Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Donnell

James O'Donnell

Chief Operating Officer, Vail Resorts Hospitality

James O’Donnell joined RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality in 2002 as Corporate Director of Finance, and became Regional Director of Operations in 2004. In 2006, he became Vice President of Strategic Development, where he was responsible for the acquisition of new management contracts and developments for RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the acquisition and growth of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division and other lines of business, including ski resorts and online media. Mr. O’Donnell was named Chief Financial Officer in August 2011 and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Before joining RockResorts, Mr. O’Donnell was an assurance and business advisory services manager for Arthur Andersen LLP, in both the Miami and Denver offices. While at Andersen, he specialized in the hospitality and real estate industries. Mr. O’Donnell received his Bachelor and Master in Business Administration degrees from the University of Miami, in Miami, FL. He regularly speaks on industry expert panels at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the NYU Lodging Conference and various other conferences

Mr. O'Donnell can be contacted at 303-404-1800 or jodonnell@vailresorts.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.