Defining Hospitality Podcast
Bucking The Industry Trend - Kia Weatherspoon - Episode # 073

Bucking The Industry Trend - Kia Weatherspoon - Episode # 073

September 28, 2022

Today’s guest is the most decorated black interior designer of our time. Kia Weatherspoon is the President and Founder of Determined by Design. Kia focuses on making interior design a standard for all, not a luxury for a few.  Kia joins the host Dan Ryan to share her powerful journey of finding her way into the hospitality industry.

 

Takeaways

  • Kia’s first introduction into the hospitality industry was during her time overseas in the military where she made space out of three sheet walls inside a tent. In that space she felt comforted and felt solace.
  • Hospitality is all about being people driven. You want to focus on making sure that you are giving the people a sense of belonging and a place they can be comfortable in and call home.
  • To serve people, you have to be grounded and be people focused. That way you can be the best advocate for equal design outcomes for everybody.
  • Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself as that shows how worthy you think you are. It’s often the small things that leaders forget. You want to humanize people and not go by just their title then you will find the right people to design for.
  • Getting recognized is the least important thing. Instead of being recognized, it’s important to make a change in the world and help others when you can.
  • Radical hospitality is this feeling of being welcomed, embraced, included, accepted, and seen, but without any barriers, bias or judgment.
  • To help build the pipeline for people of color that are in creative industries there will need to be $30 Million in 30 years. 

 

Quote of the Show:

13:35 “Being people driven is always about hospitality in my mind.” 

Links:

 

Shout Outs:

1:14 Stacy Shoemaker

10:31 Alvin Ailey

20:20 Cheryl Durst

37:31 Sequoyah Hunter Sujay

42:16 Jack Travis

42:57 Ashli Johnson - Executive Director Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University 

43:20 Arne Sorenson

43:21 Marriott

 

Ways to Tune In: 

Hiring for the Next Generation - Sonya Haffey - Episode # 072

Hiring for the Next Generation - Sonya Haffey - Episode # 072

September 23, 2022

Are you looking to make your big break into the hospitality industry? Well, look no further because today’s guest is looking for an Intermediate Interior Designer! Sonya Haffey is the Principal at V Starr, the design company that was founded by Venus Williams. Sonya joins the host Dan Ryan to talk about the need to hire in this industry and what to look for in new employees. Links to the job opening in the show notes.

 

Takeaways

  • When you are looking at hiring someone, you want to try and hire someone that is smarter than you and can push you to be better yourself. 
  • It’s essential to give new hires space to be themselves but also space to fail. It’s important for them to use failure as a learning lesson and grow from it.
  • You don't want to deal with drama in the workplace. Hire people that are not going to bring negative energy into the workplace or cause issues. 
  • In the hospitality industry, it is very common for people to burnout and not have a good work/life balance. At V Starr, they make sure to have to keep that balance to avoid burnout.

 

Quote of the Show:

1:18 “My goal in life is for you to prove me wrong at least three times a day. If you can prove me wrong, you'll make my day, I'll be the happiest person alive.”

 

Links:

 

Ways to Tune In: 

An Immersive World - Anne Wilkinson - Episode # 071

An Immersive World - Anne Wilkinson - Episode # 071

September 21, 2022

Today’s guest has over 25 years of experience in luxury hotel and residential design. With each project, she brings an unparalleled amount of knowledge. Anne Wilkinson is the Principal at BAMO, Inc. Anne joist the host Dan Ryan to share her hospitality journey and what it means to her to be a part of this industry.

 

Takeaways

  • Working with different principles is similar to working with different clients where each one has a different style that they like and a different process of getting work done.
  • At its core, hospitality is about caring. It's about taking care of people that come to stay with you and paying attention to their needs. 
  • A lot of the “check boxes” for what makes a hotel a luxury hotel can be seen as outdated and they aren’t the end all be all for the standard of luxury hotels.
  • Everybody is focused on bringing people back to the office, so they are looking at having the office spaces be redesigned to be fun and exciting and create a sense of identity amongst the people who work there.
  • It’s important to try and look at ways to make your design or space more sustainable so that in the long run it will be better for everyone.
  • There are some designs that remain timeless and can be used in any setting. Design actually reflects what is going on in the current world.
  • When you are designing a space for anyone, it’s a good idea to listen to what the people who will be using the space are looking for and try to meet their needs and wants.

 

Quote of the Show:

9:40 “At its core, hospitality is about caring.”

 

Links:

 

Shout Outs:

28:43 Justin Herman Plaza

28:49 Embarcadero

31:46 Tahmahlah

34:43 Mindclick

38:35 Carmelo Resort

44:12 The Aesthetics of Joy

 

Ways to Tune In: 

Know Your Skills - Vito Lotta - Episode # 070

Know Your Skills - Vito Lotta - Episode # 070

September 14, 2022

Today’s guest is very keen on visualizing spaces in 3 dimensions. He also holds state licenses in architecture and interior design. Vito Lotta is the Vice President of Architecture & Design at Hilton Worldwide. Vito joins the host Dan Ryan for the first-ever live, in-person episode of Defining Hospitality! Vito shares his journey through the hospitality industry starting with using a drafting board that his father had all the way to being an integral part of Hilton.

 

Takeaways

  • Boredom is an excellent state of mind to be in because it allows you to really drill down into your imagination. It’s hard to be imaginative if your mind is constantly coming up with new things.
  • Being in the hospitality industry is providing a certain level of service to your customers, such as teaching guests who can’t dance how to dance and better themselves and providing them with an unforgettable experience.
  • To improve yourself for your company and your personal life, it’s best to focus on your strengths and hone those skills to be even better.
  • Hilton is going in a unique direction where it’s going to be more playful, energetic, and younger. 
  • When it comes to innovation, there are technical, digital, and physical spaces to it all now. You need to find a way to incorporate all those aspects into your design.
  • We still live in an analog world. There are millions of apps out there but they aren’t the answer to coming up with a great design space. 
  • There are different levels of privacy that guests might want that you can integrate into your hotels. Some guests might want more privacy by using an alias while others might not care as much.

Quote of the Show:

16:50 “we're in the business of hospitality. You're supposed to use your gift of dance to make our customers, our guests feel as elegant and graceful as they aspire to be.”

 

Links:

 

Shout Outs:

27:13 American Institute of Architects 

32:24 Know Your Strengths by Donald Clifton and Marcus Buckingham

34:40 David Goggins

44:33 Getty’s Group

46:04 Larry Traxler

46:05 Hyatt

46:56 Gensler

50:12 Hotel of Tomorrow

50:37 Ron Swidler

50:51 Rodd Kidley

52:08 Oculus

1:00:54 Wayne’s World

Ways to Tune In: 

Impacting Others Through Conferences - Harry Javer - Episode # 069

Impacting Others Through Conferences - Harry Javer - Episode # 069

September 7, 2022

Today’s guest plays an extraordinary role in the hospitality industry. He is the founder and producer of The Lodging Conference, one of the world’s premier events for hotel owners and hospitality executives. Harry Javer is the President of the Conference Bureau. Harry joins the host Dan Ryan to share his journey through this beautiful industry and what it all means to him. 

 

Takeaways

  • The Lodging Conference was designed to be a hospitality industry event that goes on forever, not just a one-time event that gets put to the side because of different trends.
  • A conference owner and a hotel owner actually have a lot in common, but the main commonality is that they both want their guests to leave happy. 
  • In order to have a successful conference, you need to be well-rounded and have a natural sense of curiosity. 
  • The lodging conference industry is a very resilient industry that has always bounced back from difficult times. 
  • When you are planning a conference, you want to have a plan B just in case things don’t go right or the exact way you were planning them.
  • One way to stay inspired is to have a great team around you. They will help you come up with new and fresh ideas. 
  • Some conferences can have a massive impact on how people do business or interact with others. The Lodging Conference has impacted hundreds of lives for the better.

 

Quote of the Show:

14:18 “Running a conference is not much different than running a hotel. We basically want the same thing. We want our guests to leave happy.”

 

Links:

 

Shout Outs:

5:34 Tommy Trojan

5:41 Sublime

8:45 Tony Robbins

8:53 Bernie Seigel

9:18 Barbara Sher

21:59 Forest Gump

33:18 Bruce Springfield

37:22 Robert Kiyosaki

37:32 Mark Cuban

37:41 Al Gore

37:43 Donald Trump

37:47 Magic Johnson

Ways to Tune In: 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

A Year of Memories - Dan Ryan - Episode # 068

A Year of Memories - Dan Ryan - Episode # 068

August 31, 2022

It’s a big celebration for Defining Hospitality! We celebrate a year of podcasting with some of Dan’s most popular guests. Throughout the past year, we have heard many great stories and learned so much about what hospitality means to those who work in this beautiful industry. Listen in as Dan guides us through some of his favorite clips and conversations for this week.

 

Takeaways

  • Even though there are devastating moments, there are silver linings that lead to greater opportunities. Use the difficult times as your inspiration to push forward.
  • There is a shift in how to interact with design from the perspective of hotels. You have to keep in mind who you are designing for and create memorable experiences.
  • The true reason hospitality exists is to bring people closer together. It helps to strengthen the common bond between people.
  • Every project you work on will be narrative driven and it should reflect the values of the community the project is in.
  • Providing a welcoming environment and a certain level of service in a hotel is something that can never be replaced by a robot or an Airbnb.
  • Part of hospitality is how you make people feel. You want each and every guest to leave with the best experience they have ever had. 
  • Hospitality is like a gathering spot for everyone to come together and find out how close we all are to each other. 

 

Quote of the Show:

"I walk away from each conversation completely energized. And I think that also taps into what makes our industry so special to really put others first we must excel at openhearted listening"

Links:

 

Ways to Tune In: 

 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

Small Moments - Stephen Wendell - Episode # 067

Small Moments - Stephen Wendell - Episode # 067

August 24, 2022

Today’s guest is highly skilled in corporate law and real estate. He joins the show to share his unique journey through #hospitality. Stephen Wendell is the CEO of Mountain Shore Properties. Stephen joins the host Dan Ryan to talk about what hospitality means to him and his passion for the industry.

 

Takeaways

  • Hospitality is one of the hardest asset classes within commercial real estate. You have to deal with a lot of local politics and there is more to navigate.
  • When opening up a boutique hotel or restaurant, you want to make something that the locals really care about and tourists will love and appreciate.
  • There are more money-conscious decisions that you can make to save money when looking at making a hotel. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on high-speed internet when you can get it for $150.
  • Hospitality is made of small moments that add up to be something meaningful for the guests. Whether it’s coffee or a well-placed reading nook, it’s a welcoming feeling.
  • When designing a space, you should consider if what you are going for benefits the guest and the community you are in as a whole. 
  • You don’t have to always agree with someone you are working on a project with. A healthy discussion can lead to a better product.
  • When it comes to running a restaurant or a hotel, it’s important to praise the employees working through the pandemic and keeping those places open.

 

Quote of the Show:

17:47 “It really is the small moments which then makes developing these hotels so difficult because what really translates to the guests and gets them excited is a very, very small moment.”

 

Links:

 

Shout Outs:

0:37 Kate Rohrer

0:38 ROHE CREATIVE

1:13 Horst Schulze

1:14 Ritz Carlton

1:59 Hampton Inn

2:19 Clarence Kerr

2:22 American Motor Inns

2:29 Sheraton

2:30 Holiday Inn

3:09 REIT

3:28 Proskauer Rose in New York

3:30 Philadelphia Eagles

4:09 Marriott

4:10 Hilton

6:51 Miranda Mancuso

6:57 Andres Belos

7:26 Bunkhouse

9:12 Andrew Benioff

9:14 Independent Lodging Congress

13:20 A League of Their Own

20:57 Ramshackle

 

Ways to Tune In: 

 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

An Experiment of Community - Josh Held - Episode # 066

An Experiment of Community - Josh Held - Episode # 066

August 17, 2022

Today’s guest has a passion for hospitality. He spearheads Wimberly interior’s entertainment, gaming, nightlife F&B, and retail design environment. Josh Held is the Vice President & Director of Entertainment at Wimberly Interiors. Josh joins the host Dan Ryan to share his passion for community and his hospitality journey.

Takeaways

  • The spaces that are being made in hospitality are all about making connections with others in the same space.
  • When you think about the places you tend to go back to as a guest, you go back there because you feel comfortable and it gives you a sense of belonging.
  • Burning Man created a sort of petri dish of a community with all different groups of people coming together with a common interest.
  • It’s important to open your mind and let go of preconceived notions of the world around you and instead see the experiences around you and build upon the world with that.
  • The best ideas often come from when you aren’t trying so hard to come up with an idea. Giving your mind space to breathe is an indispensable tool. 
  • The future is undefined and unpredictable, which makes it exciting for people in the hospitality industry to try and innovate for the future. 
  • Don’t be afraid to push the limit. You need to be confident and know your stuff, but pushing the boundaries is the only way to innovate with new ideas.

Quote of the Show:

 

5:59 “Think about the places that you tend to go back to as a guest. Just as being a normal person who interacts with spaces, you tend to go back to the places that make you feel comfortable, that give you that sense of belonging there.”

Links:

 

 

Shout Outs:

 

8:09 Marque in New York

17:29 David Allen

32:58 Rockwell Group

33:00 David Rockwell

33:02 David Mexico

Ways to Tune In: 

 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

Backdrops to Memories - Marc DeSmet - Episode # 065

Backdrops to Memories - Marc DeSmet - Episode # 065

August 3, 2022

Today’s guest is highly skilled at space planning. He is known for fostering excellence within his design team and uses a client's creativity, focus and experience to turn their dreams into a reality. Marc DeSmet is the Associate Principal at TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design. Marc joins host Dan Ryan to share his #hospitality journey and what it all means to him  

Takeaways

  • Where you live in the world will influence the way you look at your design space, a faster paced environment will feel and produce a different look than a slower one.
  • Hospitality isn’t just about little gift baskets in hotel rooms or flowers. It’s a feeling of welcoming and greeting someone to make them feel comfortable.
  • Hospitality is about creating backdrops for memories. You want to create a positive memory for your guests and have it be something they look back upon fondly. 
  • Music can play a large role in hospitality as well, as it can influence the way a setting is received by a guest.
  • As an architect, it’s important to consider projects that are longer form and can be multi-generational as that can allow the space to really develop.
  • You want to create a location that people will want to go back to over and over again. 
  • Net Zero hotels are starting to be looked at as the way of the future for hotels to help the environment.

Quote of the Show:

 

9:24 “I don't think of it as a thing anymore. I think it's not a noun. Hospitality is a verb. It's an action of greeting. It's an action of welcoming.”

 

Links:

Shout Outs:

 

0:54 Jeffrey Beers

4:37 Platinum Circle Awards

4:52 Larry Traxler

14:31 Rockwell Group

14:34 David Mexico

15:26 Mies van der Rohe

15:27 Louis Kahn

15:47 Morris Lapidus

15:58 Philip Johnson

19:20 The Cliff House

23:12 Hotel Jackson

23:59 Omni Mount Washington

26:13 Foundation Hotel

27:13 Simone Deerie

27:53 KISS

29:57 RGA Loyal 

31:16 Phish

32:25 Mike Gordon

40:38 Hotel Marcel

Ways to Tune In: 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

Tales of The City - Barry Sullivan - Episode # 064

Tales of The City - Barry Sullivan - Episode # 064

July 27, 2022

Today’s guest is responsible for guiding the design of all North American projects for the Canopy, Tempo and Motto brands at Hilton. He has a fabulous eye for interior design and it shows in his work. Barry Sullivan is The Senior Director of Lifestyle at Hilton Worldwide. Barry joins host Dan Ryan to share his #hospitality journey and what it all means to him. 

Takeaways

  • Hospitality is about making others feel comfortable in a place that is unfamiliar to them or a new environment. You want them to find the versions of the things they find familiar in a new setting.
  • People gravitate towards areas that they are most comfortable with. You want to create a sense of comfort with them.
  • A soft brand is a hotel that can be whatever it wants to be but the infrastructure might not be all the same.
  • As your business grows, you need to keep your passion alive and be involved enough for it to grow in the right direction and not lose sight of the ultimate goal and culture.
  • The pandemic has made some projects go on longer than were originally planned, so you want to make sure you are ready for a project to be extended in certain cases.
  • It’s a rewarding experience to see a hotel from the beginning all the way to the finished project.
  • How you treat your team members is how they will treat guests. You want to make sure you are taking care of the team so they can give the guests their best experiences.

Quote of the Show:

 

12:16 “Hospitality is making people feel comfortable, or my definition is making them feel comfortable, welcome, and warm in an environment that's not their own.”

Links:

Shout Outs:

0:57 Steve Higgins

1:11 Jim Northcut

2:04 Linda Ronstadt

2:13 Harry Dean Staton

2:19 Kevin Bacon

2:43 Eda Hallinan

2:50 Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City”

6:03 Wimberly

31:44 Larry Traxler

32:29 Sue Firestone

32:42 Design One

32:57 James Northcut Associates

42:24 Margaret McMahon

44:05 Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

49:54 Chris Nassetta

51:14 Conrad Hilton

Ways to Tune In: 

Defining Hospitality is produced by Ringmaster, on a mission to create connections through B2B podcasts. Learn more at https://ringmaster.com/

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