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OTH President and CEO Todd Felsen

OTH President and CEO Todd Felsen



All of it started with a household journey to Disney World for Todd Felsen, president and chief government officer of OTH Resorts Resorts, an impartial lodge administration firm. As he advised LODGING, he by no means did outgrow his youthful attraction to the trade. It was love at first sight upon arriving on the Polynesian Village, which was one of many first Disney resorts. “I bear in mind strolling into that expansive atrium foyer with cascading waterfalls, unique birds, and folks in conventional Hawaiian costumes as if we have been in Maui,” he recalled. “Everybody seemed so sharp and was so pleasant. I believed even then it was one thing I ought to think about for my future.”

From Doorman to CEO

Felsen’s climb up the ladder included positions on the “outdoors,” as doorman on the Hyatt Regency in Miami, and “inside” as a company administration trainee working his manner as much as his lofty present place. “I finally labored my manner by each self-discipline—entrance workplace supervisor, government housekeeper, meals and beverage, and so forth.,” stated Felsen, who moved on to a sequence of government positions together with basic supervisor and lodge supervisor with Doral Resort & Spa, Wyndham Resorts & Resorts, The Peabody Memphis, and The Ritz-Carlton Resort Firm.

Within the years main as much as his becoming a member of OTH, Felsen honed a bunch of latest capabilities that paved the way in which to that vacation spot. For a number of years, he ran his personal consulting group, managing lodge and resort belongings, repositionings, renovations, gross sales and advertising campaigns, and the event of latest lodges, resorts, and lodge/resort condos. He then took on the place of senior vice chairman of operations for BENCHMARK, a worldwide hospitality firm, the place he oversaw 14 resort and lodge operations all through the US and Caribbean.

Cultivating a Nice Workforce

As we speak, as president and CEO of OTH, Felsen stated he strives to “ship distinctive monetary outcomes, environment friendly operational efficiency, and heat, memorable Southern hospitality,” whereas main with what he termed “a team-first coverage” that acknowledges staff as “OTH’s No. 1 asset.” As such, Felsen goals to foster a optimistic work atmosphere. “We all know that having optimistic staff helps us attain our objectives—each financially and internally as an employer,” he stated. Additionally instrumental to attaining OTH’s objectives are staff he described as “entrepreneurial leaders, having ardour, being revolutionary and accountable.” Professionals who show these qualities have “the need” he’s looking for. “We rent the need and practice the ability,” he stated.

But the promising newbies to his firm usually observe a distinct path than his personal, he noticed. For instance, whereas Felsen was enriched personally and professionally by his personal profession transfers, together with a number of years within the Caribbean (see sidebar on web page 13), he famous that many potential staff members at the moment are much less keen to just accept the type of relocations that have been as soon as half and parcel of advancing in hospitality. “After we have been youthful, you needed to transfer round to get promoted. That was at all times the way in which it was. However in at the moment’s market, flexibility [in an employee’s present position] is the secret,” he defined.

The reluctance of candidates to uproot their households and go away their communities, he stated, has impacted staffing for key positions. Nonetheless, he added, his personal perspective towards constructing a greater hospitality firm, too, is altering—even to the extent of his recognizing the benefit of getting family- and community-minded staff members who need to keep put. As well as, he has rejected the prescriptive strategy to buyer care inculcated by his early coaching at Ritz-Carlton. “They have been nice believers in being scripted—what to say, easy methods to say it in each state of affairs. My very own perception now could be that hospitality is all about being unscripted, and, in truth, our firm tagline is ‘unscripted hospitality,’” he stated.

Nurture Over Nature

Felsen is clearly “a pure” for the lodge enterprise—he’s outgoing and enjoys assembly new folks. “I consider growing particular person relationships is so necessary; everybody’s completely different, and also you don’t know the life circumstances of the particular person subsequent to you,” he stated.

But he maintained that his success within the enterprise is a results of hard-won nurture slightly than nature—principally by at all times consciously striving to be the toughest working and most optimistic particular person within the room. “I at all times handle enterprise, however I even have a ardour for folks and caring for them, and I consider in treating folks with compassion, displaying you care,” he burdened. That compassion is prolonged to his personal staff—who he personally calls to consolation and have fun—in addition to to the company within the lodges all of them serve.

Classes From the Ladder: Todd Felsen Recounts His Significant Experiences and Takeaways

The trail Todd Felsen took to his management place at OTH Resorts Resorts was not with out its challenges. But there have been classes discovered on each rung of the skilled ladder he climbed. “I really feel I grew up within the enterprise by the life classes discovered whereas doing every thing potential,” he associated.

Just a few examples:

Optimistic first impressions. As a doorman, then bell captain, he discovered concerning the energy of first impressions—and a smile—whereas assembly and greeting company, for which he was amply rewarded. “At the moment, my pockets have been at all times stuffed with money from the information I acquired,” he recalled.

Adapting to a brand new enterprise tradition. As a hotelier overseas—he spent 4 and a half years within the Caribbean whereas working for Wyndham Resorts & Resorts as lodge supervisor/basic supervisor—he discovered about doing enterprise in different cultures. “I discovered lots about being a visitor in another person’s nation, the place there have been challenges resembling from unions and unfamiliar politics, and that the way in which they do issues just isn’t essentially the way you do issues,” Felsen defined. “I discovered to suppose strategically about easy methods to say issues and function, and to rely on my native staff to assist make selections of their nation.”

Useful “likelihood conferences.” Felsen has discovered concerning the worth of on a regular basis alternatives to community. Because of this, Felsen stated he urges his gross sales groups to talk up folks having breakfast or sitting on the bar on the lodge. “I discuss to all people I meet, that I sit subsequent to on a aircraft, or stand close to in line on the grocery story,” he stated. “There’s a number of enterprise on the market and there are lots of people on the market making connections and networking.”

Standing out within the crowd. From powering by troublesome occasions and at all times shifting ahead by working arduous and staying optimistic, he discovered easy methods to beat the competitors, which, as he advised his daughter, is just about everybody: “I inform her, ‘It’s nice to have buddies at school and work, however always remember they’re additionally your competitors. You subsequently have to at all times do your finest to face out amongst your friends, present you are able to do extra, be higher than everybody else. Be pleasant, however at all times handle enterprise.’”

Sustaining a optimistic perspective. “There are at all times curve balls in life in addition to in enterprise; it doesn’t go in a straight line. Nothing’s ever excellent. It comes all the way down to the way in which you adapt to alter, being reasonable however having a optimistic outlook on every thing,” he suggested.



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