Editorial Board

Ms. Stevens

Wendy Stevens

Executive Vice President, First Hospitality Group

In her role as executive vice president of First Hospitality Group (FHG), Wendy Stevens is responsible for developing and executing company strategy at a high level, pinpointing valuable business opportunities, and scouting out the best of the best for our workforce. Disciplined and determined in her approach, every challenge that comes across her desk is met with a sense of urgency that guarantees results. Ms. Stevens was exposed to the world of hospitality from an early age, becoming increasingly familiar with back-of-house operations as her mother lived and worked in a hotel. Despite her varied focuses in school, ranging from political science to fashion merchandising, it was the time spent working guest services in a front office during college that ultimately shaped her career path. Ms. Stevens joined FHG in 2001. Throughout her 14 years with FHG, the accomplishment about which she is most proud is the assemblage of her team of innovative leaders. When she joined FHG, there were only 17 hotels in the portfolio and only two other sales people. Since then, FHG’s portfolio has more than tripled; departments dedicated to marketing and revenue management have been developed to offer more holistic and dedicated support, and a total sales department of three grew to a team of more than 20. She attributes her success to the singular idea that there is nothing that you can't do; the only limits that we have, we set for ourselves. Ms. Stevens has truly seen hotels from every angle, from suburban 80-room select service hotels to 500-room downtown convention centers, giving her the knowledge and first-hand understanding necessary to excel in her collaboration with people at all levels. Please visit http://www.fhginc.com for more information.

Ms. Stevens can be contacted at 224-257-4000 or wstevens@fhginc.com

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.