Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Kolakowski

Heather Kolakowski

Lecturer in Food and Beverage Management, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

Heather Kolakowski is a lecturer in food and beverage management at the School of Hotel Administration (SHA). She teaches several food and beverage courses, including Restaurant Management, Contemporary Healthy Foods, as well as Hunger, Health and Nonprofit Social Enterprise. She is also the faculty advisor for Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC), the student-run hospitality showcase conference which allows students the opportunity to put theory into practice while taking on leadership responsibilities each spring. Ms. Kolakowski has also taught at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Her courses included Beverage Operations Management, Spirits and Principles of Mixology, Advanced Principles of Service in Hospitality Management, Introductory Table Service in the dining room of St. Andrew's Cafe, and Formal Hospitality and Service Management in the American Bounty Restaurant on the CIA campus. These front-of-the-house classes review the principles of fine service and hospitality in a restaurant setting, emphasizing customer service, beverages including wine and spirits, restaurant trends, and sales. In addition to her service classes, she has also taught the elective Women in Leadership. A 2000 graduate of SHA and a 2002 graduate of the CIA, Ms. Kolakowski returned to her culinary alma mater in 2008 after serving as food and beverage manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Company in Washington, D.C. and Jackson Hole, WY. Her additional professional experience includes assistant manager for the Peninsula Grille in Warrington, PA, and teaching assistant at both the CIA and Cornell University. Awarded an MBA at SUNY Empire State College in December 2013, Ms. Kolakowski is also a member of the Women's Foodservice Forum, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, the United States Bartender's Guild Association, and the Cornell Hotel Society. Ms. Kolakowski is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) and certified TIPS responsible alcohol service instructor. Please visit http://www.cornell.edu for more information.

Ms. Kolakowski can be contacted at 607-255-8397 or haf30@cornell.edu

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.