Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Gelfound

Wendi Gelfound

Director of Marketing, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

As a founding member of the Sunrise Springs launch team, Wendi Gelfound played a critical role in defining brand positioning and marketing strategies. With extensive experience in the health and wellness, spa and tourism sectors, Ms. Gelfound has been recognized internationally as an expert and innovator in destination marketing. In 2015, she had the honor of speaking on the Business of Hot Springs Panel at the Global Wellness Summit in Mexico City. And, in October of 2016 Ms. Gelfound was invited to present the "American Perspective" at the inaugural Global Thermal Think Tank in Bad Orb, Germany, and on the R(E)volution of Hot Springs Panel at the Global Wellness Summit in Tyrol, Austria. Ms. Gelfound has successfully led global marketing initiatives for several New Mexico-based resorts, most notably Sunrise Springs’ sister property Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa for the last eleven years, and Taos’ award-winning El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa. Ms. Gelfound was founder and vice president of the Taos Tourism Council, and at the state level, has been selected for a 2nd term as a North Central Region Board Member for the New Mexico Tourism Department. Ms. Gelfound's creative eye and extensive experience in branding and marketing strategies spans three decades. She was creative director for a marketing agency in Miami and owned a software and web development company in the early 1990s. To that foundation. Ms. Gelfound maintains a compelling interest in the leading edge of communications media. Ms. Gelfound attended Boston University, The Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. She is passionate about adventure travel, hiking, yoga…and the occasional bungee jump. Please visit http://www.sunrisesprings.com for more information.

Ms. Gelfound can be contacted at 505-780-8145 or wendi.gelfound@sunrisesprings.com

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.