Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Derby

Elizabeth Derby

Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Hotel Equities

Elizabeth Derby serves as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hotel Equities, an Atlanta-based, full-scale hotel management, development and consulting firm. She sits as a member of the Hotel Equities Strategic Alliance Leadership Team, the executive committee that casts the company vision and orchestrates its growth. Ms. Derby holds responsibility for all revenue generation for the portfolio including hotel sales and marketing, revenue management and e-commerce. She assists the hotels with setting overall sales and marketing strategies to maximize revenues. Recently, she spearheaded the revitalization of the company logo, the firmís website and all marketing materials. She oversees the firmís public relations strategy and implementation, including media relations and the quarterly company newsletter. Ms. Derby joined Hotel Equities 15 years ago as Director of Sales & Marketing for the companyís portfolio that numbered only four hotels at the time. Today, the firm includes 25 sales directors serving more than 40 properties in five states from Virginia to Louisiana. With more than 29 years in the hotel business, Ms. Derby held sales positions at the The Mills House Hotel in Charleston, the Memphis Marriott, the Lowell Sheraton, and the Charlotte Marriott Executive Park before taking her present post. She began her career at the Kiawah Island Resort near Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Derby holds a B.S. degree in Administrative Management from Clemson University.

Ms. Derby can be contacted at 678-578-4444 or ederby@hotelequities.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.