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By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.lma.ca)

Attending the last Cornell Hospitality Research Summit in 2014 was a fantastic experience and one that is well worth the trek for any who can make it. As a think tank on the industry at large, there was much learning to be had and I’d recommend the conference to anyone looking for a worthwhile networking event or to catch up on some of the latest research hitting the hospitality airwaves.

However, this being held at a hotel school had an unintended effect. It put me face to face with many young, bright minds who will soon enter the workforce, most likely in the hospitality field.

Meeting students is always a positive experience, especially when they are enthusiastically volunteering to help orchestrate a symposium of this nature or willingly serving you at a restaurant. These encounters are opportunities for you to invigorate the next generation of hoteliers with your passion and wisdom, but they are also chances for you to rekindle your youthful (and perhaps naïve) excitement to start your career.

I took the time to talk with several Cornell Hotel School undergrads, both while attending the summit and in the adjoining Statler Hotel that employs student interns for the front desk, reception duties and in the restaurants. Universally, the hotel students I met showed an unfailing commitment to hospitality. They were eager to embrace the fundamentals of guest service and recognized these values that we hold so precious.

Unbridled by the need to deliver a RevPAR target or meet some unseen corporate head office revenue commitment, they have yet to be ‘ground down’ by the P&L gremlins. They were consummate learners, eager to discuss all manners of hotel management or travel with gusto and not a hint of fatigue.

Remember back to the start of your career in hospitality. What was it that drove you to this profession in the first place? I will bet that the lion’s share of your day-to-day job was part of that train of thought. By chatting with the young minds of hospitality, you are in essence absorbing their aura. Yes, the conversation may be rather one-sided as said students prod you with never-ending questions, but this unto itself should ‘show you the light’ in terms of what outlook you must have for consummate success.

So, what can you do to reinvigorate this youthful passion? Simple: go back to school! For most of us, there should be a hotel school relatively close by. If not, then no doubt one is only a short flight away.

I am confident that they would welcome your involvement. And there are many ways to shoehorn your way in, among them: give a lecture, request a tour with a senior manager, have students visit your property, present your company as a vendor at a job fair, reach out to the alumni association or participate in student internship programs. The students will benefit immensely from your experience, but you will as well.

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Editors note: If you enjoy Larry's articles please feel free to reach out to him directly.

About Larry Mogelonsky

Larry Mogelonsky (larry@lma.net) is the founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma.ca), an award-winning, full service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry (est. 1991). Larry is also the developer of Inn at a Glance hospitality software. As a recognized expert in marketing services, his experience encompasses Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Hotels & Resorts, as well as numerous independent properties throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Larry is a registered professional engineer, and received his MBA from McMaster University. He’s also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants, an associate of G7 Hospitality and a member Laguna Strategic Advisors. His work includes three books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012) and “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Hotel Llama” (2014). You can reach Larry at larry@lma.ca to discuss any hospitality business challenges or to review speaking engagements.

Contact: Larry Mogelonsky

larry@lma.ca

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