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 January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.