Boardroom report

Dear student,

Kindly take note that your assignment requirement is

slightly different from these sample assignments. The

content is not necessarily accurate for you to use.

Please adhere to the assignment requirement,

guidelines and brief that stated in the Module Study

Guide – Brand Reputation Management. By looking at

this sample assignment, you will be able to understand

the structure and format for a boardroom report.

Your tutor,

Sherine Kwok

14 April 2021

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

Submitted by: 21437377

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

Submitted by: 21437377

Executive Summary

The Rosewood Hotel Group brand has been carefully cultivated over the last four decades. This

document serves to educate the Rosewood Board of Directors on a recent incident at the

Rosewood-managed hotel in Vancouver; the threat to our reputation; the management’s

response to date; and suggested alterations to those practices. Maintaining an excellent

reputation is critical to Rosewood’s continued financial viability and success.

The Rosewood Hotel Group was founded in 1980 and today we are expanding at a rapid clip

worldwide. In 2019, an incident occurred at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver which

has threatened the brand locally and globally by endangering the positive emotional bonds with

our stakeholders that have been thoughtfully developed over the years (Ponzi, 2011).

This incident in Vancouver centres around the accusations of sexual harassment by several

female employees on site, which were allegedly ignored by the hotel management team. After

involving the local union, the employees went on to instigate a strike of 200 employees (BC

Local News, 2019).

The RepTrak methodology has been selected for this report to examine the reputation drivers

and the impacts to stakeholders as it utilizes both the emotional components and the rational

reputation drivers behind them. The underperforming drivers identified are Products & Services,

Workplace Quality, Executive Leadership and Corporate Governance, each of which

subsequently impacted a number of stakeholders, as described.

Utilizing the Vision, Culture, Image perspective, the management response to each stage of the

incident at the Hotel Georgia is outlined and critically analysed. This includes the initial lack of

acknowledgement of the employee complaints, the denial of formal allegations and limited

communication to media and guests alike.

Although this incident transpired several months ago and media coverage and online

discussions have ceased, service failures are remembered by stakeholders for a long time.

Therefore, it is important to continue working to restore the reputation into the future (Su, 2019).

Recommendations are put forth in three categories: enhance employee climate; improve crisis

management; and unite vision, culture and image.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5




5. REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 16

6. APPENDICES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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1. Introduction

The Rosewood Hotel Group was founded in Texas in the United States in 1980. In 2011 it was

purchased by New World Hospitality, a billionaire Hong Kong family business, and the

granddaughter of the founder was instated as the CEO. Sonia Cheng brought a new

perspective to the brand. Today Rosewood is known for its simple elegance, modern amenities

and ties to local heritage (Handley, 2019).

The Rosewood brand owns and manages 29 hotels around the world and another 21 are under

development. In 2011, an iconic property in Vancouver, Canada, the Hotel Georgia, reopened

under Rosewood management after a complete renovation (Rosewood, 2020). In 2019, an

incident occurred at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia which has threatened the brand locally and


The reputation of luxury brands such as Rosewood’s derives from the emotional bonds it

maintains with its stakeholders, including trust, good feeling, admiration and esteem. These are

in turn driven by rational dimensions, which are discussed below (Ponzi 2011). The emotional

attachments have been threatened by the incident in question, thereby endangering our brand


Unfortunately, sexual harassment is known to pervade the hospitality industry and the hotels

under Rosewood management are not exempt (Bernstein, 2011). The incident in Vancouver

centres around the accusation of sexual harassment by several female employees on site. Last

year these employees reported the hotel management team had been informed that male

guests, including high profile and high-spending guests, had touched and spoken to them

inappropriately. According to these employees, the hotel management team ignored their

complaints (CBC News, 2019).

This led the employees to file a human rights complaint against the hotel with the British

Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for gender discrimination, an overly sexualized work

environment and lack of appropriate response to harassment and assault in the workplace. The

local union, Unite Here, was also alerted. The union conducted a survey and more than 50% of

female employees reported unwanted touch, uncomfortable behaviour and sexual comments

(Appendix A). When Hotel Georgia continued to deny allegations, the union organized a strike

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of 200 employees (BC Local News, 2019). The strike lasted 58 days between September and

November, 2019 (Holliday, 2019).

The allegations were featured on national news. Along with many interrupted guest stays,

several other stakeholders were also negatively affected. In the sections below, the impact to

reputation will be detailed as well as recommended actions to repair the brand reputation.

2. The Underperformed Reputation Drivers and Impacts to Stakeholders

As described above, Rosewood has worked tirelessly to craft a differentiated luxury brand that

appeals to our diverse clientele around the world. But an incident like this threatens to diminish

that effort. As the CEO of The RepTrak Company has stated, “Brand is the promise you make;

your reputation depends on whether or not you keep that promise.” (RepTrak Blog, 2019)

Stated differently, a corporate reputation is based on beliefs about a company’s actions,

historical and future, that influence stakeholder interactions (Ponzi, 2011). It is crucial, therefore,

to identify which stakeholders have been affected and how.

While many different models have been constructed to explain the formation and evolution of

reputation, the RepTrak methodology has been selected for this report as it utilizes both the

emotional components and the rational reputation drivers behind them. A firm’s reputation is first

and foremost based on emotional connections held between key stakeholders and the brand.

To rate a brand, RepTrak asks consumers about the feelings, trust, admiration and overall

reputation of the brand and then performs statistical analysis to derive a score. The emotional

indicators are directly tied to consumer sentiment about seven rational dimensions, or reputation

drivers (Ponzi, 2011). The percentage that each driver contributes to the overall reputation

varies slightly over time; the 2020 breakdown can be found in Appendix B (RepTrak Study,

2020). The underperformed drivers in relation to the Hotel Georgia allegations and subsequent

strike are discussed below, with impacts to stakeholders to follow.

Underperformed Reputation Drivers

Products and Services

Luxury hotel guests expect high quality products and services to meet their needs: a

quiet place to sleep, clean rooms, a plethora of dining options, and highly trained

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employees. Unfortunately, none of the above were offered during the two-month long

strike, as outlined in the letter to guests from the Managing Director (Appendix E) and as

reported in various TripAdvisor reviews (Appendix C).

Heyes (2017) notes two key aspects contributing to the consumer experience within a

luxury hotel: the physical environment and the interactions between guests and staff.

Both of these dimensions were compromised during the strike. Several factors detracted

from the environment: a number of hotel outlets were closed, union employees picketed

loudly outside, and there were insufficient staff to maintain cleanliness, particularly room

cleaning. Regarding guest-staff interactions, these too were compromised. During the

strike, service quality was reduced as temporary employees had to be brought in with no

time to train them to Rosewood standards. The employees were overworked and

inexperienced, and therefore did not contribute positively to a luxury experience

(TripAdvisor comments, Appendix C).

Workplace Quality

Respect for employees and their wellbeing was not achieved at the Hotel Georgia.

Sexual harassment is pervasive around the globe and has been connected to a number

of negative employee outcomes, including increased stress and negative attitudes

toward work engagement, job satisfaction and work productivity (Madera, 2017). A

healthy and safe environment for employees has been shown to lead to better outcomes

for hospitality employers, including retention (Bangwal, 2019).

Due to the lack of safety and respect perceived by the female employees who reported

sexual harassment and assault, they went public with their accusations and together

with the union commenced the two-month strike, thus airing the Hotel Georgia’s dirty

laundry for the Vancouver community and broader world to see.

Executive Leadership

In considering a firm’s reputation, stakeholders will take into account the quality of

leadership. This leader not only has a clear vision of the path ahead for the corporation

but also is well-organized behind the scenes and can detect and mitigate problems

before they arise (Ponzi, 2011).

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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Unfortunately, such a leader was not found in Hotel Georgia during this extended

incident. The failure to control the situation is two-fold: first, the employee complaints

were brushed off as being inconsequential and secondly, nearly two months elapsed

before an agreement could be reached between the management team and the union.

Both indicate inflexibility and a disconnect with employee needs and market standards.

Corporate Governance

Above all, stakeholders judge companies by their actions; corporate behaviour speaks

louder than words (Dowling, 2006). Ethical behaviour is of utmost importance,

particularly with regards to sexual harassment and assault following the widespread

#metoo movement of 2017. Corporate governance is defined by Fombrun (2006) as the

system of safeguards – structural, procedural and cultural – designed to protect the long-

term interests of a company’s stakeholders. The board of directors is the main

mechanism for governance, and its responsibility lies in ensuring senior managers do

not prioritize their personal interests above the broader set of stakeholders.

In this incident, the management at Hotel Georgia did just that. They received

complaints from female employees that were not convenient or relevant to their

priorities, such as guest satisfaction and hotel revenue, and therefore decided to ignore

them. As a result, the strike ensued along with negative publicity which impacted not

only the reputation of the Hotel Georgia but Rosewood as a whole.

Impacts to Relevant Stakeholders

Fombrun (1996) has defined an organization’s reputation as the combination of corporate

images held by various stakeholder groups; in other words, the corporate identity projected by

the organization and then filtered through their expectations and interpretations. The diagram

below shows the interconnectedness of each primary stakeholder group.

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(Fombrum, 1996, p. 72)

Customers: Reliability

Luxury hotel clients have high expectations; indeed, part of the definition of luxury is a

hedonistic experience offered at a price above the functional value alone (Kapferer,

2012). The Rosewood brand did not carry through on its promise during the strike. For

instance, one guest reported that she and her husband arrived to find the restaurant and

bar closed, no room service offered and reduced housekeeping service, and from their

luxury accommodation they were able to hear the employee protests on the street

outside as evidenced in TripAdvisor reviews (Appendix C)

Communities: Responsibility

Certainly, a strike lasting two months during which employees are picketing and shouting

outside the hotel in downtown Vancouver is not helpful for community residents or

businesses. Hotel Georgia failed to protect the safety and rights of its employees,

themselves members of the community, and proceeded to allow a disruptive strike to

continue for two months in the heart of the city. And even for those residents not directly

affected, any report of sexual harassment is looked down upon (Su, 2019).

Employees: Trustworthiness

The female employees were left feeling angry and violated after their complaints were

ignored. And during the strike, the handful of employees brought in temporarily to run the

hotel were stressed and overworked. This disruption to workplace quality is likely to

impact the reputation and may negatively impact employee recruiting and retention in

the future.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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Investors: Credibility

A positive reputation is derived from both profits and growth prospects. Revenue fell

during the strike as hardly any amenities were offered to guests and several F&B outlets

were closed. It can be assumed that some guests cancelled their stays or chose not to

make reservations during the strike. Longer term revenue also may be impacted if

guests, corporate clients and hotel owners at other Rosewood properties do not want to

associate with our brand. This potential drop in revenue and profits will affect everyone

from the hotel ownership, the Board members, outside investors, owners, and

employees should any layoffs result. And when it comes to supporting the hotel in the

future, it is likely that those affected from the community will choose another property

with which to conduct business.

3. The Current Management Practice and Alternative Perspectives

To build a strong brand and reputation, three key elements must be aligned: Vision, Culture and

Image (Hatch, 2001). Vision refers to leadership goals and objectives; Culture reflects the

company values and how employees feel about working there; and Image is the external

perspective of the company. Strong brand reputations result from minimizing the gaps between

each of the three elements, achieved through careful consideration and communication. In the

case of Rosewood Hotel Group and the Hotel Georgia under our management, gaps persist in

this three-fold model.

Vision and Culture Gap

Our CEO’s vision is “to be known as the most progressive and most innovative

hospitality company out there” (Handley, 2019). Ms. Cheng designs every aspect of our

Rosewood hotels with herself and her peers in mind: sophisticated, highly-educated and

well-travelled women in their 30s and 40s (Handley, 2019). Surely this client group

would not approve of the mistreatment of employees following sexual assault.

By brushing off employee complaints, the management team insinuated that guest

satisfaction had priority over employee wellbeing and safety (CBC News, 2019).

Employees are a critical element of any hospitality institution. If Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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managers had acted upon their employees’ concerns, the resulting strike may have

been avoided.

However, Rosewood Hotel Georgia is not the first to ignore female employee

complaints. It is well established that in hospitality settings, female employees are often

harassed by male customers, and their male managers tell them to “deal with it”

because it should be an expected part of the job. Shaming or in some way punishing a

misbehaving guest, especially a high-profile guest, runs counter to the emphasis on

customer satisfaction and the tenant that the customer is always right (Madera, 2017).

This may put our managers in a delicate situation, and it is imperative they understand

our zero tolerance corporate policy.

Vision and Image Gap

When the employees went to the local union and filed a human rights complaint, all of a

sudden the internal incident was public. The image in the minds of not only our guests

but also the local Vancouver community was tarnished, as evidenced in part by

Facebook posts on our page (Appendix D). By not apologizing or accepting

responsibility, the hotel further threatened its reputation (Su, 2019).

When the strike began in September, the hotel issued only a few statements to the

media to provide updates. Throughout the strike, the hotel retreated from social media

and stopped updating their Instagram account completely (Instagram, 2020) to prevent

negative comments from proliferating online during the ongoing strike and negotiation.

A subset of guests were contacted a couple days before their scheduled arrival to inform

them of the strike, however some complained that this was insufficient for them to make

other plans. Other guests did not hear about the strike until they arrived at the hotel

(Appendix C). Hotel management left a printed letter in guest rooms which referenced

the ongoing strike and service interruption (Appendix E) but not the root cause of the

employee unrest. In all, more guest communication to reset expectations was called for.

Following their stays, several guests turned to TripAdvisor to post negative reviews

about their experience. The general manager chose to respond to a handful of them to

apologize (Appendix C). As determined by Liu, this type of response strategy, directly

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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addressing negative reviews, can serve to improve online ratings significantly (2015), so

this was a positive action.

The strike lasted two months until the union and hotel reached an agreement following a

29-hour nonstop negotiation. The deal included a safety program within the hotel to

prevent harassment and the installation of panic buttons for employees under threat

throughout the hotel (BC Local News, 2019). Ensuring employee safety in the workplace

is essential (Bangwal, 2019).

4. Conclusion and Recommendations for Alterations to Practices

Rosewood Hotel Georgia has lost trust and admiration through its failure to protect its

employees. This gap must be closed, and it is the Board’s responsibility to do so. Dowling posits

that the Board should take on primary responsibility for corporate reputation as it directly affects

the Board’s three core roles: to serve investors; to maintain the company’s long-term

sustainability; and to create social value (2006).

Reputation translates into immediate business outcomes and overall viability over coming years.

An enhanced corporate reputation has a multitude of advantages, including correcting

misimpressions, projecting truths about the company to external stakeholders, enhance

employee morale and create goodwill towards the firm (Worcester, 2009). Now is the time for

Rosewood to act on reputation improvement measures.

The latest global study by the RepTrak Company identified a few relevant findings. When it

comes to consumer sentiment, what a company stands for matters more than what it sells. And

of those global companies whose reputation score increased over the last year, the most

important reputation drivers leading to the increase were Governance, Citizenship and

Workplace – those most closely associated with Corporate Social Responsibility, and those we

must address as a company (RepTrak Study, 2020).

Although this incident transpired several months ago and media coverage and online

discussions have ceased, service failures are remembered by stakeholders for a long time.

Therefore, it is important to continue working to restore the reputation into the future (Su, 2019).

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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We have an important window in this moment to let the world know exactly what Rosewood

stands for.

Enhance employee climate

Employee safety and well-being must be prioritized. We have learned through this

incident that ignoring employee complaints may yield major negative consequences,

particularly when our employees are united in a union. Madera sets out some guidance

for fostering a climate that does not tolerate sexual harassment, including: establishing

clear policies, setting procedures for filing a claim, and maintaining consistency in

handling each complaint (2017). Also, the safety program, training and panic buttons

which the site agreed to instate as part of the union negotiation should be implemented

at Rosewood owned and managed hotels worldwide before we are faced with a similar

situation. We should publicize this safety implementation widely.

Of course, preventing sexual harassment and assault is the first step, and despite the

sexual proclivities of the hospitality industry, we as a brand should not hesitate to lead

the way. The luxury brand is a promoter of taste. We as Rosewood have the right and

the duty to set the rules for our customers. In fact, one of Kapferer’s anti-laws of

marketing is to dominate the client. “The luxury brand must be ready to play this role of

adviser, educator and sociological guide” (Kapferer, 2012, p. 70). Eaton has suggested

to place a notice in each guest room explicitly stating that while the hotel staff are here to

ensure guests have an enjoyable stay, no sexual harassment or abuse will be tolerated


Improve Crisis Management

In hospitality, as in nearly all industries, crises will continue to occur. Some may be

preventable, some may not, but in either case it behoves Rosewood to be prepared.

Should a hotel be faced with sudden staff shortages, due to strike, weather or illness, an

emergency contingency plan must be prepared. At the Hotel Georgia, the strike came

unexpectedly and left the hotel scrambling to maintain service levels for our guests

(Appendix C, TripAdvisor reviews).

Rosewood Hotel Georgia Boardroom Report

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In such an instance, Rosewood must set clearer guest expectations. Many guests

arrived to the hotel unaware of the ongoing strike and those who were contacted were

only alerted 48 hours in advance of their stay, thus precluding major changes to plans. If

expectations are set in advance, the backlash and disappointment of guests will be


Lastly, there is an opportunity to improve crisis communication. Rosewood

spokespeople were limited in their statements during this time, leaving the media –

together with distraught employees and angry union leaders – to fill in the blanks and tell

the story on our behalf. In the future, Rosewood management should be more

forthcoming with updates to ensure our side of the story has been told, and the efforts

we are undertaking are recognized.

Unite vision, culture and image

Here at Rosewood we have instated a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. But

what good is that if our management teams and ownership groups do not adhere to it?

Roper insists that brands should practice what they preach (2012). We have set out to

be a modern, elegant brand; to exude grace and glamour; to welcome discerning

business travellers, leisure-seekers, families and wedding parties (Rosewood website,

2020; Handley, 2019). Nowhere in our brand ethos is sexual harassment tolerated.

In order to unite our vision, culture and image, Rosewood must take the lead to ensure

stakeholders across the properties agree to and consistently implement our key human

resources policies, from our owners, asset managers, general managers and unions.

There must exist repercussions for any violations.

The external audience should also be addressed, and The RepTrak Company would

argue that Ms. Cheng, Rosewood Hotel Group CEO, should be the one to do so (PR

News, 2018). As a successful, young female CEO, Ms. Cheng is well-suited to ensure

our internal and external stakeholders understand our commitment to our policies going

forward, which would in turn inspire loyalty and differentiate Rosewood from competitors.

Says Stephen Hahn, RepTrak EVP, “CEOs who can align themselves with human

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interest stories are the ones who’re going to drive success for their companies” (PR

News, 2018, p 2).

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5. References

Bangwal, D. and Tiwari, P. (2019). Workplace environment, employee satisfaction and intent to
stay. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31(1), pp.268–284.

BC Local News. (2019). 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’ – BC
Local News. [online] Available at:
hospitality-workers-join-open-ended-strike/ [Accessed 15 Feb. 2020].

Bernstein, J. & Ellison, J. 2011, Hotel Confidential: It’s the dirty secret about business travel.
Many married men expect sex along with their room service, according to a NEWSWEEK poll.
But will the Strauss-Kahn scandal change the rules of the game?, Newsweek Publishing LLC,
New York.

CBC News. (2019). Hotel Rosewood Georgia employees and other hospitality workers allege
sexual harassment by guests | CBC News. [online] Available at:
other-hospitality-workers-allege-sexual-harassment-by-guests-1.5223586 [Accessed 15 Feb.

Crawford, T. (2019). Hotel Georgia workers still on strike despite deal at four Vancouver hotels.
[online] Vancouver Sun. Available at:
workers-still-on-strike-despite-deal-at-four-vancouver-hotels [Accessed 15 Feb. 2020].

Dowling, G. (2006). Reputation risk: it is the board’s ultimate responsibility. Strategic Direction,

Eaton, D.E. (2004), “Beyond room service legal consequences of sexual harassment of staff by
hotel guests”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 347-

Facebook. (n.d.). Rosewood Hotel Georgia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21
Apr. 2020].

Fombrun, C.J. (2006). Corporate Governance. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(4), pp.267–271.

Fombrun, C.J. (2008). Reputation : realizing value from the corporate image. Boston, Mass.
Harvard Business School Press.

Handley, L. (2019). Sonia Cheng: The Hong Kong CEO on her billionaire family and luxury hotel
group Rosewood. [online] CNBC. Available at:
rosewood-ceo-on-her-family-and-her-hong-kong-hotel/ [Accessed 15 Feb. 2020].

Hatch, M.J. (2001). Are the Strategic Stars Aligned for Your Corporate Brand? Harvard
Business Review, [online] 79(2), pp.128–134. Available at:

Heyes, A. and Lashley, C. (2017). Price, exclusivity and luxury: Exploring London’s luxury
hotels. Research in Hospitality Management, 7(1), pp.17–26.

Holliday, I. (2019). Tentative agreement reached to end strike, Hotel Georgia says. [online]
British Columbia. Available at:
hotel-georgia-says-1.4689983 [Accessed 22 Apr. 2020].

Instagram. (n.d.). Rosewood Hotel Georgia (@rosewoodhotelgeorgia) •
Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 …

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