Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Waldvogel

Deborah Waldvogel

Director of Spa Development and Operations, Sedona Resorts

Deborah J. Waldvogel is the Director of Spa Development and Operations for Sedona Resorts. Ms. Waldvogel’s responsibilities include financial feasibility studies, concept development, design, as well as managing opening and operations for unique, luxury resort and destination spas with an emphasis on wellness programs. Sedona Resorts is currently involved in the development and management of a Boutique Resort and Spa at Cocoplum, Placencia, Belize as well as Kittitian Hill, a Sustainable Resort Master Planned Community on the island of St. Kitts both of which are focused on healthy lifestyle programming. Ms. Waldvogel played an integral role leading the relaunch of the Spa at Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos which has been recognized as one of the Top Spas in the Caribbean by Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s and received the World Travel Award as the World’s Leading Spa Resort in 2012. Her most recognized experience in the spa industry came during the first six years of operations at Mii amo, a destination spa at Enchantment. As Director of Operations and an Executive Officer Committee Member, in addition to overseeing daily operations of all key spa departments, she was responsible for program development and coordination and was the resort training facilitator. Mii amo received numerous highly respected accolades including #1 Destination Spa in the World by Travel & Leisure readers. She is recognized as a leader in the spa industry serving as a Board member, Chairman, and currently Past Chairman for the International Spa Association (ISPA) where she has lead several task forces and committees including Nominations and the development of a Spa Operations Manual. During her seven years of Board Service, Ms. Waldvogel had the opportunity to network with Spa Professionals while attending and presenting at industry events in the U.S, Thailand, France, Egypt, and Costa Rica in addition to leading a regional event hosted by ISPA in India. Ms. Waldvogel continues to speak at both domestic and international events on behalf of the association. Before her success in spa, she was a private business owner in the travel industry and has 14 years of experience in curriculum development and teaching. She has served on the Arizona State University Spa Management Advisory Board. She is also committed to continuing her own education and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Ms. Waldvogel holds a B.S. in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse. Please visit http://www.sedona-resorts.com for more information.

Ms. Waldvogel can be contacted at 928-300-3236 or dwaldvogel@sedona-resorts.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.