Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Urbat

Christian Urbat

Senior Vice President, Technical Services, Americas, Carlson Rezidor

Christian Urbat joined Carlson as senior vice president, Technical Services, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, in January, 2011. Mr. Urbat’s responsibilities include translating brand standards into technical standards; overall technical leadership for the owned and managed hotels—with a clear focus on the Carlson Hotels Real Estate Company (CHREC) portfolio and key flagships; and ensuring compliance of franchised properties with the agreed upon technical standards—overseeing the definition and execution of property improvement plans (P.I.P.) or other strategic investments in single properties. In this compliance work he will provide consulting assistance to the owners to help ensure alignment with the strategic direction of the brands. He further works in close cooperation with the Development and Operations teams. Mr. Urbat, who was born in Porta Westfalica, Germany, previously held various positions with Hyatt International as vice president of Technical Services for Europe, Africa and Middle East in Zurich, Switzerland, responsible for all building and site related pre- and post-development activities as well as renovations. Prior to that, he worked for Hyatt in various corporate positions and in Food & Beverage Operations across the U.S., China and Germany. Mr. Urbat has a master’s degree in Culinary Art and a Bachelor of Arts degree in hotel management from Hotel Management College in Altötting, Germany.

Mr. Urbat can be contacted at 763-212-5451 or curbat@carlsonrezidor.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.