Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Baxter

Stephanie Baxter

Spa Director, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

With over 15 years of experience in the spa and fitness industry, Stephanie Baxter is an accomplished spa and health club director and currently hold the position of Spa Director of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa located in the exclusive Rancho Santa Fe community of San Diego. Ms. Baxter has a history of and has specialized in turning around under-performing spas and health clubs into successfully run establishments by using a hands-on approach to management to develop highly effective teams, producing dramatic increases in revenue and profitability. Ms. Baxter’s strengths include an intense customer focus, employee development and satisfaction, and training. In 2000, she started her own boutique skin care business in Downtown San Diego after realizing her passion for skin care and a desire to create custom skin care programs for adults dealing with acne. After selling her business in 2003, she moved to South Florida to pursue her other passion for competing in Equestrian competitions. Her hiatus was short lived after she was eager to get back to the spa industry, which led her to take on the exciting opportunity of opening the spa at a renowned Miami establishment, formerly known as the Versace Mansion, on Ocean Drive. After three successful years, Ms. Baxter returned to California after obtaining a new position as Spa Director for Hyatt Hotels, where she remained for six years before she was awarded with what she refers to as an opportunity of a lifetime, becoming the Spa Director at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa.

Ms. Baxter can be contacted at 858-759-6490 or stephanie.baxter@ranchovalencia.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.