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Hospitality Executive Search Firm Says Returning US Armed Forces Veterans a Good Fit for Hotels

According to RRC, which has joined forces with Smith Travel Research (STR), the leader in global hotel benchmarking, the volume of business travel has shown a marked recovery and the volume of leisure travel shows a stable but slow recovery.  This has resulted in a highly competitive market with everyone in the game vying for business.

Market competition combined with the modern traveler’s penchant for hotel preview and selection via the internet, places an ever-increasing strain on limited funds to get Property Improvement Plans (PIP) completed. Dennis P. Rizzo, CEO of Bentley Price Associates, Inc., a hospitality executive search firm, known for its 35-year track record of excellence, says that hiring returning US Armed Forces is the solution to the hotels’ problems. 

According to Rizzo, veterans are highly efficient, trained, and are ready and waiting to get back to civilian life and work. With hotels under pressure for rapid Property Improvement Plans as the market gets more competitive, the days of long-delayed budget approval and refurbishment are over.  Investors and managers need it done now.

Rizzo served in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam and knows firsthand what it is like to re-enter society after living a daily reality in a combat theatre and he has a unique take on the subject.  

“Military-trained individuals tend to be highly effective when returning to civilian business because of their rigid training and complete focus on what they’ve been assigned.  Veterans from past wars and conflicts have risen to very prominent positions in all fields. We should really take a hard look and give them the opportunity they deserve for the sacrifices they’ve made by serving in our armed forces.”

Witness what Rizzo did with the Hyatt House on Sunset (aka The Riot House), which is credited not only to his personal skill and eye for detail, but also to his Marine Corps training.  He changed the face of the hotel floor-by-floor using rock star and record company credit cards and created a lasting legend that still echoes into the annals of hospitality as well as Rock n' Roll history.

The fact of the matter is that the men and women who have been serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have "rebuilding" and prioritizing what is to be built or improved in towns and villages as part of their training.  They have to make do with a budget, improvise, and produce a sterling product every time.  Re-purposing their skills is not a big stretch for veterans as they are already trained and ready to go into battle knowing that the modern way of warfare also requires engaging with communities and improving lives.  No one would be able to get the job done at the level, speed and skill required, without extra training, other than a returning veteran.

So while Rizzo sees the hospitality executive search market heating up at the tail end of the recession, perhaps it is time to hand over the re-building work to the men and women who are qualified and let them get to work. 


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The U.S. Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry

The travel and tourism industry in the United States generated more than $1.3 trillion in economic output in 2010, supported 7.7 million U.S. jobs and accounted for 7 percent of all U.S. exports. One out of every 17 Americans works, either directly or indirectly, in a travel and tourism related industry. In  2010, revenues from U.S. travel and tourism represented 2.8 percent of gross domestic product.


While the majority of activity in the industry is domestic, expenditures by international visitors to the United States generated $134 billion in annual sales and a nearly $32 billion trade surplus in 2010.  The U.S. Department of Commerce projects international travel to the United States will grow by 5-7 percent annually through 2015.  The U.S. Travel Association predicts that domestic travel will increase by 2 percent annually through 2013.

The U.S. leads the world in international travel and tourism exports, and travel and tourism is the top services export in the United States, accounting for 25 percent of all U.S. services exports.  


Industry Subsectors

Of the 24 subsectors that make-up the travel and tourism industry, four sectors -- Food Services, Air Travel, Accommodations, and Recreation and Attractions -- account for 60 percent of industry sales.

Food Services: The largest subsector, food services accounts for 16 percent of travel industry sales. The National Restaurant Association predicts 3.6 percent growth for the restaurant industry in 2010. 

Air Travel: The second-largest subsector, air travel accounts for 16 percent of travel industry sales. Airlines continuously seek ways to increase revenues by offering access to new markets as they work to reduce costs and fuel consumption by grounding inefficient aircraft and scaling back unprofitable routes.

Accommodations: This subsector accounts for 16 percent of total travel industry sales. Accommodations benefited from international overseas traveler growth of 13 percent in 2010. 

Recreation and Attractions: This subsector accounts for 11 percent of total travel industry sales. However, recreational visits at U.S. national parks declined by one percent in 2010.