Editorial Board   

Mr. Spelts

Larry Spelts

Director of Asset Management, Charlestowne Hotels

Larry Spelts, Director of Asset Management for Charlestowne Hotels, has spent his 25 year career focused in the independent boutique hotel and inn segment of the hospitality industry. He is a past president of the Charleston, SC Hotel & Motel Association and a former Charleston Travel Council Governor. Mr. Spelts began his career in the hospitality industry while attending the College of Charleston (SC) in the 1980's working in various positions from bellman to concierge. He took his first management position in 1990 at the 43 room Kings Courtyard Inn of Charming Inns of Charleston, with whom he went on to open new properties in 1992 and 1994 - all boutique, Four Diamond rated properties. In November 1994, Mr. Spelts accepted the general manager position at the 64 room Planters Inn of Charleston, SC. Mr. Spelts led redevelopment of the property and repositioned it as Charleston's first Relais & Châteaux. Ten years later he took a position with the world-renowned Carlyle Hotel in New York City, where he oversaw various renovation projects and served as the hotel manager. While in New York, Mr. Spelts earned an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business while working as an independent consultant that included engagements with a variety of boutique and lifestyle businesses from the Hotel Roger Williams to the Core Club and David Barton Gyms. Mr. Spelts joined Charlestowne Hotels in September of 2009.

Mr. Spelts can be contacted at 843-972-1428 or lspelts@charlestownehotels.com

Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.