Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Vargo

Dan Vargo

Executive Chef, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

A native of Maryland, Executive Chef Dan Vargo was first introduced to the culinary world along Florida's Emerald Coast, where he discovered and began to pursue his passion for food. Now a 16-year veteran of the culinary industry, he has traveled the world, exploring kitchens and cultures, as he carefully honed his skills and developed his signature style.

Chef Vargo first joined the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa team in April 2012 as an Executive Chef at Seagar's Prime Steaks & Seafood, the resort's award-winning, AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. Before joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo dedicated eight years to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, where he held a number of positions, including Executive Sous Chef and Restaurant Chef. He also spent two years as Executive Sous Chef at The Boathouse Club in Martha's Vineyard.

Named Executive Chef of the 602-room beachfront resort in February 2017, Chef Vargo skillfully blends Baltimore's traditional and historical influences, Martha's Vineyard's emphasis on organic produce and seasonal seafood, and the Ritz-Carlton's world-class standards for fine dining and excellence in service into the Hilton Sandestin Beach experience.

Graduating with honors from Baltimore International College in 2002, Chef Vargo earned a prestigious internship through The American Studies Institute, taking him to The Park Hotel in Ireland. Chef Vargo was also selected as a member of Ritz-Carlton's domestic and international recruiting team sent to South Africa and Peru, where he cooked for orphanages and shelters.

Since joining Hilton Sandestin Beach, Chef Vargo has been featured on Emeril's Florida, Atlanta Eats and Golf Channel's Morning Drive with Matt Ginella, and at events such as BlogHer Food in Miami, Music City Food & Wine Festival in Nashville, and Boudin, Bourbon and Beer in New Orleans. Chef Vargo was also selected as the People's Choice winner in the 2013 inaugural 30A Throwdown competition and Critics Choice winner in the 2014 competition.


Please visit http://hiltonsandestinbeach.com for more information.

Mr. Vargo can be contacted at 850-267-9500 or dvargo@hiltonsandestinbeach.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.