Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Smith

Stephanie Smith

Founder & CEO, Cogwheel Marketing

Stephanie Sparks Smith, the founder and digital matriarch of Cogwheel Marketing and partner at Cayuga Hospitality Consultants is a hotelier first, marketer second. She went from operations at Hyatt Hotels to agency life to client side as VP of eCommerce and Techology at a large hotel management company of over 100 hotels.

Ms. Smith has served as a board member for both IHG and Marriott brands. Because she has worked for and with dozens of hotel digital marketing agencies, she knows that each client is unique and provides only strategic account management and comprehensive online marketing advice. Her passion is seeing her clients' business success by providing proactive online marketing strategies with a focus on cost effective results. Strategic account management and comprehensive online marketing advice, not silo marketing, is also her focus.

Ms. Smith specializes in hotel openings, with over 40 under her belt. Since starting Cogwheel Marketing, Ms. Smith uses her hospitality and marketing experiences to help hotels drive incremental exposure and revenue to their websites and online channels through digital marketing advertising. The expertise of her agency is openings and conversions along with knowing the intricacies of the brand systems of Marriott/Starwood, Hilton, and IHG.

In her spare time, Ms. Smith serves as a volunteer and uses her marketing skills to plan events for her alumni association and fundraise for non-profit groups. She loves continuing to learn about new digital marketing strategies and digital technologies. She also loves sharing what she has learned through blogging, teaching, and being a podcast guest.

Please visit https://www.cogwheelmarketing.com/ for more information.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-smith-a421a133/

Ms. Smith can be contacted at +1 540-239-1052 or stephanie@cogwheelmarketing.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.