In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, staying ahead in the hospitality industry requires more than just a strong brand and luxurious amenities. It demands a marketing professional who possesses a deep understanding of strategic marketing, advertising, public relations, and trade/consumer marketing.
Enter Jennifer El Khessassi, the esteemed director of marketing at Nemacolin, whose notable career trajectory showcases a proven track record in driving success for renowned establishments.
With an extensive background in the hospitality industry, Jennifer El Khessassi brings a wealth of experience to her role as director of marketing at Nemacolin. Her journey has been marked by remarkable achievements and a profound impact on the establishments she has worked with. From the outset, it is evident that Jennifer is not just another marketing professional; she is a strategic visionary who has mastered the art of captivating audiences and boosting brand recognition.
At Nemacolin, Jennifer has been instrumental in shaping the marketing strategies that have elevated the resort to new heights. Her keen understanding of consumer behavior and industry trends has allowed her to implement innovative marketing campaigns that resonate with guests and leave a lasting impression. Her expertise extends across various channels, from digital platforms to traditional media, ensuring that Nemacolin maintains a strong presence in an ever-evolving landscape.
Following Passion for Creating Memorable Experiences
Jennifer’s journey in the hospitality industry began early on during her high school years, where she gained valuable experience working at local golf courses, the Chamber of Commerce office, and the YMCA. However, a marketing internship with Discover Newport, Rhode Island during her junior year of college truly ignited her passion for the industry. While pursuing a degree in business administration at Tennessee Technological University, Jennifer discovered her love for travel and storytelling as she shared the stories of different destinations with friends, family, and potential guests.
Driven by this newfound passion, Jennifer made a decisive choice to specialize in hospitality. She enrolled at the University of South Carolina and obtained a master’s degree in international hospitality and tourism management. Since then, she has never looked back. Presently, Jennifer holds the position of director of marketing at Nemacolin, a remarkable resort situated within 2,200 acres of picturesque land in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Nemacolin is a highly acclaimed destination, having been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler in 2022, as one of the top destination spa resorts in the United States. With an impressive array of amenities, including 22 Forbes stars, AAA’s five- and four-diamond accolades, exceptional dining and lounges, two championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, and a wide range of outdoor activities such as snow sports, shopping, wildlife experiences, art tours, and seasonal events, Nemacolin truly offers a four-season playground for its guests.
Jennifer has been an integral part of Nemacolin for over two years, overseeing marketing, public relations, and social media. Her leadership has been instrumental in expanding the resort’s brand presence and targeting a broader demographic to drive market growth. Prior to her current role, Jennifer spent nine years at Barcelo Hotel Group, starting as a marketing coordinator and eventually becoming the director of marketing for the USA.
Leading with Collaboration
As Nemacolin’s “director of marketing, Jennifer assumes a crucial position in leading a skilled team of five individuals dedicated to delivering exceptional luxury guest service. Her responsibilities span across various areas, including content creation, public relations, social media management, advertising strategies, partnership development, and catering to internal departmental requirements.
Jennifer’s leadership style is characterized by collaboration and a thirst for knowledge. She encourages an environment where the marketing team openly shares information and ideas, working together to determine the most effective approaches for creating and disseminating information to specific target demographics. By fostering a culture of collaboration, Jennifer ensures that the marketing efforts are cohesive, strategic, and tailored to meet the needs of the resort’s discerning clientele.
Investing in Associates
According to Jennifer, one of the key challenges faced by the industry is the task of attracting and retaining skilled and talented employees. Over the past three years, there has been a collective shift among associates as they evaluate their chosen industry and strive for a better work-life balance. Nemacolin, being situated in a remote area, faces an additional challenge in this regard.
However, the owner and CEO of Nemacolin, Maggie Hardy, has taken a proactive approach to address this issue. With a forward-thinking mindset, she has made significant investments in her associates. In May, Nemacolin celebrated the grand opening of Wisteria at Nemacolin, which is a community exclusively designed for Nemacolin associates. This community consists of patio homes and includes amenities such as a Market, Rec Center, and Pub.
The establishment of Wisteria at Nemacolin serves multiple purposes. It not only provides much-needed housing in the area but also creates an environment where associates can foster a sense of community and camaraderie with each other. By offering attractive housing options and fostering a supportive community, Nemacolin aims to attract and retain top talent in the industry, despite its remote location. This strategic approach reflects the commitment of the resort to invest in its associates and address the challenges of workforce attraction and retention.
Listening to Empowerment
Jennifer firmly believes that to maintain a leadership position in the hospitality industry, it is crucial to actively listen to the feedback of both guests and associates. By actively engaging with their input, the resort can constantly strive to exceed expectations in terms of luxury customer service and continuously seek innovative solutions.
By listening attentively to guests, Nemacolin can gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and expectations. This feedback serves as a valuable resource for identifying areas of improvement and tailoring services to better meet and exceed guest expectations. It enables the resort to go above and beyond, providing exceptional experiences that leave a lasting impression.
Innovative Communication and Sustainable Responsibility
According to Jennifer, striking a balance between innovation and maintaining the integrity of the hospitality industry is a recurring challenge when it comes to communications and advertising. One aspect of this challenge is catering to the preferred communication methods of different age groups within the demographic. It can sometimes feel redundant to communicate information both digitally and through traditional print methods. However, it is crucial to meet people where they are comfortable receiving information.
At Nemacolin, the goal is to ensure that guests can easily access the information they need in their preferred method of communication, whether it’s a printed itinerary, a customized app on their phones, or personalized service from butlers and concierges. This approach aligns with the resort’s focus on providing a relaxing and seamless experience for guests, where they don’t have to go searching for information.
Sustainability and social responsibility are also significant considerations at Nemacolin. The resort has recently appointed a director of sustainability to streamline efforts and guide teams in this area. There is a continuous commitment to increasing efforts in energy efficiency and resource conservation. By prioritizing sustainability, Nemacolin strives to reduce its environmental impact and contribute to the well-being of the surrounding community.
Jennifer’s Leadership Philosophy
As a leader, Jennifer is passionate about leaving a lasting impact by mentoring and sharing knowledge with her fellow associates. She believes that through collaborative teamwork and the exchange of ideas, great accomplishments can be achieved. Jennifer strives to create an environment where associates can grow, learn, and excel, benefiting both themselves and the establishment.
In addition to expertise in one’s specific role, Jennifer encourages individuals to take the time to understand and shadow other facets of the hospitality industry. By gaining insights into the day-to-day processes and challenges faced by colleagues in different job roles, one can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the industry as a whole. This broader perspective can be valuable in strategic planning, both on an individual level and for the organization as a whole.