Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Evolving ORLA (part 1): The changing demographic of the industry

Demographic information has always fascinated me. Analyzing data about the demographic makeup of an area and how that affects retail sales or elections or local politics is always an eye opener. I’ve maintained my interest in the subject over the years and used it as a tool. I’m glad that I did as the current demographic makeup of our industry tells us that changes are afoot and that ORLA needs to address them to remain relevant.

We’re experiencing a major changing of the guard in the ownership of the businesses that make up the hospitality industry. The dominant generation of our industry for the past 25 years has been the Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964. At that time they were the largest generation in the history of the nation and as they moved through their lives they affected everything in our society from laws to elections to fashion to business and leisure.

The era of the Baby Boomer is passing. Did you know 10,000 Boomers turn the age of 65 every day? That is one every 7 seconds. Why is that important? Well, 65 is the traditional retirement age. Owners and operators of restaurants and lodging properties who have been leaders in the industry and active in your association are reaching retirement age and leaving the industry. It will continue at this pace for the next ten years. Then we’ll see the majority of owners, operators and leaders in the industry are from the Gen X (born 1965-1980) and the Gen Y or “Millennial” (born 1981-2000) generations. (Read also USA Today's "Hotel CEOs getting younger".)

Why does this matter you might ask? Well, the Baby Boomers are joiners. They have traditionally supported those associations and organizations that they felt supported their business or beliefs. Signing them up for membership was not a tough sell. They believed in the concept and were supportive and active as members. However, the generations that follow them are a bit more discriminating when it comes to joining associations. They have to believe that investing their time and money will benefit them personally or professionally before they will join any organization. So, associations, including ORLA, have to be sure they are providing programs and services these generations value and are willing to support.

This environment represents a real turning point for all associations. The membership that they’ve represented for the past thirty plus years is changing rapidly as the numbers above indicate. If ORLA is to remain viable as a membership option, and as the representative of the hospitality industry, the leadership and staff are going to have to review all activities and programs to ensure they are valued by the emerging owners and operators in the hospitality industry. Those individuals are the future of ORLA and our industry. Your association needs their support and participation to continue to be an effective industry representative. | Steve McCoid, president & CEO

(In Part 2 we look at how we need to adapt, change and accommodate to meet the needs of the new generation. )

Monday, July 9, 2012

Evolving ORLA (part 2): Accommodating the new paradigm

In the last blog post I spoke about how the demographic of our industry is changing as Baby Boomers are retiring. ORLA needs to remain viable as a membership option, and as the representative of the hospitality industry, the leadership and staff need to ensure the association offers valuable programs and services for the emerging owners and operators in the hospitality industry.

How will your association staff and board deal with this paradigm? Well, we’ve taken the first step by commissioning a telephone survey of the membership, which is being conducted this month. As I relayed to you in last month’s Main Ingredient, we’ll use this information to identify areas we need to improve on or add to and use the survey as a baseline to determine our performance moving forward. We’ll also begin a thorough review of every program we offer to determine their current and future relevance. We’ll reach out to the various age groups of members and non-members in the industry to find out what they feel the association’s mission should be and how we can improve our programs and services to meet those expectations. We’ll also be asking representatives of the various industry segments we represent the same questions. We’ll look at fine-tuning our mission statement making sure to apply our financial resources in the most impactful, effective manner possible. In short, the staff and board are embarking on a long term planning process to reinvent the association to meet the needs of our multi-generational membership.

This is a very large and vitally important initiative that the staff and board are undertaking. I invite your feedback at any point in the process beginning with this editorial. We need to know what you think of our work and how you would like to see it altered, added to or redesigned. Please make the time to answer our surveys, questions or requests for information if and when you receive them in the future. This is your association and we need your assistance in building the association model of tomorrow. I’m confident that with your input and support along with the experience and passion of the ORLA staff and board, we will get this done and emerge as the acknowledged leader and representative of our new multi-generational industry of owners and operators. | Steve McCoid