Editorial Board   

Mr. Bernstein

Laurence Bernstein

Managing Partner, Protean Strategies

During a highly successful 20 year career, Laurence Bernstein launched and nurtured numerous global hospitality, foodservice and financial service brands, on behalf of global advertising and brand marketing firms. Prior to working in advertising, Mr. Bernstein cut his teeth in sales and marketing with Westin Hotels. In 1998, in response to the rapidly changing marketing environment, he founded the boutique strategy and research agency that he now runs, Protean Strategies. From its inception, the firm has led the way in experiential branding -- converting attributes, features and benefits into relevant and differentiating experiences that form the underpinning of real brand-centric growth. This led to the seminal idea of “modern luxury”, first posited in a 1999 white paper published in the Cornell Quarterly, which now underpins the entire boutique category. In 2012 Mr. Bernstein started Protean Hospitality Partnerships, a marketing advisory consultancy focusing on the hotel and resort business. Recently, the firm published a widely quoted study of how consumers engage on an emotional level with hotel brands. In the consumer research field, Mr. Bernstein developed the first psychoanalytic approach to market research, Inner Directives Archetype Studies, that has been used by more than 20 automotive brands to understand the underlying relationships between people and their vehicles. Inner directives has also been used by hotel companies and travel organizations to better understand and cater to their guests and visitors. The Protean Guest Experience Audit system is an inexpensive methodology to help hotels understand what guests actually experience at the property level, using an interactive, real time methodology. In addition, Protean is recognized by Forrester Research as a leader in the exciting new field of Predictive Market based consumer research. Mr. Bernstein attended the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He has published numerous articles on hospitality brand and guest experience design and has been invited to lecture at Cornell University, University of Toronto, and many associations including the inaugural Leadership Seminar presented by the Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Association.

Mr. Bernstein can be contacted at 416-967-3337 x101 or bernstein@proteanstrategies.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.