Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Fortney

Eli Fortney

Executive Chef, Topnotch Resort

Eli Fortney grew up in Montpelier, Vermont. A high school community-based learning program led him an internship at A Single Pebble, a fine-dining classic Chinese restaurant. During his time there, the restaurant was recognized as the best restaurant in Vermont by several publications. His experience incited a passion to continue his education at The Culinary Institute of America, where he interned and became sous chef for a fine dining restaurant group in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Fortney's culinary curiosity led him to the prestigious Broadmoor Resort in Colorado, the country's oldest five-star/five-diamond property, and then to Las Vegas. A variety of positions on the strip gave him experience in high-volume, fast casual, and fine dining. He was chosen to collaborate with celebrity chef Kerry Simon in opening a gourmet burger restaurant. He continued his career in hotel dining for Maine-based Olympia Hotel Management Group, which led him to Portland, Maine, and Durham, North Carolina. During his time with Olympia Hotel Management Group, Mr. Fortney worked with a team that together earned the distinction of being named the number one hotel out of over 660 properties worldwide for a Hilton brand. Mr. Fortney is accredited as a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator by the American Culinary Federation. Mr. Fortney's desire to return to his roots led him to explore opportunities in his home state of Vermont. He is currently the Executive Chef for Topnotch Resort and Spa, where he oversees all aspects of the culinary team for two restaurants and a high-volume banquet and catering department. Please visit http://www.topnotchresort.com for more information.

Mr. Fortney can be contacted at 802-253-6479 or efortney@topnotchresort.com

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.