Leon Larkin, the founder of The International Association of Hotel General Managers Leon Larkin, the founder of The International Association of Hotel General Managers

While there isn’t an authoritative figure on the number of hotels that are in operation across the world, Leon Larkin tells us it’s estimated there are more than 500,000 people across the world who are, or have been, general managers.

In light of this, Larkin has founded The International Association of Hotel General Managers (IAHGM), which officially launched from its first regional headquarters in Dubai, UAE. Larkin, who is an Australian national with more than 40 years’ experience as a general manager in hotels across Europe, Asia and Australia, says it is the world’s only initiative of its kind dedicated to the hotel general management community. 

“There is absolutely no society or organisation that is interested in international hotel general managers,” he tells Hotelier Middle East.

The international organisation is designed to raise the profile of hotel GMs, whilst providing a range of professional and personal membership benefits, such as portable healthcare and insurance options.

Membership is open to all hotel GMs, those who have previously served in the position, owner/operators, as well as retirees and aspiring young professionals on the career path to becoming a GM. Larkin reveals to Hotelier that annual membership fees will range from US $495-995 depending on the tier of membership the applicants opt for.

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Following the launch, the first phase of applicants will be made ‘founding members’, as as part of this will be granted special privileges including additional voting rights, fixed membership fees for three years, as well as access to exclusive discounts and events.

In addition to Larkin as president, IAHGM has an international board of governors comprising 11 high-profile alumni from the global hospitality industry (see box out). He says: “It was wonderful — when I asked if they would be a governor every one of them responded most enthusiastically. It was the easiest sell of the world — they recognised the need for this.”

He adds: “The board of governors are there to make sure that the ideals as per the charter of the organisation are kept, and we believe we know which way the organisation should go. However, once we get a critical mass of membership, they will direct us in the way that we need to go. I want this to be one of the leading examples in the world of a communicative process for the organisation and for its members.”

This open process was seen last month when the association’s name was changed to its current form on request of the members; the group started life as The Honourable Order of International Hotel General Managers and the name change decision has been taken as a result of both member and industry feedback. Larkin explains: “We have listened and our response has been quick.”

He explains the concept further: “Hotel general managers are people who have a very unique jobs and are responsible for the lives of a 1000 people a day — somewhere it needs to be recognised and it’s not. So we want to lift their profile, we’re offering welfare benefits, we’re going to offer learning experiences, opportunities for GMs to have more knowledge and be better at their jobs, and we’re going to offer scholarships for young hoteliers.”

Later this year, the organisation will also host its debut World Congress in Dubai on ‘Hotel Security in Today’s World’ and feature awards such as ‘International Hotel General Manager of the Year’ and a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Larkin tells Hotelier the congress will cover fire-life safety, cyber security, terrorism security, and so on.

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