Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Hoover

Erin Hoover

Vice President of Design, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

As Vice President of Design for Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Erin Hoover leads the creative team to develop global design concepts for guestrooms, public spaces, brand partnerships, marketing events and other design elements for the Westin and Sheraton brands. Ms. Hoover came to Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT) by way of the fashion world, having previously worked for Armani for nine years; and brings a calm, smart, livable sensibility to the award-winning hotel brands. Prior to Armani, Hoover consulted for Calvin Klein, Edwin Schlossberg, and Polo Ralph Lauren. In addition to designing the next generation of Westin’s and Sheraton’s guestrooms, Hoover also spearheaded Westin’s groundbreaking partnership with United Airlines, designing travel-size Heavenly blankets and pillows, and Westin-inspired Renewal Lounges at airports in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Each Renewal Lounge featured a signature LED candle wall and artwork typical of Westin’s soothing aesthetic, along with two pieces of custom furniture: an upholstered ottoman table with a built-in table (for displaying custom botanicals or books) and a day bed for resting, all designed by Ms. Hoover. What’s most interesting about Ms. Hoover’s work is the diverse variety of properties that fall under the Westin and Sheraton umbrella. While a majority of the properties are new builds, the Westin and Sheraton portfolio also include resort hotels and landmarked buildings including the recently opened Westin Book Cadillac, inside one of Detroit’s most storied buildings. To address these differences, Westin, under the creative guidance of Hoover, created three related but distinct design themes: Modern, which is streamlined and uses light woods; Classic, which is modern at its core but with an Art Deco influence; and Historic, for pre-existing buildings where it’s most appropriate to respect original architectural details. Ms. Hoover’s large scope of design experience ranges from designing textiles and exhibitions to visual merchandising and display, store design, nightclubs and hotels. Her eclectic and varied experience shapes her design perspective and continues to inspire her as a design professional at Westin and Sheraton. Ms. Hoover has an MFA in Industrial Design from Pratt.

Ms. Hoover can be contacted at 203-351-2542 or erin.hoover@starwoodhotels.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.