Spotlight On: Michael Chin, General Manager and Regional Director for Eden Roc Miami Beach/Nobu Hotel Miami

Spotlight On: Michael Chin, General Manager and Regional Director for Eden Roc Miami Beach/Nobu Hotel Miami

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read March 2020 — The hospitality market in Miami-Dade may have started to feel a level of oversaturation but the market overall is still at an advantage in comparison to other large markets across the nation due to location and a friendly tax environment, Michael Chin, general manager and regional director for Eden Roc Miami Beach/Nobu Hotel Miami Beach, told Invest:. He also discussed embracing the sharing economy as an alternative rather than increased competition in the market and the difference in demographics that options like this attract. 

 

 

With new entries into the region, do you believe the hospitality market in Miami-Dade is nearing a level of oversaturation?  

 

Miami is in a position where some hospitality entities feel a level of oversaturation, but I don’t think we are in that kind of market yet, especially when compared to markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. We have a mix of boutique and local hotels, and we are starting to see developments for the larger hotels coming into the area. This includes the expansion of some larger properties in the Downtown  and Brickell areas. The demand is still there in regard to new hotels in Miami-Dade.

 

What is the biggest advantage to your location in Miami Beach? 

 

Our biggest advantage in regard to where we are located is right out our back doors: the beach. The number of properties that have direct beach access is what people come to South Beach for. Right now, some of the hotels, like in Downtown Miami, aren’t as attractive to certain visitors coming to Miami because they don’t want to be in an urban area. They do not want to just see the water, they want to be at the water. This is why our location on the beach is probably our biggest attraction for new guests. We also have an advantage thanks to our offerings in comparison to our neighbors. We thrive off of the proximity to the Fontainebleau. We may not have the capability to have a nightclub on our premises like the surrounding hotels, but the people who come in here and visit us prefer us as an alternative place to go to eat and have a different type of experience.

 

How do you view newer entries into the hospitality market like Airbnb and the sharing economy? 

 

My background comes from a corporate hospitality structure and we addressed the issue of the sharing economy on a corporate level years ago. Since then, my stance really has not changed. We cannot view services like Airbnb as competition, they are simply just an alternative. The consumer is going to stay where they want to stay. If their preference is to have longevity and a lot of space, then they are going to choose an option like Airbnb because it is something that they will not get in a hotel. People who stay at hotels, stay based on what they are looking for. Today, the demographics related to age, income and food preferences are going to determine where a person stays more than the price of a hotel or its location. The hospitality industry has corporate executives who sit in a room and  determine how they are going to capture every type of traveler out there and how they are going to define every generation, demographic and region to find a suitable hotel choice for them. At a hotel like ours, travelers are going to stay here because they want the features of convenience in regard to housekeeping, room service, amenities and entertainment. Hotels have the consistency value. You have expectations when you stay in a hotel. There are a lot of factors that go into why a person picks and chooses where they want to stay but it all comes down to preference. 

 

How does the hospitality sector in Miami have an advantage over other large markets across the nation? 

 

People still want to go to places like Orlando, Dallas or Las Vegas, but every city has its issues, whether that’s overtaxation like in California or overpopulation like in New York. We have the opportunity to attract those tourists to a new market like Miami that doesn’t have these issues. It is about us getting out there to advertise Miami as a viable option to host both tourists and business travelers. Events like the Super Bowl help strengthen this idea.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.edenrochotelmiami.com/

 

 

Spotlight On: Shaun Kwiatkowski, General Manager, The Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas Tampa

Spotlight On: Shaun Kwiatkowski, General Manager, The Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas Tampa

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 — The hospitality industry in Tampa Bay welcomed several new hotel offerings into the marketplace in 2019, and 2020 is going to see the introduction of even more inventory. Invest: spoke to Shaun Kwiatkowski, the general manager of one of the newest offerings to the Tampa Bay region, The Godfrey Hotel and Cabanas Tampa.  Besides a bountiful 2019, Kwiatkowski also spoke about the importance and benefits of operating as an independent brand in a market that is saturated with corporate offerings, as well as his view on the impact of the sharing economy in the Bay. 

 

 

 

How would you describe The Godfrey’s performance in 2019? 

 

In 2019, we enjoyed the continued market penetration of our brand. We are still pretty new and usually the ramp-up period for a hotel brand in this market can take up to five years to really penetrate and become established, especially a new, independent hotel like The Godfrey. We do not have the Marriott or the Hilton behind us, so we have to rely on a lot of specific strategies to execute. We feel that we have been able to penetrate the market effectively in a short period of time. We have had a lot of growth, which we measure by ADR growth. We had almost double-digit ADR growth last year, which equates to RevPar growth in the hotel’s revenue results. We’re very thankful and proud that we have been able to grow that ADR a little bit faster than the market as a whole. When you look at the Tampa Bay market this past year, occupancy rates had stayed pretty much flat, but I believe that has a lot to do with the additional room supply coming into the market. 

 

How has operating as an independent brand been beneficial and a challenge to the hotel? 

 

Being an independent brand can create benefits, but there are also challenges to that. As the business and the industry have evolved, demand has changed and today, many people want something different from the corporate type of hotel. Not to take anything away from those brands, but people do want to have the unique and fun experience that an independent brand can provide, similar to our food and beverage experience in WTR Pool & Grill. That is exactly who we are. If we look at the market as a whole, we are starting to see some of those big-name brands evolve into a more independent style. We are seeing those independent, millennial-focused brands growing in popularity, especially in this area.

 

A big challenge for us across the industry is employee retention and finding the right talent. We drive employee retention through the culture that we create within the hotel. If we find a good employee, we reward them and we guide them through their career. When we are looking at recruiting people to fill our open positions, it is more about the person than their skills. I can teach you most of the skills to be a front desk agent or to be a server, but I can’t teach you to smile. I can’t teach you to be positive and warm. This means we always have to be in our recruiting mindset and look for those individuals who have the hospitality spirit.

 

How has the sharing economy impacted your business, if at all? 

 

In regards to the impact from the sharing economy and things like Airbnb, there’s enough room for everyone to play, from our perspective. The Godfrey has not seen a major impact from the sharing economy. If the average person does a normal search of Airbnbs in this region, there is not as large an inventory as you might find in Boston or Chicago. That being said, when we look at what Airbnb is doing and the future of their booking channel, that is something that’s on our radar. If there is an opportunity there that works for us, we are going to investigate it and see if there is enough return on investment to try and implement something similar.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.godfreyhoteltampa.com/