by Rob Palleschi, CEO, G6 Hospitality
In late October, I attended a beautiful wedding. Family and friends gathered on a spectacular Texas fall day just outside Dallas. The crowd was a “who’s who” of industry veterans from top banking, real estate, management, and hotel brands. I was pleased to see that everyone treated each other as friends and respected colleagues. Sure, we discussed recent deals, industry issues, and yes, there even were some competitive challenges and some healthy ribbing. But what you didn’t hear was combative or hateful rhetoric.
Throughout that night, I couldn’t help but think of our wider industry. We all have experienced a great deal of change in recent years. Together we have weathered many storms, both literally and figuratively. While other industries chose to protect their own self-interest, dwell on fear, or place blame elsewhere, our industry chose the opposite approach.
In partnership with AAHOA, AHLA, and other associations at the local and state levels, we took the high road – remaining unified and focused on the future. Thanks to their leadership, we have strengthened our industry and made critical changes to better serve our core constituents: team members, guests, and investors.
Our unified voice has tackled legislative affairs at statehouses, Congress, and even the White House, allowing us to stay in control of our own destiny. Some of our most notable accomplishments in 2018 include:
- Challenging unfair legislation and uncompetitive practices among short-term rental companies
- Providing training programs to identify and prevent human trafficking
- Expanding scholarship programs to develop the next generation of hoteliers
- Introducing global initiatives to enhance and promote travel
- And most recently, introducing employee safety devices to further protect our team members and guests
We’ve done all this while remaining healthy competitors, aligned with a common vision, understanding and mutual respect. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved together. But the fact remains there’s still quite a bit of work to be done.
In 2019, my hope is that we focus our collective efforts on:
- A deeper understanding of what “travel” and “hospitality” mean in today’s lexicon and among the younger and increasingly influential generation of hotel guests
- Defining, if not expanding, the hospitality industry’s role and responsibilities in times of crisis, as we’ve seen repeatedly in California, Florida, Texas, and other regions impacted by natural disasters
- Continued enhancement of safety and security for staff and guests, including protecting their personal information from digital threats
- Investing in the hospitality workforce through education, apprenticeships, and other training programs that build successful, long-lasting careers
Frankly, I think the world needs our industry’s leadership now more than ever. We are the world’s innkeepers, a positive global force for hospitality – friendly, generous, and welcoming to all. Conrad Hilton said it best, “As hotel men and women, it is our responsibility to fill the Earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.”
We should not take that responsibility lightly. It’s not enough to advocate for our own interests. We also must advocate for our industry, our communities, our employees, and every guest that walks through our doors. We have a chance to set an example in today’s turbulent times. We can prove that by working together, we can create real, meaningful change.
The future of hospitality is bright, and I look forward to what we can accomplish as an industry in 2019 and beyond.