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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.