Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Paston

Melissa Paston

Catering Sales Manager, The Kitano New York

Melissa Paston is catering sales manager for The Kitano New York Hotel's food and beverage operations and the hotel's new full-service restaurant and performance venue, JAZZ at KITANO. Paston brings 15 years of hotel catering sales experience to New York's only Japanese-owned, boutique property with an array of event and meetings capabilities that effortlessly blend gracious Japanese hospitality with one of New York City's most vibrant locations. MS. Paston, who began her career at The Kitano, returned to oversee the selling and planning of corporate meetings, social events, weddings and celebrations in the property's diverse function spaces. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Paston took on her first role as catering sales manager at The Kitano in 1997 as a fitting combination for her interests in marketing, sales, culinary operations and customer service. She has also held positions at the W New York, W New York - The Court and Hilton Times Square.

Ms. Paston can be contacted at 212-885-7017 or mpaston@kitano.com

Coming up in January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.