Editorial Board   

Mr. Leopold

Gary Leopold

President & CEO, ISM

Gary Leopold is President and Chief Executive Officer of ISM, a Boston-based advertising and marketing firm that specializes in the travel and leisure industries. Among their clients are Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, American Express, Emirates, Harley-Davidson, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and Harley-Davidson. Prior to joining ISM, Gary was the corporate director of public relations for Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, overseeing 13 hotels worldwide. Gary is a past president of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and currently serves on their Board of Directors as well as on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation. He is the founder of the HSMAI Golden Bell Public Relations Awards and Golden Click Web Awards, and a co-founder of the Annual Travel Awards Night dinner. A noted expert in travel marketing, he has taught and lectured on the subject at Cornell, Boston University, University of New Hampshire and many other colleges and organizations. He's also written articles for Business Travel News, HSMAI Marketing Review, Successful Meetings and other industry publications. Mr. Leopold is also the recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award in travel advertising from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), an honor he shares with Michael Eisner and Sir Richard Branson, among others. He is also the current president of the MAGNET global agency network.

Mr. Leopold can be contacted at 617-353-1822 or gleopold@ismboston.com

Coming up in April 2020...

Guest Service: First Impressions Matter

Hotels spend large amounts of money on marketing their operation and brand, but sometimes they fail to remember that guest service is the lifeblood of their business. It is outstanding guest service that allows a hotel to create an amazing and lasting impression, one that will remain with guests far beyond the duration of their stay. In pre-internet days, first impressions were formed the moment a guest walked through a hotel's front door. These days, first impressions are created long before a guest arrives at a hotel property. They begin when a customer visits a hotel's website or social media pages for the first time. When a guest connects with a property online, they immediately form an opinion of the hotel. First impressions matter and because of that, a hotel website should be mobile-friendly with blistering fast speed; it should be graphically appealing; and it should provide visual representation of the kind of experience a guest can expect. It is also vital to engage the customer; to actively solicit and respond to guest feedback. When a hotel personally engages with someone, it is demonstrating to other customers that guest opinions matter, and that management is willing to go the extra mile to provide superior guest service. Similarly, when a hotel sends out personalized emails with satisfaction surveys attached, it demonstrates that management values guest feedback, so that service can be improved at every level. Additionally, social media messages can be sent out prior to a guest's arrival to learn more about them, so their visit can be personalized. It's the small touches and details that are most remembered and appreciated. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate excellent guest service in their operations.