Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Mearns

Kate Mearns

Spa Director, The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg

Kate Mearns has spent the past 16 years sharing her beliefs that the spa experience should be primarily about one’s wellness. Ms. Mearns’ conviction fits perfectly within the philosophy upon which The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg was created - a continuum of wellness. With spa experiences based on historical wellness practices from the past five centuries and into today, the Spa relates the ongoing process of individual health through time, blending inspiration from colonial, African and American Indian wellness practices, and influencing subsequent generations. Ms. Mearns began her career in the industry more than a decade ago, when it was in its relative infancy, at the Coolfont Resort & Spa in West Virginia and later moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to open The Spa at the Kingsmill Resort. In her early days, she worked closely with one of the founding members of the International Spa Association (ISPA) and became involved with the distinguished organization. Ms. Mearns would ultimately serve on the Board of Directors, from 2001 – 2006, spending the last two years as Chairman. From her involvement with ISPA, Ms. Mearns has had various opportunities to represent the spa industry. She’s been featured on the Travel Channel, spoken on spa trends and research in international locales such as Bangkok and Singapore, and has written numerous articles for spa and fitness industry publications. Working with and learning from others, especially on an international level, has been what inspires her to grow in her profession. Ms. Mearns believes that indigenous treatments will continue to grow in popularity in the future; something The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg has already incorporated into its menu.

Ms. Mearns can be contacted at 757-220-7720 or kmearns@cwf.org

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.