Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gilbert

David Gilbert

President - Hospitality Group, Heartland Payment Systems

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience and a track record of leading successful growth while developing and maintaining brand identity and implementing strategic change, David Gilbert is responsible for the growth and development of Heartland's portfolio and services within several industries, including restaurants, lodging and affiliated markets. Prior to joining Heartland, the nation's 5th largest payment processor, Mr. Gilbert was the chief operating officer of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the restaurant industry's largest and most respected trade organization. In this role from 2009-2012, Mr. Gilbert focused on guiding the organization in its ongoing efforts to provide and develop valuable products, services and benefits to help the industry and the Association's members. He was also responsible for all operations, sales, business/product development, strategic relationships and financial analysis of the association and its subsidiaries. Before the NRA, Mr. Gilbert spent several years as a restaurant and hospitality industry consultant, and held several executive positions with national chains, including chief administrative officer with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., executive vice president and chief administrative officer with Shoney's Inc., and executive director of development with Applebee's International, Inc. His background also includes operations, product development and management experience in the quick service, casual dining and family dining segments. A resident of Nashville, TN, Mr. Gilbert holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Florida State University. He is also a member of the National Restaurant Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the West Virginia University Hospitality Board of Advisors.

Mr. Gilbert can be contacted at 88879831312281 or david.gilbert@e-hps.com

Coming up in April 2020...

Guest Service: First Impressions Matter

Hotels spend large amounts of money on marketing their operation and brand, but sometimes they fail to remember that guest service is the lifeblood of their business. It is outstanding guest service that allows a hotel to create an amazing and lasting impression, one that will remain with guests far beyond the duration of their stay. In pre-internet days, first impressions were formed the moment a guest walked through a hotel's front door. These days, first impressions are created long before a guest arrives at a hotel property. They begin when a customer visits a hotel's website or social media pages for the first time. When a guest connects with a property online, they immediately form an opinion of the hotel. First impressions matter and because of that, a hotel website should be mobile-friendly with blistering fast speed; it should be graphically appealing; and it should provide visual representation of the kind of experience a guest can expect. It is also vital to engage the customer; to actively solicit and respond to guest feedback. When a hotel personally engages with someone, it is demonstrating to other customers that guest opinions matter, and that management is willing to go the extra mile to provide superior guest service. Similarly, when a hotel sends out personalized emails with satisfaction surveys attached, it demonstrates that management values guest feedback, so that service can be improved at every level. Additionally, social media messages can be sent out prior to a guest's arrival to learn more about them, so their visit can be personalized. It's the small touches and details that are most remembered and appreciated. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate excellent guest service in their operations.