Hotel Management — October 21, 2015 HMYP
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Donald Ayres
Director of development
Aimbridge Hospitality
Plano, Texas
HM: In your opinion, what is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry?
Ayres: Constant improvements in technology continue to reduce the need for corporate travel and higher operating costs are a threat to the profitably for owners. These concerns can potentially be mitigated by always providing guests with a great experience, consistent service levels and a superior-quality product to ensure consistent demand and improved performance.
Jillian Bell
Corporate revenue manager
Vision Hospitality Group
Chattanooga, Tenn.
HM: What do millennials want in a hotel stay?
Bell: I would prefer to stay in a hotel room of a smaller size that doesn’t have the desk. And having the smaller room encourages more guest involvement within the social living spaces of the hotel, such as a welcoming and engaging lobby. I prefer the idea of a small room, as well, particularly when I’m traveling for business. But having an open, inviting social space where guests can come together and socialize and work is truly fitting of my generation.

Matthew Butterfield
Revenue analyst
Maine Course Hospitality Group
Freeport, Maine
HM: In your opinion, what is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry?
Butterfield: The biggest threat that faces the hotel industry is the same threat that faces the world as a whole right now, a lack of investment in people. I’ve witnessed a startling mentality that you pay your housekeepers and front-desk clerks minimum wage, demand 150 percent of their effort and then cut bait with anyone making too much money once they’ve been with the company for long enough. 
Tramaine Cooper
Manager openings & transitions, America – full-service brands
Hilton Worldwide
New York
HM: In your opinion, what is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry?
Cooper: The biggest concern is a broad one, and that is the constantly changing environment we live in and the ability to adapt appropriately. Whether it’s technology (e.g. using smartphones for guestroom entry), catering to the demands of different travelers (e.g. baby boomers versus generation Y), or new forms of competition (e.g. Airbnb), there is change all around us. 

Chintan Desai
VP of development
Desai Hotel Group
Jackson, Miss.
HM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Desai: Desai Hotel Group is currently in the process of implementing a construction branch of the company. In 10 years, I would like to be heavily involved in this branch. I see myself developing this branch and contributing to the overall growth of the company. I would use my experiences in the financial and operational fields to ensure a strong foundation and carefully implemented policies.
Bill Dombrowski
GM
Best Western PLUS University Inn Hotel
Olean, N.Y.
HM: In your opinion, what is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry?
Dombrowski: The biggest threat is the advancement of technology and how rapidly it is growing. It is moving a lot faster than our hotels can keep up with. We need to look very far into the future when making investments and sound decisions with improvements to our property. These types of advancements are great for society, but that also comes with higher expectations from our guests.

Giovanni Forni
VP
Cedar Capital Partners
London
HM: What do millennials want in a hotel stay?
Forni: A customized experience. Hotel companies are often too focused on hard attributes. While a traveler from my generation will expect to have a Wi-Fi connection that works well, he/she will not really care if a specific chair/desk/sink/bar is a brand standard. The basics need to be right, the rest needs to be fun/interesting/happening. Offer something we do not already get on a daily basis; offer something local; offer something customers will remember.
Herb Glose
Director of hotel performance support
B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group
Bethesda, Md.
HM: Tell us about your experience in hospitality before now, and what made you choose hospitality as a career?
Glose: My introduction to the industry was serving as a butler in a small hotel at age 16. I became fascinated by the combination of business and service skills needed to excel and found a pathway to a wonderful industry. The experience in this small hotel led me to apply to the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell, where I specialized in operations and was mentored by several individuals that invested in me.

Madison
Gordon
Revenue management strategist
Vantage Hospitality Group
Pompano Beach, Fla.
HM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Gordon: As revenue management continues to grow and evolve as a major discipline in the hospitality industry, I hope to do the same. Ten years down the road I see myself growing further within the VHG family, practicing revenue management at a larger scale, and hopefully teaching/training our future strategists as well. I am always pursuing further education and hope to obtain my CRME certification soon.

Nala Holmes
Senior analyst, business development & acquisitions
Pyramid Hotel Group
Boston
HM: Who do you consider your professional mentors and why?
Holmes: My father has always been a professional mentor, life coach and sounding board for all my ideas. He remains active in the hospitality industry, having served most of his career in development and forging paths for brands like Holiday Inn and Hilton in Asia-Pacific and, most recently, a totally new resort concept in South Asia.
Thomas
Holmes
Corporate director of operations
KB Hotel Group
Dayton, Ohio
HM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 20 years? 
Holmes: At this time I see myself in an executive-level position in my career in 10 years. Once I achieve that, I see myself in a president-level position in 20 years. Every day I see that I keep growing and learning in my career. Working for a young and growing management company, I am able to develop myself to get to those positions.
Jonathan
Jaeger
Managing director
LW Hospitality Advisors
New York
HM: What is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry?
According to nominator Dan Lesser, president and CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors, Jaeger believes one of the biggest concerns facing our global industry at this time is the threat of terrorism. The impact on performance of U.S. hotels after 9/11 was substantial, and the industry is very susceptible to major events that could change the landscape going forward.

Jason Jette
F&B director
RGH Hospitality
Wilton, N.H.
HM: Tell us about any awards, accolades or positive feedback you have received in your career.
At the age of 18, Jette received the Junior Culinarian of the Year award from his local Professional Chefs of New Hampshire chapter through the American Culinary Federation. In 2014, he received the Chef of the Year award from his local Professional Chefs of New Hampshire chapter. Jason has also been featured to on local TV show Cook’s Corner and Chef’s Plate.
Alicia Luke
GM
Hotel 41
New York
HM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 20 years?
Luke has a career path authored in cooperation with her immediate supervisor to get exposed to all disciplines within the industry, according to nominator Benjamin Seidel, president and CEO of Real Hospitality Group. Ultimately, Luke wants to develop her own brand of hotel that focuses on the local population and cultures and offers a truly experiential stay in a given market.

Drew Mailloux
Social media manager
Loews Chicago
HM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Mailloux: I would like to think my life will soon go down a corporate hospitality route. I think it’s important for individuals in the corporate office to have extensive property experience and to know what it’s like on the ground floor. I love working on property, but what I like most is being able to impact guests’ stays and making moments for them both online and offline.
Sarah 
Maisonneuve
Corp. sales manager
Embassy Suites by Hilton Montreal
HM: What do millennials want in a hotel stay?
Maisonneuve: It’s all about the global experience of my stay! We are a ‘needy’ generation. I want a little ‘extra’... a little touch that is ‘outside the box.’ I want an Apple charging dock station so I don’t need to think about bringing my phone charger every time. I want a comfy bed, a clean room, friendly staff and great localization. Mostly, I want a great experience!
Brendan McCoy
GM
Courtyard by Marriott
Harrisonburg, Va.
HM: What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced on the job in the last year? How did you resolve it? 
McCoy: Coming into a property that had a lot of personnel issues. This wasn’t resolved overnight and it wasn’t resolved in a few weeks. It took roughly six months to make some positive headway. What resolved the issue was leading by example and getting the leadership team on board to make the changes that needed to happen. 
Tyson Nales
Front-office manager
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Sarasota, Fla.
HM: What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced on the job in the last year?
Nales: My most pressing challenge this year has been navigating through a $14-million full renovation project at the hotel. This “reimagination” of the current property is a complete renovation of all meeting space, guestrooms and public areas. The four-month process has proven to be challenging in balancing room inventory with limited facilities and offerings amid a lot of noise.

Tiffany Olhava
Director of revenue management
DoubleTree by Hilton
Colorado Springs, Colo.
HM: Tell us about your experience in hospitality before now, and what made you choose hospitality as a career? 
Olhava: I was 18 years old when I started working at the DoubleTree. Honestly, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I just wanted to be able to dress nice for work and front-desk agents wore blazers and looked very professional. I had no idea how hospitality would develop my life professionally and personally.
Darshan Patel
Founder, president and CEO
Magnus Hospitality
San Diego
HM: A big issue facing the hotel industry today is attracting and retaining good employees. Please share some thoughts on the issue.
Patel: Dedication, intuition, generosity and work ethic are all instrumental in looking for—and retaining—good employees. Body language and endurance is paramount in a profession that requires you to be at your best. The circulatory system of the world relies on comfort and reliability.
Ravi Patel
President
Hawkeye Hotels
Burlington, Iowa
HM: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Patel: In 20 years, I hope to be in the leadership transition-planning phase and ready to hand over control of our successful enterprise to the next generation of Patels, who will in turn take this company forward in their own vision. Along the way, I’d like our property footprint to span the entire country and perhaps in markets around the globe. It’s possible that one day we launch our own branded assets. 
Casey Prentice
President
Prentice Hospitality Group
Portland, Maine
HM: A big issue facing the hotel industry today is attracting and retaining good employees. Please share some thoughts on the issue.
According to nominator James Brady, manager of CPB2, Prentice takes issue with the concept of “attracting” employees. He believes that you can’t attract someone to be service-oriented. Someone who genuinely enjoys pleasing others is the type of employee he seeks, regardless of their current line of work or level of experience. 
Michelle Price
Portfolio revenue manager
InterContinental Hotels Group
Atlanta
HM: Tell us about your current position.
Price: I have 17 hotels that I speak with on a weekly or biweekly basis, to which I recommend pricing strategies in order to maximize revenue. I utilize a number of reports showing segmentation, market analysis and production to realize opportunities and grow profits. I am in a “revenue management for hire” position, which means I act more in a role of consultant for these properties, as I have to convince them my strategy suggestions will make the most revenue.

Andrew Quinto
GM
Fairfield Inn & Suites
Hyannis, Mass.
HM: Tell us about your experience in hospitality before now, and what made you choose hospitality as a career? 
Quinto: I was going to school for criminal justice and got “bit by the hospitality bug,” as my boss likes to say, when I started working the night audit at my first property. From that day, I knew I would have a long career in the industry. I have gone on to obtain my CHA, CHIA and CGS, while I currently study to get my CHRM.

Leigh Silkunas
Corporate director of eCommerce
Commune Hotels + Resorts
San Francisco
HM: What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced on the job in the last year? 
Silkunas: I think the hardest thing I’ve experienced this year is being part of a brand new company which has already merged two brands (Joie de Vivre and Thompson), while acquiring Alila (a luxury brand in Southeast Asia), developing Tommie (a micro-lifestyle brand) and opening a number of new hotels. Rapid growth brings rapid change and a variety of time-sensitive demands.
Krista Sinardi
Manager, eCommerce owned/managed
Hilton Worldwide
Tampa, Fla.
HM: What is the biggest concern or threat facing the success of the global hotel industry, and how would you propose addressing it?
Sinardi: The advent of Airbnb because they are so small and nimble, and can change very quickly. It takes a larger company like Hilton a longer time to change and move. How to address: keeping ahead of technology (i.e. mobile apps, etc.) to make sure we have a plan to keep ahead of them in how consumers want to book.

Daniel Van Dyke
GM
Comfort Suites
Marietta, Ohio
HM: Tell us about your experience in hospitality.
According to Alan Hardway, VP of operations for MPH Hotels, Van Dyke is very bright and adaptive to the hospitality environment. He became quickly acclimated to the tasks of his position and also was instrumental in increasing revenues with various new strategies his millennial mind was bringing to the table. Within two years, he had positioned himself to be able to run his own hotel, including working through the construction phase of his hotel.

Jacob Van Winkle
GM
Hilton Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, Mich.
HM: What do millennials want in a hotel stay?
Van Winkle: Travelers from my generation do not want “fancy,” and/or old-school glamour. We want function and a unique experience. Hilton has done an amazing job with the Curio and Canopy brands because our generation wants to experience the travel destination, not necessarily the hotel. The blend of the local environment incorporated with the design and services of the hotel will be a huge success with this demographic.
Drew Wallace
Manager of project planning and delivery
InterContinental Hotels Group
Atlanta
HM: What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced on the job in the last year?
Wallace: The biggest challenge I’ve faced recently and quite often in my current role is driving change within a large organization. Many of the initiatives I work on require the expertise and support of other functional areas in the corporate office as well as the hotels themselves. Without the buy-in and support of these teams and the hotels, my initiatives won’t be successful. 

Tom Wood
Financial analyst
OTO Development
Spartanburg, S.C.
HM: Tell us about any awards, accolades or positive feedback you have received in your career.
Wood: In 2014 I was named OTO’s employee of the year. During the year I was responsible for redesigning the budget process for all our hotels under management. I helped with the sale of multiple hotels to Blackstone Real Estate Group, assisted with the refinance and syndication of one of our funds and improved the efficiency of many of our reports we use to assess a hotel’s profitability.
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