Sincerely, BLLA

The Artisans: Nick Knight

The BLLA Team sits down with Nick Knight, Director of Revenue and Distribution at ASH NYC, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier. ...

The BLLA Team sits down with Nick Knight, Director of Revenue and Distribution at ASH NYC, as he delves into his experience as a boutique hotelier.

BLLA: What is your company’s mission statement?

NK: “ASH NYC is a design and development firm with a mission of transforming spaces into multi-sensory, one-of-a-kind experiences. The brand’s hotels are often recognized for their ability to reinvigorate historic properties into immersive story-telling narratives, and include The Dean (Providence, RI), The Siren (Detroit, MI), Hôtel Peter & Paul (New Orleans) and a forthcoming hotel, Ulysses, in Baltimore. The firm’s home furnishing and staging division, ASH Staging, is equally notable for its ability to furnish homes nearly on-demand with a world-class inventory of designer and vintage furniture and custom capabilities available to real estate professionals and homeowners alike.”

BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?

NK: “I entered the industry via various restaurant roles during high school in my small hometown, New Baltimore, MI. I then went to culinary school and had an internship in a hotel. I instantly fell in love with the landscapes and cultures available in hotels, and knew that this was what I wanted to pursue.”

Hotel Peter & Paul (Courtesy of Hotel Peter & Paul)

BLLA: What does “boutique” mean to you?

NK: “To me, boutique means something special that can rarely, if ever, be recreated. I spent a lot of time in boutique music and clothing stores growing up. They seemed to always have a more genuine, direct lifeline into the history of Detroit. I’ve always searched for that kind of scene preservation of the city that can often be sourced through boutique outlets.”

BLLA: How are you an artisan?

NK: “I would like to think that I could take a space and create an interesting and memorable presence in it. All hoteliers want to offer a clean, safe, prosperous environment for their team and community to experience. For me, those are the prerequisites to the passion piece of being able to explore and create a unique vibe for your property to stand out in, as well as compliment your market. You usually don’t realize what you’ve created until it’s gone; so, have fun and explore every day!”

BLLA: Why do you celebrate the path of independence?

NK: “The path of independence is everything to me now. I spent the first half of my career in franchised-chain hotels. I got to become the big box GM that you’re usually told is the peak of your career in hospitality school. I was miserable and burnt out. I almost left the industry, when a friend of mine opened an independent hotel and asked me to try and make X amount of profit a month, and that I could do whatever I wanted with the property to get there. The property was white-walled and empty when I arrived, and it was the first time I got to express my personal interests into my career skillset. I’ve never looked back!”

The Siren Hotel (Courtesy of Christian Harder)

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

NK: “All first-time hoteliers should express themselves through their work and never settle. The industry is at such a vulnerable point right now, to where newcomers can make an impact quicker than ever. Figure out your passion points. Set goals. Have fun along the way.”

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

NK: “Invest in companies and properties that invest in their team and communities. I’m sure most investors in this arena know how to identity a profitable purchase. Focus more on the impact that you can make in the market through your investment. Create a profitable legacy!”

BLLA: What’s next for you?

NK: “I was just recently promoted from the General Manager of The Siren Hotel to the Director of Revenue & Distribution for ASH NYC, overseeing the brand’s portfolio of hotels. I’m really excited to be a leading contributor and resource to a company that I’ve become very passionate about.”

The Siren Hotel is a member of BLLA.

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