Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. McCleese

Gail McCleese

Co-Leader Global Hospitality Design, Gensler

Gail McCleese is the co-leader of the global Hospitality design practice area at Gensler, the world's largest architecture, design and planning firm. She also serves as Design Director, Design Experience Leader, Client Relationship Leader and Studio Director within the firm's Houston office.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience — 25 of those at her own, award-winning design firm — Ms. McCleese has an in-depth knowledge of the global hospitality industry and a flair for crafting inviting and memorable experiences for guests. At her core, Ms. McCleese is a positive-thinking, sensory designer driven to create spaces that speak to all human senses. She has been recognized for her award-winning interiors of high-end restaurants, four- and five-star luxury hotels and resorts, casinos, and active aging environments. Her client roster includes Hyatt, Hilton, Omni, Landry's, InterContinental Hotels, Kimpton, and Wanda Hotels & Resorts.

Ms. McCleese is an active member of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the ACE Houston Mentor Program. She has served as Executive Vice President and Membership Chairperson of the Houston chapter of Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH). Ms. McCleese has spoken at a number of local and national industry events throughout her career, most recently discussing the future for meeting and conference venue spaces at the International Association of Conference Centers' (IACC) Meeting Room of the Future Showcase in Toronto. She was also a contributor to the firm's latest research into Hospitality Design as included in the Hospitality Experience IndexSM, the culmination of a multiyear, mixed-methods research effort leveraging ethnographic research and a 1,200-person survey to find patterns in how guests interact with hotel environments.


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

Ms. McCleese can be contacted at +1 713-209-7962 or gail_mccleese@gensler.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.