Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. LaCasce

Russell LaCasce

Executive Chef, Hotel Valley Ho

With a career that spans 20 years, Russell LaCasce is known for his vast culinary knowledge and true love of the craft. As the executive chef of Hotel Valley Ho, he oversees all culinary operations for the hotel, including the OH Pool and OHasis Pool, in-room dining, banquets, catering and the hotel's signature restaurant, ZuZu, which was recently revamped in fall 2019, including a new layout and decor, private dining room, chef station, wine room, and more.

Chef Russell began his culinary career in Charleston, South Carolina as a dishwasher, and quickly found a passion for food and a love for the kitchen. He then spent time learning the service side of restaurants in Park City, Utah, before moving to Scottsdale in 2006. His professional training includes a Culinary Arts Degree from the Arizona Culinary Institute and 10 years working under some of the best chefs in Arizona.

At T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Chef Russell worked with Chef Lee Hillson, eventually rising to the position of p.m. sous chef. He joined the renowned Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in 2010 as a.m. sous chef and was named executive sous chef in 2011. He worked closely with Beau MacMillan, the resort's executive chef and star of Food Network, before taking the position of executive chef at Hotel Valley Ho in 2017.

Chef Russell is skilled at preparing American, Asian, French and Mediterranean cuisines, and was awarded the Taste of Elegance 2013. His creative eye for menu design and sincere passion for cooking are reflected in the beautiful, seasonal food served at ZuZu.

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

Mr. LaCasce can be contacted at +1 480-248-2007 or rlacasce@hotelvalleyho.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.