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 June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.