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WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Auberge Resorts Collection, a wonderful company that owns and manages boutique luxury hotels, resorts and residences around the world. We have properties in some of the world’s most gorgeous locations, from far-flung locales like Fiji and Anguilla to Napa Valley, Aspen and Cabo San Lucas. We also have several exciting projects in development including our fourth international resort. In my role, I’m responsible for brand strategy, public relations and revenue generation for our growing portfolio.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
I truly love each of our Auberge resorts and count the historic Hotel Jerome in Aspen as one of my favorite vacations getaways of all time. But if I had to pick something beyond our collection, it would be Villa d'Este in Lake Como, Italy. Its stunning lakefront setting and rich blend of history, design and architecture make it an unbelievable resort experience with a wonderfully authentic Italian sensibility. I'm excited to be heading back there for a few days later this month and can’t wait to venture out on motorcycle trips in the lake region and into the Swiss countryside.
WHY THE HOTEL BUSINESS?
It chose me! My foray into the hospitality industry 25 years ago started out as a job, though everything about it – the interesting people, spectacular destinations with their own special stories and histories, endless possibilities for strategic and creative thinking – captivated me right away, and I was hooked! I honestly cannot think of a better industry than this one.
HOTEL ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
In another lifetime before my hospitality career, I got to see the world in a very different way when I served in the US Air Force. I must have been 19 years old when I was stationed in Germany, and I took a bus trip to the famous seaside town of Cannes in France. Our group stayed at a modest hotel and I’ll never forget walking by the iconic Hotel Carlton one night and watching a glamorous couple, so impeccably dressed, pull up in a white convertible Rolls Royce. In that moment, I somehow felt so sure that someday I, too, would stay at a world-class hotel like that. Flash forward to 15 years ago when a trade show I was attending in the South of France included the Hotel Carlton on its list of sponsor accommodations – I immediately thought back to my 19-year-old self and told myself how lucky I was to now be able to live out that dream.
BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?
Without a doubt, technology. Bringing a high touch industry into today’s high-tech landscape has been a big shift, as emerging technologies across the global culture have challenged the interpersonal relationships and traditional service and communication models that have been at the heart of hospitality for so long. And more than just challenging us, new technologies are giving us great opportunities to consider new and better ways of doing things, to innovate and make guest experiences even more rewarding than before. And that’s a good thing!
For me, I really do think I’ve already got it. Though as a supplement to my hospitality career, I think it would be rewarding to apply my business skills in the nonprofit sector, ideally incorporating profit-minded thinking that revolves around tangible results to help accelerate solutions for important social issues such as homelessness.
FAVORITE MINI BAR ITEM OR HOTEL AMENITY?
No matter where I am in the world, it’s the small things that I appreciate most – like a kettle and good tea selection in-room, as the emphasis is almost always on coffee. And when it comes to work travel, I don’t think you can get more off-the-grid than the Baja lime refreshing mist that Esperanza keeps in mini bar fridges (at no charge!). And of course, a good hair dryer goes a long way! I can always tell when a hair dryer has been selected by someone who actually uses one rather than by a purchasing company.
IF YOU COULD THROW A DREAM PARTY FOR ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD THE PARTY BE LIKE?
Alright, I’m going all-out with this one… I would throw a fabulous dinner party with friends and family, all about connecting with each other and enjoying this wonderful life. For my special guest list – Sir Richard Branson for great fun and chic transportation, Paul McCartney for an impromptu song or two or three, George Clooney for (well, because it’s George Clooney), comedians Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres for dashes of levity and big laughs, Sheryl Sandberg since I’m a huge fan and admire her work in technology and with women's empowerment issues, and Pope Francis to remind us to be gracious, grateful and forever giving.