Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Bowden

Barb Bowden

Director, Corporate Revenue Management, Peabody Hotels

Barbara Bowden serves as general manager of The Peabody Orlando and the director of corporate revenue management for Peabody Hotels. A native of St. Louis, MO., Ms. Bowden began her hotel career in 1984 at the front desk of the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Two years later when The Peabody Orlando opened its doors for business on November 1, 1986, she joined the hotel as front desk supervisor. As general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 1,641-room hotel. Since being appointed to this role in February 2010, Ms. Bowden helped lead The Peabody Orlandoís $450-million expansion which was completed in September 2010. Most recently under her leadership, The Peabody Orlando was once again awarded with the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rating for the 23rd consecutive year, making it the largest non-gaming hotel in the United States with this distinction. In addition to her role as general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the creation and implementation of the corporate revenue management and distribution infrastructure for Peabody Hotels, including organizational structure, strategy, supporting processes and operations, internal education and training. Currently, Ms. Bowden serves as Chair for the Board of Directors of the Americas Region of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and is past-chairperson of the HSMAI Revenue Management Special Interest Group. In addition, she holds a position on Visit Orlandoís Board of Directors. Her years with The Peabody Orlando have been star-studded. She won the Department Head of the Quarter, 1989; Department Head of the Year, 1995; General Managerís Special Achievement Award for Excellence, 1998; Peabody Hotel Group Rooms Division Leadership Award, 1999, and Peabody Hotel Groupís Presidentís Award for Excellence, 2006.

Ms. Bowden can be contacted at 407-352-4000 or barb.bowden@peabodyhotels.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.