Bringing Back ‘One Thing I Can’t Live Without’ with Viceroy Hotel Group

If you’re an avid, loyal eTail Blog reader, you may have noticed something. Something terrible.

It’s been a long time, a loonnnnggg time, since we’ve posted a ‘One Thing I Can’t Live Without‘ Q&A.

I know, it’s just awful. Shameful. Despicable, really.

But I MUST give myself a bit of a break as really, it’s all your fault, retailers. Ok fine that’s harsh. But if you want read these fabulously fun Q&A’s, next time I hit you retailers up for one – you know who you are – say yes. Please, for the love of all blog readers, say YES!

Ok. Now that that’s done.

The good news is – we have an awesome Q&A coming at you to bring the series back. All can be forgiven. AND, we have a few more rolling in to boot.

This one comes to us from the lovely Mary Bennett, VP of E-Commerce at the Viceroy Hotel Group. She’s all about teamwork. In fact, couldn’t do her job without her team – that’s the ‘One Thing‘ she can’t live without. Here she goes:

1. As an online marketer and retailer, what’s something you can’t live without? And we don’t mean coffee. We mean anything from a technology tool to a partner, to an employee or a team, to a cool trick you do on Excel to a shortcut you take in your programs. Anything you think your job would be impossible to do without.

Being surrounded by a competent team of work colleagues is certainly invaluable and a driving force behind the success I’ve seen as an online marketer. Without a strong team in place, it’s nearly impossible to fire on all cylinders – and do it well.

2. Can you explain what this is – if necessary?

One of my biggest priorities is to ensure we have the proper “cast of characters” who not only can do their specific job, but understand the larger picture and can collaborative with others to achieve our goals. It’s not simply recruiting the right talent, but then ensuring they have ongoing opportunities to learn and grow in their roles, so they are fulfilled on multiple levels.

3. Why can you NOT live without this?

The hospitality business is the ultimate “people” business. There are guests checking in at our hotels, eating at our restaurants and interacting with our staff daily. At the most fundamental level, if we fail to deliver against our company promise of delivering great service, products and experiences – then we are not successful as an organization.

The same is true for the team I manage, if they are not providing value to our guests online (be it via the website experience or via our online marketing programs) then we will not succeed it converting that online lead to a booking. For most organizations like mine, it is critical that an experienced team be in place to oversee and optimize online programs, manage vendors, etc. Long gone are the days when it was just me running the entire show soup to nuts.

4. How often do you use it and how long have you been using it?

A day doesn’t go by when I’m not interacting with various colleagues on my team, particularly my Director of E-Commerce.

5. If lightning struck tomorrow and you suddenly didn’t have this one thing, what would you do to improvise?

In a prior job, I used to have to spell out specifically what to do if something took me (or the entire team out) – what a horrible thought! That being said, it’s very important to mitigate risk, especially when you are talking about a business that does millions of dollars online annually.

If I had to improvise without a team, clearly I would be rolling up my sleeves to get the job done – while at the same time relying more heavily on my existing vendors and consultants that I’ve used and trusted over the past 15 years. Finally, I have a great network of professionals in the digital space that I regularly tap into for support, creative thinking, camaraderie, etc.

6. How can other people get this too?

Finding the right talent takes a lot of time but once you have the right person the payoff is extraordinary. And let’s be honest – with LinkedIn it has never been easier. I personally recruit each individual on my team, and have them interview with other colleagues as well as members from our executive team (CEO, CFO, etc.).

In the hotel industry, it’s common to require that someone come into managerial jobs with at least two to five years of hotel experience. While this may be relevant for a position at an actual hotel, in the online space, I’ve actually found that recruiting talent with diverse retail or CPG experience is more beneficial in generating new ideas and innovative practices.

BONUS: And what’s the non-work related thing you can’t do your job without? This is where the coffee, or anything else comes in…

I couldn’t do my job without having an active yoga practice or traveling the world on a regular basis. Yoga keeps me balanced at work and enables me to deal with all the unplanned stuff that arises; and traveling keeps me informed and passionate about the industry I’m in.