Chris Buckelew

Chris Buckelew

PM Hotel Group

Member Since 2017
Director of Digital Strategy

Member Spotlight

What is your background in Hospitality? Was Digital Marketing always your goal? 

I graduated high school with the goal of becoming a chef and attended Johnson & Wales University for an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts. I continued pursuing Foodservice Management courses for a Bachelor’s Degree and had an amazing opportunity to participate in a co-operative education experience at a hotel in Budapest, Hungary. During the 3-month experience I worked all areas of the hotel and decided that the front of the house was for me and changed my direction toward hotel management. I started my first job after graduation at the front desk and worked my way up to various supervisory and management positions. I always had a great curiosity about technology and learned as much as possible about the systems I worked with on a daily basis. This eventually led me to accepting a position as I.T. Manager for Lansdowne Resort in Northern Virginia. From there I was tapped by the VP of Information Technology for Benchmark Hospitality, the management company at the time, to be a task force I.T. Manager working on upcoming hotel projects. Unfortunately, many of those projects were placed on hold, but fortunately, there was a newly created position of Web Marketing Manager that I transitioned to. Once in that position I realized there were so many exciting developments and room for growth and decided that the digital world would stay my focus moving forward.

From Culinary Arts to Digital Marketing – do you still maintain an interest in food and drink?

I still love to cook and entertain, although since moving to a New York studio apartment it’s not as frequent. And I still love to eat and try new cuisines. If I had had the foresight to see the growth of niche TV channels or Internet media channels, and realized you could make a career out of eating at diners, then maybe my career would have taken a different path.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s never the same day twice. There are always new things to learn and new challenges to overcome. It also appeals to both sides of the brain with opportunities for creative tasks and analytical tasks in equal measure.

What are your pet peeves job-wise?

I really dislike the words “verbiage” and “verbage.” People frequently use them without understanding their meaning. Both have a pejorative connotation. “Verbiage” is derived from the word “verbose” and means using excessive or superfluous words to say something that could be said more simply. “Verbage” is not a word at all, and assimilates the word “garbage” into the word “Verbiage” to indicate using lots of meaningless words to say nothing at all. Use “copy” or “text” instead.

With each day bringing a new digital adventure, do you find it hard to stay focused and get things done?

worked all day but feeling like nothing got done. And when you think about it, part of digital marketing is constantly distracting users from their intended purpose while browsing the web through ads, banners, emails, etc. So it’s so easy to fall down a rabbit hole of link clicks and end up far from your original destination on the web. Proper time management is important to minimize distractions. Using Pomodoro Technique, I break tasks into 20 – 25 minute intervals and then use a smartphone app to time the tasks. This creates a sense of looming deadline to finish, even if it’s one I placed on myself. And I maintain a word document where I can quickly paste links of interesting articles or other items I come across to review later. It’s important to disconnect from email, too, otherwise it feels like you can never get out of your inbox. I try to practice zero-inbox technique as much as possible.

How long have you been a member of HSMAI. What led you to a boar postion with the chapter? ?

When I started as Web Marketing Manager, I joined HSMAI as a member and found them to be a great resource as I learned about my new position. Digital Marketing was just becoming “a thing” and HSMAI provided networking opportunities to colleagues in similar positions, and learning resources like the annual Digital Marketing Strategy Conference. As budgets tightened and jobs changed, I fell off the membership roster for a while. PM Hotel Group has a corporate membership and I reactivated with the Greater NY chapter last year. After receiving an email calling for volunteers I offered my expertise because I wanted to contribute to the chapter while expanding my network and leadership skills. As it turned out, there was an opening for someone to lead the social media and digital marketing for the chapter, so it was a great fit.

What’s your personal motto?

“Look Beyond the Obvious”

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