Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. De Franco

Agnes De Franco

Professor and Distinguised Chair at C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston

Agnes De Franco, Ed.D., CHE, CHAE, is a professor and distinguished chair at the C.N. Hilton College at the University of Houston. She is a recipient of teaching awards at both the college and university level; co-author of five textbooks and has published more than 90 refereed articles. Ms. De Franco conducts workshops for the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive examination; a Certified Hospitality Educator Cadre member and is a recipient of the Dean's Award for Excellence in Applied Research, the Best Paper Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and International Education (I-CHRIE), and the HFTP-iHITA Best Research Paper Award. She earned the Distinguished Faculty Award, Distinguished Alumna Award, and Young Alumna Award from the Hilton College Alumni Association and is a recipient of the H. J. Heinz Graduate Fellowship. Ms. De Franco is active in a number of local, state and national organizations, including serving as the global president of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) from 2006-2007; member of I-CHRIE's finance and future fund committees and treasurer of I-CHRIE from 1999 to 2002. She is the past president of Phi Beta Delta and Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Houston and has eight years of central administration experience at UH working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on undergraduate issues such as persistence, graduation, general education curriculum, and college and career readiness standards. She has eight years of industry experience in food & beverage.

Please visit www.uh.edu for more information.

Ms. De Franco can be contacted at 713-743-2422 or adefranco@uh.edu

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.