Editorial Board   Guest Author

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 firmís 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 April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.