Wednesday
Jul302014

Daniel Hostettler, President & Group Managing Director of Ocean House Management LLC (OHM)

Appointed as President and Managing Director during the resort’s development in 2009 Daniel A. Hostettler, a hospitality executive with 20 years of luxury hotel and restaurant industry experience, has been instrumental in the development, growth and management of, as well as the service delivery within, the Ocean House and its sister property the Weekapaug Inn. Hostettler’s responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations as well as the long term strategic vision for the properties.

His distinguished career in international hospitality includes the development and management of hotels, restaurants, residential components and private clubs; including overseeing leading landmark hotel and resort properties across the United States and Europe.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

When I was young we split time between growing up in California and summers in our native Switzerland.  In addition my father was the CEO of an international company, so he (and we as an entire family) traveled frequently, which led me to fall in love with hotels at an early age.

I think I enjoyed the people watching and the glamour of grand hotels and fine restaurants, and I wanted to be a part of that.  Little did I realize at that point the tremendous amount of work that goes into creating, maintaining and servicing a grand luxury hotel behind the scenes – it is truly a labor of love by a dedicated group of professionals.


In such a competitive industry, how does Ocean House stay so successful?

First and foremost are our people.  Anyone can design and build a beautiful building given enough financial resources; however what truly sets apart the great hotels are the people that work there.  They are our single greatest asset.

We dedicate a tremendous amount of time, effort and financial resources toward human resources.  We believe that the single most important thing that senior management does is select, support and develop great people.

I see perhaps 10-20% of the guests who stay with us on a daily basis, however our associates see 100% of our guests, and it is these individuals that have built our reputation as a world class hotel.  So our primary job is finding great people, giving them the best training we can and then supporting them on a daily basis.

We say that we ‘hire for personality and train for skill’ here and we live that belief.  We can teach you to wait tables, or work a front desk if you have never done that before, however we can’t teach you to be charming, outgoing and want to serve – so these are the things that we look for in the interview process.

Following hiring, we have a myriad of systems in place to constantly be speaking to our associates and finding out from them what we can do to make their jobs easier, or to improve the experience of our guests.

We empower our associates and believe in their intelligence and we find that more often than not, they will rise to the occasion and do something sincere and personable that reflects their own personal style and our own.

What partnerships/marketing strategies did you implement that attributed to the success of Ocean House?

Strategy is a function of vision, it’s the way of executing that vision; it’s the plan.  People enact plans but they struggle to articulate the vision, which I believe that we do well here.

At Ocean House, we clearly understand what our vision is for the guest experience and for our future, and while strategy and budget are important, they are just functions of the vision.  So we set a vision when we created our first property to ‘Aim for the Stars’ and everything we do is in support of this vision to be the best Five Star properties in the world – the people we hire, the way we train, the services we add, the experience we create for guests are all in support of this vision.

How important is location selection to the success of your hotel?

I think location is important in any hotel, people have to want to come there, but I do not think that location alone is what makes us successful.  There are many more well known locations on the New England coast that we have to compete with – The Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, The Hamptons and Newport – and there are great hotels in all of those locations.

We have been able to create an experience for guests that surpasses our competitors, despite the fact that they have more well known locations.

There is a quote from the famous hotelier Cesar Ritz: “A guest should never have to stir outside the hotel.” And at our properties, it’s true. Once you check in to this rejuvenating oasis, you have everything you need; so we try to create the destination within the hotel.

What qualities make a 5 Star Hotelier?

Complete dedication to one’s craft above all else, sometimes even family I am afraid.  The hotel business is a 24/7 business, our properties are always open, and we cater to an extremely discerning group of individuals; therefore the job demands that we never rest on our laurels – that we never revel in the awards for more than a moment, because we need to continue to push ourselves to be at the top of our game, to revaluate our properties, to check every detail and then check it again in our constant pursuit of a perfect experience for every guest.

Describe the ideal customer experience at Ocean House?

Everyone has his or her own definition of luxury, but the guest determines what luxury is, not the hotel company.  It’s not about brick and mortar anymore.  Luxury is how well you deliver the guest experience to that individual guest.

An example I use in training our associates is that of a woman and her young daughter who stayed with us at Christmas.  The bellman asked her what she was going to do at Ocean House, and the little girl replied that she wanted to bake Christmas cookies.  Her mother corrected her and said they would be doing that at home, as this was a hotel, and that wouldn’t be possible.

That bellman, without any intervention from management or being asked by the guest, arranged with the pastry chef to invite the little girl into the pastry kitchen, suited her up in a chef coat and hat and baked cookies with her.  We created a memory for that little girl, and for her mother, which they will probably never forget.  THAT is the ideal guest experience for that particular guest – we want to create an experience like that for every guest who crosses our threshold.

Life Motto?

I have two – ‘Do the best. Be the Best. Being secondary is not motivating’ and ‘When you love what you do, you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.’

Favorite travel destination?

Home.

Role model - business and personal?

Business is Ali Kasikci, currently Regional Managing Director at Belmond (Orient Express) who was my mentor at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills, perhaps the finest hotelier in the country, if not the world – dedicated, passionate, detail oriented and tireless in his pursuit of perfection and constantly reinventing his product. I hope that I am half the hotelier that he has made himself.

Personal is my father, who taught me many things growing up, first among them was that you never ask anyone to do anything you would not do yourself, and I am reminded of this on a daily basis when I am helping associates park cars or carry luggage, that part of great leadership is making sure that your team knows that you support them 1000%.

What literature is on your bed stand?

I am a voracious reader so there are always three things – first is a stack of magazines (about 46 a month when I last checked) which all relate to our guest demographics so they range from travel, to culinary, to business and regional magazines in our target market (Greenwich Magazine, Serendipity, etc) so that I can be reading what is influencing my guests.

Then there are always at least two books going at any one time – one for pure mindless pleasure, and one for business.  Currently – Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky and Global Brand Power by Barbara Kahn.


What's next for Ocean House?

In many ways our future will always be about our past, because of our heritage and history, what we do better than most is bridge generations, and we are very focused on being sure that we resonate among guests of all ages.

Even our very young guests have an insatiable desire to learn about our legacy.  We have been very careful to build upon this foundation by being innovative, and introducing mindful design updates, while remaining true to the history of the property.  So we will keep reinventing ourselves and the guest experience in order to be exceeding expectations.

Of course, if another iconic property that matches our portfolio presents itself we would certainly take a hard look at adding it to our growing collection.

http://www.oceanhouseri.com/contact-us/

https://twitter.com/oceanhouseri

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ocean-House-RI/207523409885

Tuesday
Jul292014

Millionaire Matchmakers: Janis & Carly Spindel, Serious Matchmaking

( PHOTO BY KATYA PRODUCTIONS /katyaphoto.com)

Janis Spindel gets people married. She finds love for the world’s most attractive, well-educated, upscale professional single people.

Janis has been a Matchmaker for over 20 years. With over 1,013 successful marriages, Janis is continuously acknowledged for her expertise. She has been featured on over 50 specials on love, dating, and relationships such as Dr. Phil, The Today Show, CNN and more.

Janis searches worldwide for the perfect matches for her clients, and has been described as a clairvoyant Matchmaker to the elite. She is an award-winning author who shares her knowledge and experience in her best-selling books – “Get Serious About Getting Married: 365 Proven Ways to Find Love in Less Than One Year” and “How to Date Men: Dating Secrets from America’s Top Matchmaker.”

Carly Spindel has been a matchmaker for over 6 years. With 79 marriages to her name, Carly is persistent, vivacious, and gregarious. It is no wonder that she is Janis’ daughter and has been called mini Janis since she could walk.  She has been living the matchmaking business her entire life and learned the inside tricks of the trade from Janis. Carly is a dating and relationship expert and writes articles for StyleCaster and Jdate.

How did you get into the matchmaking industry and why?

Janis: I was always setting up my friends and they were getting married left and right. After 14 of my guy friends got married within an 8 month period, I looked at my husband, looked at the phone and a matchmaker was born. I have the gift of gab and an uncanny sixth sense. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been able to talk to people wherever I am.

Carly: Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been counseling my friends on every stage of their relationship. People have been coming to me for dating advice for as long as I can remember. Starting at 10 years old, I would spend every Saturday afternoon with my mom and listen to her interview dozens of women. I was infatuated with hearing all different women’s stories. I’m a great listener and I know what men want and what women do wrong.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so it was inevitable that I would join my mom.  I love helping people connect and fall in love.

Why are you so successful?

Janis and Carly: We spend a lot of time with our clients. We get to know them and exactly what they’re looking for. We don’t fit a square peg into a round hole. Just because we really like two people, we don’t introduce them unless they’re a perfect match. We’ve found that people in almost every city need love. We enjoy spreading love through the country.

How do you differ from online dating sites and dating apps?

The dating apps and dating websites are great to expand people’s horizons. The men and women who come to us want something more personal. They don’t have time to peruse the apps and online sites. They meet tons of people, but have trouble meeting the right person. They hire us to do the editing for them.  We know what our clients are looking for and deliver exactly that.

Has the millionaire matchmaker affected your business?

Janis: I thank the millionaire matchmaker on a daily basis. She made matchmaking a known profession. Tons of people watch her show and then hire me and Carly.

Life motto?

Janis: Work hard, play hard.
Carly: Be in love with every moment of your life.

#1 dating tip for men and women?

Janis: Be confident. Men and women are drawn to confidence.
Carly: Smile. It’s your calling card.

Favorite travel destination?

Janis: Israel. The people are beautiful and the country has so much love and history.
Carly: Paris. It’s a city full of love, culture, amazing food, great shopping, and sophistication. 

Why do you think people are still single?

Janis: They have unrealistic expectations. So many people have a magic mirror. Others have issues from their family and more baggage than just a carry on.
Carly: We hear complaints from both men and women that people aren’t available. They’re busy and don’t make dating a priority.

Role model - business and personal?

Janis: Jackie Kennedy. She’s a true lady who exudes style, elegance, and grace.
Carly: My mom. She’s taught me that women can have it all; she has a great family, a booming business, and a wonderful loving marriage.

https://www.janisspindelmatchmaker.com/

https://twitter.com/janisspindel

Forbes Article

https://www.facebook.com/janis.spindel.matchmaker

 

Monday
Jul282014

5 Star Hotelier: Elie Georges, President & Owner of Hotel San Régis, Paris, France

The townhouse, 5 star rated, was built in 1857, the same year the Suez Canal was inaugurated. At the time, the Champs Elysées Avenue had already become the place to be, people of the high Parisian society parading in their carriages or sauntering down the avenue to meet friends.
In 1923, Mr. Simon André Terrail, owner of the famous restaurant “La Tour d’Argent”, acquired this stylish residence to turn it into an elegant hotel located in what was already the crossroads of fashion, entertainment and business. The San Régis was born to accommodate the British tourists for whom Paris had become a famous destination. In the 1950s, its enviable location close to the Christian Dior boutique and Avenue Montaigne, made it the headquarter for famous fashion personalities as well as other celebrities: Carmel Snow, Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Lauren Bacall, Romy Schneider, Gene Kelly, Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen et Louis Malle…

In 1984, looking for the hotel of his dreams, Elie George fell in love with the San Régis, captivated by its unrivaled location, the proportion of its beautiful façade and lovely interiors. Elie Georges and his brothers Maurice et Joseph then undertakes a complete renovation with the ambition of making the San Régis shine again as a luxury hotel, while keeping the character of a private home. A remarkable achievement supervised by the French interior Designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. From then on, Mr. Elie Georges never stopped improving the hotel in every little detail, pushing the San Régis to its new position within the very privileged world of luxury hotels.

Today, the San Régis is often referenced among the finest properties in the world (Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, Travel + Leisure).

The Hôtel San Régis has been officially rated 5 Stars on July 30th, 2012, according to the new hospitality rules implemented in France. The constant efforts of Georges' Family and the San Régis team are awarded again placing the hotel at the Paris top position.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

This is a family story, we have been working in the hospitality industry from father to son. We liked it and we stayed in this field by passion.

In such a competitive industry, how does Hotel San Regis stay so successful?

First of all, I want to point out that the Hôtel San Régis is like my own private home. I bought this property in 1984 because I have been captivated by the beautiful architecture, the antique furniture and the history of the hotel. Consequently, my day to day work to maintain a high level of service and refined atmosphere represents a pleasure for me, and not just a job. Guided by the attention to details, I naturally share my passion with the guests staying at the San Régis, making them feeling like at home.  That makes a big difference.

What partnerships/marketing strategies did you implement that attributed to the success of Hotel San Regis?

Our marketing strategy is mainly built on the hotel renown. Effectively, since the “Fifties”, the Hôtel San Régis has been benefiting from a strong reputation among the world of fashion and entertainment, and especially in the USA. The big renovations that we achieved just after having bought the hotel, have strongly revived the reputation of the Hôtel San Régis, generating a large exposure in the high-end American publications. Spontaneously, our property has been selected year after year among the best hotels in the world, by Town&Country, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel&Leisure, Travel Weekly, Forbes, etc. Together with the great investments on the décor, the wide coverage in key publications pushed up again the reputation of the hotel among the travelers and not only. Then, our appropriate communication, partnership and membership choices naturally leaded the good results.

How important is location to the success of your hotel?

Our location is simply gorgeous, among the ‘’Golden circle’’ gathering the Great Names in Fashion and luxury goods, right at the crossroads of fashion, entertainment and culture, and enjoying a nice architectural neighborhood. The San Régis represents a jewel for a connoisseur and the best choice for a traveler experiencing Paris for the first time.

What qualities make a 5 Star Hotelier?

The constant efforts in improving the hotel design and comfort, when at the same time we ensure to deliver a high level of service.

Describe the ideal customer experience at the Hotel San Regis?

To enjoy a long drink cocktail or even a dinner, in the private terrace of a Deluxe Junior Suite offering a 360° view on Paris rooftops, from the Eiffel Tower to the Grand Palais.

Life Motto?

Live with passion and talent today and everyday!

Favorite travel destination?

I don’t have any favorite destination, but I do have favorite places, where to stay and where to eat. I travel frequently mainly because I am interested in discovering the new hotels and new restaurants. I am curious to learn more about the new concepts and fine decors all over the world. I definitely pay more interest in the place to stay than in the destination itself.

Role model - business and personal?

I don’t have a special role model. I just truly appreciate the persons who succeed in reaching their goal with talent.

What literature is on your bed stand?

Historic literature.

What's next for Hotel San Regis?

New renovations expected for the 2 or 3 years ahead.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ideally located in the Champs Elysées district, at the crossroads of culture and fashion, the San Régis hotel is happy to welcome you. The elegant facade and lavish interiors create a unique atmosphere inherited from its long history as a 19 Century townhouse. Each of the 32 rooms and 11 suites has its own character, fine materials, variety of colors and objets d'art blending in a refined and unique setting. Modern amenities are not forgotten and are discretely integrated. (Free wifi, LED screens...)
The lounge, restaurant and bar, offer a peaceful and intimate atmosphere with wood paneling, fireplaces and winter garden. They are the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner.
A discreet and friendly service together with the personalized style of the hotel, make the San Régis one of Paris best kept secrets.

http://www.hotel-sanregis.fr/en/

Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Facebook Page

Thursday
Jul242014

Antoine Chevanne, CEO of Groupe Floirat, Executive General Director of Byblos St Tropez

Founded, owned and operated by a family of four generations, Groupe-Floirat is a collection of three hotels and several restaurants and nightclubs in France. The hotels in the group include La Réserve in the Basque town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Les Manoirs in Normandy and the five-star classic flagship property, Hotel Byblos in St. Tropez.

Antoine Chevanne is the great grandson of Sylvain Floirat, who originally founded Groupe Floirat. He is the fourth generation to lead the family company. As CEO of Groupe Floirat since 2006, Chevanne continues the family tradition of hotel management and entrepreneurship, and has been instrumental in the expansion of the Groupe’s portfolio of properties, focused on luxury hospitality, charming boutique hotels and upscale nightclubs. The Groupe Floirat properties are a true reflection of Chevanne’s exceptional management skills, know-how and commitment to his family’s legacy.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

This is a family story ... It all started in 1967 with my great-grandfather Sylvain Floirat, a brilliant French business man, CEO of many companies, including Breguet Aviation, Matra, French Television Company Europe Following the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jean-Prosper Gay-Para (the founder of Byblos) decided to return to Beirut to manage his hotels and to sell the Byblos. It was at this time that my great-grandfather decided to buy the Byblos, just three months after its opening ... so begins another story, the one of the Floirat family and his heirs.

(Byblos Pool at night)

In such a competitive industry, how does your Hotel stay so successful?

Le Byblos is a beautiful family story... but it is also a story linked to the importance of human relations and to its staff who have been working there for more than thirty years for some of them. The staff turnover is nearly non-existent, which is a real asset in the hotel industry.

The human factor remains crucial and is part of our competitive advantage. Over time, we have succeeded in renewing ourselves while preserving our ancestral values.

What partnerships/marketing strategies did you implement that attributed to the success Byblos Hotel?

On the occasion of the 40 years (in 2007) and 45 years (in 2012), the Byblos Hotel worked with establishments, symbols of luxury, quality and elegance like Van Cleef & Arpels, Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Pinel & Pinel, as well as Cristal Roederer and Perrier Jouet.
We commissioned a range of unique and exceptional products, designed ​​exclusively for the Byblos.

A lot more is coming soon, with exciting surprises for Byblos 50th Anniversary !

(Les Caves du Roy Nightlclub)

How important is location selection to the success of your hotel?

Yes, absolutely! This is one of the numerous advantages of the hotel that our clients prefer...
The Byblos Hotel is located in the heart of Saint-Tropez, close to the Place des Lices, yet giving the feeling of being away from the world, in an oasis of silence lulled by the water runoff and birdsongs. Place des Lices, luxury boutiques, the harbour of Saint-Tropez...everything is a few minutes’ walk from the Byblos!

What are your greatest successes and mistakes as a CEO and what have you learned?

My main success was to succeed in preserving the values of the Groupe Floirat, while making every product evolve with the times and according to the customers needs.

My main mistakes were to try to go too fast on certain projects and to get carried away by my enthusiasm to go forward.

What qualities make a 5 Star Hotelier?

The welcoming, the sense of service, the expertise and the knowledge to being unimpeachable, but also the eye for details...

(Rivea by Alain Ducasse)

Describe the ideal customer experience at your Byblos?

Start by lounging on the terrace of the room with a breathtaking view of Saint-Tropez (I recommend the Suite 621), by the pool savor a fabulous cocktail and taste the menu at the "B" restaurant. Take then a dip in our pool with turquoise water before lying down on one of our chairs to enjoy sunbathing. Finish the day in our Spa by Sisley Cosmetics to discover exceptional cares. And finally succumb to the Mediterranean flavors at our second restaurant, the Rivea at Byblos by Alain Ducasse. Do not forget to go for a glass of champagne in our famous night club, Les Caves du Roy!

What is your life motto?

Even if this enthusiasm is of paramount importance for the fullfilment of my projects, I now take a little bit more time to think, analyze and discuss before acting.

What is your favorite travel destination?

BRAZIL ! Love the country and the people

Who is your role model - business and personal?

My great grand father Sylvain Floirat... he was a visionary

What literature is on your bed stand?

An Irvin Yalom book. Love Philosophy

What's next for your hotel group and you personally?

Working hard on Byblos 50th Anniversary in 2017. Personally ? Being a father at the end of October : a huge project !

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A graduate from Paris-Dauphine with a DEA in economics, Chevanne received his masters in Hospitality Management at Cornell University. He then went on to serve as Director for Hotel Byblos for five years before becoming CEO of Groupe Floirat.

Groupe Floirat properties include:

Byblos Saint Tropez - Located in beautiful Saint Tropez, in the South of France, Byblos opened in 1967 and is part of the Groupe Floirat collection. The legendary hotel is home to Spa Byblos - a haven of peace and serenity, created by Sisley Cosmetics; Alain Ducasse’s latest culinary concept – Rivea; Algandra - Byblos’ own 65-foot luxury yacht; Le Black Legend Monaco, Lounge Bar and Night Club; Le Red Monaco; as well as the famed French nightclub – Les Caves du Roy.

Les Manoirs de Tourgville, Normandy - Located nearby the stylish resort towns of Deauville-Trouville and the picturesque Honfleur harbor, this outstanding property became part of the Groupe Floirat collection in 2009.  Purchased by CEO of Groupe Floirat, Antoine Chevanne from the French Film Director, Claude Lelouch, Les Manoirs de Tourgville welcomes guests for a stay of leisure, fitness and gastronomy. 

Hotel La Reserve - Saint-Jean-de Luz - Conveniently nearby the historical town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and its lovely beaches, La Reserve is an inviting haven for relaxation featuring breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean – all of which can be enjoyed from each guestroom terrace, the hotel’s infinity swimming pool and gourmet restaurant.

Le Black Legend Monaco, Lounge Bar and Night Club - Designed like a Manhattan loft, this retro-chic nightclub brings back the 1970s spirit with authentic Motown music and ambiance.

Le Red Monaco - This restaurant is a new ‘chic and modern’ bistro, where Chef Julien Tosello concocts a generous gourmet cuisine with an Italian accent

http://www.byblos.com/

Leading Hotels of the World: Byblos Hotel Saint-Tropez

https://www.facebook.com/ByblosSaintTropez

Wednesday
Jul232014

Events Expert: Jennifer Bassett of Bassett Events

Jennifer Bassett is owner of Bassett Events, one of the world's best event planning companies. Bassett Events is a boutique Event Management agency working primarily with premium brands, companies and NPO’s looking to create unique and memorable events.

How did you get into the events planning industry?

I was working for a company in their Live Events department and it unfortunately went bankrupt after 20 years in business. As it turns out this door closing opened one for me. I opened up Bassett Events a month later, 14 years ago.

What past events are you most proud of and how did they become successes?

Any event we produce is rewarding and usually quite successful but the events we produce for David Fosters Foundation are always highlights!

What industry do you most enjoy throwing events for and why? Why did you choose fundraising to specialize in?

We fell into the fundraising niche. Our first event was a fundraiser through a personal contact with the charity. We've been blessed as 90% of our business in through word of mouth and referrals. Recently wehave been planning some fabulous weddings and private events which are always fun.

What advice would you give a start-up event planner?

Keep your sense of humour. Be very organized and in the end, love what you do because it’s a stressful industry and service with a smile always goes a long way!

How important are partnerships/co-branding for hosting a large event?

Extremely. Brand alignment is key to making an event a success. Especially working with charities and non profit organizations. The bottom line is so important therefore establishing partnerships and sponsorships are essential

Describe a great night out.

We work so hard at what we do and are out so much with our events, we I get a free night sometimes it’s all about takeout, a glass of wine and a movie!

Favorite travel destination?

Four Seasons Punta Minta

Life motto?

Slow and steady

What literature is on your bed stand?

Ha! My daughter’s journal and Bazaar

What’s next for Bassett Events?

Another fabulous event with David Foster! How lucky are we??

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/06/23/the-worthy-30-jennifer-bassett/

http://www.departures.com/slideshows/worlds-best-event-planners/7

https://twitter.com/bassettevents