Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Shindle

Don Shindle

General Manager, Westin Verasa Napa

With more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, ranging from rooms division, food and beverage, to sales, marketing and finance, Don Shindle brings a wealth of knowledge, strong leadership, and a passion for luxury hotel operations to his role as general manager of The Westin Verasa Napa. Before moving with his family to Napa, Shindle pursued his career in hotels throughout his native Canada, including The Algonquin in St. Andrews NB, The Delta Chelsea Inn in Toronto Ont., The St. Eugene Mission Golf Resort in Canbrook BC, and The Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler, BC. Before his current role at The Westin Verasa Napa, Shindle served dual roles as general manager of The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain in Ontario and Regional Vice President of Intrawest Hospitality Management (IHM), dividing his time among the company's North American destination resorts. While in that position, Shindle was responsible for implementing the design, development, opening and ongoing operations of several of Intrawest's North American properties, including The Westin Monache Resort in Mammoth, Calif., The Westin Imagine in Orlando, Fla., Honua Kai Resort on the Island of Maui, Hawaii and The Westin Verasa Napa. Under his watch, The Westin Verasa Napa was named the 2011 Gold Magellan Award Winner for Hotels and Resorts in the Lobby & Common Space Design category, the 2013 Silver Magellan Award Winner for Hotels and Resorts in the Pool Design category; won the Great Wine Capitals' Napa Valley 2011 Best of Wine Tourism award in Accommodations; and was honored with the AAA Four Diamond Award in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 which recognizes upscale facilities, attentive service, and a high standard of hospitality. Shindle is the recipient of the 2012 Napa Valley Community

Mr. Shindle can be contacted at 707-257-1800 or info@westinnapa.com

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.