Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blakely

Ford Blakely

SVP & GM, Medallia Zingle

Ford Blakely is SVP and GM of Medallia Zingle. As a frustrated consumer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Blakely worked to find a way to make it easier for customers to interact with companies and get their needs met in more personalized ways. As a result, Zingle was born in 2009 as the first two-way, business-to-customer communication platform. Today, Zingle empowers businesses to engage, support, and respond to customers in more meaningful and impactful ways.

The Zingle platform combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with workflow automation and mobile messaging, which allows brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences in real time. Leading brands across different verticals, including hospitality, health and fitness, legal, food and beverage, retail, and more, use Zingle to increase efficiency, improve operations, and delight their customers.

Mr. Blakely has spent more than 20 years involved in startups, finance and various entrepreneurial projects. He is a Certified Public Accountant who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Furman University in 1997, before attending the University of Tennessee to earn a Masters in Accountancy one year later.

Mr. Blakely started his financial career at Arthur Andersen and later moved on to investment banking at RBC Capital Market, where he specialized in telecommunication start-ups and video technology companies at all stages. He then worked at LECG for six years, where he provided financial analysis and consultation services for businesses and law firms.

Please visit http://www.zingle.me for more information.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ford-blakely-5b4427ba

Mr. Blakely can be contacted at +1 858-213-6562 or fblakely@medallia.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.