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 April 2020...

Guest Service: First Impressions Matter

Hotels spend large amounts of money on marketing their operation and brand, but sometimes they fail to remember that guest service is the lifeblood of their business. It is outstanding guest service that allows a hotel to create an amazing and lasting impression, one that will remain with guests far beyond the duration of their stay. In pre-internet days, first impressions were formed the moment a guest walked through a hotel's front door. These days, first impressions are created long before a guest arrives at a hotel property. They begin when a customer visits a hotel's website or social media pages for the first time. When a guest connects with a property online, they immediately form an opinion of the hotel. First impressions matter and because of that, a hotel website should be mobile-friendly with blistering fast speed; it should be graphically appealing; and it should provide visual representation of the kind of experience a guest can expect. It is also vital to engage the customer; to actively solicit and respond to guest feedback. When a hotel personally engages with someone, it is demonstrating to other customers that guest opinions matter, and that management is willing to go the extra mile to provide superior guest service. Similarly, when a hotel sends out personalized emails with satisfaction surveys attached, it demonstrates that management values guest feedback, so that service can be improved at every level. Additionally, social media messages can be sent out prior to a guest's arrival to learn more about them, so their visit can be personalized. It's the small touches and details that are most remembered and appreciated. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate excellent guest service in their operations.