Editorial Board   

Mr. Fernandez, Sr.

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance

Gerald A. "Gerry" Fernandez, Sr., is president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), a national non-profit organization that promotes the social and economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry. He founded the Alliance by garnering support from premier sponsors Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, General Mills Corporation, Nation's Restaurant News and PepsiCo, Inc. to create the MFHA charter in 1996. Gerry began his career with General Mills in 1992 in research and development and was eventually promoted to National Account Manager, Foodservice Sales. It was in this position that he founded the Alliance, after which, in March of 1997, he became a loaned executive to MFHA. Gerry currently conducts lectures and workshops for some of America's best-known companies, organizations and brands. Prior to joining General Mills, he spent more than 10 years as senior manager, opening and operating fine-dining restaurants for the company now known as RARE Hospitality. Earlier in his career, Gerry held various leadership positions in many fine-dining establishments, including The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Gerry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in foodservice management from Johnson & Wales University, where he also earned a culinary arts degree in 1976. The university awarded him an honorary Doctorate in business administration in 1999. Gerry is married, has three sons, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, Debra (Jackson), in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Mr. Fernandez, Sr. can be contacted at 401-461-6342 or gerry.fernandez@mfha.net

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.