Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Alton

Sharon Alton

Founder & Principal, GAIA Consulting Group, LLC

Sharon Alton, founder and principal of GAIA Consulting Group, LLC, an integrated consulting firm that helps hotels and hospitality management companies gain maximum value for their sustainable efforts. Ms. Alton offices with the U.S. Green Building Council in downtown Denver and has an esteemed client base including Destination Hotels & Resorts, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 8 and the Downtown Denver Partnership. She prides herself on demonstrating to clients how they can integrate economic, environmental and social responsibility into their company’s corporate strategy. Her firm specializes in assessment, design, implementation, reporting and optimization of sustainable business opportunities. A business-minded professional with a background in investment banking and hospitality management, Ms. Alton gained a deep appreciation for the intersection of business and the environment while completing Graduate course work in Economics. Fascinated by the perception that economic reality is mutually exclusive to environmental and social responsibility, Ms. Alton chose to focus her attention on resolving this common misperception. GAIA Consulting Group is the product of her focus. A consulting platform which helps companies to bridge this dynamic perceptual gap, Ms. Alton assists her clients in achieving concurrent positive results for both the environment and their balance sheet. Ms. Alton graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She employs sustainable practices in her personal life and frequently provides pro-bono counseling to individuals seeking to lessen their environment footprint while achieving economic savings. Demonstrating that economic and environmental success go hand in hand, GAIA Consulting Group donates a percentage of annual profit to environmental organizations.

Ms. Alton can be contacted at 720-934-6045 or sharon@thegaiagroup.net

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.