As a university scholar, Expotel Hospitality President and Chief Improvement Officer Michael Nixon was contemplating totally different careers—medication, legislation, and particularly, espionage—whereas working summers at a resort. Describing his journey from his faculty days, he informed LODGING, “I had majored within the Russian language and minored in worldwide affairs, with ideas of becoming a member of the CIA or the NSA, that’s, till I factored within the beginning wage.” With a younger household to contemplate and years of progressively extra accountable positions in hospitality beneath his belt, upon commencement, he deserted ideas of turning into a spy to as an alternative turn into common supervisor of the resort the place he’d minimize his hospitality tooth.
Nixon mentioned he by no means regretted that call since hospitality suited him, because it does many others who possess the “hospitality gene.” “I’m in love with all of the issues that make good hoteliers—being with folks, staff, and constructing groups,” he defined.
All of it started for Nixon at Mark II Seaside Resort (now Seahaven Seaside Resort), in Panama Metropolis Seaside, Florida, the place he remained for practically eight years, beginning as an evening auditor whereas in faculty and turning into GM simply two years later. Then got here practically 25 years with Innisfree Motels, beginning as GM of Beachside Resort and Convention Heart, additionally in Panama Metropolis.
At Innisfree, he acquired “25 years of mentorship” from founder Julian MacQueen, who he locations on the “prime of the record” of those that taught him the resort enterprise. “So far as the nuts and bolts of resort operations, resort growth, resort purchases, and so forth.—I discovered all that from him.”
In fact, Nixon was clearly desperate to be taught, proper from the beginning. “I used to be that man all the time asking for extra duties, so Julian informed me to seek out some lodges that must be managed,” he mentioned. “So, although I didn’t know actually what I used to be doing, I’d make the calls, and typically stumbled throughout offers, lots of which labored out.”
He mentioned Innisfree was then a younger firm with just some lodges, which it owned and managed, and there was a lot to do and be taught. “I helped develop a number of the instruments that they used to handle and monitor lodges—I taught myself Excel—and in addition helped to construct the tradition throughout the firm.” Whereas he was being mentored by MacQueen and because the firm grew through the years, he employed, mentored, and promoted others, a few of whom are nonetheless there in high-level positions.
Becoming a member of Expotel
Nixon mentioned of the transfer to Expotel after practically 25 years with Innisfree, “I cherished the folks and my time at Innisfree, however once I was recruited by Expotel, I used to be on the level in my life that I needed to resolve whether or not or to not stay there for the remainder of my profession.” The supply, he mentioned, additionally included a partnership place, one thing not obtainable to him at Innisfree. Given the chance to turn into an proprietor and tackle a brand new problem, Nixon accepted the place.
He described the change from being president of what had turn into a big firm that owned the properties it managed to imagine that title at a comparatively small third-party administration firm. “It was positively a studying expertise. As a result of we’re a small firm, we don’t have an enormous infrastructure, which makes us agile,” he defined. The brand new position has additionally meant “sporting many hats,” he mentioned. “For instance, I underwrite lodges, search for financing, and challenge income and internet incomes out over 5 to 10 years. I additionally advise on websites and markets—that’s, the strengths and weaknesses of lodges, which of them to go after and which of them to keep away from, which of them are overpriced, which of them are underpriced.”
Figuring out with Homeowners
He mentioned Expotel’s small measurement additionally permits him to attach with homeowners of the managed properties at a special degree, one thing he relishes. “I discover making these connections with the totally different homeowners, with all their totally different particular person personalities, to be a problem and a thrill, too. We’re not simply working for only one individual; we’ve got roughly 10 homeowners,” he associated.
Nixon mentioned of his chief growth officer title, “I do have a knack for what’s concerned in growth—figuring out the small print alone or in conferences with others.” Nevertheless, he added, “I’m an operations man at coronary heart. If I had my druthers, I’d all the time be on the market assembly folks, like on the entrance desk.” He added that being an proprietor has coloured his view of the place he holds. Though he all the time regarded each job as greater than a paycheck, being an proprietor has made him conscious of how “every part I do may benefit me personally sooner or later,” he mentioned.
Reflecting on his personal climb from evening auditor to president and associate, Nixon considers himself a first-rate instance of the rewards obtainable in hospitality—for these with the hospitality gene, that’s. “It’s probably not a 9-to-5 factor,” he asserted. “Individuals who view hospitality extra as a vocation, a calling, serve themselves and people round them greatest.”
The Private Strategy to Prospecting: Making Connections the Proper Approach in a Put up-Pandemic World
Expotel President and Chief Improvement Officer Michael Nixon remembers his early efforts to snag third-party administration contracts by chilly calling potential purchasers, however mentioned there’s simply no substitute for in-person conferences at what he known as “the fitting exhibits.” “Individuals wish to promote me lists of resort executives, however I’ve discovered that the easiest way to get third-party contracts is thru face-to-face conferences,” he mentioned. Emphasizing the significance of seeing these faces, he commented on how that essential connection was impacted through the pandemic: “It was horrible. All these 2020 conferences bought canceled, after which through the first a part of 2021, we have been all strolling round in masks and we didn’t know who anyone was.” That’s why, he mentioned, he’s now desperate to go “the place the persons are”—primarily homeowners—such because the franchise homeowners’ conferences, the annual Hunter Convention in Atlanta, and the Lodging Convention in Phoenix. At such occasions, he enjoys the contact and comradery. “Even when they don’t rent us as a administration firm, I like giving free recommendation, I’m comfortable to assist—I assume it’s that hospitality factor.” EM