Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Smith

Stephanie Smith

Founder & CEO, Cogwheel Marketing

Stephanie Sparks Smith, the founder and digital matriarch of Cogwheel Marketing and partner at Cayuga Hospitality Consultants is a hotelier first, marketer second. She went from operations at Hyatt Hotels to agency life to client side as VP of eCommerce and Techology at a large hotel management company of over 100 hotels.

Ms. Smith has served as a board member for both IHG and Marriott brands. Because she has worked for and with dozens of hotel digital marketing agencies, she knows that each client is unique and provides only strategic account management and comprehensive online marketing advice. Her passion is seeing her clients' business success by providing proactive online marketing strategies with a focus on cost effective results. Strategic account management and comprehensive online marketing advice, not silo marketing, is also her focus.

Ms. Smith specializes in hotel openings, with over 40 under her belt. Since starting Cogwheel Marketing, Ms. Smith uses her hospitality and marketing experiences to help hotels drive incremental exposure and revenue to their websites and online channels through digital marketing advertising. The expertise of her agency is openings and conversions along with knowing the intricacies of the brand systems of Marriott/Starwood, Hilton, and IHG.

In her spare time, Ms. Smith serves as a volunteer and uses her marketing skills to plan events for her alumni association and fundraise for non-profit groups. She loves continuing to learn about new digital marketing strategies and digital technologies. She also loves sharing what she has learned through blogging, teaching, and being a podcast guest.

Please visit https://www.cogwheelmarketing.com/ for more information.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-smith-a421a133/

Ms. Smith can be contacted at +1 540-239-1052 or stephanie@cogwheelmarketing.com

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.