Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Westman

Stephen Westman

General Manager, The OUT Hotel, NYC

Stephen Westman has fourteen years of professional experience starting in advertising with Starcom Worldwide (a division of Leo Burnett) and later Eightball Media. After a brief stint in advertising, Westman transitioned into the hospitality industry, beginning with W Hotels. Stephen was later part of the opening team that launched the very first “urban” Hard Rock Hotel and was integral in developing the service standards and procedures as well as leading all activations related to the marketing and public relations initiatives for the launch of the Chicago project. In 2005, Mr. Westman left Hard Rock Hotel Chicago to open his first bar, The Lakeview Broadcasting Co. One year later, Mr. Westman expanded his Lakeview presence by opening the boutique The Lakeview Manufacturing Co., later rebranded as Clandestine Industries Landmark, named after and in partnership with hometown hero and Fallout Boy bassist, Pete Wentz’, thriving clothing line. In 2008 Mr. Westman and Mr. Wentz (along with Pete’s management company, Crush Music Management: Train, Gym Class Heroes, Fall Out Boy, Courtney Love, etc.) joined forces yet again to create and expand a nightlife empire. Mr. Westman became the managing partner of Angels & Kings, a celebrity-driven “dive bar” concept situated in New York City. Since the flagship opening in 2008, Mr. Westman has completed a comprehensive brand overhaul and has expanded the brand by procuring deals in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as a franchise deal in Barcelona, Spain in partnership with Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts. During this entrepreneurial stage, Mr. Westman established himself as a major player in the Chicago hospitality scene. His projects have received multiple accolades including “Best New (bar) Concept” by the Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye edition. Stephen has also been featured in numerous local, regional and national media outlets including MTV News, Fast Company Magazine, PerezHilton.com, Crain’s Chicago Business, NBC’s “First Look” and On-Air with Ryan Seacrest to name just a few. Mr. Westman re-joined Hard Rock Hotel Chicago in 2010 as Operations Analyst, working directly with hotel ownership to identify, recruit and develop a team and operation that was a representation of the core values championed by owner, Charles Becker, and Executive Vice President of Becker Ventures, Carrie Becker Meghie. In 2011, Westman was named Hotel Manager for Hard Rock Hotel Chicago and subsequently took a more hands-on role with all facets of the business. That same year, Mr. Westman was invited to be become a partner in Becker Entertainment - a new division of the Becker empire. Most recently Westman was recruited by NYC developers/hoteliers Ian Reisner & Mati Weiderpass to become the General Manager of THE OUT NYC. As General Manager, Mr. Westman will again work alongside ownership to re-position the resort while maximizing the potential of the asset and team. Mr. Westman graduated from DePauw University with a major in Communication Arts & Sciences. He is a proud supporter of the Jackson Chance Foundation (www.jacksonchance.org) and a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. Mr. Westman currently resides in New York City.

Mr. Westman can be contacted at 212-947-2999 or Stephenw@theoutNYC.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.