Having grown up in the melting pot that is Miami and traveling extensively, Sexton Garcia has had a lifetime of experience with different cultures – all preparing him for his interaction with guests from around the world in his current role as general manager of The Meridian Hotel. Previously a pioneer of Central Florida’s fashion scene as the owner and manager of an array of clothing stores in Gainesville, Florida. Garcia has accumulated an impressive skillset that combines with sales, marketing and interpersonal communication. URBANICA’s divergent hiring philosophy of bringing on creative individuals with no past hotel experience made Garcia the perfect fit for his current position. “My lack of experience in hospitality was a large part of why I was recruited to join the Meridian team,” said Garcia. Garcia pushes to make sure each guest feels a sense of belonging, starting with a “Welcome Home” at the door. Even as an employee, experiencing such an engaging ambiance daily drives his motivation to make The Meridian Hotel lobby known as the neighborhood living room.
How did you get into the industry?
My friend which also happens to be one of the founders of Urbanica suggested that I might be good for the brand. That, along with the philosophy of hiring staff with no prior hotel experience is what made me a perfect fit. Best career move I’ve ever made!
Any emerging industry trends?
The movement toward boutique hotels seems to be the current trend. It seems everyone is on the bandwagon these days. Larger chains are trying to give warmer, more personalized service although it becomes a bit difficult because of the size of their properties and the costs associated with it. Few are able to accomplish the service and attention required to achieve the true boutique experience.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The opportunity has been that boutique hotels are in trend, this has always been our platform. All of our properties are under 100 rooms which allows us to offer the true boutique experience and successfully capitalize on the current shift in hospitality.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
We travelled extensively and saw the need in the market for the type of experience we now offer. We think outside the box. Our vision is to continue growing as a boutique chain offering the style, service and comfort we ourselves would want to experience, always at a more affordable price.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We are currently working on a few projects in Miami Beach, all under the Urbanica brand.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Our initiative is to hire people with no hotel experience so there are no preconceived notions. We are then able to teach our people to think independently and give empathetic service… People ultimately love to help others when given the proper resources.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Complimentary cocktail upon check-in, upgrade to a better room and then, the best service they’ve ever received. “Welcome Home. Anything you need, just ask”
How do you motivate others?
Career advice to those in your industry?
Your job in hospitality is to make someone’s experience memorable. Always be genuine and never say no. There is always a way to satisfy a request. Anticipate!