Mr. Darling

Stephen Darling

Principal

Stephen Darling Hospitality Consultancy Inc.

After 40 consecutive years in hospitality industry in three countries, most recently as Regional Vice President for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts in North America, responsible for identifying and securing management contracts on six projects in North America. Stephen now leads his own hospitality consulting practice as well as serving as a director on two boards.

Darling readily admits that he entered the hospitality industry by default following two summers spent working as a bellman in one of Quebec City’s established hotels. Following this, he obtained a Hospitality Management Diploma at Concordia University, and subsequently did a BSc at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.

In addition to his many professional duties, Darling is known for sharing his years of hospitality experience and knowledge with industry colleagues and candidates. He sat on Vancouver Community College’s Hospitality Management Program Advisory Committee; was named Canada’s 2001 Hotelier of the Year by Hotelier Magazine; was Chair of Tourism Vancouver’s Board for 2002/03. He is a Past Chair of Vancouver Hotel Association and was a director of the Pacific Rim Institute of Tourism.

Stephen was Co- Chair of the Yes 2010 team, which was instrumental in Vancouver’s bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic games. He earned his icd.d designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada and Rotman School of Management, and currently sits on two boards in addition to his project consulting practice.

Darling’s hospitality practice currently includes two multi-national hotel management companies –for which he provides strategic development support in North America. Stephen is fluent in French and “manages to get by” in Spanish. Stephen is also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants. You can reach him via his website at www.stephendarling.com.

Please visit www.stephendarling.com for more information.

Mr. Darling can be contacted at stephen.darling@shaw.ca

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. 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.