Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Scholar

Debi Scholar

President, The Scholar Consulting Group

Debi Scholar, author of SMM: The Strategy Quick Reference Guide, offers guidance to Fortune 1000 and mid-size companies on issues surrounding supply chain and expense management categories, including airlines, hotels, meetings, ground transportation, corporate card programs, and travel management companies. Before founding her own consultancy in 2010, Ms. Scholar was with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for 13 years. In her last position there, she was Lead for consulting with clients on Travel and Entertainment Expenses. She also held positions as the Meetings and Group Travel Director, and eSupport and Training Director. Ms. Scholar is acknowledged nationally for groundbreaking efforts in shaping the Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) industry and integrating Travel and Meetings teams with Procurement. She is also an expert in driving virtual meeting adoption, both to reduce T&E costs and complement face-to-face events. In 2002, she became the first Meeting Director to include virtual meetings under her direction. Among her industry activities, Ms. Scholar was a trustee of the GBTA Foundation and was co-chair of the association's Groups & Meetings Committee for four years. To advance the SMM industry, Scholar has created a host of innovative tools and resources for travel and meetings professionals, and she supplies the industry with numerous publications via her blog (http://www.teplus.net). In 2010, Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine recognized Ms. Scholar as one of four of SMM's “Movers and Shakers,” and, in 2008, the publication named her one of the “Top 20 Changemakers” who influenced the meetings management industry. Business Travel News also named her “Best Meeting Practitioner” in 2007. Her many professional designations include: UPenn/Wharton Aresty Executive Education/Global Business Travel Association (NBTA) Global Leadership Professional (GLP); Meeting Professionals International Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM); Convention Industry Council Certified Meeting Professional (CMP); GBTA Corporate Travel Expert (CTE); Six Sigma Green Belt and Chauncey Certified Technical Trainer (CTT).

Ms. Scholar can be contacted at 908-304-4954 or debi@debischolar.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.