Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blakely

Ford Blakely

SVP & GM, Medallia Zingle

Ford Blakely is SVP and GM of Medallia Zingle. As a frustrated consumer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Blakely worked to find a way to make it easier for customers to interact with companies and get their needs met in more personalized ways. As a result, Zingle was born in 2009 as the first two-way, business-to-customer communication platform. Today, Zingle empowers businesses to engage, support, and respond to customers in more meaningful and impactful ways.

The Zingle platform combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with workflow automation and mobile messaging, which allows brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences in real time. Leading brands across different verticals, including hospitality, health and fitness, legal, food and beverage, retail, and more, use Zingle to increase efficiency, improve operations, and delight their customers.

Mr. Blakely has spent more than 20 years involved in startups, finance and various entrepreneurial projects. He is a Certified Public Accountant who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Furman University in 1997, before attending the University of Tennessee to earn a Masters in Accountancy one year later.

Mr. Blakely started his financial career at Arthur Andersen and later moved on to investment banking at RBC Capital Market, where he specialized in telecommunication start-ups and video technology companies at all stages. He then worked at LECG for six years, where he provided financial analysis and consultation services for businesses and law firms.

Please visit http://www.zingle.me for more information.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ford-blakely-5b4427ba

Mr. Blakely can be contacted at +1 858-213-6562 or fblakely@medallia.com

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.