Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Heston

Michelle Heston

Regional Director of Public Relations, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Michelle Heston serves as the Regional Director of Public Relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. In this role she oversees the marketing communication and public relations efforts for eight luxury holdings in the western US and Hawaii. In addition to media outreach, advertising and brand communication activities, she is responsible for exploring, cultivating and leveraging cross marketing relationships for the brand. She proudly spearheads Fairmont's regional “green” marketing efforts. Working with the California Coastal Commission for the past several years, Ms. Heston coordinated Fairmont’s five drop-in cleanup sites across the Golden State (Newport Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma). Annually over 1,000 colleagues of Fairmont accompanied by friends, family members and recruits scour the state’s inland waterways and beaches for litter as part of the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Ms. Heston also mentors hotels in the region to serve as environmental ambassadors in their local communities. Working with each property’s green team she leads the design and implementation of each property’s eco-signature project. These projects include relationships with Heal the Bay, CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and the Sonoma Ecology Center in Northern California. Supporting Fairmont’s commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental stewardship, she recently designed and coordinated an impressive fundraising campaign for California’s “Save our Parks” initiative. She has earned an MBA and regularly lectures in the areas of marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. Married and a mother of two daughters she and her family currently reside in eco-conscious Marin County, California.

Ms. Heston can be contacted at 707-939-2477 or michelle.heston@fairmont.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.