Editorial Board

Ms. Smith

Deborah Smith

Principal, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, USA

Deborah Smith is a native New Yorker with a Masters degree in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. She has completed graduate coursework at New York University in education and therapeutic recreation. Ms. Smith began her career in the advertising industry as an account executive for a major Procter & Gamble brand. Her first job in the spa industry was as executive assistant to the Deborah Szekely, owner of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta resorts. Prior to founding Smith Club & Spa Specialists in 2000, Ms. Smith served in a variety of top management and development roles in the spa and hospitality industry in positions such as National Marketing Director, Spa Director, Club General Manager, and Vice President of Business Development. Her consultancy, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, has provided project assistance to over 100 clients in commercial real estate development, asset management, spa and hotel operations. The firm’s specialty is branding and business planning, conceptual development and program design, and operational audits. She served on the Board of Directors of ISPA (the International Spa Association) and as Treasurer/CFO for BANA (Balneology Association of North America), a California non-profit dedicated to education, research, and information about natural mineral springs in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Ms. Smith earned a CMC in management consulting in 2011. This professional certification meets the stringent global standards of ISO/IEC 17024 and signifies the highest standards of knowledge, competence, and ethics. In her spare time she is an outdoors enthusiast and teaches Spa Marketing & Branding for the University of California/Irvine in its Spa & Hospitality Management professional certification program.

Ms. Smith can be contacted at 970-927-1549 or spasmith@comcast.net

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.