With hotel owners and operators under 40 making up an ever-growing portion of the industry and increasingly involved in decision-making, how are hotel companies getting input from these younger professionals? How are they helping to shape the current and future state of the hospitality industry?
The IHG Owners Association – which represents the interests of thousands of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) owners and operators worldwide – established the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC) for young pioneers just three years ago, and already the group is being hailed for its influence, perspective and growing role within the Association and the IHG brand.
The ELC is comprised of members from around the globe and represented on each of the IHG Owners Association committees. Led by its own Executive Committee, the Council focuses on such key areas as leadership development and owner engagement. Here, young owners share responsibilities and have a voice when decisions are made within the Association.
According to Eva Ferguson, who is celebrating 30 years with the IHG Owners Association, and served as President since 2005, “These younger leaders are brand ambassadors for both the Association and IHG. With their energy, fresh perspective and desire to learn and lead, they represent an important way that the IHG Owners Association is taking a leadership role in the industry, and finding innovative and meaningful ways to grow and enhance the overall IHG community.”
Says Bakulesh "Buggsi" Patel, the first Asian-American Chairman of IHG Owners Association and President of BHG Hotels, “Members of the Emerging Leaders Council are young, up-and-coming leaders within our Association family and the IHG community. They bring important perspectives that advance the dialogue but help shape decision making as well.”
For example, the ELC helps colleagues understand the value proposition of technology and social media and their competitive advantage in today’s world, along with the importance of infusing industry innovations through all facets of the hotel stay. In addition, the group regularly facilitates networking events at major industry conferences. To date, the ELC has been involved in such major initiatives as the launch of the Holiday Inn Express Start™ Breakfast and Crowne Plaza’s Print Anywhere.
Members of the ELC agree that the Council has helped strengthen their leadership skills and network, and become a key component to establish relationships early on.
“The ELC provides a platform for the younger generation to be totally engaged in the process, and I am excited to be part of it,” says Gurjot Dhaliwal, 2014 ELC Chairman and Owner/Principle Correspondent of Killeen, TX-based Dhaliwal Enterprises, Inc. “We are perfectly positioned to make a real impact, especially when it comes to technology because we understand the value proposition of evolving technologies and the competitive advantages they afford our hotels.”
their full To become a member of the ELC, applicants must be members of the IHG Owners Association and under the age of 40, with a strong passion for IHG brands and a track record of successful hotel operations. Applications are reviewed on an individual basis beginning in late summer for the following year. For additional information, visit www.owners.org.
IHG Owners Association
The IHG Owners Association – originally established by Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson in 1955 – was the first association of its kind in the hotel industry. It currently represents the interests of owners and operators of more than 3,200 Intercontinental Hotels Group® (IHG) properties in the United States, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Mexico and the Middle East. Throughout the years, the Association has been a voice for its members and played an integral role in communicating with IHG management on issues related to franchised hotel operations. The IHG family of brands includes InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hualuxe™, Crowne Plaza® Hotels and Resorts, Hotel Indigo™, EVEN Hotels™, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®.