Belmond El Encanto Appoints Colleen Huther as General Manager and Rob Roche as Director of Sales and Marketing

United Kingdom, London. February 26, 2019

Belmond Ltd. is thrilled to announce that Rob Roche and Colleen Huther have joined the team as Director of Sales and Marketing and General Manager, respectively, to oversee the historic Santa Barbara Resort, Belmond El Encanto.

Rob joins the team with more than 20 years of experience across luxury hotel brands that include St. Regis, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels. Most recently while working with The Peninsula Beverly Hills, he was responsible for implementing strategic goals for the principle teams across its Reservations, Sales, Advertising, E-Commerce, Social Media and Public Relations departments. 

Colleen joins the property with over 30 years of luxury hotel experience working for international hotel brands including Hilton, Accor, and Marriott. She joins Belmond from the Hilton Checkers in Los Angeles, CA where she was General Manager. Prior to that, she was General Manager of the Hilton Santa Clara Hotel, CA.

Today, Belmond El Encanto continues to be a luxurious escape - having just received the Forbes 5-Star recognition for the fifth consecutive year in 2018 - and catering to couples, wellness-seekers, wine lovers, families, foodies, and Hollywood's elite. Belmond El Encanto features 92 luxuriously designed bungalows and suites set in seven acres of lush historic gardens with sweeping views over Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The property features distinct styles of early Santa Barbara architecture - California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival — and original and nostalgic settings remain throughout, such as the trellis-lined Arbor and Lily Pond. The iconic resorts offer a variety of activities and amenities for today's modern luxury-seeking guest, including a zero-edge pool and state-of-the-art fitness offerings, a boutique spa featuring ocean-inspired treatments, and coastal California cuisine exquisitely paired with an extensive wine selection derived from vineyards near and far. 

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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.