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 June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.