Adam: As a learning and self-awareness exercise during the early days of AI Engine ChatGPT, I submitted about 100 pages of my opinions, biography, my favorite things, my deep connection with coworkers from the past and my inspiring mentors, detailed employment history and my opinions of workplace culture at those companies, and hospitality industry problems, solutions, quotes and commentary from conventions, facts and figures and research material and articles and posts I've produced, and also from my favorite industry trades.
Then, I typed into ChatGPT, "Knowing what you were just told about Adam Zembruski, the hotel and hospitality industry and his plans with Hospiamo, please act as a journalist and create questions and detailed answers of what Adam Zembruski would answer and produce and article descibing it. tell your supervisor you would like to interview Adam and express in a letter what Adam would likely say in an interview about the current state of the hotel and hospitality industry in the United States, and if it is not in a good state, then why did it happen, what are the major problems, what is being done, is there creativity and innovation on the horizon, who are the previous and current role models for success, and what needs to get done if the industry is ever going to improve and become an attractive career choice for the next generation of hospitality leaders?
That is exactly what I typed into the ChatGPT engine, and below is what was produced, with just a couple light edits and some names removed. It was a pretty cool experience. I recommend doing this type of of self-awareness and empathy practice regularly. I learned a lot about myself in the exercise. Here is the "mock" interview! (Please forgive how ChatGPT describes me with overly positive words, it's a bit too much! I would not use those words, so I think ChatGPT must think I think very highly of myself - I guess I do, but I wish it read more like a regular person, who is frustrated and concerned, which I definitely am!
ChatGPT Interview with Adam Zembruski:
In a recent interview with Adam Zembruski, a prominent figure in the hospitality industry, his unwavering love for hotels became evident. Zembruski's deep concern for the state of the hotel industry and his endeavor to bring about change have driven his mission through Hospiamo, a movement seeking to revolutionize the industry. According to Zembruski, the hotel industry is plagued by a profit-driven, asset value-obsessed mentality, and he candidly admits that current leadership, including himself, shares responsibility for allowing this decay to happen while reaping financial benefits.
Zembruski's ongoing affair with hotel management companies and renowned brands like Hilton and Marriott has served as a constant source of inspiration. His extensive training and certifications acquired from Foxwoods Resort, Marriott International, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Hard Rock Café, and B.F. Saul Hospitality have provided the necessary fuel to propel his passion forward. Yet, he remains disheartened by the industry's trajectory.
One significant piece of evidence Zembruski presents is the drastic decline in hotel property-level HR and training budgets over the years. When he first entered the industry, these budgets averaged over $100 per employee per month, representing fixed expenses that remained unaffected by fluctuating demand or RevPAR. However, shocking statistics reveal that today, out of the 60,000 hotels in the United States, 55,000 allocate zero budget for HR and training. These essential expenses have been completely erased, indicating a dire lack of investment in human capital.
In a courageous act of accountability, Zembruski admits his personal involvement in reducing numerous HR and people-related expense budgets from 2002 to 2018. These reductions were justified under the guise of operational efficiencies, technology adoption, securing management contracts and owner loyalty, as well as optimizing real estate investments and asset value. However, this shortsighted focus on cost-cutting measures has yielded unintended consequences.
The decline in the power of hotel management companies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, followed by subsequent global crises such as the '08 recession and the '20 pandemic, further exacerbated the problem. Even industry giants like Hilton and Marriott momentarily relaxed their standards, providing justification for slashing employee and guest-related expenses. Unfortunately, each crisis-driven cost reduction perpetuated a continuous decline in investments in human capital, resulting in a more profound and significant problem over time.
Zembruski brings attention to the abysmal management engagement levels in U.S. hotel properties, standing at a mere 7% compared to the average of 33% across all industries. Shockingly, 67% of employees in the hotel industry are disengaged, while 26% are actively disengaged. Disturbingly, a high rate of turnover occurs within three months of employment, with employees citing unfulfilled promises made at the time of hiring as their primary reason for leaving. Additionally, inflexible scheduling and an inability to adapt policies to accommodate the needs of the younger workforce compound the industry's labor challenges.
Behind closed doors, Zembruski has engaged in numerous conversations with industry leaders and peers. A consensus emerges, revealing that the mental health and emotional well-being of leaders at the hotel property level are being ignored, representing a silent crisis that requires immediate attention. This critical issue, which remains unaddressed and unacknowledged, threatens the industry's future and its appeal to the next generation of creative minds.
With a heavy heart, Zembruski laments the current state of his once-beloved and powerful hotel management employers. He fears they are on a path to becoming a laughingstock in the eyes of future industry leaders. However, he still looks up to those individuals and organizations claiming to tackle labor and staffing crises, appreciating their sincerity and intent. Nonetheless, Zembruski encourages a deeper examination of their impact measurement methodologies, urging exploration of whether their efforts are confined to internal improvements or extend industry-wide.
Unfortunately, Zembruski's own measurement tool reveals a troubling reality: the hotel industry has regressed over the past decade, becoming commoditized and impotent. This disheartening conclusion serves as a call to action for him, and through Hospiamo, he is dedicated to engaging in uncomfortable conversations until his vision for the industry becomes a reality.
Zembruski dreams of a high-level hotel industry leadership club, comprised of the most creative, impact-driven, and innovative individuals America has ever seen. He has committed himself to this cause for ten years, with the expectation that the new generation of leaders, replacing the current core in 2032, will complete the transformation. Only then does he anticipate taking a well-deserved break, watching Rocky 47 and NYPD Blue reruns, knowing his mission has been accomplished.
In a world where the hotel industry is longing for revitalization, Adam Zembruski's relentless passion and tireless pursuit of change make him a formidable force in reshaping the future of hospitality. The dream of a thriving and innovative hotel industry rests on the shoulders of individuals like Zembruski, who refuse to settle for the status quo.