Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blake

Michael Blake

Chief Executive Officer, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG)

Michael Blake is the Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG). Mr. Blake previously served as the CIO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, encompassing Joie de Vivre, Thompson, Tommie and Alila Hotels. He provided strategic leadership and sound perspective to contribute to the management and evolution of Commune's global IT functions.

Before his role at Commune, Mr. Blake was the CIO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he set the global technology direction for their global footprint. He has over 20 years of experience in finance and technology from various roles at numerous companies. Before his CIO positions with Commune and Hyatt, Mr. Blake was SVP of IT for First Data, CFO of IT Finance at Kaiser Permanente and Director of IT Finance for Sears. In each role, he was the highest-ranking IT Finance resource and key internal consultant and advisor to international senior leadership teams.

Prior to that, Mr. Blake held various financial roles within United Airlines including the controller of the IT organization.

Mr. Blake holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Utah, received his Master of Business Administration in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also his Master of Science in Information Technology from Northwestern University. He also maintains several credentials and licenses: CPA, CMA, CISA, CITP.

Mr. Blake served as a member of HTNG's Board of Governors since 2009 and held the Treasurer position for many of those years.

Please visit http://www.htng.org for more information.

Mr. Blake can be contacted at 847-303-5560 or michael.blake@htng.org

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.