Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Smith

Deborah Smith

Principal, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, USA

Deborah Smith is a native New Yorker with a Masters degree in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. She has completed graduate coursework at New York University in education and therapeutic recreation. Ms. Smith began her career in the advertising industry as an account executive for a major Procter & Gamble brand. Her first job in the spa industry was as executive assistant to the Deborah Szekely, owner of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta resorts. Prior to founding Smith Club & Spa Specialists in 2000, Ms. Smith served in a variety of top management and development roles in the spa and hospitality industry in positions such as National Marketing Director, Spa Director, Club General Manager, and Vice President of Business Development. Her consultancy, Smith Club & Spa Specialists, has provided project assistance to over 100 clients in commercial real estate development, asset management, spa and hotel operations. The firm's specialty is branding and business planning, conceptual development and program design, and operational audits. She served on the Board of Directors of ISPA (the International Spa Association) and as Treasurer/CFO for BANA (Balneology Association of North America), a California non-profit dedicated to education, research, and information about natural mineral springs in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Ms. Smith earned a CMC in management consulting in 2011. This professional certification meets the stringent global standards of ISO/IEC 17024 and signifies the highest standards of knowledge, competence, and ethics. In her spare time she is an outdoors enthusiast and teaches Spa Marketing & Branding for the University of California/Irvine in its Spa & Hospitality Management professional certification program.

Ms. Smith can be contacted at 970-927-1549 or spasmith@comcast.net

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.