Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Ramanathan

Akshay Ramanathan

Founder and CEO, Sukoon Travel Group

Akshay Ramanathan brings big-idea thinking alongside a passionate curiosity for marketing, technology, and all things digital to the hospitality industry. Mr. Ramanathan began his professional career working with major companies like JetBlue and T-Mobile to generate brand awareness among university students on his local college campus. Working at global advertising agency, BBDO, on the MARs brand account, confirmed Mr. Ramanathan's fascination with helping businesses market their products and services in the online space. The specialization into telling stories and marketing specifically travel experiences came after living abroad in South America and the Middle East. Mr. Ramanathan developed a passion for the hospitality industry and soon returned to school to pursue a masters degree in the field. Shortly after graduation he joined HeBS Digital, creating a new role for himself as Business Development Analyst. In this position he identified and helped secure international business opportunities and expand product lines to new markets. He played a key role in bridging marketing and sales efforts and streamlining internal department processes through developing a technology stack. Now as a young entrepreneur and independent consultant he relies on a combination of specialized technology applications to help him grow and scale his business. He is presently working with hospitality businesses to assess the overall efficacy of their digital assets and e-commerce strategy. In doing so his aim is to make technology more meaningful and accessible for his clients who seek to maximize the value of their online marketing efforts. Outside the office Mr. Ramanathan is an active member of the community giving back through various volunteer efforts. He presently serves as the Community Service Chair for the NYU Tisch Center Alumni Society as well as plays a role in other organizations such as HSMAI Greater New York Chapter and StreetWise Partners. Mr. Ramanathan holds a M.S. Degree in Hospitality Industries from NYU and is a regularly featured speaker and participant in university programs and events. Please visit http://www.sukoontravelgroup.com for more information.

Mr. Ramanathan can be contacted at 347-501-0850 or ramanathan.akshay@gmail.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.