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Wendy Mertz

Wendy Mertz

VP, IT Applications and Strategy
Hard Rock International
What are some of your responsibilities?
I do a variety of things, however much of my time is spent supporting the rapid expansion of hotels globally.  My team and I provide property opening support and budgets along with ongoing application support and software evaluations. In addition, I provide project oversight for corporate driven strategic initiatives.
What do you like most about your job?
No two days are the same and I am never bored.  Today technology is dynamic, constantly evolving and changing which will keep you on your toes.  It’s an exciting time working for a global brand that is expanding rapidly, I am continually exploring to find solutions that allow for global placement along with suitable cost for owners.
What do you like least about your job?
There are some days where I would like to experience a “maintenance year” as the environment is quite fast paced.  But then again, maybe not.
Where did you go to school? What was your major?
I graduated with a BS degree in Hotel and Resort Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
What is your favorite movie?
That is a tough one.  There are several movies I like, but I don’t know that I can name a favorite.  So let’s go with “100 Foot Journey”, “The Last Samurai”, and who doesn’t like “My Cousin Vinny” or “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
What is your favorite song?
I work for a brand whose DNA is in music so I have a love for a variety of music.  So I can’t say I have a favorite as it will come and go depending on the day/mood.  But today, my Spotify is tuned to Adele so how about “Hello”, “When We Were Young”, and “Rolling in the Deep.”
What is your favorite line from a movie or song?
“Snap out of it!” – Cher in “Moonstruck”
What was your first job?
I was a soccer camp counselor at the YMCA.  As for the hospitality industry, I had a co-op job in college where I wrote a recipe and butcher’s yield test application for the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
What was your most interesting day at work?
I don’t think I have a one in particular, but I have been lucky enough to have a few memorable experiences.  I was able to walk the EuroDisney (now Disneyland Paris) park and hotels before the complex opened.  I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the first ship ever built for Disney Cruise Line.  Lastly, I have been part of the growth and expansion of the Hard Rock Hotel brand since the beginning when there were only 3 hotels in existence.  How cool is that?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
You mean like life changing lottery money?  Besides doing the upfront travel everywhere, new car, take care of family, etc, I would love to start a business that created food tours which focus on the origin of food traditions and its influence on a culture.  Now if we are talking scratch off money, well, I hope to buy I nice bottle of red wine, or a nice piece of chocolate.
When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Besides spending time with my kids, I love cooking, traveling, and racing cars.  Yes, I love to go auto crossing with my father whenever possible.
What is the next technology to impact the hospitality industry?
In the end, it is all about the data.  Those of us who have been in the industry for a while have seen trends come and go.  However, one thing remains the same and that is everyone is interested in the collection of data in order to drive a personalized guest experience.  With the acceleration of technology we need to be agile and flexible with our solutions as they are rapid in their evolution (from anywhere) and systems integrations become key. As such, the need of an enhanced or next generation enterprise service bus becomes more relevant so that regardless of the end solution implemented data flows to key systems as needed. There are some solutions out there now, however, I think the industry has only scratched the surface here.
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