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 Orlando’s $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 Orlando’s 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 Manager’s Special Achievement Award for Excellence, 1998; Peabody Hotel Group Rooms Division Leadership Award, 1999, and Peabody Hotel Group’s President’s Award for Excellence, 2006.

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

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.