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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.


Hospitality Talk Episode 8

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·26 July 2018
The one that took ages to actually record…. and the one where I just go on about online booking platforms!

Are Chefs becoming more fickle? - Hospitality Talk Episode 5

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·18 April 2018
So, here I tackle a claim from some restaurateurs that chefs are getting more fickle about their working life and actually attending for interviews etc – well, maybe if the employer considered there marketing channels and working environment, the ‘problem’ wouldn’t exist!

Hospitality Talk Episode 3 - This time it's TripAdvisor!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 2 April 2018
So, I decided this time to take on TripAdvisor and reveal why SO MANY businesses use it incorrectly (and often have the wrong person doing responses!) – oh, and sorry guys – I do swear in the video once and was too shattered to reshoot and couldn’t find out how to bleep it, but I figured we could all be adults about this, right?

Hospitality Talk (UK) - Episode 2 - GDPR and Amazon Alexa

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·26 March 2018
IT’S HERE…… Hospitality Talk Episode 2 – I know I said in some social media posts I would likely talk mergers and acquisitions and also hospitality apprenticeships, but to be fair, I was tired and couldn’t be bothered after a Sunday morning as duty manager in a Manchester city centre hotel!! So this briefly covers GDPR and the use of Amazon Alexa in hotels!

Hospitality Talk (UK) - Episode 1

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·20 March 2018
So - here it is.... the first ever episode of Hospitality Talks to hit YouTube - my new vlog to rant on about the industry and share with you the news, tech and history of many different aspects of hospitality.   So – here it is…. the first ever episode of Hospitality Talks to hit YouTube – my new vlog to rant on about the industry and share with you the news, tech and history of many different aspects of hospitality.

Where the money you pay for your hotel room goes!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 2 January 2018
To those in the industry, this post will come as no surprise, but have you ever wondered just what exactly you are paying for when you pay for your hotel room? Well, this is a breakdown of that room rate and those costs – as you will see, a hotel doesn’t make quite as much money as you may think from your stay! It is worthwhile pointing out that these amounts will vary from hotel to hotel and are just a representation based on an average room rate in the UK – taxes etc may vary from country to country and even city to city, similarly staffing costs etc will all vary; in other words this is an example only and does specify exactly what money every hotel makes from a hotel room as there are many factors to consider.

Effective Leadership in the Hospitality (or any) Industry

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·10 October 2017
Hotels are hard work – long hours, lots of demands and often trying to juggle one hundred different things at once. On top of this you have to co-ordinate many departments, with differing tasks and performance measures and most importantly, you have to deal with people – lots and lots of people! Each with differing demands, expectations, needs and requirements, be it your team or your guests. It’s a lot to manage and a lot to cope with! Some people excel, and some fail dismally, but what separates them? It sounds like I am blowing smoke up my own backside, but as a hotel manager, I cannot recall the last time I had to work more than 45 hours in a week (actually, I do remember that time, and they will just be referred to as ‘The Blackpool Years’, which I will come back to later). The point here is that many people think hotel management is long hours, late nights and early mornings all the time and that constant yearning for a break – quite the opposite can be true.

Some thoughts about you and your hospitality career!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·11 April 2017
As readers will know, I live and breathe hospitality and work ‘on the ground’ in a hotel, albeit at management level (90% of my time is spent on the floor doing the job of those I manage, so I am usually found checking guests in or out, lugging bags around, giving directions or working a switchboard amongst many other things). Recently I had cause to review a job opportunity that arose and, although I was unsuccessful, I did have a few things I wanted to raise and discuss, mainly because they do apply massively to the hospitality industry, as well as other trades.

The Power of Choice

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·13 March 2017
Every day, you make hundreds, if not thousands of choices and todays hotel guest is no different. So I wanted to impart on you some advice regarding choice and enabling this and even using it to your advantage for complaint handling. A choice is made either consciously or unconsciously. For example: Conscious Choice – you see a menu and consciously decide what you want to eat from it

The subtle power in one word

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·19 July 2016
Hey again peeps! As many of you know, I am very keen on the psychology of complaints and complainers, and how they can be responded to. Recently I cam across something that I wanted to share with you. This will just be a quick post! Whenever people deal with complaints, there is a common point where you begin to negotiate and make offers or suggestions towards a resolution. But have you ever thought about just how you phrase this question?

Letting Go - The Art of Walking Away!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·19 June 2016
So, this subject may end up becoming book title number 3, or 4, depending if my next title gains traction (keep eyes peeled on that although it is slow going!) There are many things you can do to deal with complaints and many ways in which you can respond to them. This post is inspired by a lengthy email chain I had as a result of an enquiry from ‘Jane’ (not her real name!). The original email was in relation to a particularly common situation that we have all faced:

Online Reviews - It's not just about TripAdvisor!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·13 June 2016
Welcome back peeps! It has been far far too long since I posted and I am sorry; life has gotten away with me and, to be honest, I haven’t really had much inspiration! But here I am, back once again! This time round I want to once again re-raise that old faithful talking point – TripAdvisor! Love it or loathe it I think it is far too large a beast of online reviews and social media to ignore it; its like that dripping tap in the bathroom, because try as hard as you want but you simply cannot ignore it!

Deserving versus Un-Deserving

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 9 February 2016
Being active in Reception Management, I spend a lot of my time on the front line working the Reception Desk in the same manner as my team, but i had a very interesting conversation with one of my team members the other day that I wanted to share with you all and potentially create a trail of thought for my readers! The story picks up after an incident with a guest, the background of which really is not needed for this post, but I ended up involved and the reception team member was rather peeved off and upset because of the guest manner and attitude and also that she had been overridden on her decision. e had a conversation and she said ‘but he didn’t deserve it’ to which I asked ‘why?’. Her response was that the guest had ‘attitude’ and was ‘very unpleasant and rude’. This is understandable – when someone is rude, aggressive or generally obnoxious and demanding, we are generally very disinclined to help them. But then I asked ‘so what makes someone deserving? What makes the difference between deserving and undeserving?’.

The Joy of Bias

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 5 February 2016
The title of this post is actually ironic – bias is not a joyful thing in most circumstances, but can be used to your advantage despite being mainly disadvantageous. The rule of bias is simple – bias is defined as ‘inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair’ but in psychological terms bias is about leaning towards one stereotype or preconception when others are available.

Handling Un-Guaranteed Bookings

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 2 February 2016
What do you do when you are full and you have loads of unguaranteed reservations? This is a question that many reception staff pose to each other and to management but often do not actually know the answer to; similarly, many smaller hotels and independents may not have a clear cut policy on how to handle these reservations.

Stress - it's not all about you!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·20 January 2016
Stress is something that everyone encounters, but have you ever thought beyond yourself when considering the effects of stress?

All Feedback is a Gift

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·18 March 2015
I have written before (many times) about handling feedback on TripAdvisor, but how about dealing with criticism in general? Someone once said to me that ‘all feedback is a gift, no matter how it is presented’ and I have always thought of this when dealing with any form of feedback received, be it positive or negative. This article specifically deals with negative feedback (criticism), but does touch on positive feedback as well. The important thing to remember about criticism is that it involves an evaluation that assumes knowledge and expertise on the part of the person being critical.

How to respond when things go wrong!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·10 January 2015
It is not very often that I hear something that changes my ethos on customer service - every day I see hundreds of articles and tips that provide advice on handling situations, and indeed I have myself been guilty of writing a few of

How to annoy a receptionist!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·16 December 2014
Well, it has been a busy few months for me with the starting of a new job and the run up to Christmas but now I have returned with a fairly tongue-in-cheek post aimed at everyone who ever stays in a hotel. The world

Outbooking - the results are in!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 7 September 2014
How does overbooking and out booking affect guests? The latest results of an impact survey provide some revealing

Transference - why you may be the reason people hate your brand!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·23 August 2014
I have written many posts that delve in to the psychology of consumers and for this article I wanted to tackle the process

How NOT to sell to people!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 8 August 2014
I recently began investigating the cost comparison between new car and old car, with particular interest in contract purchasing a new vehicle -

Dealing with 'The Riff-Raff'

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·28 July 2014
Every hotel has them - the guests who disrupts every other guests stay, uses foul language everywhere, drinks excessively or is just generally

Walkouts - Avoiding the Bad Debtor!

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones· 4 July 2014
Well, it has been a while since I last posted due to taking a bit of a hiatus from online activity and using

Handling TripAdvisor Blackmail Threats

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·16 May 2014
It is beyond doubt that TripAdvisor is the behemoth of hotel and restaurant reviews, but how do you handle the few cases where

Mental Health and Your Staff

Chocolate Pillow | By Matt Shiells-Jones·23 April 2014
This is an article prompted by the recent episode of Restaurant Wars on BBC2 (aired 21st April 2014) - for those unfamiliar with


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