Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

Mohonk Mountain House Appoints Barbara Stirewalt Spa Director

New, $13 million, 30,000-square-foot Spa

NEW PALTZ, NY, February 28, 2006. Barbara Stirewalt has been named Spa Director of the new, $13 million, 30,000-square-foot Spa at Mohonk Mountain House. Her devotion to indigenous spa programs and earth-friendly spa principles provides a perfect complement to the 137- year-old property, with its rich history of ecology. Located in the Shawangunk Mountains overlooking the Hudson Valley and set on 2,200 spectacular acres, Mohonk Mountain House is only 90 miles north of New York City.

With more than 20 years of experience, Stirewalt has helped open spas and fitness centers, provide concept and design development, and train hospitality staff. She most recently served as Spa Director of the Wintergarden Spa and Fitness Center at the Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

"Stirewalt's extensive career in spas and hospitality, her love of nature, and her desire to provide guests with an experience that will nurture body, mind, and spirit in our unique setting blends all of the qualities we had hoped for in this position," said Bert Smiley, CEO and fourth generation descendant of the hotel's 19 th century founders.

Stirewalt holds a Masters of Professional Studies from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, along with multiple certifications in group and aquatic fitness instruction.

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Social Media: Engage, Promote, Personalize and Reward
The evolution of social media continues its rapid advance and integration into hotel operations. No longer condemned by some traditionalists as a "passing fad" or a "nice-to-have" by skeptical accountants, it is now a fully accepted customer engagement touchpoint that must be appropriately funded and professionally managed. And companies can no longer assume that merely having a "social presence" is enough. In order to capture the attention they seek and to achieve the returns on investment they desire, companies have to prove their value to social media users who are educated, empowered, vocal and selective. And the strategies for accomplishing this are diverse and distinct. Reputations need to be monitored and maintained on travel review sites, which are quickly evolving into "real-time" networks. Customer service issues and complaints are more frequently identified and resolved in public social forums. Hotels are obliged to choose which social networks best serve their needs (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus or Twitter) and to utilize them to engage, promote, personalize and reward their existing and prospective customers. Video is becoming increasingly popular as a communication tool and therefore must be professionally rendered, and blogging is now an accepted means to promote brand identity and thought leadership. And finally, effective paid advertising and marketing campaigns need to be devised to target potential customers on social media sites. The February Hotel Business Review will examine all these critical issues and explore how some hotels are successfully utilizing social media strategies in their operations.