Ms. Flax Mars

Sharon Flax Mars

Director of Tourism

British Virgin Islands Tourist Board

Veteran tourism professional Sharon Flax-Mars is the Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, a statutory body serving as the guiding unit for the development, marketing and promotion of the destinationís image and tourism product.

Sharon Flax-Marsí confirmation to one of the Governmentís top economic pillars is characteristic of her 30 plus years of experience garnered from working in diversified posts within the tourism industry in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region and the United States.

Over the course of the past three decades she has utilized her knowledge and verve to successfully navigate her career path to the most pivotal of positions within the hospitality and tourism sector.

Ms. Mars has achieved notable accomplishments as the Director of Tourism that have been instrumental in strengthening and developing partnerships within the tourism sector regionally and internationally. Her portfolio includes sustainable and economic development initiatives along with the teaching and implementation of green practices for the accommodations sector; industry training and varied interactive tourism education programes for youth interested in hospitality, culinary and tourism careers; BVI membership in the International Institute for Peace; the negotiation of an Air Services Agreement with VI Airlink for direct air service between BVI and Antigua; the successful launch of Anegada Lobster Festival, a major food event on Anegada, which brought an influx of 1000 plus visitors to Anegada over a three-day period; the establishment of guest service greeter kiosks in St. Thomas Cyril E. King Airport and Wymoth L. Blyden Marine Terminal to assist travelers heading to the BVI; the formation of the Territoryís first public relations representation in Latin America was to lure the growing market of travelers from Brazil, Argentina and Chile; as well as other inroads through the Tourist Board.

Ms. Marsí foundation in tourism began at an early age under the tutelage of her parents who owned Fischerís Cove, one of the first indigenously owned hotel properties in the British Virgin Islands. Coupled with her posts at the infamous Windows of the World, American Eagle, and Rosewood Little Dix Bay, these experiences provided great insight into the functions and operations of the vivid hospitality and tourism for which she would eventually be at the helm. Her affable demeanor, and her ability to identify with the numerous roles that are pivotal to motivating a team of varied professionals is evident in collective manner by which she leads.

Ms. Mars holds a bachelor of science (B.S.) in hotel administration with a concentration in tourism development from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She obtained management training from luxury hoteliers in Mexico, the United States and London, U.K.

Ms. Flax Mars can be contacted at 284-494-4482 Ext 227 or sflax-mars@bvitourism.com

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining Ė all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. Itís leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. Itís the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.