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 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.