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 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.