Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McKeown

Thomas McKeown

Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Armed with a wealth of international culinary experience, Chef Thomas McKeown joined Hyatt Regency Atlanta as Executive Chef. Before his current role overseeing the property's dining experiences, Polaris, Sway, Twenty-Two Storys and Market, as well as its in-room dining, special events and banquet operations, Chef McKeown served as Executive Chef at Grand Hyatt Atlanta for five years.

Born and trained in Europe, Chef McKeown began his culinary career at the prominent Limerick Golf Club in Ireland. He completed his culinary training on both sides of the Atlantic at the Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland and Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where he earned a Master's degree in Food Service Education. Following his studies, Chef McKeown refined his knowledge of contemporary American cuisine as Sous Chef at the exclusive Somerset Club in Boston and moved on to become Executive Chef at the Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta, where he concentrated on local sustainable cuisine.

Chef McKeown is a member of Hyatt's Sustainable and Responsible Eating Team, a Corp. initiative which promotes serving local, healthy and responsibly raised ingredients in all Hyatt dining experiences. In 2013, Chef McKeown was awarded "Executive Chef of the Year" by Hyatt Hotels. Passionate about food and an advocate of local and sustainable sourcing, Chef McKeown is also involved with the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia. When he's not in the kitchen, he can be found at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market or at local farms alongside his wife Lacy and two children, Aiden and Conner, where he has started Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Please visit http://www.hyatt.com for more information.

Mr. McKeown can be contacted at +1 404-577-1234 or thomas.mckeown@hyatt.com

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.