Sincerely, BLLA

Breathing Life into Hotels

Boutique hotel leader, Mark Keiser, mentors the community As part of the Investment Track of BLLA’s Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit and the “Ask ...

Boutique hotel leader, Mark Keiser, mentors the community

As part of the Investment Track of BLLA’s Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit and the “Ask me Anything” Mentorship Circle series, attendees had the exclusive opportunity to hear from CDO of SH Hotels and Resorts: Mark Keiser. Mark proved to be a talented storyteller as he shared about his journey in the industry, principles to live by, and a range of other insights to an intimate group of boutique believers.

         When asked about why he believes in boutique, Mark began by addressing his eleven years spent talking about “the power of a big system of Starwood Preferred Guests” and how it takes “30 million loyal members” to drive business. Then he continued about switching roles to a much smaller organization: “when I had joined, we had yet to open our first hotels, and then seeing what we’ve been able to achieve from a performance perspective…if we’re able to achieve the same RevPAR index without all the cost associated with these big chain systems, and to be so much more nimble… I think that what sets us apart as a business.” Mark continued, “from a consumer perspective, I just think that increasingly the world has moved to where people stay and where they dine is a bigger reflection of them… I always ask people, ‘where did you stay last night’ when I meet with them, or ‘where do you stay when you come to New York?’ And if somebody says, ‘Oh the big Hilton in times square’ or if somebody says, ‘I stayed at NoMad’ or ‘the Ace’ – it just tells a different perspective about the person. I’m more, perhaps, drawn to people who are interested in more curated experiences within their hotel stays.”

         During his introduction, Mark briefly shared about his personal investment in and passion for sustainability. At home, this takes the form of solar panels and a garden. Later on, an audience question invited him to share about the form this influence takes in his hotels. Mark explained, “Sustainability and wellness – those are pillars of our brand.  You have an audience and you have the ability to provide access to programming, great speakers, activities…and you’re creating an opportunity while someone is staying with you, whether it’s for business or leisure, to experience things they might not be able to experience at home and then to incorporate it into their lives. For us, the food aspect of our brand is also really important, really being mindful of where you’re sourcing it, how you’re preparing it, food waste is such a plague of the restaurant industry and something we’re working really hard to reduce. I think it just provides a forum for providing access to a lot of different wellness opportunities and the goal, just like our goal of sustainability, is that you learn about these things staying at our hotels and then you bring it back into your daily life.

         Mark went on to paint a beautiful picture of the newly launched Treehouse Hotels. Treehouse London “has 100 rooms, it has killer food and beverage on the top two floors, the building is fifteen stories and we built a 16th floor into an outdoor venue called the Nest. It sits in an area of London in Marylebone, where most of the buildings kind of top at around 7 stories, and so you have these spectacular views…It’s a little more whimsical, a little more nostalgic, back to your desire as a kid to have a treehouse…a bit more color, a little bit more fun. The staff in London has really done an exceptional job bringing that brand to life.” Finally, Mark teased about upcoming projects in Miami, in Silicon Valley, and even one in the works in the Maldives. Attendees who were present to share such a sincere and intimate mentorship moment with Mark surely count themselves lucky. Anyone on the hunt for the best in boutique should prepare themselves for what this creator will breathe life into next.

Article written by Alicia Bernal of BLLA

BLLA members can watch the full session in the BLLA Collective member portal here

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