The Hot Scots Power 40: Debbie Taylor, Kohler Co
Debbie Taylor - Snapshot
Debbie Taylor is president, hospitality and real estate of Kohler Co, one of the largest privately held companies in the world. She is recognised as a major name in the hospitality industry, and is one of only nine women in the world to hold the role of Master Innholder. She was awarded a Manager of the Year Catey in 2007 and in 2006 was named RAC Manager of the Year.
Debbie Taylor - Career guide
Debbie Taylor joined Kohler Co. in September 2007 as managing director of the Old Course Hotel. Her remit was to spearhead its development as a golf and spa resort since its acquisition by Kohler (in 2003).
Under her stewardship the hotel has become a Leading Hotel of the World, an AA five red star resort and has received a gold star award from VisitScotland. It incorporates The Kohler Waters Spa, the only one of its kind outside the USA, and was voted ‘Best Hotel Spa' in last year's Good Spa Awards.
Her previous roles include director of sales at the five-star St David's Hotel in Cardiff and general manager of RF Hotel's the Balmoral, Edinburgh (2003-2007). She was the first female manager in The Balmoral's history, and the first general manager in the RF Hotels group.
In 2010 Taylor took to the world stage when she was elected as president of the hospitality & real estate group and a member of the Corporate Operating Committee of Kohler Co. Her global operations' portfolio includes the American Club Resort-Hotel (recently awarded the Forbes five stars) and Whistling Straits, both in Wisconsin, with the latter having hosted the US Senior Open and the Palmer Cup, and twice hosted the PGA Championship, most recently in August 2010. Whistling Straits will be the future home of the 2015 PGA Championship and 2020 Ryder Cup.
Debbie Taylor - What we think
Taylor has held many high-profile appointments including chairman of the British Hospitality Association Scotland Committee (2007-2011) and chair of People 1st Scotland (2006-2007). As such she is well-placed to champion the industry and speaks passionately on the challenging environment.
She told Caterer: "Our industry faces many challenges today, one of them being the culture of discounting through third parties which is educating the consumer to always look for price-led offers. We want to lead our industry and sell on quality to reflect the unique experience provided by a visit to the resort."
"The final and perhaps largest challenge for our sector is one of financial support. To back continued investment, expansion and development, we need financial institutions to underpin business investment to stimulate what is an important sector of the UK economy and an industry with significant growth potential."
Taylor, who in 2011 was named as one of the Top 100 women in Hospitality and Leisure looks set to remain a champion for the industry, women and Scotland.
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