We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Foster, CMP, CWC and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
The single most Important decision I made was to turn real obstacles into opportunities. This might sound really cliché but for me it was a very hard thing to do!
Early in my career, I was a wedding planner and designer. Wedding planning was a passion of mine, ever since I was very young. After 10 years of being an independent planner on the East Coast, I became a wedding manager for a hotel in California.
Fast forward two years and 300+ weddings later, I had achieved a level of burn out that prevented me from being genuinely happy for the couples I was working with. My authentic joy for each couple and my passion for giving them the event of their dreams had been the driving engine of my success. But I had stalled big time and it dramatically impacted my client relationships and sales numbers as a result!
My market for my position was then changed from weddings into corporate sales and I was crushed. I saw my identity as a wedding planner not a sales professional. However, after much self-reflection, I knew I had to decide between letting this devastate me or allowing this to push me outside of my comfort zone and grow.
Shifting my perspective to see the situation as an opportunity instead of an obstacle, changed the entire trajectory of my career and uncovered a skill and passion for sales I didn’t even realize I possessed! It was through this experience that I recognized the power of perspective and the importance of mindset. This is something that I actively nurture to this day by working with a mindset coach and perspective exercises that help keep me on target and focused in a positive direction!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
For 36 years, Hospitality Marketing Solutions has been known as the ‘Gold Standard’ in hospitality sales training. HMS is unique in our industry because we are owned and operated by high-level hospitality sales professionals with decades of experience from the trenches. We have walked in your shoes and can intimately relate to the challenges of the salesperson and offer relevant guidance on how to succeed in today’s changing market. What also make HMS stand out in the sales training and consulting space, is our curated approach to provide each client with customized training in order to address their specific needs. Additionally, we provide secret shop services that include the most comprehensive and detailed coaching reports found in the market!
I’m most proud of how our company is evolving to meet the needs of our clients. The pandemic impact to the hospitality industry has been unimaginable and that has required us to adapt accordingly. Our focus remains on providing the most relevant training, service and support to our clients. While traditionally that was done in-person, we transitioned to virtual instructor-led training to meet the new demands of our clients. We are evolving even further to include app and video-based applications for coaching in response to our clients’ needs.
In late 2019 I took ownership of HMS from founder Lyssa MacCaughey, who had built the company’s stellar reputation over the past three and half decades. Having served thousands of clients, we thrived strictly by word of mouth, which is unheard of in this industry! However, 6 months into my new position, the lockdowns began and hospitality clients across the country were closed indefinitely. I put a quote up on my desk that says, “The road to success is always under construction.” That applies now more than ever. I interpret that quote to mean we need to always be moving forward, while our focus remains the same: providing the most helpful and relevant service for our clients. I believe that is why we are still thriving 17 months later.
Having ‘solutions’ in the title of our company name was very intentional in our brand strategy. We want the hospitality industry to look to us as a resource with an incredible range of solutions to many of the challenges they are facing right now. So many sales, catering and reservations departments are understaffed and stretched thin on time and resources. We can help fill critical gaps with management support. We are your strategic partner specializing in sales conversions and increased revenues in all areas of the hospitality sector.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is actually one of my favorite things to do with visitors! Living in the South Bay I’m partial to the area because it’s paradise, so why go anywhere else!
First, I would recommend a sunrise surf session at Manhattan Beach Pier. Floating on the morning waves will wash all your stress away and put you right into vacation mode. It’s not unusual to even catch a set with the dolphins!
Breakfast would have to be my favorite, quiche and mimosas at Creme De La Crepe. This French themed cafe in Hermosa has a robust menu and everything I have tried is decadent!
Since it’s always beautiful in the South Bay, I love to ride beach cruiser bikes with visitors on The Strand bike path. This 27 mile coastal path runs from Redondo Beach all the way to Malibu. It’s one of the best features in the area and you are sure to run into neighbors and celebrities alike, walking, running, skating or biking the path every day!
Fortunately, if my guests stay at The Shade Hotel in Redondo, we can take advantage of their complimentary beach cruisers and jump right on The Strand from the hotel! Shade is always my favorite ‘home base’ hotel when company come into town, because the property boasts so many incredible amenities that really impress travelers. From the welcome glass of champagne upon arrival, to the rooftop pool with ocean views, visitors always have that true Southern California experience at Shade. After a full day of biking, there’s nothing like experiencing the unique private soaking tubs on the water-front balcony of the guest rooms at Shade!
The perfect ending to the perfect day would be dinner and drinks at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach. Aptly named for its location along The Strand bike path, this sophisticated, yet comfortable five-star restaurant boasts the best views and food in the South Bay. The menu changes seasonally and you’re likely to run into the Executive Chef at the farmer’s market, selecting the week’s finest produce and seafood. They also boast one of the most thoughtfully curated wine lists around. Be sure to check out the cellar selections if you are looking for something extra special! After dinner, we would transition downstairs to The Strand Bar for live entertainment and craft cocktails.
A truly quintessential day in The South Bay!
If I had more time with visitors, I’d be sure to take them on The Voyager for a whale watching excursion out of Redondo Beach. During migration season, the whale activity off the coast line is truly spectacular!
We would also rent a convertible and take a drive south up to Palos Verdes, one of the best kept secrets in California. The Palos Verdes coastline offers breathtaking, uninterrupted views of the Pacific. On clear days you can see Catalina Island and the Santa Monica mountains. The hiking trails are also special because they aren’t your typical tourist attraction, which means you can still experience the quiet beauty of nature without the crowds.
Another favorite spot would be Wayfarer’s Chapel. This unique stone and glass chapel was designed by renowned architect Lloyd Wright is nestled in a grove of towering redwoods overlooking the ocean. Definitely a location for lots of ‘gram worthy pics!
Finally, no trip to PV is complete without a visit to Terranea Resort. This luxury retreat sits on 102 acres of ocean-front coastline. Many visitors recognize the resort upon arrival, as it has been featured in numerous film and TV spots. There’s so much to explore, but a stroll down to their cliff-side casual restaurant, Nelson’s is my favorite destination. With live music and fire-side s’mores, Nelson’s is the picture perfect destination to send guests off with a fond farewell.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thanks to my mindset coach Narley Karikari for all the amazing breakthroughs she leads me to!
Image #1- credit: f8 Photo Studios Image #2-6 credit: Zoom Theory Photography