Sincerely, BLLA

The Artisans: Jon Weitz

The BLLA Team sits down with Jon Weitz, Owner & Founder of Avocet Hospitality, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier. BLLA...

The BLLA Team sits down with Jon Weitz, Owner & Founder of Avocet Hospitality, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier.

BLLA: What is your company’s mission statement?

JW: Our organization is defined by one simple word – passion. Everything is geared toward providing our guests a great experience in a unique environment and being served by our team of professionals in a way that makes you stop and say, “This place is different.”

BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?

JW: I was fortunate enough to get involved with the design and development of the luxury hotel, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Although my education was in finance and legal, once I had a taste of the hospitality world, it immediately sparked my passion for creating unique hotels and restaurants.

The Vendue | Charleston, South Carolina

BLLA: What does “boutique” mean to you?

JW: Boutique centers a feeling of intimacy and highly personalized service – not just a small hotel with great design. The guest should feel as if the hotel was created specifically for them and that their stay is the most important thing happening that day.

BLLA: How are you an artisan?

JW: Life is just a series of experiences. I use my personal experiences and travels to help shape the feeling a hotel is supposed to evoke, what it should look like, and the story it is supposed to tell for a given city and the building in which the hotel is housed. I curate little elements from all of my travels and work with my team to tailor them for what makes sense for a given hotel. It is a very collaborative process with our entire team to make sure we all agree that the hotel is what it should be.

BLLA: Why do you celebrate the path of independence?

JW: During my time working with The Sanctuary, I was working for Bill Goodwin, who is one of the smartest, most logical people I have ever met. He instilled in me the importance of vigorously fighting for and maintaining what you believe is the right hotel for the local community. The only way to be true to your vision is complete independence and not giving in on items to conform to brand standards. If you believe in your vision – stick to it at all costs.

The Read House | Chattanooga, Tennessee

BLLA: What advice would you give to first-time hoteliers?

JW: Listen to those who have done it before you. Learn from both their successes and failures. As a first-time hotelier, we all believe we know everything. The truth is, we can be a lot more successful and proud of our work if we check our egos at the door and realize we do not know it all. Also, surround yourself with experts in areas where you do not have a ton of experience. They can save you a lot of sleepless nights.

BLLA: What would you say to hotel lenders & investors reading this?

JW: Historically, lenders love to have a brand attached to a hotel, as it can provide a sense of comfort that occupancy and rate projections could be met by the brand’s global distribution and rewards points. Today’s traveler is more and more looking for authentic, differentiated experiences. The internet has leveled the playing field for independent boutique hotels. Guests can now find the local boutique hotel just as much as the branded big box hotel. Reward points are not the only factor in making a decision on which hotel to book.

Avocet Hospitality is a hotel corporate premier member of BLLA – view their listing here!

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