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 January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.