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Getting Recharged

Top Tips For Senior Hotel Executives Nearing Retirement

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Mr. Larry Mogelonsky
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Oh, how times have changed. No longer is there a fixed rule on retirement dates as there was years ago when you reached the age of 65. It’s not necessary as our overall health has improved, attributed to a reduction in tobacco use, less alcohol consumption, better eating habits, more exercise and improved medical options.

This means that you can be in perfectly good health and still performing at your mental peak well into your senior years. That’s great news if you love what you do and indeed many veteran hoteliers have already answered the call by remaining on the clock well into their emeritus years, lending their wisdom to every task and extending their mentorship to all new hires.

Setting aside the ability to work longer or a financial need to do so, all these older team members make retirement a question rather than an answer. So, how do you know if it’s your time to throw in the towel for good or if you are perhaps just going through a temporary malaise with your line of work?

For this, we must look beyond the tell-tale signs of aging like lower energy levels, shorter attention spans and general impatience. With the average life expectancy now reaching upwards of the high 80s, there is no reason to retire just because you’ve reached 65. Here are eight ways to breathe new life into your current job so you can stay active and help inspire those around you.

1. Tackle technology head-on. I’m sorry if you’re not a gearhead, but you have to become one! If you can’t keep abreast of technology and all its jargon, you will never be anywhere close to the top of your trade. As painful as it seems, you have to read the journals, visit the websites and attend the webinars. Ask questions and learn. Review your property’s technology capabilities as well as all current trends in other industries and consumer behavior in general.

2. Mentorship. Take on one or two newbies in your organization and work with them. Let them understand your love for hospitality and tutor them on all the elements of guest service they just don’t teach at college.

3. Get out of the office. Attend key hospitality events, such as BITAC® and others. Or better yet, drop in (as a surprise visit without advance warning) to a few of your sales missions to see your team in action. Be a roving ambassador for your business.

4. Departmental cross-pollination. Spend a half-day working in each of the following departments: housekeeping, laundry, front desk, reservations center, concierge, kitchen, sales, marketing, public relations and catering. Go on a sales call to a corporate client or be a part of a wedding sale. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot more about your business than what is told in planning committee meetings.

5. Eat in the company cafeteria at least twice a month. Talk to your team. Learn about what the issues are. Ask how things are going. Want to learn about the competition? I’ll bet they know more about occupancies and issues in your comp set than your sales team!

6. Take all of your vacation. You’ve been in the business for over 30 years, so a week away once a quarter is mandatory. And make it a real recharge by telling your second-in-command that you will accept only one email per day, delivered at precisely noon summarizing the previous day. Do not read your daily reports or any other nonsense. Read hotel journals or a novel instead. Stay at hotels where you can learn something to bring back to the home front.

7. Move or redecorate. You’ve probably had the same office for years. If you cannot move it, then while you’re away have it totally redecorated. Get rid of those old mementos because, remember, you want to live in the present and future, not the past. Make your office look 20 years younger. One of the best GM offices I ever saw had no desk and just two sofas, two chairs and a coffee table. When asked, the reply was, “If I need a desk, I’ll go into a boardroom.”

8. Spend more time with your senior staff. Plan your month to have one-on-one meals with all of your planning committee members individually. Seek their personal counsel on issues where the business is heading as well as those within their own departments. Diarize key thoughts and take advantage of initiatives that are identified.
Larry Mogelonsky    Mr. Larry Mogelonsky
Managing Partner, Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited
Owners, Principals, or Partners
LMA Communications Inc.

Bio: One of the world’s most published writer in hospitality, Larry Mogelonsky is the principal of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited, a Toronto-based consulting practice. His experience encompasses hotel properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Larry is also on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology. His work includes five books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), ...
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