Bill Walshe is a 20-year veteran of the luxury hospitality industry. In 2012, Walshe moved stateside to take the helm at Viceroy Hotel Group, successfully launching Viceroy New York, their first branded hotel in New York. Year to date, Viceroy Hotel Group has added three new properties in the Maldives, New York City and San Francisco, and recently announced the opening of Viceroy Chicago in 2017 and Viceroy Algarve in 2017, for a total of fifteen hotels under management by the group worldwide.
Walshe provides Viceroy Hotel Group with a truly global perspective, as he brings extensive senior management experience with leading international hospitality companies, including Jumeirah Group, The Doyle Collection, and Kempinski Hotels & Resorts. As the CEO of The Doyle Collection, Walshe led the brand through its reinvention into a modern luxury urban hotel group that includes eleven hotels in the USA and Europe. Prior to The Doyle Collection, Walshe served as Chief Marketing Officer for Dubai based Jumeirah Group at a time of tremendous growth for the international luxury hospitality group.
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I knew I wanted to get into hospitality right when I started helping out after school in my uncle’s guest house at the age of 13, and later I went to college to study hotel management. I’ve always been in the hospitality industry, it’s my passion. I think I currently have the best job in the world.
Tell us about Viceroy Hotel Group. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
Viceroy Hotel Group is a modern luxury hotel group that infuses classic hospitality with southern Californian spirit. Our vision is to grow the company internationally, building our success in the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and beyond.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Viceroy Hotel Group's success?
In the past year, we’ve introduced the 'I Am Viceroy' campaign that connects our customer to experiences that will allow them to create memories that will last a lifetime. Our video to launch ‘I am Viceroy' played in-flight across Virgin America for the month of November 2014 which created huge visibility. In April of this year, we announced our strategic partnership with the Global Hotel Alliance which gives us the opportunity to speak to customers of like-minded brands across the globe.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
The opportunity for customers to express their views over social media has created a new level of transparency. We are very active in monitoring what people are saying about us and actively respond to guest comments on Social Media and Trip advisor.
Never forget to say please and thank you!
Viceroy Hotel Group's Motto?
Remember to Live
Your greatest success as CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
My greatest success was the creation and deployment of our company ideology as it defines who we are. Thankfully there have not been any truly difficult moments yet!
(Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi)
Your advice to an aspiring hotelier?
Set out to create unique individual experiences that people will remember. Don’t replicate. Dare to be different.
Describe the ideal experience at a Viceroy Hotel
An ideal experience is one where the guest creates memories that last them for a lifetime. Whether that’s recharging their battery on a Caribbean beach or closing a deal over a business dinner at one of our amazing restaurants.
How important are architecture/design to the success of your hotels?
Architecture and design is very important to the creation of our hotels. Each of our hotels are an expression of individuality, but true success is driven by the many interactions our guests have with our colleagues every day in every location.
How do you motivate your employees?
By being a constant presence out in the business, managing by human interaction - not by simply sending memos!
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
A medium rare filet steak with béarnaise sauce and a Jack Daniels and Diet Coke!
What literature is on your bed stand?
'Setting the Table’ a great book by one of my hospitality heroes, Danny Meyer.
(Viceroy, Sugar Beach, St. Lucia)
Role model - business and personal?
Business: Danny Meyer and Steve Jobs
Personal: All 3,000 colleagues that I have a privilege to work with at Viceroy Hotel Group.
Cooking. I am constantly learning new tricks and tips from the amazingly talented chefs that work for our company.
Favorite travel destination?
United Arab Emirates – We have one amazing hotel in Abu Dhabi and are currently working on two hotels in Dubai. I lived there for seven years and thrive on the dynamic spirit of entrepreneurship evident in the UAE.
What's next for Viceroy Hotel Group?
Doubling the size of our company in the next 5 years.