Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Darling

Stephen Darling

Principal, Stephen Darling Hospitality Consultancy Inc.

After 40 consecutive years in hospitality industry in three countries, most recently as Regional Vice President for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts in North America, responsible for identifying and securing management contracts on six projects in North America. Stephen now leads his own hospitality consulting practice as well as serving as a director on two boards. Darling readily admits that he entered the hospitality industry by default following two summers spent working as a bellman in one of Quebec City's established hotels. Following this, he obtained a Hospitality Management Diploma at Concordia University, and subsequently did a BSc at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration. In addition to his many professional duties, Darling is known for sharing his years of hospitality experience and knowledge with industry colleagues and candidates. He sat on Vancouver Community College's Hospitality Management Program Advisory Committee; was named Canada's 2001 Hotelier of the Year by Hotelier Magazine; was Chair of Tourism Vancouver's Board for 2002/03. He is a Past Chair of Vancouver Hotel Association and was a director of the Pacific Rim Institute of Tourism. Stephen was Co- Chair of the Yes 2010 team, which was instrumental in Vancouver's bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic games. He earned his icd.d designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada and Rotman School of Management, and currently sits on two boards in addition to his project consulting practice. Darling's hospitality practice currently includes two multi-national hotel management companies -for which he provides strategic development support in North America. Stephen is fluent in French and “manages to get by” in Spanish. Stephen is also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants. You can reach him via his website at www.stephendarling.com.

Please visit www.stephendarling.com for more information.

Mr. Darling can be contacted at stephen.darling@shaw.ca

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.