2015 - 02 Februrary


High School Programs

High School Hospitality Competition Needs Judges, Mentors, and More

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is looking for judges and sponsors for its 2015 HTMP International Competition , which will bring teams of enthusiastic, motivated high school hospitality students to Orlando, Florida, to demonstrate their skills and knowledge as they compete for scholarships to leading hospitality schools. The students are enrolled in high school programs that use AHLEI's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) curriculum, which introduces them to the many opportunities available in the hospitality industry and guides them on a career path. 

The 12th annual competition will be held April 23-25, at the Rosen Shingle Creek. Competition judges provide important feedback to students as they critique teams on their performance, and also provide students with opportunities to meeting and network with current hospitality industry professionals. Corporate sponsors, who may also serve as judges, help to provide the funding that enables AHLEI to offer students a high-quality competition experience as part of their high school hospitality studies. Academic institutions are also encouraged to offer scholarship packages to the winning teams, providing them with an opportunity to continue their hospitality studies at that college or university.  Scholarship providers are also invited to serve as judges. 

Competition segments include:

• Hospitality Project Presentation (Includes an event proposal, BEO, menu and floor layout)
• Night Audit/Hotel Accounting
• Housekeeping Room Inspection
• Sales & Marketing Case Study
• Food & Beverage Case Study
• Guest Service Case Study
• Knowledge Bowl (quiz-style question and answer segment)

To serve as a judge, please complete the Judges Registration Form and return it to AHLEI. Sponsors should complete the Sponsorship Commitment Form , while schools may complete the Scholarship Commitment Form .  All documents are due to AHLEI by March 1. For more information about becoming involved in the 2015 HTMP International Competition, contact Shelly Weir, vice president, domestic sales, at sweir@ahla.com or 1.407.999.8166. 

Products and Services

Best Western Pilots Art of Leadership Program

Art of Leadership small 2 As the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) prepares to launch its new Art of Leadership program, the Training & Development team received valuable feedback from a group of Best Western International trainers and managers, who piloted the program in mid-January. 

The Art of Leadership: Foundations , which will be available in March, is a group training program for managers and executives developed by AHLEI and Aspire. This program delivers actionable tools for leaders to enhance their leadership effectiveness through alignment, focus, and understanding of AHLEI and Aspire's proven processes for learning and development, based on Aspire's 6 Pillars of Alignment. Groups using the training will learn how to: 

• Break down the 6 Pillars of Alignment to identify how top performing organizations sustain outstanding performance
• Assess the alignment of your organization's staff and integrate the 6 Pillars into your team or organizational initiatives
• Differentiate between the 4 Levels of Performance and what each person needs to improve.

Sue Garwood, CHA, CHT, senior hospitality management trainer for Best Western, facilitated the Art of Leadership program for a group of six Best Western upper-level managers at the organization's headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.  Scott Chapman, AHLEI's vice president, training and development, and Victor Arguelles, senior instructional designer, observed the training, but did not engage with the group. 

"We gave them the product and told them we'd like it to be as close to realistic as possible," Arguelles explained.  "It was important to see whether the materials had enough information for the coach to lead the seminar effectively on her own.  This was our opportunity to see the product at work." 

The face-to-face seminar is designed to deliver actionable tools for leaders to enhance their leadership effectiveness. Through high-energy, interactive exercises, participants explore six core leadership behaviors known as the 6 Pillars of Alignment, proven to make work more exciting, and make the work environment more empowering and enjoyable. The seminar's hands-on approach delivers techniques to help leaders implement the pillars at their properties.

Program materials used by the pilot group included a coach's guide, participant manuals, and a resource DVD that included handouts, activity guides, and instructional videos to assist the coach/facilitator with ideas for conducting the main activities. 

During the eight-hour training session, Chapman and Arguelles took notes, then held a focus group session with the participants, along with Garwood and Mike Nalley, CHA, CHE, CHT, senior manager, education and training, Best Western International, to find out what worked and what needed improvement. 

"We received a lot of valuable information from them, so we were able to return and make changes to the program," said Arguelles.  "It was extremely beneficial to connect with one of our trusted clients to get feedback to make the Art of Leadership the best program it can be." 

Guest Service Gold® Online Training Now Bundled with Certification, Bonus Program

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has repackaged its popular Guest Service Gold® online training program to include the certification exam for the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation. In addition, individuals will also receive complimentary access to the online program, TripAdvisor® Reputation Management for Front-line Staff . The two products work well together, as many properties have discovered that delivering "gold" service results in measurable increases in their TripAdvisor® ratings.

Since its introduction in fall 2011, approximately 18,000 hospitality professionals and students have completed Guest Service Gold® training and earned the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation. They have learned how to engage with guests to provide memorable guest service by embodying the "gold" attributes of authenticity, intuition, empathy, delight, delivery, initiative, and being a champion.

The online Guest Service Gold® training takes about two hours to complete, and is followed by the 30-question CGSP® exam, which must be completed in one hour. A passing score of 70 percent or higher results in earning the designation.

The TripAdvisor® Reputation Management for Front-line Staff is a 30-minute online course, developed by AHLEI in collaboration with TripAdvisor®, which provides information on how front-line staff can encourage positive guest reviews by providing exceptional guest service. The training shows how managing a property's online reputation is essential and how guest reviews can contribute to a property's bottom line.

Academic Spotlight

New University of Phoenix Hospitality Programs Provide Opportunities to Earn AHLEI Professional Certification

University of Phoenix Small The School of Business at University of Phoenix, a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, has launched two new programs for individuals interested in pursuing hospitality careers or those currently employed in the industry. The new Associate of Arts degree program with a concentration in Hospitality Fundamentals and corresponding Hospitality Fundamentals Certificate are aligned with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) curriculum and standards.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality sector is expected to increase by more than 1.2 million jobs from 2012 to 2022. 

"Curriculum aligned with industry standards can help employers better assess candidates' qualifications and help current and prospective hospitality employees understand the skills necessary to move up in the industry," said Scott Chapman, AHLEI's vice president, training and development. "AHLEI is pleased to be working with University of Phoenix to provide industry-aligned curriculum and programs that help prepare students with the necessary skills to immediately begin working and growing in this dynamic industry." 

The Hospitality Fundamentals associate degree and certificate program help prepare students to sit for two AHLEI certifications: Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) and Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®). The certificate can be pursued as a standalone program or earned en route to an associate degree. The associate degree program can also ladder directly to a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.

"The Hospitality Fundamentals programs were designed to help current and prospective hospitality employees meet the increasing demand for qualified professionals in the sector," said Ruth Veloria, executive dean, University of Phoenix School of Business. "The programs are reflective of the University's commitment to directly align curriculum with industry needs and create laddered programs to help professionals achieve milestones and qualify for roles with increasing responsibilities as they continue to pursue their educations."

International Spotlight

South Africa Program Prepares Emerging Leaders for Hospitality Advancement

Emerging Leaders Small A dozen employees from several South African hotels have begun an extensive 15-month training and educational program to prepare them for leadership positions in the hospitality industry.  Program participants will earn AHLEI's Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) designation and complete online courses from the International Hotel School , AHLEI's Hospitality Education Partner (HEP) in South Africa. At the end of the program, successful participants will earn their full National Qualification in Hospitality Management. The program is being presented by the Hospitality Property Fund (HPF), a key player in the South African hotel industry. 

"The future of the hospitality industry depends on the people employed into the industry and being able to re-ignite the passion for the hospitality industry. One can have a beautiful, well-looked-after product but if you do not have the people on board to make the hotel come alive then the guest experience will not be in line with the actual product," said Ashleigh Christie, human resources development manager for the Hospitality Property Fund.  "We at HPF have committed to develop the leaders of tomorrow as well as ensure that all team members working at our various properties are given the opportunity to grow and develop in an environment where they feel valued and can give their best."

The Emerging Leaders Programme, offered through HPF's Hospitality Development Academy, came about when a needs assessment of HPF properties revealed that very few people were ready for promotion into more senior management positions.  However, there was much talent among employees in the supervisory and junior management positions. 

"We started to discuss different options with Stuart Blackburn from the International Hotel School and decided to combine the AHLEI Supervisory Skill Builders program with the International Hotel School's online learning platform, in order to give future leaders an all-around qualification that would then allow them to climb the ladder," explained Christie. 

"At Africa's leading hospitality school, the International Hotel School, in partnership with AHLEI, our mission is to create hospitality and culinary excellence through education, training and certification, providing knowledge and skills to globally mobile people who are passionate about a career in the very diverse hospitality industry," said Blackburn, managing director, training division,  International Hotel School. "Growing leaders is essential, and the Emerging Leaders Programme initiated by the Hospitality Property Fund is exactly the type of program that equips our future leaders; this all ensures our industry and people remain focussed on development, and delivering world class service and skills."

Candidates for the program were required to complete a personal business plan and go through an interview process to ensure that the right people were selected.  The 12 participants represent a broad range of hospitality positions, including food and beverage, maintenance, reservations and night audit, housekeeping, and spa.  These emerging leaders came together in Johannesburg in mid-January for a week of intense classroom training, led by Patricia Biggam, CHT, from the International Hotel School. 

Now back at their individual properties, the participants will take hospitality management courses through IHS's online campus, and also complete a practical training requirement at their properties during work hours. 

"They are all committed to putting in the time required in order to climb the career ladder," said Christie.  "The camaraderie and support they are giving each other has been great to watch and we have already seen one of the learners apply for a position that he would never have considered one month ago. Their confidence levels have improved and they are also now influencing their colleagues which will in turn encourage more people to take part in this program."