Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Suomi

Michael Suomi

Principal and Vice President Interior Design, Stonehill & Taylor

Michael Suomi is Principal and VP of Interior Design at Stonehill & Taylor where he leads the firmís interior design practice. Mr. Suomi has an extensive background in creating unique and high-profile hospitality projects for a long list of clients including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Disney, as well as a number of independent hotel brands. His approach to design is based on the idea of developing a strong narrative for each project based on its distinct characteristics such as its history, location, and cultural significance. His design vision ensures that a close link to the concept is maintained from initial programming and planning, all the way to the smallest executional detail. Mr. Suomi leads in the area of social sustainability in design, championing the use of designís purchasing power to create jobs and lift economies. His work for hotels and restaurants has been recognized through various industry awards including the HD Awards and Boutique Design Awards. Mr. Suomi is the co-founder of Futuregreen Hospitality Forum in partnership with Interior Design Magazine, which brings together hotel brands, designers and manufacturers every year to determine and implement actionable steps for positive impact in the near future. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Radical Innovation, an annual competition that challenges the hotel industry by seeking new ideas in design and operations. His prior executive experience includes: Rockwell Group - Senior Associate, Studio Design Director; Jordan Mozer and Associates - Director of Architecture; MacEwen + Mr. Suomi - President, Director of Design. Please visit http://www.stonehilltaylor.com for more information.

Mr. Suomi can be contacted at 212-226-8898 or email@stonehilltaylor.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.