Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Donnell

James O'Donnell

Chief Operating Officer, Vail Resorts Hospitality

James O'Donnell joined RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality in 2002 as Corporate Director of Finance, and became Regional Director of Operations in 2004. In 2006, he became Vice President of Strategic Development, where he was responsible for the acquisition of new management contracts and developments for RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the acquisition and growth of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division and other lines of business, including ski resorts and online media. Mr. O'Donnell was named Chief Financial Officer in August 2011 and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Before joining RockResorts, Mr. O'Donnell was an assurance and business advisory services manager for Arthur Andersen LLP, in both the Miami and Denver offices. While at Andersen, he specialized in the hospitality and real estate industries. Mr. O'Donnell received his Bachelor and Master in Business Administration degrees from the University of Miami, in Miami, FL. He regularly speaks on industry expert panels at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the NYU Lodging Conference and various other conferences

Mr. O'Donnell can be contacted at 303-404-1800 or jodonnell@vailresorts.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.