Editorial Board   

Mr. Spelts

Larry Spelts

Director of Asset Management, Charlestowne Hotels

Larry Spelts, Director of Asset Management for Charlestowne Hotels, has spent his 25 year career focused in the independent boutique hotel and inn segment of the hospitality industry. He is a past president of the Charleston, SC Hotel & Motel Association and a former Charleston Travel Council Governor. Mr. Spelts began his career in the hospitality industry while attending the College of Charleston (SC) in the 1980's working in various positions from bellman to concierge. He took his first management position in 1990 at the 43 room Kings Courtyard Inn of Charming Inns of Charleston, with whom he went on to open new properties in 1992 and 1994 - all boutique, Four Diamond rated properties. In November 1994, Mr. Spelts accepted the general manager position at the 64 room Planters Inn of Charleston, SC. Mr. Spelts led redevelopment of the property and repositioned it as Charleston's first Relais & Châteaux. Ten years later he took a position with the world-renowned Carlyle Hotel in New York City, where he oversaw various renovation projects and served as the hotel manager. While in New York, Mr. Spelts earned an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business while working as an independent consultant that included engagements with a variety of boutique and lifestyle businesses from the Hotel Roger Williams to the Core Club and David Barton Gyms. Mr. Spelts joined Charlestowne Hotels in September of 2009.

Mr. Spelts can be contacted at 843-972-1428 or lspelts@charlestownehotels.com

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.