Jacqueline Volkart was recently appointed dual General Manager for both properties, where her incredible background in hospitality has made her expertise invaluable for leading the properties through the challenges of the pandemic. Jacqueline is celebrating her 31st year in hospitality management and her industry anniversary falls on International Women’s Day. Jacqueline oversees many facets of the overall operational strategy for the hotels. Throughout her career, she has served as an industry advocate, serving as a board member or chair of numerous advisory committees and Marriott Business Councils. Jackie has a Bachelor of Science degree in international hospitality management at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland and earned her MBA in international hospitality and service industries management at Glion Higher Institute of Education, also in Switzerland. She is multilingual and a fluent speaker of Swiss, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
Miami is experiencing an influx of tourism at the moment. How did you prepare for an unpredictable market and what advice can you give to hoteliers as they start to gear up towards a recovery in the near future?
At The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour, we are poised to benefit from this travel resurgence with our continued dedication to guest safety and creating exceptional experiences. In times of such uncertainty, guests would like to feel confident when booking, and their continued trust in our Commitment to Cleanliness protocols has ensured that both of our properties continue to be recognized not only as leaders in the luxury market, however as a safe haven for guests seeking an escape. As we continue towards recovery, my advice to fellow hoteliers is to focus on upholding their standards of excellence. Through that, we will continue boosting consumer confidence in travel.
Have you maintained any of your cost-savings measures now that you are busy again?
We continue our longstanding focus on impeccable safety protocols and creating unique, memorable and personal guest experiences. As travel continues to ramp up, we have excelled in implementing prestigious partnerships with like-minded brands that further enhance the guest experience. For example, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach Spa is the newest Miami partner of luxury skincare line Natura Bissé, which offers our guests a new level of luxury in our Spa. We have partnered with luxury boutique Intermix to offer guests personalized and curated in-suite shopping experiences.
Has consumer behavior changed? How are you managing different expectations?
The hospitality industry has undergone many shifts this year, and our properties have pivoted seamlessly evolved and adapted to the ever changing needs of travelers. Some of these efforts include modifying our cleaning protocols; instituting partnerships that suit the needs of the modern day traveler including The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach’s partnership with evoJets to simplify travel for guests; and the launch of workation packages to cater to the now largely remote workforce.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach also has the area’s only VIP lounge experience. The Ritz-Carlton Club Level offers travelers a private oceanfront lounge to relax and unwind, complimented by a unique set of personal services and culinary offerings. Our properties understood the need for private and socially distanced guest experiences and curated buyout offerings where travelers can create their own bubble for an exclusive sanctuary where loved ones feel safe and at home. The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour is uniquely equipped for extended stays as the resort is made up of suite style rooms, with only two on each floor, that afford guests their own private living and dining spaces.
How can hotels boost consumer confidence as they start to travel again?
Both resorts have remained committed to providing a comfortable environment for our guests. Both properties have been honored with the prestigious acknowledgement of the Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide. The comprehensive facility verification helps ensure that guests and travel planners can reserve with confidence in the health safety procedures in place. Our standards of excellence in these categories remain at the highest levels which is reaffirmed by our ranking as two of the first hotels in Florida to be showcased in a running list of over 250 properties and growing.