Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Vélez-Couto

Maite Vélez-Couto

Vice President, rbb Communications

Maite Vélez-Couto, a Vice President at rbb Communications, brings a broad range of media relations, consumer product marketing and branding experience to the firm. Throughout her career, she has handled integrated communications campaigns for a wide variety of consumer clients – from travel and food and beverage to fashion and entertainment brands including, but not limited to AMResorts, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn by Hilton, Norwegian Cruise Line, Vlasic pickles, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Feld Entertainment. Ms. Vélez-Couto has vast knowledge of regional and national media, community relations and special events. She currently focuses on rbb’s hospitality and food and beverage clients, managing multiple award-winning programs including recipients of PRSA’s “Silver Anvil,” Holmes Report’s “Gold SABRE”, and HSMAI’s Adrian Awards. Her experience also includes supporting clients’ efforts in Mexico, Colombia, the Caribbean and Spain. Ms. Vélez-Couto graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature and an associate degree in architecture, and from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and post graduate studies in Spanish Language Journalism. She currently resides in Coral Gables.

Ms. Vélez-Couto can be contacted at 305-783-3140 or maite.velez-couto@rbbcommunications.com

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.