Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Mearns

Kate Mearns

Spa Director, The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg

Kate Mearns has spent the past 16 years sharing her beliefs that the spa experience should be primarily about one's wellness. Ms. Mearns' conviction fits perfectly within the philosophy upon which The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg was created - a continuum of wellness. With spa experiences based on historical wellness practices from the past five centuries and into today, the Spa relates the ongoing process of individual health through time, blending inspiration from colonial, African and American Indian wellness practices, and influencing subsequent generations. Ms. Mearns began her career in the industry more than a decade ago, when it was in its relative infancy, at the Coolfont Resort & Spa in West Virginia and later moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to open The Spa at the Kingsmill Resort. In her early days, she worked closely with one of the founding members of the International Spa Association (ISPA) and became involved with the distinguished organization. Ms. Mearns would ultimately serve on the Board of Directors, from 2001 - 2006, spending the last two years as Chairman. From her involvement with ISPA, Ms. Mearns has had various opportunities to represent the spa industry. She's been featured on the Travel Channel, spoken on spa trends and research in international locales such as Bangkok and Singapore, and has written numerous articles for spa and fitness industry publications. Working with and learning from others, especially on an international level, has been what inspires her to grow in her profession. Ms. Mearns believes that indigenous treatments will continue to grow in popularity in the future; something The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg has already incorporated into its menu.

Ms. Mearns can be contacted at 757-220-7720 or kmearns@cwf.org

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.