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Giving Voice to You, Our Readers

For those of you who know me, you know I like to talk. Believe me when I tell you, I am rarely at a loss for words.

But I also know when to listen—and more importantly, when to “step aside” and let someone else have the floor. This is one of those times. We cut my editor’s note down in size to give voice to one of our readers in the adjoining “inbox.” As professionals who conduct business in this industry on a daily basis—whether owning or managing the hotels we write about or, in this case, educating the next generation of students who will become those owners and managers—we know you have a lot to say, and your opinion is important to us. Thank you for sharing it.

As the year rolls on, Hotel Business will continue to roll out initiatives to create a more interactive experience, to create more dialogue. Whether through our social media channels or new video programming, we’re going to continue to implement initiatives to keep you engaged with us, us engaged with you—and you engaged with each other. We’re excited to take our brand to the next level with a redesigned website (stay tuned!) and a new video series for starters, as we help you take your brands to new heights as well. We’re on this journey together. And while we might be upping our game on the digital field, there’s nothing better than getting a good, old-fashioned letter to the editor to print in our issue. Read on…

To the Editor:

I was disappointed today to read in the 11/21/2016 issue under the Truth Trackers section a big slight at hospitality education and tuition reimbursement. I love Hotel Business, but I simultaneously love the fact that education makes us a stronger industry.

In the piece, the authors, on page 46, exclaim that owners may not know of mandatory tuition reimbursement programs: “…(up to $10,000 per employee!)…” (as if it’s the most horrible thing an owner could spend money on.

Indeed, the hospitality companies that spend more on tuition reimbursement do better in the marketplace (i.e., Starbucks pays for a FULL BACHELOR’S DEGREE online at Arizona State University to any of its associates that desire to pursue an education).

Further, if one examines the number of staff at a local property who would actually use the tuition reimbursement for a college education, it is hardly an area that owners should be worried about in costs.

Last, I’ll add that the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)—a wonderful education and advocacy group for our industry—has an entire division that is dedicated to continued education, lifelong learning and professionalizing oneself on lodging knowledge so that he or she can improve their ownership.

This slight on education was meant to be shocking as if it were a waste of money; indeed, there are other areas that are far more wastes of money for owners. Education for their associates is NOT one of them. I say this not as a hospitality educator, but as a former hotel general manager and operator.

I’d wager money that the more education on average my property’s associates have, the better I’ll perform.

A library or Google Scholar search on the topic of whether or not a property (or company) that provides tuition reimbursement performs better than its peer properties (or companies) will return hundreds, if not thousands of return articles.

I’d strongly suggest the authors of your Truth Trackers read some of these before they post such outlandish claims that tuition reimbursement is a fee that is worthwhile. They mention as not “obvious and easily tracked,” but indeed there is plenty of research on the topic already.

I love their fact-finding pieces and truth tracking, but I had to put in my two cents on this particular one because the authors’ brief statement made education appear worthless to an industry that already suffers historically from having a vocational, uneducated reputation.

Peter Ricci,
Florida Atlantic University

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