Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Festinger

Robert Festinger

General Manager, YVE Hotel Miami

Robert Festinger is General Manager at YVE Hotel Miami, a property managed by Destination Hotels, the largest operator of independent hotels and resorts in North America, and owned by Host Hotels & Resorts, the nationís largest lodging real estate investment trust. The 245-room property is ideally situated in the heart of downtown Miami at 146 Biscayne Blvd. Mr. Festinger was formerly the Vice President and Managing Director of the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, also referred to as Florida's Riviera. He oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Newport Group; Kitchen 305, Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon, Newport Marketing, Newport Hospitality and Newport Vacation Club. He was also responsible for sales, marketing and operations for the oceanfront resortís 360 rooms and more than 600 employees. Prior to the Newport, he was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as Director of Sales and Catering/Convention Services for the Westin and Sheraton brands. During that tenure, he was awarded the Starwood Platinum Award in 2006 before joining the Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club of Chicago to oversee event and catering operations. Mr. Festinger officially started his career as a social and corporate catering sales manager at Terrace on the Park, New York's most recognizable event venue for more than 40th years where he boosted fundraising, corporate and social sales. Mr. Festingerís father, Wilhelm Festinger, was a European trained chef and successful restaurateur so he was raised in the hospitality business from an early age. His family owned Pappagallo Restaurant of Glen Head in New York. He officially began his career in the hospitality business in 1997 after graduating from Hofstra University with a degree in political science and economics. Today Mr. Festinger resides in Aventura, Florida with his wife and three-year-old son.

Mr. Festinger can be contacted at 305-358-4555 or rfestinger@destinationhotels.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.