Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Heston

Michelle Heston

Regional Director of Public Relations, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Michelle Heston serves as the Regional Director of Public Relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. In this role she oversees the marketing communication and public relations efforts for eight luxury holdings in the western US and Hawaii. In addition to media outreach, advertising and brand communication activities, she is responsible for exploring, cultivating and leveraging cross marketing relationships for the brand. She proudly spearheads Fairmont's regional “green” marketing efforts. Working with the California Coastal Commission for the past several years, Ms. Heston coordinated Fairmont's five drop-in cleanup sites across the Golden State (Newport Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma). Annually over 1,000 colleagues of Fairmont accompanied by friends, family members and recruits scour the state's inland waterways and beaches for litter as part of the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Ms. Heston also mentors hotels in the region to serve as environmental ambassadors in their local communities. Working with each property's green team she leads the design and implementation of each property's eco-signature project. These projects include relationships with Heal the Bay, CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and the Sonoma Ecology Center in Northern California. Supporting Fairmont's commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental stewardship, she recently designed and coordinated an impressive fundraising campaign for California's “Save our Parks” initiative. She has earned an MBA and regularly lectures in the areas of marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. Married and a mother of two daughters she and her family currently reside in eco-conscious Marin County, California.

Ms. Heston can be contacted at 707-939-2477 or michelle.heston@fairmont.com

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.