Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Paston

Melissa Paston

Catering Sales Manager, The Kitano New York

Melissa Paston is catering sales manager for The Kitano New York Hotel’s food and beverage operations and the hotel’s new full-service restaurant and performance venue, JAZZ at KITANO. Paston brings 15 years of hotel catering sales experience to New York’s only Japanese-owned, boutique property with an array of event and meetings capabilities that effortlessly blend gracious Japanese hospitality with one of New York City’s most vibrant locations. MS. Paston, who began her career at The Kitano, returned to oversee the selling and planning of corporate meetings, social events, weddings and celebrations in the property’s diverse function spaces. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Paston took on her first role as catering sales manager at The Kitano in 1997 as a fitting combination for her interests in marketing, sales, culinary operations and customer service. She has also held positions at the W New York, W New York – The Court and Hilton Times Square.

Ms. Paston can be contacted at 212-885-7017 or mpaston@kitano.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.