, crystal blue swimming pool and doesn’t smell like the rat-infested sewage of Venice Italy; the dude spoke Italian….what more do you want in Nevada? Plus, he didn’t ask to guzzle your bottle of wine like they do on the real Venice gondolas (I lost half a bottle of Chianti once upon a time on a Gondola in Venice….oh yes, sometimes you really do have to ‘stand up’ in an Italian canoe Bur that’s another story I’ll tell you another time… let’s talk about restaurants….


There are plenty of gimmicky theme places on the strip – Margaritaville, Kahunaville,  Dick’s Last Resort, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, BB King’s Blues Club, Diablos, Gilley’s etc – but I wouldn’t say any of the “fun” places are necessarily all that great. Just typical burger and fries fare usually. I tried a few…listed below, regardless of cost. (either that or I grab a hotdog and blow money on blackjack)

A ‘fun’ restaurant is Kahunaville…. I have a penchant for exotic island-infused drinks in a fun, lively atmosphere. I’m a sucker for delightful tropical fare (Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi or Piña Colada Chicken) while sipping signature frozen cocktails and traditional drink creations Kahunavilles is known for…how many of those did I have again? Sure, it sounds ‘kitschy’, but it’s in a hotel called Treasure Island, so it is fitting.  I also tried CAPOS, a luxurious mob-style, speakeasy themed restaurant with tantalisingly succulent rib and steak dishes, not to mention traditional Italian cuisine. This unique establishment offers live nightly entertainment, and incredible food: truly a unique offering you won’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas.

Of course, there is a resident PF Chang’s for that Asian, MSG fix (they have a very nice bar to wait in while your table gets readied, and the barkeep is skilled and steady-handed) Chinese flair for sure, and the food is noticeably different than your usual Chinese fare.

How many have clamoured into Planet Hollywood over the recent years is still unknown, but their Strip House competes with some of the most prominent steak houses in the US, along with their knack for signature side-dishes. (be sure to try their garlic bread with Gorgonzola Fondue). Or if a dressed up burger is what you’re into, chomp down on one of Gordon Ramsay’s internationally-infused burgers (didn’t hear him screaming in the kitchen, though I listened intently)

After gaining weight (and few blackjack bucks) I would definitely return to this crazy pod of unique, frivolous culture. There is so much more to do, see (& eat)….besides, I didn’t get to see Carrot Top!


Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo

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Changes are coming!

Aug 20, 14 Changes are coming!

Hi there, welcome to Hcareers’ new blog!

You might notice that it’s still in the works. Thanks for your patience as we get it all settled with our new and improved look.

Thanks for stopping by, check back soon to see the latest and greatest!

Thanks from all of us at Hcareers.

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