Welcome to another edition of Beyond the Lobby. This month, we're thrilled to dive into the world of hospitality with Linh DePledge, the Director of Brand & Communications at Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa.
In her capacity as the Director of Brand & Communications, Linh holds a central role in crafting and refining the hotel's overall image. Learn about her journey, spanning over three decades in marketing and management across diverse tourist destinations and enjoy an insider's perspective into the distinctive identity of Cannery Pier Hotel, a luxurious boutique establishment nestled in the Northwest.
As the Director of Brand & Communications, your role is vital in shaping the hotel's image. Can you share how your background and experiences have prepared you for this role in the hospitality industry?
I consider myself fortunate having worked in marketing and management for over three decades in some of our country’s most desirable tourist destinations from Napa’s wine country to the nation’s capital and the Aloha State, but I never thought about working in the tourism industry - not once. I accidentally fell into the hospitality business 10 years ago on the beautiful Oregon Coast. At the heart of it all is my passion and knowing and believing in my bones about the product or service that I am promoting, and what makes it unique. I was immediately fascinated with all aspects of the hotel business from its hectic and unpredictable pace to the challenges of recruiting in rural towns, and daily encounters with unique guests keep me on my toes. What I quickly discovered is everyone loves to travel because it’s a joy! I was the General Manager for Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa where I was able to put a bit of my personal touchpoints such as bringing in more local products and keeping the community engaged in the evolution of the hotel with the completed renovation last year. Now, in my current position in brand and communication, I can bring all of my experiences together to provide our guests with a memorable experience.
Cannery Pier Hotel is known for providing a unique and unforgettable experience. What are some of the key elements or special touches that make a stay at your hotel exceptional for guests?
First and foremost, the mission of the hotel is to provide gracious service to make guests feel comfortable and happy. We want guests to feel excited that they’re staying at a hotel that’s unlike others. This starts from the arrival experience when guests are welcomed by the original bronze monument “The Big Catch”, a testament to its unique heritage. As guests approach the pier, captivating coastal landscaping signals that this is no ordinary hotel. Inside, a magnificent Columbia River view unfolds, accompanied by warm greetings for our guests. The 46 guestrooms are meticulously appointed, featuring hardwood flooring, private balconies, gas fireplaces, clawfoot or jetted tubs with a view of the river, Pendleton blankets, and binoculars for ship-watching. Fine linens, sumptuous robes, elevated bathroom amenities from Lather, and custom-blended coffee and teas complement the experience. The spa offers relaxation with mineral hot tub, Finnish sauna, and pampering treatments. Bar 600 provides a cozy space to sip, savor, and unwind, making the perfect destination to start or end the evening. Every detail is anticipated for an exceptional stay.
How do you continue to develop and stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in brand and communications within the hospitality sector?
I am a learner. I have always led by doing because I believe practice makes a leader. The tourism industry is more competitive than ever with changing marketing channels, new sales distribution, and new technology, combined with more travelers’ demand, and desire. At the heart of our industry are people, and people are fluid and unpredictable which makes this business interesting, and it will never be boring there’s so much variety and there are always new things going on with how people think and feel when it comes to travel - what works today may not be appealing tomorrow. Continuous learning is key to success.
The final question of Beyond the Lobby is always the same and set to inspire the next generation of leaders. What advice would you give to individuals aspiring to pursue a career in hospitality?
My key to success is old school. Work harder than anyone, be open to changes and feedback, and surround yourself with positive people. Hospitality is always changing and this calls for a new breed of leader who is an amalgam of experience and education -- not just from the traditional institutions and sources, but to have hands-on knowledge of seeing, doing, and being open-minded. The tourism industry needs people with leadership, agility, foresight, and the willingness to be a bit uncomfortable with the unknown to succeed.
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