Cooking Up a New Career

From time to time I like to write about different jobs in the hospitality industry because, well, there are tons of them.  So many, in fact, that I always tell people if you are unhappy with your current hospitality position you have no one to blame but yourself because all you need to do is look around and spread your wings – fly right,turn left, look up, then down. There is such a variety of jobs under this broad category that I could write about a different one every day of the week and you and I both would still be learning .  But, I’m not going to do that because, well, frankly that might get boring.  Plus, I’m not a headhunter (please don’t start sending me your resumes), so I’m going to spare you the details of Hospitality Jobs 101 and go straight to some of the more interesting ones.  Please consider this part of the advanced course.

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Faces of Hunger – Right in our Own Backyard

Many of us are already up to our turkey necks with food prep for the big holiday ahead, so reading another blog post about pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce might not seem too important right now. Go ahead and thank me for avoiding same because that’s not what this story is about. Instead, I want to focus on a different food issue. The one some people turn a blind eye to.

Hunger.

More specifically, hunger in our own neighborhoods, in people we meet and pass each day within our own communities.

If you’re reading this right now you probably aren’t worried about where your next meal is coming from. In fact, you might be hard pressed to even remember what it feels like to be hungry, and I’m not referring to that gap between your last Starbucks and the chicken salad you bought for lunch. I’m talking about to honest to goodness hunger pains that start to take over your stomach first, then your mental state of mind when you’ve only had one meal in the last two days. Or, maybe none at all.

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What Do Women Want in Hospitality?

Last month I wrote a post about Chinese travelers – specifically about 1.4 billion of them that could be showing up very soon at a hotel or restaurant near you right here in Florida.  Today I’m “narrowing down” the discussion topic a bit more by talking about only 49.6% of the total world population, aka women, the single largest target market in the hospitality industry.  Specifically, the most recent stats show there are 3.52 billion women on this planet (roughly half the population).  And yes, I know that tittle you see up above is a loaded question but seriously, even though women are only about half of the world’s population, by some estimates we still account for 92% of the vacation decisions.  Using those numbers it’s destined to be a hot topic in this industry which in turn makes it super important to Orlando, so let’s just let those stats sink in for a minute.

You read that correctly – 92% of vacation purchases including airline decisions, hotel selections and restaurants as well as buying all those precious souvenir tchotchkes are made by women, and even I was shocked by the estimated dollar volume this accounts for because, are you ready for this? In some reports, women are shown to be responsible for a whopping expenditure of, drum roll please, $7 TRILLION dollars annually related to vacation purchases. Just in the USA. (Notice I didn’t print that in numericals because frankly I’m not really sure how many zeros to use.)

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Chinese Travel Trends

I recently wrote about Cuba being a hot destination topic, but now it’s time to recognize the emerging importance of China to not only travel but also just about everything on this planet including the recent downward spiral of the numbers coming from Wall Street.  And while I’m not attempting to solve the world financial crises here in the Hive (we have to leave something for politicians to do, right?), I do want to talk about the entrance of numerous Chinese travelers and investors into our own little corner of the planet right here in Central Florida.

And for those of you that think we are besieged by visitors from Brazil and the UK you are technically correct.  Numbers from Visit Orlando show that’s where the majority of foreign visitors to Central FL come from to the tune of 770,000 and 759,000 respectively in 2013 alone (last available statistics). But want to know who’s expected to be coming in record numbers in the future? HINT:  the answer is in this blog’s title.

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I Drive 360 Orlando – Top FIVE Know Before You Go

Yes, it’s true.  Some of us are able to get in before the crowds and take a ‘spin’ around. But no, when I use the word spin I’m not referring to having been on the ride already because technically, well, it’s not quite ready and seriously, who wants to risk their lives just for the sake of scooping a story?  Not the HH Maven, although during my days at USF we were privy to many opportunities to ‘ride the rides’ before the flood gates were open to the masses.  But I digress with that little share because this post is not about a [now] 25 year old attraction.  This is a preview post about the latest and greatest attraction that Orlando has to offer, The Orlando Eye.

I know you’re already thinking I’m a lucky gal, right?  Well, yes, I’ll go ahead and agree with you because I’m not going to lie.  It’s a really cool thing to be able to take a hard hat walk-through while the place is still empty and in advance of an estimated 2 million visitors (year one estimate) coming from every nook and cranny of the universe to see what all the fuss is about.  But beyond the ‘cool’ factor I should also point out that I do make my living as a planner so, among other things, that means I like to know details in advance because how else can a planner avoid near disaster if she isn’t properly informed?  Lucky for you I’m happy to share what I was able to learn about the I-Drive 360 which is the official name of what most people will refer to as The Orlando Eye.

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Looking for Something to “Wine” About?

Well, here’s some interesting wine news from the hospitality desk: In a recent survey about global wine and travel trends conducted by market research firm StudyLogic, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts discovered that after a long day, one out of every two people would reach for a glass of wine (48%) rather than their smartphone/tablet (15%) or – get ready for this one – even their spouse (15%). Yes, you read that correctly. Having a chat with your spouse was given the same percentage ranking of importance (or lack thereof) as reaching for your electronic device, aka crack cocaine of personal choice. [see previous Hive posting RE more on this phenom at Welcome to the Experience Economy ]

Further, and perhaps even more surprising, were that survey results also showed 23% of the respondents would be willing to give up sex for a week in return for a premium highly rated glass of wine. (Hey, I’m just reporting the facts here. Please don’t diss the messenger.)

So what does that mean to you and I? In broader terms, a lot of us like wine, oh yeah, and we like it real good.

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Looking for Interesting Work in the Field of Hospitality?

If so, there’s plenty to choose from, especially here in Orlando.  And in particular if you’re one of the many, many people who actually put this sentence on your resume or job application:  “I’m such a PEOPLE person, I know I’ll be perfect for this job!  People just LOVE me!”  Well go ahead, gag all you want, but some people, and you know who you are, really do put this on their job application.  But good news for all you people-lovers, because guess what?  Seriously, what kind of jobs are out there that don’t require some form of interaction with actual live human beings at some point?  (Okay, I do recognize that there are a lot of virtual workers in the world now; but still, even those jobs must require just a tad of  playing-nice-with-people-when-necessary, right?)

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50 Shades – Is Orlando Ready?

Okay, stop rolling your eyes! Before you judge me, this IS NOT another random commentary for or against “Fifty” that, like it or not, has only just begun to push it’s way into our sub conscience. Like a tidal wave that’s been churning out in the ocean searching for a landing spot on which to explode, once the movie is released in another week, http://www.50shadesofgrey.com, even the two people left on this planet who have never read the books by E. L. James , http://www.fiftyshadesofgrey.com will now be forced into discussions and conversations about red rooms, blindfolds, and, um, “oh my”, what people do with those whips in the bedroom.

Lucky for you that’s not what this post is about. (Pause for disappointing sighs from some readers who now feel mislead by this blog title. I guess this is where we say goodbye? . . .)

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Woof-woof! Is That a Dog I Hear In the Room Next Door?

Well, if you’re staying at any number of local hotels, it very well could be. You see, Orlando has definitely embraced the newest members of the traveling world, that being the pampered pet community. Yes, hotels have gone to the dogs. And cats. And while I hesitate to think of what other types of animals people travel with these days. . .for now, let’s just concentrate on the ‘normal’ ones and leave the exotic and creepy pets where they should stay which is in the wild, or at the very least a zoo. I mean, at home with their owners. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

So, let’s suppose you have a beloved dog or cat and can’t leave home without this pet. And let’s also assume you travel in style so, of course, Fido/Princess/Lassie/Boo would expect nothing less for his or her vacation either, right? Where to go? No seriously, where should you go, specifically here in Orlando? Believe it or not, we have plenty of choices. Some that may even surprise you.

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7 easy-peasy random acts of kindness to brighten the holiday season

. . .and, here in the Hive, we believe that’s always a very good thing.  Of course, ‘RaK’s’ are welcome any day of the year, but for some reason as we approach the twin goodness of Thanksgiving and the mother-of-all holidays that closely follows, it seems even more pertinent to acknowledge the need to pay it forward – if only in the tiniest of ways – as much as possible.  So, in the spirit of being grateful for a multitude of things, how about trying a week’s worth of random acts of kindness?  To get you started, here are seven easy ones that are basic and inexpensive but could leave lasting impressions:

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The Four Seasons – Luxury, Ambience and a Food Truck?

That’s right, a food truck.  Who knew?  For most people (myself included) familiar with the Four Seasons message of over-the-top luxury, the tag-along of a food truck would never be in the same sentence.  Yet here I am writing about both.  One from the standpoint of ‘been there, experienced that’ and the other, well, guess […]

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Would These Events Scare You?

Having some fun this week in the spirit of Halloween, so I’m sharing some shortened versions of “scary event stories” that have happened to professionals, myself included, who work in this industry. To be clear, these stories are all true. But, in the spirit of ‘protecting the innocent’, I’m not divulging any names/places. Not now. Not never!

What I can tell you is that as a veteran planner in this industry, there’s no need to make this stuff up because crazy things really do happen all the time, everywhere meetings and events are held. And yes, even here in Orlando. Just ask any one of the over 200,000 hospitality employees that live and work here.

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Can Airline Safety be Sexy?

Whether or not you’re a frequent flyer or just occasionally visit ‘the friendly skies’ (I know use of that quote dates me but seriously, that’s what we used to call them and hey, news flash – before 9/11 many flights actually were consumer friendly and enjoyable), you’ve probably seen some of the recent safety videos offered up by most of the major carriers.  Although I’m not sure who went first, I think it might have been Virgin Airlines with this sexy, funky, crazy version released last year and now seen by over 9 million people.

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Welcome to the Experience Economy

Keeping up with industry buzzwords, I learned recently that we have left the SERVICE economy behind us and are now in the EXPERIENCE economy.  (Technically, this happened a few years back.  For data and details, check out the book The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore that was last updated in, um. 2011. Full Disclosure:  Not the first time I’ve been late to the party. Just sayin’ .) Anyway, here in the wonderful world of hospitality we still believe that service is king, oh yes we do! But, the current challenge is to find more and better ways of providing excellent service experiences at the same time that we’re embracing unemotional systems, policies and procedures.

To put it in a hospitality-hotel nutshell, if you’re smoking your iPhone and are addicted to technology (yes, you out there, currently tapping your thumbs on your you-know-what), do you really want or care about that smile delivered with your room key at hotel check in, or would you prefer to bypass human interaction at the front desk and unlock your room with an app that you’ve downloaded on your very own hand-held piece of legal crack (aka iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, or whatever you’ve got)?

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