2016 - 10 October

American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute eNewsletter

New Products and Services

New “Elements of Service” Provides Online Training for Serving Guests with Disabilities

Slatin Media Group The  American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute  (AHLEI) has debuted a new online learning program,  Elements of Service: Serving Guests with Disabilities, designed to train guest-facing hotel employees in best practices for serving guests with physical disabilities, including vision, hearing, and mobility impairments.  

The goal of this program is to ensure that service providers feel confident and equipped to handle service interactions with hotel guests who are disabled-without the uncertainty, confusion, and missteps that often characterize the experience of both service providers and hotel guests with disabilities. 

The Elements of Service program was developed by Slatin Media Group, which was co-founded by Peter Slatin, a hotel consultant and writer who is blind, and Jason Willensky, an instructional designer specializing in online learning, performance support, and classroom training for industry and government. The content of the program is based on Slatin's in-person workshop of the same name.  

Slatin, a noted writer on business and commercial real estate, created the program as a result of experiences he has had during his global travels. 

"As I've traveled, either with my guide dog or my white cane, I've had so many encounters with staff at hotels, airports, restaurants, and taxis, and often thought to myself, 'Why doesn't someone train these workers in how to interact appropriately with guests who have disabilities?'" he recalled. "Finally, after a particularly terrible experience, I decided that I had to create something myself."  

Slatin initially designed an in-person workshop, which he delivers at individual hotel properties around the country.  His clients have ranged from the 200-room Hilton Arlington outside Dallas to the 1200-plus room Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Chicago.  After going through Slatin's training, the sales staff at the Hyatt Deerfield in suburban Chicago was able to make a sale to host a conference for people with disabilities at the hotel. The director of training at the Intercontinental Times Square in New York, where Slatin presented a staff workshop, shared an email from a blind guest who was delighted by the service he'd received while staying at the hotel during a TED conference.  

With these successes, the time seemed right to broaden the accessibility of the training. Slatin decided to translate the program into an online format, and was introduced to Willensky, who was intrigued by the project.   

The training goes beyond basic compliance with the 26-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is about physical and environmental access.  Slatin notes that compliance "is the floor, not the ceiling," for meeting these challenges.  Elements of Service shows learners how to apply the Five Elements of Service to ensure effective social interaction. They will learn general information about disabilities, as well as specific communication skills and tools for serving people who are blind and vision-impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and mobility impaired.  

"There are few statistics on people with disabilities who travel, but it is a growing market-they are coming and you and your staff better be prepared," said Slatin. One group in particular to watch are millennials with disabilities.  

"Millennials are the first generation that didn't get the memo that says if you have a disability you should stay home. They are out there, traveling and enjoying life," he said.  In addition, these millennials let everyone know about their experiences-good or bad-on social media, so it's important to have a well-trained team at every level of a hotel operation. Employees who act with ease and confidence will provide positively memorable travel experiences for guests with disabilities.   

"The information in the course is mostly intuitive knowledge, but presenting it in a formal training setting gives employees the permission to do what they think is right," said Slatin. "It's all about social access-making destinations accessible and appealing to all travelers."  

Yes, all travelers.  Baby boomers, Slatin noted, may not be disabled, but are dealing with age-related issues of sight, hearing, and mobility-and they are used to being well served. They will expect service providers to know how to treat them, whatever their challenges.  

The  Elements of Service  online program is available through AHLEI's online store for individual learners, who will receive a code that provides three months' access to the content. The program can also be licensed by organizations who wish to train multiple employees.

Certification Spotlight

CHHE® and CFBE® Can Earn Recertification Points through P&G Professional™ Improved Online University

PGP University Logo P&G Professional™, the away from home division of Procter & Gamble, is relaunching its free online industry training platform,  P&G Professional University , which is a major component of P&G Professional's overall customizable training program.  The University features a new user-friendly interface, new training modules, product training and additional opportunities for cleaning professionals to earn continuing education units. New training content was added and the website has been reorganized by industry interest, making it easier to navigate and allowing for searches of how-to cleaning videos and tips, or extended learning that can be applied toward continuing education credits. Nearly 100 online cleaning courses and cleaning webinars are offered and registration is free and open to any person with an interest in janitorial cleaning.  

Hospitality professionals who hold the Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive (CHHE®) or Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE®) designation can earn points toward recertification by completing select P&G Professional University courses available through an  AHLEI-specific portal.  Registration and the courses are free.  

"Comprehensive training is vital in order to ensure the cleanliness and aesthetic appeal of any hospitality operation. The training programs made available by P&G University are a valuable resource and an excellent way for individuals to supplement their professional development activities," said Chris Jack, AHLEI's vice president, certification.  

In addition to the courses on AHLEI's portal, users can choose educational webinars on cleaning and other opportunities from several industries, including: Restaurant and Food Service; Healthcare and Long-term Care; Education; Hospitality; Retail and Supermarket; and Building Service Contractors. Users can review online cleaning videos on specific tasks ranging from general restroom cleaning, cleaning a drink station or cleaning a discharged resident's room. Users can also dive deeper into extended learning with webinars and associated knowledge checks. Successful completion of a quiz generates a certificate that can be presented for continuing education credits. AHLEI is one of several professional membership organizations that currently provide educational credit to their members for these courses; others include  ISSA  and the  International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) .  

"Training is not only important, but critical to the cleaning industry, and the enhancements we've made to  P&G Professional University  help us better serve our customers while meeting a key industry need," said Matt Koloseike, associate director, market strategy & planning, P&G Professional. "P&G Professional University is just one of the many customized training solutions that P&G Professional offers to help ensure positive experiences for our customers, their patrons and other industry professionals."  

International Spotlight

AHLEI and Pacific Asia Travel Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding


The  American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute  (AHLEI) and the  Pacific Asia Travel Association  (PATA) have signed a partnership agreement to strengthen the bonds and shared interests of the two organizations in the areas of training and education. PATA is a not-for profit association, founded in 1951, that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the Asia Pacific region.   

PATA will promote the use of AHLEI courses and certification programs among its membership, particularly those in the hospitality field, students, and academic institutions. Both organizations will share selected intelligence and research and engage in joint research projects as appropriate. Together, the organizations will explore resources to help AHLEI extend its reach in the Pacific Asian travel market, and for PATA to enter the North American market.  

"We are delighted to be working with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and believe that this partnership will provide our members the opportunity to further their skills and knowledge in this rapidly evolving industry," said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. "Our agreement with AHLEI shows our commitment to the development of human capital development in the region especially as we focus our attention next year on the young tourism professional." 

PATA's membership encompasses 98 government, state and city tourism bodies; 68 academic institutions; 21 international airlines, airports, and cruise lines; and hundreds of travel-related companies throughout Asia Pacific and beyond.  

Hardy explained that PATA has been rebuilding and reinventing itself over the past couple of years, making operational changes, reviewing the purpose of the organization, and implementing strategies to attract new and younger members. The association also conducts and sponsors research, offers training program for members, and sponsors events on key travel and tourism concerns such as climate change, coastal development, and safety and security. He noted that it can be challenging to develop relevant products for the many different types of members in the association, which is why PATA partners with other organizations. 

"A sector we wish to be more active in is hospitality," Hardy said. "Hospitality makes up about 5 percent of PATA's membership. To retain and grow this area, it's beneficial for us to partner with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute to offer these members hospitality-specific resources."  

Hardy noted that AHLEI's hospitality education resources are needed in southeast Asia, where some hotel properties are developing their own colleges, because they can't get enough qualified staff.  

"These areas need more investment in training and education" he said. "There needs to be training among hospitality employees to have a greater sense of initiative, to be able to solve guests' problems.'"  

Ed Kastli, AHLEI's vice president, international sales, stated, "We look forward to enhancing PATA's excellent Human Capital Initiative as it serves as a bridge between academic to industry platforms benefiting both students and young professionals, ensuring a better prepared next generation in the years to come who will elevate the level of service globally."  

The agreement between AHLEI and PATA came about after more than two years of discussion. The opportunity to network, share research, and exchange knowlede is seen as a benefit for the members of both groups.   

"Having served as President and CEO of both PATA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, AHLEI's parent organization, it is excellent to see both organizations come together as we do share the same vision and passion for developing human capital in the travel and tourism industry," said hospitality consultant Joseph A. McInerney.  

Industry Spotlight

Best Western’s Ron Pohl Receives 2016 Arthur Landstreet Award from AHLEI

Ron Pohl and Joori Ron Pohl, CHA, CRDE, is the 2016 recipient of the  American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute's   Arthur Landstreet Award . Pohl received the award during a luncheon on Tuesday, September 27 at  The Lodging Conference  in Phoenix, Arizona. Named after the Tennessee hotelier who founded the Educational Institute, the Arthur Landstreet Award is presented to an individual who has made a lasting impact on the quality of professional development and training in the hospitality industry. 

Past winners of this award include Jonathan Tisch, Eric Danziger, Richard Kelleher, Mike Leven, and Joseph Kane. Best Western CEO David Kong received the award in 2012. 

Pohl is senior vice president of brand management for  Best Western® Hotels and Resorts  and serves on the company's executive committee. He joined Best Western in 2007 as vice president of operations. In that role, he significantly improved revenue management systems, implemented new and innovative education and training resources, and launched the industry-leading Best Western I Care® program.  

Pohl demonstrates a passion for promoting hospitality studies and empowering the next generation of industry leaders. He serves on the Advisory Board for Grand Canyon University, partnering with the University on the promotion of its new Hospitality College.   

Under Pohl's leadership, Best Western has made significant investments in innovative educational tools and systems to enhance operational support to Best Western hotel owners and staff. For example, as part of the I Care® Every Guest Every Time program, hotel staff participate in "Avatar training" -role-play training that allows hotel staff to improve customer service skills by practicing with a live, interactive avatar.  

He is the creator of Best Western International University - Best Western's online education website for hotel staff and corporate employees - which includes a partnership using AHLEI courses and certifications, Rosetta Stone®, and the University of Phoenix. During the past year, 1,953 Best Western employees representing more than 1,800 properties earned the Certified Front Desk Manager (CFDM) designation from AHLEI. In the coming year, the company will offer three additional AHLEI online training and certification programs targeting additional professional positions.  

High School Spotlight

AHLEI Honors Joanne Goodman as Outstanding High School Educator

Joanne and Emeril The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has named Joanne Goodman as the recipient of the 2016 Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding High School Educator. The Lamp of Knowledge is given to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to advancing the quality of professionalism and education in the hospitality industry. Goodman received her award from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse during the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association's Hospitality Stars of the Industry Celebration on Wednesday, September 28.

Goodman teaches at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, where she is the lead teacher in the school's Hospitality Management Magnet Program. The program uses AHLEI's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) curriculum to introduce students to hospitality careers. Goodman opens the world of hospitality to her students through field trips, guest speakers, mentors, job shadowing, and internship opportunities. She also provides her students with a personal industry perspective based on her own career.

Goodman had a 22-year career with Marriott International in a number of management positions, including 13 years as a general manager. While with Marriott, she worked in five states, in 10 hotels, and for four different Marriott brands. She also taught an evening certification class at Mid-Florida Tech and served on their board for 12 years. For this, she was recognized by the FRLA Educational Foundation as Industry Partner of the Year. She is the only person to have received a Pineapple Award as both an Industry Partner and a teacher.

Goodman retired from Marriott in 2010 and has been teaching for both Orange County public schools and Valencia College as a hospitality management instructor ever since.

AHLEI also recognized Gailey Williams as a 2016 Teacher of Excellence for his work with the hospitality program at Jack Hayward Senior High School in Freeport, Bahamas. While teaching at the high school, Williams worked with area resorts to set up hands-on training and internships for students, led after-school and Saturday classes to prepare students for their certification exams, and coached the school's HTMP International Competition team. Williams now teaches at Rise Up Academy in South Bend, Indiana.