Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Hickey

Mark Hickey

Senior Vice President of U.S. Hotel Operations, Destination Hotels & Resorts

Mark Hickey is senior vice president of U.S. hotel operations for Destination Hotels & Resorts, the third largest hospitality management company in the United States. Mr. Hickey is responsible for the overall operating performance of Destination Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of more than 35 independent and branded, luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and golf clubs. He also provides oversight and coordinates portfolio-wide initiatives in the areas of organizational development and associate training, customer service, and risk management. Mr. Hickey is primarily responsible for the vision, the goals, the implementation and the leadership of the Destination Earth sustainability program on a corporate level. The Destination Earth program was launched in 2008 and represents the portfolio-wide commitment to implement sustainability practices at each Destination property across the country. Mr. Hickey has worked in close partnership with an environmental consultant and leaders of the hospitality group to accomplish the mission to introduce uniform environmental standards company-wide while encouraging individual property adoption of specific initiatives through property “Green Teams”, which has become a significant and defining element of the program. Mr. Hickey is the steward for the company’s commitment to unique, authentic culinary experiences at each hotel and resort. He oversees the corporate food and beverage efforts to develop, define and execute innovative and memorable food and beverage offerings across the country, in conjunction with a vice president of food and beverage and culinary director of food and beverage operations. A father of two young girls, Mr. Hickey is also the catalyst behind the company’s commitment to healthy and delicious children friendly offerings, the Destination Kids Café™, at all Destination restaurants and dining outlets. Mark Hickey joined Destination Hotels & Resorts in 1995, as vice president and general manager of Destination's Inverness Hotel and Conference Center near Denver, Colorado. An industry leader in conference center management, he has provided oversight and support of the integration of over seven IACC-certified conference centers into the Destination Conference Collection. In 1997, he assumed the position of senior vice president of operations for the western United States and his role expanded to include oversight for all North American operations of the company in 2002. Further, he developed a core leadership team of managing directors to continue to support the portfolio. Prior to joining Destination, Mr. Hickey held various positions in the hospitality industry, including property positions of general manager, regional manager of management services for AIRCOA (now Richfield) and vice president of operations for Metro Hotels in Dallas, TX.

Mr. Hickey can be contacted at 303-268-6868 or mhickey@destinationhotels.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.