How Jackson Hotel Management is adapting to change

Adam Jackson, vice president, hotel operations at Jackson Hotel Management, a company that manages Choice- and IHG-branded hotels, is set to attend Hotec Operations, an annual conference presented by Questex, the parent company of Hotel Management. At the conference—scheduled this year for June 11-14 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.—buyers meet one-on-one with hospitality-focused suppliers to learn about new products and services and to keep up to date on emerging trends. 

Ahead of the event, Jackson talked about the challenges of operating in new normals and how hoteliers can adapt to guest expectations.

Jackson still sees the industry adjusting to the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, he said, the industry will continue to adjust “with the ever-changing landscape.” 

Hoteliers, he continued, are still “trying to find their footing” in the industry, and are determining new guest demands. For example, he wondered what kind of balance guests want between personal contact with the hotel staff and digital simplicity. Do new improvements in artificial technology make front-desk agents less crucial? “Can you go to a tablet and just check yourself in?” 


Brand standards, of course, can limit how individual hoteliers—or even management companies—adapt to these new changes, but Jackson has found that both companies are open to ideas from their partners. Both Adam Jackson and Brent Jackson, the company’s president, are on different committees for both Choice and IHG, which lets them “share our knowledge and our expertise.” 

Adam Jackson sits on IHG’s operations committee, an international group of people who meet with IHG executives to discuss what the company has planned and what the operators need. Notably, he said, the IHG executives regularly seek feedback. “Is this feasible? Is this realistic? How would you change it?” The conversations, he said, let owners “have a say and vision towards the future.” 

Inflation Effects

One of the biggest challenges facing management companies is the impact of rising costs—especially when wages do not keep up. “The ability for someone to pay more really isn't going up,” Jackson said, “but our cost to run the hotel did go up.” Group purchasing organizations can help defer some of those costs, he added, but since “the biggest expense in hotels is the labor,” the company is increasingly focused on making sure it has “the right amount of people for the right amount of hours.” 

Jackson Hotel Management, he said, tries to create an “enjoyable work environment” so that hotel teams “want to come to work.” Just as importantly, he added, “we compensate them—I believe—fairly for their work.” For a long time, he said, hotel workers were “definitely” underpaid—“and I feel like that's adjusted.” At the same time, minimum wages have increased, and at many hotels, it is simply not possible to pay workers less than they are earning now. “There's a minimum that you need … in order to have run your hotel properly.” 

Attending one-on-one networking events like Hotec Operations, Jackson said, can help hotel professionals build relationships that can help their businesses. “The hospitality industry, as a whole, is relationship-driven,” he noted, adding that those relationships tend to be beneficial in the long run. “There's going to be a point down the line [when] they're going to be able to help you or you're going to be able to help them.” 

Hotec Operations will take place June 11-14 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Applications are open for buyers and suppliers.