Recruiting the A-team in the i-World

Recruiting the A-team in the i-World

I wasn’t sure what to expect in the way of responses to my first blog, and that’s exactly what I got — the unexpected. The comments were varied, but several writers seemed to think I was a bit naïve in thinking the Internet was the solution to hotel profitability. There is no question we live in an “and-and” world, and there are usually multiple solutions to any challenge.

I’m not denying that I’m naïve about a lot of things, but when it comes to running hotels, I’ll join anyone in the wrestling cage. As I sought to improve NOI, I met with a lot of Internet experts. I now know how to “like,” “friend,” “tweet” and have my website optimized for search engines. But what they couldn’t tell me was how to translate the Internet trickbag into something valuable or how to convert that knowledge into dollars.  

A lot of the ideas and solutions that I intend to share here may be old hat to some folks, but most hoteliers I know are not convinced that the Internet can directly and positively impact their bottom line (direct bookings aside). Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned otherwise, and those are the lessons I intend to share in future discussions.  

Here in Phoenix, spring training camps are starting to come to life, and it reminds me of the importance of recruiting in building a winning team. In the movie “Moneyball,” Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics who becomes disenchanted with the team’s method of recruiting players. At the end of the day, he steps outside the batter’s box and decides to focus on those players who “got on base” more than those who hit home runs.  

Home-run hitters are exciting, but for hotel operations we need solid, “A” players calmly and efficiently hitting singles, fielding the ball and catching pop flies every day to deliver a winning season for the fans and owners — I mean, customers and investors. 

Attracting and retaining “A” players is a surefire way to improve NOI, and over the past five quarters, we’ve turned to the Internet to cast a broader, more affordable net. Like most companies, we used to post jobs on our website and advertise in newspapers, trade magazines and the like, but by using the Internet and some web-based behavioral profiling tools, we’ve been able to cut our open position time by 35%. What’s more, we have retained 90% of the management-level people we recruited this way, and we’re only spending half as much as we once did using traditional recruiting methods.

You might say that with so many people out of work, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. And if we were just hiring warm bodies, I’d agree. The important thing is that we’ve been able to hire the right people for the job, and we’ve been able to do it quickly and cost-effectively.

The savings in time and money — coupled with the operational gains resulting from having qualified people in place more quickly — all goes directly to NOI. At one hotel, we cut turnover in half by improving our recruiting and screening methods.

I’m not going to suggest using LinkedIn and other online networking sites makes me a recruiting genius. What I will suggest, however, is that job seekers are using multiple resources in their searches, and just as we need to be where our customers are (specifically, on the Internet), we also need to be where the top talent is if we want to recruit them to our teams.

This Internet recruiting approach is working well for us. We have positively impacted NOI by filling many positions using internal resources and the vast capabilities of the web.  

What do you think? Are you using the Internet to recruit talent? I hope we can use this forum to share ideas and generate solutions.